Why would anyone want to build or live in a sustainable home? Why not? Sustainable homes are friendly to the environment, cheaper in the long run, less expensive to maintain and usually very aesthetically pleasing. In order to be classified as sustainable, the house must be designed using materials that can easily be replaced. Said materials, usually recycled materials, green building supplies, hardwoods, environmentally-friendly fabrics, should be durable and not in need of replacement nor repair very soon.
One of Canada’s to-be-seen sustainable homes was done by Paul Bernier Architecte in Quebec and is named the House on Lac Grenier. This jewel sits on a lakefront site in Estérel, Canada. The construction responds to its surroundings with natural bends and openings, nestled lengthwise between a creek and steep slope.
According to Bernier “Our clients had owned this property for a number of years. They knew it well and loved its varied features. They were looking for a sustainable and site-sensitive project that would preserve its topography, vegetation, and natural appearance.” Indeed the very shape of the mostly single-storey building is reminiscent of a meandering river in the wood.
It was the architects’ vision that architecture and nature intermingle. The cedar flats surrounding the exterior effectively achieve this by mirroring the home’s wooded background. Eventual fading and growth of surroundings, as well as a green roof that allows growth from the top, will result in a unification between nature and the home.
Inside, the materials are simple and refined. White walls, polished cement floors, hickory built-in units and large windows, point all eyes to the exterior scenery. The windows also serve a secondary purpose; during summer, the trees provide shade for cooler temperatures, while in winter months, when trees are bare, sunlight illuminates and warms the space inside.
Paying attention to the needs of the world around us will continue to lead architects, home owners and builders back to questioning the idea of sustainability. And really…why not?
All photos courtesy of Architizer