Acdf Architecture Home Around Apple Tree


The Montreal studio ACDF Architecture has designed a low house in modernist style whose Mass is formed to surround an apple tree and provide visual axes through the living spaces.

The project is located in St-Donat, a rural area near Montreal that serves as a popular retreat of the city.

The completely black house, surrounded by a boreal forest, consists of a square surrounding a small courtyard where there is an apple tree that reminded the client of his childhood.

“The owner recorded vivid childhood memories of growing up in an orchard,” the architects explained.

“The apple tree was a symbol of his first experiences with nature as a child and the continuity of this connection years after, when he was picking apples with his own children,” added ACDF.

The glass walls in the common areas of the house give axes of view on the tree and the other living spaces from different positions.

These courtyard views have been designed to give residents a deeper connection with the natural environment that surrounds them.

The three bedrooms have been built in opaque volumes covered with black wood paneling.

In one group there are two children’s rooms, while the Master Suite is separate. A third box contains the Garage and the service areas.

In the Master Suite, a separate living room acts as a secondary living room for the parents.

This connects to a covered porch near the apple tree. This outdoor space in turn leads back to the main living room and the dining room, forming a continuous circuit around the tree.

“The house is designed for connectivity, and the views in all directions offer views of the openings of other rooms,” said Maxime-Alexis Frappier, one of the founders of ACDF.

“That being said, the boxes have been designed to respect the need for privacy and their placement on the walls is intentional to offer solitude.”

Inside, a minimal palette of materials defines the house.

The ceilings of the common areas are lined with wooden slats that add a certain visual warmth to the house while adding to the acoustic quality of the space.

The floors of the entire house are made of polished concrete, which contrasts with the intense black color of the exterior of the building.

“The focus is on the beauty of the great outdoors, which develops through four seasons and is framed by the total transparency of the glass walls of the apple tree house,” said ACDF.

“To maintain this balance, the furniture has been carefully selected for its neutrality, including an Italian-made solid wood dining table with simple lines and black and light wood finishes that complement the overall design,” the Studio added.

ACDF has carried out a number of projects since its creation in 2006. Others include a major conversion of a historic train station into offices for a software company and a Cottage with a cantilevered Terrace reminiscent of the hull of a ship.

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