Built into a mountainside west of Montreal, this modern pool house by Halifax–based MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects doesn’t just embrace views of the St. Lawrence River valley floor—it becomes a part of it.
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A sensitive design approach was paramount to the client, who sought a modern building that would feel like a natural extension of the rural environment.
"The seemingly simple structure is intricately crafted," says architect Brian MacKay-Lyons, noting that the project draws influence from Mies van der Rohe’s 1929 triumph and modernist icon, the Barcelona Pavilion.
"I believe that if any modern architect says they haven’t been inspired by Mies Van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion, they’re lying!" says MacKay-Lyons. "Speaking as both a professor and practitioner of architecture, I believe the Barcelona Pavilion is a masterwork of the 20th century. However, the point was never to copy it. Rather, I was inspired by the elemental qualities of wall, roof, and floor, and the dynamic asymmetry of the Pavilion."
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Completed over two years, the 2,500-square-foot pool house is defined by elongated linear forms: board-formed concrete walls, a glass-walled box with a flat roof, and a long infinity pool that extends towards the agrarian floodplain.
Partly enclosed by L-shaped concrete walls, the glass box opens up to the south and west to take full advantage of daylight. Inside are a gym, bathroom, sauna, and service areas. An outdoor lounge and wood-burning fireplace, sheltered by the monolithic roof with a cedar soffit, overlook the pool.
"This is an all-weather building, designed for use in all four seasons," the firm adds. "The glass walls surrounding the gym space open completely, reinforcing the indoor/outdoor nature of this space. Services are relegated to the back, north side of the pavilion, and buried below ground."
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Architect of Record: Le Groupe ARCOP Architectes
Builder/ General Contractor: eSpace Construction
Structural Engineer: BCA Consultants Inc.
Civil Engineer: Marchand Houle et Associés
Mechanical Consultant: Dupras Ledoux Inc.