Minimalissimo

NORM Residence

architecture
Location
Baie-D'Urfé, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Architecture
Alain Carle Architecte
Website
alaincarle.ca
Photography
Félix Michaud

The winter snow engulfs Baie-D'Urfé in a powdery white landscape. Warm light emits from sparse openings of suburban houses, creating a speckle of soft illuminations hidden behind large pine canopies. Drifting cloud fragments across the blue sky slowly carries a peaceful charm to this western region of Montréal island. Here situates NORM Residence, a tranquil abode renovated by Alain Carle Architecte.

Taking on the typology of a farmhouse with slanted roofs, NORM Residence is a congregation of different volumes intersecting at acute angles to achieve spatial expansion. Covered in an off-white facade with large windows occur in a rhythmic pattern, the project appears like a light whisper among the woods. These transparent punctures cut through the snowy terrain to reveal a depth of nature, artistically frame the picturesque suburb, and further connect it to the interior.

The inner space is a warm grey palette with a rough finish, giving a humane touch to an isolated abode. The tactile texture continues onto permanent fixtures; it paints a uniformity that constantly changes organically, bringing a peaceful atmosphere. Geometrical lines where planes meet are eased with rounded furniture, arched doorways, and occasional glimpses of outer space. Minimal objects are carefully placed throughout, accentuating the seemingly empty residency with a sophisticated quirk.

As the day progresses, the sun dawns and sets, casting pockets of light onto the interior. Through the window, its shape is simultaneously bent at different angles. Up top through a circular opening, the light is accompanied by faint shadows of the surrounding environment. A deformed mirror hovers above a cubic mass, reflecting the dim light traversing NORM Residence. Although small, these design gestures harmonize the tone of lighting for the project. They help separate programs without partitions or any solid barrier.

With an open plan, the space is enlarged horizontally and vertically. Columns are minimised for a feeling of vastness extending into the deep green landscape. Taking advantage of the slanted roofs, the living room benefits from a breathtaking height. This spatial effect is emphasised with low furniture, scaling down activities to focus on the architecture itself.

NORM Residence is an elegant project that plays with many architectural factors. Juggling scales, manipulating shapes, and distorting uniformity, Alain Carle Architecte was able to create multiple moments that are unlike others to produce a cosy, fulfilling home within an isolated place.

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