Located in the heart of Montreal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal borough, facing Lafontaine Park, this turn-of-the-20th-century duplex recently underwent a major interior transformation. The project, realized by MXMA Architecture and Design, was inspired by the park’s abundant foliage.
As we enter the home, at the second floor level, we discover a vast wooded area that gradually unfolds as you look into to the inner reaches of the space, resembling the character of a branch. Composed of solid planks of white oak, this branch is arched and deformed, redefining the sense of being at home in the city. Wood surfaces extend continuously into the space, metamorphosing into floors, walls, ceilings, handrails and even built-in furniture.
The organization of the living spaces revolves around the architectural form of the ceiling. Continuity of wooden surfaces becomes the organizing principle of the home’s more public areas, such as the entrance, the living room, the dining room and the kitchen. It creates an experience of movement that leads to the third floor, where the more private areas, including three children’s bedrooms and the master suite, are located.
The natural, vibrant ambiance of the Casa is enhanced by the irregular surfaces of the ceilings. Their angular volumes adjust to the conceal the new structure, which includes an imposing steel beam (33 feet long) that supports the third floor. They also cover all the ventilation ducts. Finally, the ceiling melts comfortably into the structure of the existing staircase and then unfolds to become a railing on the third floor, like a flower opening up towards the sunlight, which enters the space through a large skylight.
The woodwork gives the home a homogeneous, natural and lively feeling. Technically, it demonstrates how wood can be used to provide flexible and complex solutions with a high-quality finish. Surfaces, materials and light resonate together to create a living space that emanates warmth and is inspired by its context.