Residence de l’Isle: A Modern American in Montreal

Your home is a shared space. A home enriches the lives of its inhabitants. The modern American home is open, welcoming, and adaptable to the needs of its residents.

Why should anyone revisit 1950’s architecture? This was the era of the jet plane. It was the decade of the suburbs. The decade with the birth of modern shopping malls. Elvis Presley would become forever immortalized.

If you lived in the 1950s, you remember the design and style of this period very well. It was so popular, it was everywhere. In offices, in middle-class homes, and in schools.

Residence de I’Isle: Re-defining the Modern American Home

The story begins with a family of four, living in the northern suburbs of Montreal, on the banks of a river. The older couple decided to re-imagine and experience the modern American home. Something many only dream of through books, magazines, commercials, and movies.

The home emulates the perfect natural environment that already exists in Palm Springs. It hides behind a row of tall, mature pines. The existing natural vegetation plays an integral part in the project, near the water.

Local Montreal architects from Chevalier Morales focused on the mid-century modern era. The result? A home that reinterprets mid-century architecture and the American modern home. Made for the Canadian landscape.

Table of Contents

  1. Residence de I’Isle: Re-defining the Modern American Home
  2. Architectural Elements: The Past
  3. Architectural Elements: Upgraded
  4. Architectural Elements: Landscape Integration
  5. Architectural Elements: Materials
  6. Residence de l’Isle: Project Data
  7. About Chevalier Morales
  8. Full Project Gallery

Architectural Elements: The Past

Homes in Palm Springs and Palm Desert embraced the interplay between living spaces. Outdoor was a natural extension of the indoor living environment. Debates were common in the ’50s over privacy and openness with these designs.

Yet, desert environments meant design had to withstand the natural elements. Windy climates requires strong, steel-framed structures to support ceiling-height windows and sliding doors.

Architectural Elements: Upgraded

Drawing from modernist elements but adapted for contemporary living today, re-imagining began with:

  • floor and ceiling geometry
  • masonry cladding
  • integrated wooden furniture

The Montreal home also has a garage. Its unique and perfect 100 x 100 square helps integrate into the entire volume of the home. The garage is a symbol of many things. Suburbia. Automobiles. Invention. Apple Computer. It is a symbol of enthusiasm, progress, and hope.

For this project, two rectangular courtyards integrate into the center of the home. This allows natural light to flood in, and still connect to the backyard and swimming pool.

The exterior spaces extrude from the initial structure. This helps define and organize the interior geometry.

Architectural Elements: Landscape Integration

The home’s location is perfect for reintegration. Conservation of trees as possible with existing alignments of the land. The first landscaped courtyard, for vehicle access, had large coniferous trees planted.

The architects used a formulaic approach in their design for interior spaces. Considerations included relationship and orientation to the street, rivers, and family needs. They even considered solar orientation.

A glass pavilion on the roof provides more comfort for the initial design plan. A single-story volume. The living room area was also lowered a few steps.

Intimate spaces are privacy by design while living spaces run parallel to the river. For the family, this becomes a daily ritual connection to the landscape at hand. The garage helps reduce the home’s spatial presence.

There is abundant, natural greenery for the family’s privacy. The neighborhood benefits from this natural context.

Architectural Elements: Materials

The palette for materials used matches natural trees back from the surrounding environment. Integration tone-to-tone is seamless.

Natural material for use include:

  • clay brick for the wall
  • wood (for soffit)
  • stone (natural flooring)

What is Soffit? Your roof, through necessity, extends over the walls of your home. This overhang has a few names. House Eaves or rafters. The underside for the overhang with a finished appearance is the soffit. Something fixed underneath.

The home’s design incorporates brass accents and metal cladding. A large bay window creates a natural flow to the river from the front facade. The mezzanine area provides more views of the river. Portions of the roof have a white, granular membrane. Other landscaped sections provide for a green and temperate environment.

A sustainable design and approach consider geothermal wells for heating and home ventilation. Modern homes are more energy-efficient, economically sound, and environmentally responsible. From people to designers, this is a welcome result for a healthier planet.

Residence de l’Isle: Project Data

LOCATIONThe Northern Suburbs of Montreal, Québec, Canada
AREA 6243.07 Square Feet (580 m2)
CONTRACTORSt-Laurent Construction
STRUCTURALLatéral
LANDSCAPEFabrique de Paysages
ARCHITECT TEAMPrincipal, Stephan Chevalier
Principal, Sergio Morales
Architect, Julie Rondeau
Architect, Christian Aubin
Architect, Ève Beaumont-Cousineau
SOURCEV2comnewswire

About Chevalier Morales

Founded in 2005 by Stephan Chevalier and Sergio Morales, the firm strives to create contemporary architecture that is both sensitive and responsible. They continually re-examine their understanding of the larger context, to give rise to an architecture that is rooted in its own cultural territory.  

Chevalier Morales is known most notably for winning several architectural competitions for institutional and cultural projects: the Saul-Bellow Library (Montréal, 2015), the Maison de la littérature (Québec, 2016), the Drummondville Library (Drummondville, 2018), the Pierrefonds Library (Montréal, 2019), and most recently, the Agora des Arts in Rouyn-Noranda. The firm has also developed award-winning residential projects such as the Roy-Lawrence Residence and the Vallée du Parc Residence. 

Chevalier Morales has built a reputation for the quality of their work, which in recent years has resulted in winning several prestigious prizes. The firm is the recipient of the 2018 Emerging Architectural Practice Award by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) as well as two General Governor’s Medal in Architecture for the Maison de la littérature and the Drummondville Public Library.