I’m happy to share some very good news — the Aqueduct at Glen Villa is the winner of the grand prize for design in the residential category at ADIQ, the Quebec industrial designers association.
This prestigious prize recognizes the work of designer and friend Eric Fleury, of the landscape architecture firm, Hodgins and Associates (HETA). The walls and landscaping were the work of Oscar Hache and his team; the impressive steel elements were fabricated by François Beroud and the Montreal firm Designworks.
In twenty years, we’ve made many changes at Glen Villa, transforming the landscape to suit our needs. The Aqueduct is both the largest project we’ve undertaken and the one with the biggest visual impact.
Before the Aqueduct was built, water moving down the hillside was invisible. The focus of the view was a tree in the distance and a rough stone wall in the foreground.
After the Aqueduct was built, the focus of the view changed. The tree and the stone wall remained, but the dominant element became the water itself. Finally we could see it, hear it and admire it.
The before and after views are striking in both directions. A grassy slope dominated the landscape when looking towards the house. But to get from the house to the slope was a dangerous undertaking. Rough stones with rounded tops formed the staircase and there was no railing to make the the stairs safer.
Worst of all, nothing fit together. The staircase and the pointed angle at the end of the house were at odds with the rough stone wall, and it was at odds with the lines of the house. Looking out onto the big lawn, nothing held your eye.
Once the Aqueduct was built, everything fell into place. The broad steps carried the horizontal lines of the house into the landscape. The sharp triangle of the deck became mirrored in the lines of the reflecting pond and in the channel that carried water across the grass . (You can see the pointed angle of the reflecting pond in the first photo above.)
These changes altered our view. As significantly, they altered our use of the space. Before the Aqueduct was built, we used this side of the house very little. We had always eaten outside on the deck overlooking the Aqueduct but now in addition we sit on the wooden steps, soaking up the sunshine. We sit in the shade with a book or a glass of wine. We watch grandchildren play on the swings nearby or paddle in the reflecting pond. And always with us is the sound of water and the reflection of the sky above.
Congratulations to Eric, Oscar, François and Myke. And thank you for such a wonderful addition to life at Glen Villa.