We in the US hear plenty about the AIA's awards of festivals, but not so much about our neighbors up north. As we've seen in Dwell over the last few years, our Canadian compatriots have a lot going on in the realm of modern architecture. The professional association L'Ordre des Architectes du Quebec recently presented their 2009 Awards for Excellence in Architecture, which included a prize specifically dedicated to projects that did not exceed $150,000. This year's prize for an outstanding and affordable residence went to architect Paul Bernier, who lives in the home he designed, along with his wife Joëlle Thibault and their family.
The Bernier-Thibault project was actually an addition to an existing home, which put two similarly-sized boxes on the property—one atop the roof of the existing house and one in the garden beside it. The primary materials were yellow birch, oxidized steel, and glass, the first two of which were sourced locally. The garden box was built as a playroom for the couple's children. Its large glass doors open the interior space onto the courtyard, and the greenery of the outdoor space is extended into the roof of the playroom, creating a continuous natural view from above.
The second box acts like a light well for the other floors of the house, filtering daylight down through windows that occupy the majority of the wall space. The treehouse-like top level provides a viewing platform and an additional private nook for the parents, placed as it is above their bedroom. The extensive use of glass lightens the appearance of the structure and keeps the additional height of the house from seeming too heavy or imposing. Check out the slideshow for more views of this project.