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Life without walls: A roof terrace, Montreal, Canada by Martine Brisson.

Photos: Marc Cramer.

A landscape, designed by Martine Brisson, creates what is really an outdoor apartment on the roof of the former studio residence of the painter Betty Goodwin. With a kitchen, living space, bathroom and garden, the work imagines a world with fewer walls, set in splendid isolation.

The roof terrace is generous in scale with an area of some 332 square metres sitting atop two former bottling plants. A small attic space is at the core of the scheme. It is clad on the exterior with black metal. On the inside, it is finished with oak that recalls the floors of other rooms in the house. The notion of continuity is spilled-out on to the terrace in the form of handrails and cedar decking.

The flow of space between interior and exterior is of importance and is achieved through the continuity of materials, unexpected views, and permeable wall-like barriers that evoke the notion of separate rooms without fully isolating the individual spaces.

The kitchen is set within the pergola. It has white curtains that can be drawn back around the perimeter. Whilst the curtains provide shade from the sun, they also suggest other qualities. A touch of the theatre perhaps, or when drawn perhaps a private boudoir, inside which interesting things happen. It is striking just how abstract the kitchen appears in its unusual setting.

In the same vein, the bathroom, in white quartz and marble, feels out of, what one might expect is, its proper context. Extracted perhaps from a luxury hotel or restaurant, it provides a beautiful, cool respite from the warm timber and glaring sun outside.

Gazebo from a distance.



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