Modern Farmhouse, Quebec
This contemporary farmhouse in North Hatley, Quebec is an authentic hybrid of historic Quebec and Ontario barn types. Lee and MacGillivray Architecture Studio write about the project inspiration, and translating barn architecture into a family home. Project courtesy of Northern Wide Plank.
An hour and a half east of Montreal the landscape begins to rise into rolling farmland punctuated by lakes and small mountains. Just before you reach Vermont, the town of North Hatley sits at the unlikely meeting point of the north-eastern United States and Quebec. The farms around the town of North Hatley are as much connected to the culture of the early American colonies as they are to the Quebecois barns of the seigneuries. It is this rich heritage of agricultural building in the area that is the backdrop for the ‘Township’s Farmhouse’.
Our clients are a farmer/artist couple with long ties to the area and a keen interest in land conservation and the preservation of agricultural buildings. The site is a working farm and is sensitive to the seasonal changes of farm life; the barn doors on the façade are not ornamental, but used to protect the large expanses of glass from cycles of ploughing, sowing, and harvesting. The house is clad in repurposed hemlock salvaged from dilapidated barns in Ontario.
Although it is obviously geared towards domestic habitation, the design of the house was always meant as an evolution of the local farm building type and the unique ways that they structure space. The courtyard, for example, is a hybrid of Quebec barn types – in which aisles and haylofts are perpendicular to the roof line – and Ontario barns after 1850, which often had a U-shaped or completely enclosed courtyard.
The result is a house situated around a central courtyard space that is sheltered from the wind in the winter, and can open up to views of apple trees and the rolling hills in the summer.