Montreal house by naturehumaine features
a brick front and a monochrome back

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This house in Montreal by Canadian studio naturehumaine has a facade of dark brickwork, while its rear elevation is clad with steel panels that are divided into separate black and white sections (+ slideshow).

Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine

Montreal-based naturehumaine gave the building a brick facade so it would fit in with the typical houses of the surrounding neighbourhood, but created a contrast at the rear by adding steel panels that help to visually separate the two main floors.

Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine

The bricks used for the facade are glazed on one side, so the architects positioned some facing forwards and others facing backwards to create a random pattern.

Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine

Named Alexandra Residence, the three-storey house was built as the home for family of four, but it also contains a small home office.

Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine

"The project was built for and by a contractor who we work with often," architect David Dworkind told Dezeen. "He wanted a live/work building for his young family of four that he could also run his contracting business out of."

Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine

The family requested a lot of natural light in their home, so naturehumaine inserted a lightwell along the southern side of the house that allows daylight to filter in as it bounces off the wall of the top-floor office.

Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine

"In an effort to bring light into the lightwell of the house, we came up with the concept of the 'white box' which runs east-west and reflects the southern sun light back into the house," said Dworkind.

Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine

The entrance to the house is positioned parallel to an open-plan kitchen. This space flows through into a dining area and living room beyond, which opens out to a patio overlooking the back garden.

Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine

A wooden staircase leads up to the first floor, where a trio of bedrooms are arranged around a central bathroom.

Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine

Photography is by Adrien Williams.

Here's a project description from naturehumaine:


Alexandra Residence

The client's priority was to maximise the natural light in their new live/work house in Montreal’s Mile-Ex district. This was made challenging by the east-west orientation of the infill lot. However, our design fills even the core of the house with light through the implementation of a 2 storey light-well which runs the length of the southern side of the house.

Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine

Additional light is reflected into this light-well by the client's office space - a white volume that sits atop the northern edge light-well. Spaces on the second storey also benefit from the light well's luminosity; the walls adjacent to it are fully glazed and a floor to ceiling piece of frosted glass brings a very soft light into the bathroom.

Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine

The expressive back facade of the house is defined by the angular geometry of the floating steel box. The front facade, however, is composed primarily of bricks to conform with the heritage character of the neighbourhood.

Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine

Two disjointed apertures break up the brick façade and are lined in aluminium. As only one side of the brick was glazed, a random mix of forward and backward facing bricks were laid to create a more dynamic façade.

Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine

Type: Live/work house
Intervention: New construction
Location: Alexandra Ave, Montreal, Canada
Area: 3300 sqft
Completion Date: 2013

Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine
Site plan - click for larger image and key
Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine
Ground floor plan - click for larger image and key
Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine
First floor plan - click for larger image and key
Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine
Second floor plan - click for larger image
Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine
Long section one - click for larger image and key
Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine
Long section two - click for larger image and key
Alexandra Residence by naturehumaine
Cross section - click for larger image and key
  • ad

    Great project. Nice to see work like this coming out of Canada.

  • sib

    We don’t see enough projects from Canada. And Montreal has some interesting residential architecture.

  • Adi Lamror

    What is this new trend of soulless architecture and design? That space looks dead. I’m not trying to put down someones’ work, but a home needs to make you feel happy. That place is just, cold.