‘residence alma’ by atelier barda is a full renovation project of a 20th-century triplex house in montreal, canada, preserving its existing façade. the architects sought to respect the building’s history, proceeding only to subtle changes on the original elements, and reinforcing the transition between old and new. the focal point of the single-family dwelling is an open-air courtyard that adds a pop of green to the otherwise soft and demure interior.all images courtesy of alex lesage, threefold
atelier barda focused on three archetype design principles: the loggia, the passageway, and the colonnade. the project focused on revitalized the existing commercial ground level, as well as connecting two upper floor apartments. the architects made subtly cuts and additions to the façade — to generate more discreet access to the residence — including rounded brick columns that fine contrast with the strict angular design of the original structure, while fully redesigning the interior.
atelier barda compressed the ceiling heights to form a new fourth level serving as a rooftop mezzanine. on the second level of the building, the studio designed a visitor’s suite outfitted with three bedrooms, a kitchen, dining room, living room, and two bathrooms. the mezzanine accommodates the main kitchen and dining room of the residence, opening onto a vegetable garden terrace at one end, and an outdoor dining and lounging terrace at the other.
an 18sqm open-air courtyard, enclosed in glass internally, was created, penetrating the third level separating the living room area from the master bedroom. extruding vertically, the courtyard features lush vegetation, seating areas, and a japanese soaking tub, bringing plenty of natural light into the building. furthermore, it includes two private rooftop terraces taking shape as bookends for the aforementioned mezzanine level.
‘the client likes to entertain, so we decided to include the kitchen and dining room on the mezzanine level because of the access it provides to the two terraces,’ they explain. ‘the interior of the mezzanine provides easy access to the terraces, while externally they are separated by the opening of the internal courtyard, which provides views down into the third level.’
the interior aesthetic is characterized by subtle touches of luxury, clean lines, and minute detailing. the firm worked closely with suppliers to develop specific finishes, such as the oiled oak hardwood floors of the residence, ensuring a delicate balance of warmth and color that resonates throughout the space. the studio avoided the excessive ornamentation and overdesign — for example curtains — while the minimalistic approach maintains a balance of the white walls and black trimmings.
custom-made furnishings designed by local artisans complete the dwelling and customized black terrazzo vanities and washbasins clad the master bathroom. the bathroom’s black terrazzo floors extend seamlessly into the shower, providing a visual continuity that is replicated in the extension of the main bedroom’s wooden floors to the paneling of its dressing area.
‘within the walls of the original façade, we have built this sort of italian ‘baldacchino’ that sits atop an older structure,’ conclude the architects. ‘it’s a very discreet intervention, but filled with complex technical design features and transformations that are only revealed inside the envelope.’
name: residence alma
architects: atelier barda
location: montréal, canada
surface area: 668.9 sqm (7,200 sq. ft.)
model: le kutsch
photography: alex lesage, threefold
videography: pierre-alexandre guay
christina petridou I designboom
jul 31, 2021