La Tour de BÃ©belles: Low impact design
How do you tread lightly on the land but build a place for your family? Andre Lessard and Barbara Dewhirst designed their retreat to minimize impact on the lake and on the landscape. It is set far enough back that it can barely be seen, and every piece of it weighed less than 25 pounds and was carried in. It's like a giant Meccano set-just bring it in and bolt it together. It's triangular to have one less footing than a square plan, 450 square feet per floor, yet feels open and huge. It is truly minimalist, designed to use as little building material as possible.
we quote Canadian Architect:
The design was also intended to emulate a treehouse, and perched on its steel stilts, the building clearly evokes this source of inspiration. The living spaces are on two levels, each a compact 450 square feet. A gangplank leads to the first floor, which houses bedrooms and a bathroom, whose composting toilet negated the installation of a more environmentally intrusive septic tank. The second floor, accessed by a compact, space-saving steel stair, accommodates kitchen, dining and living spaces. The open plan allows for maximum flexibility and generous views of the lake and surrounding forest. Beneath the cottage, nestled between the steel supports and rocky outcroppings, a large deck provides a direct relationship to the wooded surroundings.
The exterior is finished in fibre cement board and dark-stained tongue and groove pine siding, blending in with the bark of surrounding tree trunks. Inside, warm wood finishes complement the crisp black-painted steel.
::Architects Barbara Dewhirst André Lessard