The St. Lawrence River Flows Right by This Cottage’s Doorstep

By Luke Hopping
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Whale-watching is an indoor activity at a maritime sanctuary in Quebec.

Green hills and jagged precipices carve the Charlevoix region on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec. The area’s overpowering scenery owes its existence to a 15-billion-ton meteor that made impact some 350 million years ago, leaving a yawning valley in its wake. More recently, its environmental riches have made it a hotspot for international science expeditions (Charlevoix was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1989) and weekenders visiting from Quebec City, 50 miles away. 

Homes here have plenty to work with in terms of nature, which is why, when Casa Architecture was called on to design a cottage on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Saint-Siméon, they chose a minimally invasive approach. 

Visitors can keep lookout for the St. Lawrence River’s resident marine mammals, which include Beluga and Sperm whales, from a pair of Adirondack chairs. 

Visitors can keep lookout for the St. Lawrence River’s resident marine mammals, which include Beluga and Sperm whales, from a pair of Adirondack chairs. 

The 1,240-square-foot vacation house floats above a rocky shore on concrete slats, permitting rainwater to run down to the river below. 

Materials throughout the house are elemental, befitting its wilderness setting. The walls are made of cross-laminated timber and the floors are slabs of heated concrete.

Materials throughout the house are elemental, befitting its wilderness setting. The walls are made of cross-laminated timber and the floors are slabs of heated concrete.

Used primarily as a rental, the space affords visitors a vantage point to observe the living environment through walls of floor-to-ceiling glass.

Save for a deck a few steps below the main living space, the home is conceived as a single volume. 

Save for a deck a few steps below the main living space, the home is conceived as a single volume. 

Its status as a World Biosphere Hotspot has spared the region from burdensome overdevelopment. This locally eco-conscious attitude led Casa Architecture to pursue LEED Gold accreditation for the project, which it earned. 

Luke Hopping

@LukeHopping

Senior editor/storymancer Cities, design, music, tech, news Trying to keep up

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