Factory-built modules create a luxurious, eco-friendly retreat
Following the purchase of a humble country house 25 years ago, the owners wanted to treat themselves to a new second home that would comfortably accommodate all the new members of their family. Overlooking Lake Manitou in Ivry-sur-le-Lac, Quebec, the home is composed of five factory-built modules, each approximately 50-ft. long, that were constructed before being shipped to their final destination. Designed by -Canadian architect Richard Rubin from Figurr Architects Collective, the design was conceptualized with the vision of creating an extremely low environmental footprint. The architect/owner is in the process of applying for LEED Gold certification.
By building the modules in a factory environment, construction was completed under optimal working conditions. The prefabricated boxes are made completely of wood, with LVL columns and beams, wood I joists, 2×8-in. exterior wall studs, plywood sheathing, Maibec prefinished exterior wood siding and 2×2-in. horizontal cedar strip siding.
The modular design is unique, created according to precise plans by the architect. The insulation, windows and flooring were all installed before shipping. Transporting the giant modules proved to be quite a challenge. The process included preparation, coordination and navigating through country roads with 90-degree turns, a challenge that was compounded by inclement weather.
Construction began in late summer before the demolition of the existing house. This ensured a faster process so that the family would not lose more than one season enjoying the country.
To achieve a low environmental footprint, the house was built using sustainable and local materials. The large windows capture the beauty of the natural surroundings and flood the inside with light. The direct sunshine helps reduce both heating and lighting costs.
The natural-colored outdoor facade blends easily into the woodland decor, and the opaque black accents add an artistic flair. The wood used indoors is warm and welcoming, and the interior layout affords each family member their own personal space.
The ground floor’s open concept has a large kitchen and dining area where everyone enjoys cooking and eating together, as well as a cozy living room and a three-season screened-in porch surrounded by lake and woods. The ground floor also has an atelier for painting and carpentry. The lowered lakeside deck was designed to preserve the view of the magnificent scenery. Overall, the gross built area – including the screen porch – is approximately 4,200 sq.ft.
As Rubin explains, “In our industry, we’ve been forced to adopt new technologies at an incredibly fast rate, and this has changed our profession drastically. Yet, sometimes we still dump a load of lumber on wet grass. There’s a disconnect.” By using a different approach to building his home, the architect is convinced that the future of construction will incorporate new ways of building. “Modular is the way of the future.”
Figurr Architects Collective
Montreal, QC/Ottawa, ON
Jeffrey Leibgott, SBSA