Built in a forest, this lake house lets its location inform its sinuous shape.
“A good client is one who tells you ‘I want to cross a river,’ not ‘I need a bridge,’” says Quebec-based architect Paul Bernier. In 2012 his firm was approached by such a client, who wanted to build a sustainable home on their wooded lakefront property that both embraced and preserved its environment. “They gave us carte blanche, and let us bring them somewhere,” Bernier says. Built between the lake and a steep incline, the resulting design bends, twists, and opens up to offer superlative views. Its exterior, made of locally sourced white cedar, helps the building blend in with the nearby trees. To the south, the structure curves to guide its residents first to a view of the forest, then to a stream flowing into the lake. The kitchen and living room form the heart of the home, where white walls and polished concrete floors contrast with the rugged outdoors. Made of hickory, three intentionally pared-down, built-in objects—a storage and seating area, kitchen island, and entertainment system—mark the communal space, letting the surrounding forest take center stage.