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The Monocular House: A Contemporary Contextual Resting Lodge

Izzulhaq Alfaiz · March 17th, 2023
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The Monocular House is a private weekend home located by the river in the Chester Basin, Nova Scotia, Canada. The owners wanted a house with a contemporary architectural concept while evoking their childhood memories of life at the cottage. Therefore, RHAD Architects as the designer of this house, created the interpretation of a country cottage wrapped in a modern concept.Front perspective shot, Photo by Julian ParkinsonFront perspective shot, Photo by Julian Parkinson

Monoculars, commonly referred to as a hallway, inspired this house's proper name. Because according to the design made by RHAD Architects, it is two volumes consisting of the main house and a "bunkie" with a terrace connected by a hallway to frame the view of the lake. This hallway provides access to the house entrance, outdoor shower, garage, wood storage, bunkie, gauze terrace, and living room. Uniquely, all of those parts can be closed and opened as needed and remain protected by a large warehouse-style red door.

Back perspective shot, Photo by Julian ParkinsonBack perspective shot, Photo by Julian Parkinson

Corridor, Photo by Julian ParkinsonCorridor, Photo by Julian Parkinson

The larger main building functions as a living room, dining room, and open kitchen on the ground floor and three conventional bedrooms on the first floor. At the same time, the secondary building on the side is a spacious "bunkie" that can accommodate up to five additional guests. This second volume is a solution to the client's desire for a home that can be used to gather friends and extended family on weekends.

RHAD Architecture also added a patio in front of the "bunkie" area as a semi-outdoor living room overlooking the lake to enhance its hospitality function. The terrace is very responsive to all weather conditions, as the design is simple but maximizes the surrounding potential. In addition, the material is dominated by wood, making this room warm in winter. The façade is also designed to have wide gaps and openings for natural light circulation. Meanwhile, in the summer, the terrace can be opened up to the deck outside to smooth the airflow in the room.


Bunkie interior, Photo by Julian ParkinsonBunkie interior, Photo by Julian Parkinson

Living room interior, Photo by Julian ParkinsonLiving room interior, Photo by Julian Parkinson

While the aesthetics of the house refers to the contemporary architectural form of the main building, with a touch of material that is refined and tends to be minimalist, the concept is balanced by a warm palette of materials and rougher elements on the bunkie section for example, a shed board on the bunkie ceiling, a plank beam table, a cold-rolled steel frame for staircase railings that adds a rustic touch to evoke the client's childhood memories while on vacation at The Monocular House.

The house's exterior also has a simple coating of real cedar left naturally. The wood aging process also gives a unique look while providing an advantage for the owner because cedar wood that is allowed to age will look authentic, plus easy long-term care.

These cedar planks are arranged horizontally and vertically, adding visual appeal to the simple shape of The Monocular House, which is built with archetypes and features striking graphic effects thanks to the material. Thus, it will create a beautiful contemporary visual coherence and blur the line between interior and exterior space.


Stairs, Photo by Julian ParkinsonStairs, Photo by Julian Parkinson

Front view, Photo by Julian ParkinsonFront view, Photo by Julian Parkinson

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Architecture · Residential ·