This is a beautiful house, but it raises a lot of questions about what "respect for the environment" means.
Architect Elrond Burrell once wrote a tongue-in-cheek article, 10 things I hate about Passivhaus, in which Number One was I see Thermal Bridges Everywhere.
I used to enjoy the rhythm of rafter ends projecting out around the eaves of a house. I admired timber and steel beams apparently gliding smoothly through external walls or floor to ceiling glazing.No more! I can’t help but see the thermal bridging these details create, the resultant heat loss, material degradation risks and mould risks.
I thought of this when I saw the L'Accostée House by Bourgeois / Lechasseur architects, the firm that designed the lovely "Eco-Luxurious" domes that blend harmoniously with Quebec landscape. Sitting there in the snow, it looks like a demonstration project of how you design with projecting rafter ends and floor to ceiling glazing. According to the V2com-newswire release, they are entirely the point of the exercise:
This contemporary house is distinguished by the expression of the wooden structure. The exposed beams indoors continue outdoors emphasizing the effect of transparency towards the lake. The roof overhang protects the south-facing glass facade from overheating in the summer.
There is a lot to love about this house, especially if you love wood. There is so much of it! Look at the size of those beams. Such drama.
I was thinking of this house as I wrote yesterday about Graham Whiting's Wild Leek Passive House, where "careful attention was paid to advanced framing details, minimizing stud use and thermal bridging wherever possible." Whiting's house will never be all over the architectural magazines like this one will. You could probably build a subdivision of Wild Leek Passive Houses with the wood and glass and for the cost of L'Accostée House.
I rarely show big houses in the country but I found this one so interesting as a contrast. The clients here "wanted a warm, friendly house that would respect the environment and open onto the lake." It is a beautiful, tasteful home with marvellous woodwork.
But like Elrond, I now look at rafter ends and floor-to-ceiling glass and wonder what respect for the environment means these days.