Montréal-based practice Pelletier de Fontenay has teamed up with François Abbott to design the Hatley house for a picturesque site in rural Canada. The team developed the residence as a composition of three identically shaped volumes each with a high-pitched gable, resembling the agricultural barns and sheds that predominate the area.
The house is built on a natural plateau, providing a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding countryside and the mountains beyond. This landscape is defined by rolling hills, pastures, forest, and mountains. Farmhouses, barns, and sheds are scattered within this scenery. These structures are integral to the language of this place. The house uses these elements from the original agricultural structures, reinterpreting them in a more abstract way.
Three identically shaped volumes of varying sizes and orientation are connected side by side without ever intersecting. Together, they form an uncommon yet coherent ensemble. The shape of the house constantly changes as you move around it, while always remaining clear and intelligible. Three surrounding courtyards form a square around the house. The steep standing seam metal roof and deep timber lattice façade echo the nearby constructions.
The house is composed of three wings: the central communal wing, the master wing, and the guest wing. All three wings have double-height spaces reaching up to 8m high. The two smaller wings also have more private wooden-clad mezzanines above the bedrooms. Inside the house, large windows frame carefully selected views onto to the agrarian landscape, while skylights in every double-height space fill the interiors with natural light all day round.
A few key structural elements define the house: the continuous horizontal concrete foundation, the deep timber lattice façade that wraps around the entire house and the unified galvanized steel roof, all of which help link the volumes to one another. These structuring elements are meant to unify the architecture without simplifying it. The house is truly multi-layered. It is at once simple and complex, discreet and imposing, open and introverted, bare and luxurious.