Project: La Frangine House
Architects: Bourgeois / Lechasseur architects
General Contractor: Cas par Cas
Location: Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury, Canada
Year of construction: 2019
Photos: Maxime Brouillet
Text by Bourgeois / Lechasseur architects
Located next to the slopes at Stoneham Resort, La Frangine house is the result of the expansion and conversion of a former ski chalet into a main residence. The architectural part of the project consisted in keeping the existing cottage and to design a second separate building connected to the first one. Like a big sister, the new section looks after the smaller one. Both buildings nicely connect by means of a glass passageway which allows natural light into the heart of the residence. From its façade, the building echoes the dimensions of the original cottage but extends deeper into the deciduous forest. This creates an intimate deck located at the back of the house.
The converted existing cottage serves as the main house and includes the dining room and kitchen on the ground floor. An artist’s studio is located on a mezzanine in the roofspace. The mezzanine floor has been made into an open space above which a large dormer window has been integrated for natural lighting. Above the kitchen, hovers the artist’s studio filled with a gentle natural light. Bold new openings were added to the existing structure, which was enhanced by adding insulation to both the walls and roof.
The extension becomes the private house and reproduces the roof slopes of the existing building, but with two full storeys. The ground floor integrates the garage and houses the main bedroom. Upstairs are the girls’ quarters with, on one side, an office space overlooking the mountain and, on the other side, a boudoir and covered patio at canopy height. The cathedral ceiling clad in eastern white cedar cuts through the extension and over the exterior spaces, enhancing a transparency effect.
A Living Passageway
The passageway links the two sister houses. It is drawn between the two buildings and serves as a living room and passage. Its linear design continues into the buildings at each end. At one end, it is more spacious and serves as a larger main porch. At the other end, it acts as a secondary porch, giving direct and convenient access to the kitchen, the areas in the basement and the patio.
Between Tradition and Modernity
The volume of the original cottage, saved and transformed, was the inspiration for the expansion. The addition of new openings, the choice of material and the attention to architectural details bring a contemporary touch to the project without distorting the past. The tradition/modernity balance can also be felt through the addition of the one-storey, flat-roofed, inhabited passageway. At the back, the roof stretches and partially covers a large patio. A tree planted at the heart of the project symbolizes a second life for this former ski cottage, and a fresh start for this new main residence.