Featuring a pair of triangular fins, the Alfa flag is one of 30 graphic banners that makes up the International Code of Signals, a global system of phrases and warnings that allows nautical vessels to communicate with each other.
The ensign also formed the driving concept behind Quebec-based Bourgeois / Lechasseur architectes’ latest project: Cabin A. In a nod to the seafaring inspiration, the dark wood-clad structure’s defining metallic canopy borrows its form from the flag’s geometric motif.
Tucked into the landscape of the rural Charlevoix region in southeastern Quebec, Cabin A rests on a steep site situated near the popular Le Massif ski resort and overlooking the majestic St. Lawrence River. On approach, the angular roofline appears to fold out of the terrain, revealing the sharp decks and the main entrance just beyond.
“The cabin’s triangulated roof is a reminder of the sails facing the wind, whereas a large wood terrace evokes the upper deck of a ship with the stunning views of the river,” the nine-year-old studio explains in its press release. The architects are no strangers to crafting elegant, contextual residences: Take their much-lauded Est-Nord-Est Artist Residence, for example.
Further references to nautical inspiration also appear inside. Panels of warm Russian plywood line the combined living, dining and kitchen area. The material, which also clads the underside of the expressive roof, wraps the linear built-ins – including the central fireplace and its integrated storage – that run along the glazed façade which provides 180-degree views of the landscape.
“The use of wood paneling on the walls and ceiling of the shared living area,” adds the studio, “further emphasizes the analogy to naval architecture.”
Contrasting the quotidian material, the open-concept kitchen and its island are rendered in black tones – from the cabinetry and fixtures to the polished work surface – that stand out again the cool hue of the monolithic concrete floor.
In addition, the architects carefully accented the plywood’s natural finish with black window frames that puts into stark relief the site’s slope while giving the muted interior a distinct graphic edge. Additional black fixtures and furnishings – ranging from a wood-burning furnace to select furnishings – complement this striking juxtaposition.
To maintain the purity of the dramatic ceiling, the studio used the jet-black supports spanning the space to house track lighting – itself in the same rich finish. Additional illumination is provided by integrated pot lights, also trimmed in black.
Adjacent to the dining room and sheltered patio, a custom metal ladder leads to an elevated loft space, one well-suited for the kids when they wish to escape the conversations of the adults. This intimate environ is fitted with minimal furnishings and charming triangular windows to give children a tailored place to play.
Below, the partially submerged lower level contains three bedrooms, two washrooms, a playful custom plywood bunk bed (suitable for up to four tots), a play room and an outdoor hot tub sheltered by the floor plate above.
In a rare twist for such a well-designed retreat from the hustle of urban life, Cabin A was conceived to be rented out to design-minded visitors and is suitable for up to 12 guests. Cabin fever never looked so good.
Tailored for the design-minded, this rentable retreat by Bourgeois / Lechasseur architectes riffs on naval communication.