Under the Bleachers

On the inside, Architecturama’s experimental take on a cabin in the woods fits together like a jigsaw puzzle.

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It’s no small feat to combine a home office, a retreat, and room for hosting up to 10 guests within an 80-square-metre footprint. For a couple that splits their time between Montreal and Lac Jasper, about 100 kilometres to the north, the solution was, ironically, a puzzle-box interior that weaves together bleachers and floating floors to create zones as adaptable as they are intricate.

Architecturama, a young Montreal firm run by Sylvain Bilodeau and Nicolas Mathieu-Tremblay, designed the two-storey structure as an empty cube, with a double-height curtain wall facing the lake to the south. Two intersecting planes of wooden bleachers divide the functions, providing circulation, partitions and all of the necessary furniture (three dozen cushions can be spread around for comfort).

From above, the inclined bleachers create the effect of an open agora, extending the slope of the hill upward to the interior for prime lake views. With no additional pieces, the minimalist space has an open, almost outdoorsy feel, equally suited to throwing intimate parties and meditating in solitude.

Meanwhile, under the bleachers, nooks for desks and a library are nestled amid a forest of black-painted supports. The scaffolding rests directly on the concrete slab like a giant Erector set, which allows it to be disassembled and even entirely removed if necessary.

A few functional spaces – kitchen, bathroom and guest berth – are recessed into 180-centimetre-deep alcoves on the east wall, keeping the main living area free of distractions. The master bedroom and bathroom are below. “It’s an introspective space when you’re alone,” says Bilodeau, “but with more people it’s festive. It depends on what you want to do with it.”

Published by Azure magazine
Photo by James Brittain

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