Knowlton Residence by Thomas Balaban Architect
Thomas Balaban Architect, a studio from Montreal, has designed a cedar-clad extension for a modern farmhouse in the Lac-Brome area of Quebec, Canada. The weathered cedar cladding is a nice touch of contrast to the white farmhouse exterior and the snowy landscape around it.
Located in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, Knowlton Residence contrasts simple forms with vernacular materials to update an aging country farmhouse. In response to the client’s desire to enlarge and covert the existing country house into their primary residence, the gable roofed structure has been completely renovated with a new two storey extension built upon the foundations of a previous single storey addition. Going up instead of spreading out allowed for more space and better views without the need to excavate across the hilltop.
The box shaped extension plays off the familiar farmhouse typology, creating a series of intriguing contrasts between the thisness and thatness of the composition, both distinguishing and uniting different eras, forms, and materials. A new sleek corrugated metal roof and painted white brick update the existing structure while the new extension is clad in custom cedar boarding, charred and silvered to replicate weathered wood. The detailing remains modern and minimalist. However, both materials speak to the numerous old barns and newer agricultural sheds found throughout the Eastern Townships.
On the lower level, a band of windows cuts across both structures – a void that ties together the contrasting forms. It wraps around the social spaces, giving out onto the majestic views of Brome Lake Valley and Mont Sutton. Upstairs, punched openings frame views of the property’s mature trees. These dark framed openings, a simple material palette, and minimal detailing connect the interior spaces, subtlety highlighted geometric variations and moments where spatial intimacy meets openness.