Project Name: Memphremagog Lake Residence
Location: Memphremagog Lake, Québec, Canada
Architect / Designer: MU Architecture, co-creation JS Bourdages Architecture
Team: Jean-Sébastien Herr, Charles Côté, Magda Telenga, Alexandre Arcens, Lou Émier, Maude Hébert, Andrée-Anne Godin, Baptiste Balbrick, Catherine Auger
Cabinet Maker: Ébénisterie AGR
Structural engineer: GenieX
Contractor: Construction Vincent
Pool Consultant: Girard-Hébert
Landscape: Les aménagements Yan Traversy
Completion date: June 2022
Area: 6700 sq.ft.
Photos: Ulysse Lemerise Bouchard
Courtesy of MU Architecture
Located on the shores of prestigious Lake Memphremagog, in the Eastern Townships Region of Quebec, this residence sits atop the lake’s steep shores, projecting itself onto a peaceful bay and providing impressive views of the surrounding environment.
The new 6,700 square foot construction partially utilizes the previous residence’s footprint. A new principal axis runs vertically, amplifying the exterior and interior character of the new home. A pre-existing garage sits at one end of this axis and is connected to the residence through a roof structure that serves as a carport. Upon entry into the residence, an open space comprising a staircase and floor-to-ceiling windows guide guests’ focus to the exterior infinity swimming pool and the bay beyond, which are ultimately located at the other end of the axis.
This approach to conveying the exterior and interior character is discreet and peaceful, yet intentional and reminiscent of a spa, where architectural elements slowly reveal themselves. The exterior façade, composed of massive volumes between the floor-to-ceiling windows, helps conceal the residence’s technical and mechanical rooms to ensure a level of privacy, providing a greater sense of comfort to the occupants. The façade’s dark and natural stone strongly contrasts with the bright, spacious, and airy interiors.
A protective and enveloping wing
Inspired by a bird’s unfolded wing, the residence’s distinctive, undulating, and architecturally conceived roof follows the volumes of its interior spaces. The interior wooden ceilings comprise a series of triangulations at varying heights – some at twenty-five feet – creating both unique and dynamic spaces. The floor-to-ceiling windows follow these same angles.
The harmony and richness of the interior finishes, textures, and materials exude a warm and exclusive feel. The lighting and mechanical systems have been thoughtfully integrated and concealed within the wooden ceilings, becoming virtually invisible.
Outside, at its furthest point, the roof projects 14-feet outwards, providing protection against Quebec’s notably harsh winters and warm summers. On the residence’s horizontal axis, a linear terrace extends from one end to the other to connect principal interior spaces, including the main living area and the masters’ quarters, to the common outdoor spaces and infinity pool. The same can be said for the ground level patio. As such, each access point and the indoor and outdoor activities are protected from the elements.
The residence’s design program, selection of finishes, textures, and materials, and meticulous detailing allow it to stand out, while harmonizing with its surrounding environment.
A chef’s kitchen
The kitchen’s design accommodates daily family needs, yet it is also suited to a chef and an accompanying culinary team in the case of catered events and parties. By means of a concealed door and a built-in curtain, the service kitchen can be separated from the rest of the residence. Walnut panels enclose a volume comprising a kitchen, a dinette, a library, and half of a double living room. The warmth and richness of the wood complements the stone and steel of the central fireplace.
Designed to accommodate up to twenty-four people, the custom-made dining room table is a feature piece, running parallel to the kitchen island and floor-to-ceiling windows, and offering impressive views of the bay.
The main level, in sequential order from left to right, plays host to a veranda, a cloakroom, a powder room, a main living area – with the aforementioned kitchen, a dining room, a double living room, a laundry room, and the masters’ quarters. The ground level, again in order from left to right, plays host to a lounge, a training room, a spa with a dry sauna, a whirlpool bath, and three bedrooms adjacent to two full bathrooms and a playroom.
The residence’s horizontal axis separates the technical and mechanical rooms from the primary living areas, allowing the occupants to take advantage of the natural light and exterior views. This design program allows guests to connect with their surrounding environment, while providing user comfort and spatial fluidity. This same axis, which follows the angles dictated by the natural topography of the site, creates a protected courtyard in which most of the outdoor activities are concentrated.
Memphremagog Lake Residence – A structural and sculptural prowess
Owing to a real structural prowess, a reinforced concrete formwork allows the swimming pool to cantilever out 16-feet. A true extension of the main level terrace, the infinity pool terminates with a glass panel that creates the illusion of the pool extending well into the lake.
The residual space between the load-bearing concrete walls serves as a mechanical room for pool systems, as well as storage space for outdoor furniture and other items.