The Modern Gentleman’s Castle

Story By
D Metta

Prince Philip Residence

One rarely associates a member of the British Royal Family with the idea of modernism. An exception exists in Montreal, Canada, where a two-story residence of modernistic grandeur has been christened Prince Philip Residence. 

Perched on a slope behind a light surround of maple trees, the house is the brain child of Thellend Fortin Architectes, a well-known name in Montreal’s luxury residence scene. They took a spacious one-story bungalow built in 1960, and expanded it into a classy residence, complete with a limestone-lined pool and a second floor. The upper story, mimicking the shape of a long ribbon, is clad in concrete panels with the color of anthracite and a lavish spread of glass to unleash the formerly untapped potential of a picturesque horizon, bathing this reimagined space in natural light.

Interior-wise, a subtle play of colors accentuates the house’s spacious character. Wooden floors in bright hues give the rooms a light, airy atmosphere, further enhanced by a tasteful arrangement of white-toned furniture with a dash of grey and black here and there. All these aspects combined serve to establish Prince Philip Residence as an example of modern design: daring, elegant, yet comfortable—truly an oasis at the heart of a bustling city.

Slices 

Architect Todd Saunders brings the concept of “less is more” to an artistic extreme with his design of Slice. Appropriately named, this 15-square-meter house takes the shape of a slice of cake with a slanting roof line which tapers down to the ground.

Slice is built as an outdoor guest room located in the garden of a property in Haugesund, Norway. The minimal interior is predominantly in white and contains a bedroom, a bathroom and a lounge, with a row of windows to allow the utmost enjoyment of the surrounding nature. This living space opens up to a white, roofless terrace, cleverly designed to accommodate the presence of two existing plum trees. Instead of a manmade roof, the trees make an enchanting canopy and also part of the natural décor, their twisting branches and green foliage blending gracefully with the black-and-white exterior of the structure.

Slice is designed to be immersed in its surroundings. At this time and age when conserving nature has become a vital issue, the concept to use less space and try and preserve as much of the existing landscape as possible is only appropriate. This little garden house, with its clever, elegant simplicity, pulls it off perfectly.

Rio Blanco Pavilion

The modern architecture certainly lacks no variation when it comes to unusual—sometimes even bordering on peculiar—shapes. A noteworthy example is Rio Blanco Pavilion in Guadalajara, Mexico, which is built in the shape of an inverted letter ‘V’. Located next to a horse riding practice arena, architect Carme Pinós takes it one step further and designs the house to evoke the atmosphere of a ranch with its generous use of wood and stone. 

There are two ways to tackle the design feat that is Rio Blanco Pavilion. From the outside, this one-story residence is a robust combination of stone walls and glass panels. The former is necessary to provide a measure of privacy for the residents, while the latter allows the surrounding terrain to become part of the décor.

The interior, however, is dominated by wood, from the floor to parts of the walls to the coffered ceiling. Large wooden beams span the length of the house, not only for ornamental purposes but also to make the house appear longer and more spacious. The axis of the ‘V’-shaped building is a fireplace, with a side extension to a small pavilion facing a view of the beautiful wilderness of Barranco del Rio Dulce. A predominantly dark color palette further strengthens the masculine atmosphere of the house.

photos by
Charles Lanteigne,
Bent René Synnevåg,
Jordi Bernadó