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© Maxime Brouillet


Location: Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, Charlevoix, Québec Client: Cabines St-Laurent Architects: Bourgeois / Lechasseur architectes Graphic Artists: Criterium Design Team: Olivier Bourgeois, Régis Lechasseur, Alexandre Côte, Valérie Gauthier, Isabelle Auclair, Maxime Rousseau General Contractor: Construction Urbanext Photographer: Maxime Brouillet


A major tourist attraction for well over a century, the Charlevoix region presents some of Québec’s most remarkable landscapes. Over the last fifteen years, with the opening of a new ski resort, this already popular spot truly turned into a year-round destination. An extensive range of tourist accommodation awaits visitors looking for scenic settings.

A newcomer on the scene, Cabin A quietly opened its doors in December 2019 as it welcomed its first guests. Located 20 minutes from Le Massif ski resort, this unusual cabin rests on a steep site overlooking the nearby St Lawrence River.

Looking for a source of inspiration, the team comprised of architects and graphic artists turned to the International Code of Signals (ICS), long used in nautical communications. While the Alfa signal determined the building’s overall geometry, subtle references to naval architecture were set up throughout. The cabin’s triangulated roof is an indication of sails facing the wind whereas a large wood terrace evokes the upper deck of a ship with spectacular views of the river. The use of wood paneling on the walls and ceiling of the shared living area further underline the analogy to naval architecture.

The main entrance is set under one the roof’s sloping wings, the left leg of the letter “A”. 180-degree views of the St. Lawrence River is provided by a long viewing gallery which is the shared living space. Meant to hold groups of up to 12 people, complete kitchen facilities are maintained as well as a sitting area and a dining space, which continues outside, weather permitting.

A staircase off the entrance door leads to the partly buried lower level. Three bedrooms and an open dorm for children provide ample sleeping accommodation. A central playroom gives entry to a protected spa area, situated directly under the ground floor’s deck.

Russian plywood panels are cladded on the double-height living/dining/viewing room , also used for the built-in furniture. The light-color birch panels, extended to the outside, contrast sharply with the dark hues of the metal roof and the exterior walls’ cladding.

Cabin A is the second tourist-oriented project designed by Bourgeois / Lechasseur for the region. Dômes Charlevoix, Inaugurated in 2018,  was their first attempt at redefining tourist accommodation. It provoked widespread interest on their work and on their expertise to address traditional commissions in an ingenious way.