Located in Laval, a suburb of Montreal, Slate House by Affleck de la Riva Architects was conceived as an in-situ installation that reveals a pre-existing landscape. Orchestrating a progressive discovery from suburban street to interior courtyard to forest and stream, the house is a sheltered oasis in a unique pastoral setting. Two orthogonal volumes frame the courtyard and the natural change in grade from street to stream is used to slide a lower storey under the main level. Both floors open laterally to the courtyard, the stream, and the southwest sun.
The program called for unique living accommodations that include a spacious garage and workshop for the owner’s collection of vintage automobiles and a full guest apartment. Located on the lower level, the guest apartment opens directly on the courtyard while the main living area above is connected to a wood gallery and a swimming pool.
The building exterior combines natural slate shingles installed using traditional methods of assembly with sheet glass and factory-made aluminum windows. Commonly found in traditional religious architecture, the artisanal slate finds expression here as a resolutely contemporary material. Slate House integrates such sustainable features as geothermal and passive solar heating, natural water collection, local species of vegetation, and low-energy electrical fittings. By generously engaging its found landscape, the house initiates a fundamental connection between the inhabitant and the history and culture of a specific place. [Photos and information provided via e-mail by Affleck de la Riva Architects]