Situated between an old farm road and a working hillside vineyard, the Virgin Vineyard house takes its name from a farm whose ruins once stood above the site. The client was interested in building a new residence on this land, with minimal disturbance to the vineyard while capturing the views of the site overlooking Lake Massawippi in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.
The design takes inspiration from the prevalence of fieldstone walls in the agricultural landscape. Gathered stones separate the house from the road and ultimately comprise the north wall of the building. The architecture fastens itself to the wall which shelters the living spaces from the road and the north wind. The length of the house is its sequence, punctuated by compositional events of window, chimney, entry and courtyard. The south of the house opens up to views of the vineyards, and lake below.
This 160’ long house organizes the private bedrooms at either end while the central gathering spaces convene in the middle. By a simple geometrical twist–the north-south walls are rotated ten degrees to face the lake view–the plan creates an oblique relationship of the rooms to the roof ridge line, making each feel like a unique volume directed towards the lake. The sawtooth plan creates recesses of semi private space under the large roof overhang to contemplate the view. Within this deceptively simple building are two large voids, one a courtyard framing the angle of the old farm road, and the other a roof deck overlooking the entirety of the vineyard.
The vernacular forms–large eaves, thick walls and a relatively opaque north, east and west facade–are also part of a sustainability approach that includes high performance envelope design and geothermal heating and cooling.