Nestled in the heart of nature, the classic cabin in the woods is the ultimate tranquil hideaway. Case in point: the beautiful La Binocle, designed by Canadian architecture studio, Naturehumaine. Designed for a bold and dynamic client who is passionate about design, this minimalist cabin is intended to be a timeless contemplative space, inviting peace and reflection. Let’s take a closer look.
Perched on a mountain in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, this residence is almost primitive in its simplicity. But that’s not a criticism of Naturehumaine’s unique concept. Instead, it’s an unabashed testament to the level of restraint in its design. Inspired by binocular glasses, the minimalist angular form works to underline the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
“The address of the project, Crowhill Road, has also influenced the design to some degree with the idea of two crows perched on the hill and observing the landscape. This inspired the use of black burned wood exterior cladding, reminiscent of their jet black and glowing plumage.” — Naturehumaine.
Views and Sunsets
The design of this minimalist cabin consists of two volumes set atop a raw concrete foundation. The first houses the communal living areas, and comes complete with a wood platform terrace. Oriented towards the west, it’s the perfect spot for enjoying the sunset. Meanwhile, angled slightly towards the east, its counterpart contains two bedrooms. These quarters enjoy panoramic views towards the horizon.
Into the Void
Mirroring the natural slope of the ground, the black mono-pitched roof makes it look as though the cabin is about to slide over the cliff. The design was built as close as possible to the cliff’s edge to maximize the effect of projection into the void.
“The idea was to minimize the impact of the house by the small footprint of its foundations on the ground. [As such] the land has been little modified in its topography.” — Naturehumaine.
Large panoramic windows shaded by deep dramatic overhangs dominate the facade of the cabin. This feature not only draws attention to the views, but offers natural shade and respite from the sun.
Inside, the natural views become the focal point of the living spaces and master bedroom. In this way, the outside becomes a living, breathing work of art. The aesthetic is predictably minimalist, with black wood panel ceilings and ceramic concrete flooring (a nod to the natural finish of the building’s foundations).
“It’s quite interesting to see how the chalet is transformed during the night, when all is dark outside. The mirror effect of the reflection of the interior space in the windows completely changes the relationship to the space and seems to enlarge the chalet.” — Naturehumaine.
With this project, the aim of the game for Naturehumaine was symbiosis with the environment. And while it’s true that this minimalist cabin in the woods doesn’t exactly blend in with its surroundings, it doesn’t distract from it either, making La Binocle a runaway success. Overall, as the architectural equivalent of camping under the stars, Naturehumaine have created an understated celebration of all things nature. What do you think?