Maison LH: the shoebox house reinvented
A resolutely modern hybrid house with a trace of the past
At the origin of the project, a “shoebox”, a small modest one-storey house built in the 1920s with a facade as prosaic as its interior spaces. For an architect, the main challenge of the project is to decide whether this type of house, which some consider heritage, should be conserved and protected.
After a trial ideation phase, a design principle was imposed: preserve the main façade and develop the single-family house project around it. The second principle guiding the design revolves around the optimal use of natural light in indoor spaces. Indeed, the usual constraints of the construction of terraced residences imposed a lack of daylight in central spaces. The installation of a large skylight in the middle of the house was a natural choice, with a staircase linking the three floors of the house, diffusing light into the rooms, living spaces, and the basement.
The functional organization was quickly determined with a rec room and a bedroom in the basement, living areas and an office on the ground floor, and three bedrooms and two bathrooms on the first floor.
After a trial ideation phase, a design principle was imposed: preserve the main façade and develop the single-family house project around it.
For the house facades, the composition and some decorative elements of the original front façade were preserved, but the masonry was redone. On the rear facades, burnt wood was chosen as cladding for its aesthetics and durability.
In the end, this reflection on a shoebox house, in a context of real estate growth and urban densification, allowed the construction of a hybrid house, resolutely modern but with a trace of the past.
Project Name: Maison LH
Project end: Summer 2019
Construction budget: $650,000
Architect/Designer: Fugère Architecture
Design team: Ashraf Mohamed-Ahmed and Claude Fugère, architects
Photographer: Felix Audette
Contractor: Art Reno
Windows and doors: Reynaers + Solarcom
Charred cedar: Arbre et bois
Images: Felix Audette
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