An Energy-Plus Home Fuses With a Boulder-Strewn Landscape
Not only did the Montreal–based firm deliver on all of the environmental targets—including LEED Gold certification—with La Héronnière, but they also captured the beautiful spirit of the landscape by seamlessly integrating three existing boulders.
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Rather than excavate the rock outcroppings and level the challengingly steep site, the architects have opted for a more site-sensitive approach.
"In response to the spatial quality generated by this diagonal, we installed a horizontal plane in the landscape," explains the firm.
"It was generated from the three mysteriously identical geodesic points located at the top of three boulders present on the site."
Balanced above the three rocks, the structural platform is supported by concrete load-bearing walls that match the color of the boulders. The concrete walls and floors also take advantage of thermal mass.
A biomass heating system fed with granules of recycled softwood lumber cutoffs powers the radiant floors, propelled-air furnace, and creates hot water inside.
The wood-fueled system and the rooftop solar array generate enough energy to meet the 5,005-square-foot dwelling’s annual energy needs, while excess energy is sold back to the region’s power grid.
"Environmental requirements were non-negotiable: no magnetic field in the inhabited space, no wireless communication protocol, energy self-sufficiency, materials free of volatile organic compounds, recovery of project residues, electric car, etc.," continues the firm.
"Faced with all these good intentions and technical requirements, characteristic of the values of ‘Generation Y,’ we introduced just one more, which seemed to take precedence over these new media-promoter values: the value of the place, the existential quality related to the environment."