This rehabilitation of the oldest house of the Caraquet region (estimated at 200 years old) is an exceptional example of dialogue between past and present Acadian know-how.
The intention of this project was to highlight the quality of the spaces and materials of this abandoned house, while marking the catalytic role architecture can play in preserving and enhancing local culture, heritage, and skills in rural projects.
A new envelope was added from the outside in order to reveal the original solid ‘’H-Bent’’ wood structure on the inside while preserving the original appearance and proportions on the outside.
The spaces were adapted to the rhythm of the clients' lives while taking care to tie in with the original structural framework. The kitchen is conceived as the heart of the house with a double height that gives expansion to the place and a setback to admire the width of the boards that let imagine the size of the trees present in this region in the 19th century. The upstairs, where the mortise and tenon joints can be seen up close, becomes a quiet space to retreat from the action of the first floor. A concrete foundation was added to stabilize the structure, with the basement being built to accommodate the nightly work of one of the clients and to house the technical spaces.
The importance of the ecological aspect for the owners led to superior insulation, the installation of passivhaus windows, the use of natural lime plaster for the new interior finishes and the reuse of original materials for the new partitions and wooden doors.
The only contemporary modification visible from the exterior is expressed by two window bands on the north side that capture the horizontality of the Caraquet Bay landscape from the interior while highlighting the original solid wood structure.
As such, the combined skills of the community members such as the wood miller or the lead carpenter, who is a former wooden boat builder, were essentials to preserve the timelessness of this heritage building, which gives the project the power to tell a story about the past of Acadian identity while allowing it to enter into a contemporary existence.