Since the beginning we always knew that the Hatley House would not be an ordinary project - our first visit on the land was interrupted by a neighbouring herd of cows. The land is marked by a rock plateau offering an unobstructed view on the west and on the Owl's Head mountain.
Approaching the house from the nearby dirt road, one immediately recognizes the high-pitched gables typical of the area. The roofline stands out above the rolling hills: three gables clustered together in an unusual way. The house is built on a natural plateau, providing a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding countryside and the mountains beyond.
This landscape is defined by rolling hills, pastures, forest and mountains. Farmhouses, barns and sheds are scattered within this scenery. These structures are integral to the language of this place—wood façades, metal roofs and stone walls, weathered by the seasons. The house uses these elements from the original agricultural structures, reinterpreting them in a more abstract way. These precedents are reworked in both the form and the materiality of the architecture.
Three identically shaped volumes of varying sizes and orientation are connected side by side without ever intersecting. Together, they form an uncommon yet coherent ensemble. The shape of the house constantly changes as you move around it, while always remaining clear and intelligible. Three surrounding courtyards form a square around the house. The steep standing seam metal roof and deep timber lattice façade echo the nearby constructions.
The house is composed of three wings: the central communal wing, the master wing and the guest wing. All three wings have double-height spaces reaching up to 8m high. The largest of the three is the communal wing, placed at the centre of the house. The smallest volume, the master wing, is tucked away behind the central living area. The guest wing is slightly smaller than the communal wing. It is slightly offset from the communal wing and sunken one step lower than the rest of the house. The two smaller wings also have more private wooden-clad mezzanines above the bedrooms. Throughout the house, large windows frame carefully selected views onto to the agrarian landscape, while skylights in every double-height space and mezzanine fill the interior with natural light all day.
A few key structural elements define the house: the continuous horizontal concrete foundation, the deep timber lattice façade that wraps around the entire house and the unified galvanized steel roof, all of which help link the volumes to one another. These structuring elements are designed to unify the architecture without simplifying it. The house is truly multi-layered. It is at once simple and complex, discreet and imposing, open and introverted, bare and luxurious.
- Pelletier de Fontenay Architects