Not all outdoorsy travellers relish the rugged accommodations of a tent or log cabin. Recognizing this, SÉPAQ (the governmental arm that oversees Quebec’s parks) and Lac Saint-Joseph resort Station Touristique Duchesnay decided to replace all of the latter’s detached half-century-old cabins — 14 rustic cottages painted bright yellow, clashing with one another and their surroundings — with sleek chalets that offer all the accoutrements of a modern home. A collaboration between Bourgeois / Lechasseur Architectes and Coarchitecture, the 14 new Oxygène cabins bring the site up to date while blending it in with nature.
“We endeavoured to integrate the new constructions into the landscape for a more coherent look,” says Olivier Bourgeois, founding partner of Bourgeois / Lechasseur Architectes. To preserve the site’s topography and avoid tree removal, the architects positioned the cabins on the same plots as their predecessors and took advantage of the existing slopes by creating smaller garden-level floors for some models.
Echoing the main hotel’s dark greyish-brown cladding, the chalets are wrapped in lodgepole pine with a brown-tinted charcoal finish, save for their entryways, which are defined by contrasting eastern white cedar. All units have pitched black steel roofs for both aesthetic and practical reasons: The angles have a modern-architecture bent and aid in snow removal, the shape of the gables helps the structures recede into the landscape, and their slim, exaggerated lengths minimize obstructions to the lake views from the nearby hiking paths.
Though the cabins come in various configurations (two, three or four bedrooms, some with two floors), their interiors have a commonality: Clean, somewhat Scandinavian design is nearly identical throughout the units, which include amenities that range from full kitchens to gas fireplaces. But the most dramatic feature of all is a windowed gable wall sporting asymmetrical apertures. “The idea of asymmetry was to add a contemporary touch but also to create visual movement, framing unique views of the lake,” says Bourgeois.
The updated cottages line main walkways that all converge at a new nautical centre and pavilion (a collaboration with Lemay, who did the landscape design), which houses facilities such as toilets, showers and storage areas. A stone’s throw away is a smaller dark-stained-wood structure that rents out activities equipment, from bicycles to paddleboards. For the outdoor enthusiast, the new and improved Duchesnay resort is nirvana.
Revamped cottages at a Quebec resort deliver peak relaxation.