Springtime brings about not only seasonal changes, but opportunities for home renovation projects. Canada’s season changes are better enjoyed from a home that carries an old charm while flaunting spirited modern upgrades. Within a suburban Montreal neighborhood, this bright home was built by the owner’s father in the 1960s and its heirloom features were respectfully dressed in modern skin. According to its architects, NatureHumaine, “the original house lacked natural light and had a series of closed rooms surrounding a central stair.” Now known as the Closse Residence, the old structure shines brightly renovated and brings a bit of modern sparkle to its neighborhood.
“The first move was to open the south facade with large glazed patio doors. Removing the original partitions let the light penetrate deeply into the house. A new sculptural stair built of hot rolled steel, maple veneer, and frosted glass becomes the focal point of the house. The counter of the central island in the kitchen cantilevers 2.4 meters out from the cabinets becoming the dining table, uniting preparation and eating spaces. Two pivoting glass doors close off the entry creating a winter vestibule. The immense stone fireplace was conserved and restored. It’s textured materiality contrasts with the purity of the new elements. The exterior of the house was restored and repainted and the windows were replaced. A contemporary dormer was added to the roof of the house containing the two second floor bathrooms.”
Knowing how to budget for a home renovation makes it easy to completely transform a home from dark & outdated to modern & fresh. An inherited home can be beautifully renovated, opening up interior spaces and capturing all the interior movement around a sculptural stair, as in this example of a modern dream home. This particular Canadian home photographed by Adrien Williams exhibits simplicity and brightness in an exemplary mixture.
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.
An example of a huge success is Heneghan Peng Architects’ Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Using the large difference in level across the site, the architects created two folds in the landscape. Bold, but not conflicting with the rather bleak natural environment, these folds draw all the man-made areas together and create one fitting man-made break in the natural landscape. In the words of the architects themselves, There is no longer a building and a landscape, but building becomes landscape and the landscape itself remains spectacular and iconic