Hey Project of the Week fans, meet my new friend Raphaël Thibodeau, an awesome Montreal-based architectural photographer! I’ve been eyeing up Raphaël’s work — and this series of Résidence Maribou by Alain Carle Architect in particular — because of its clean, understated, and natural air. All of Raphaël’s portfolio sports this refreshing look, and I’m excited to share it with you.
Let’s jump on in and check out these tranquil images. Right off the bat, I appreciate how Raphaël gives us plenty of context and shows how Résidence Maribou interacts with its environment. We are able to see how the house sits built into the slope and how the facade looks quite at home in the snowy landscape.
When speaking with Raphaël about this project, he said that this landscape created the biggest challenge of the day. “One of the particularities of this house is the dialogue between its volumetry and the significant slope of the site topography. It was important to me to show this with exterior shots of the lateral elevation. But on the other hand, this slope made mobility quite a challenge! This is the perfect photoshoot to try your new snowshoes.”
This one-point perspective does a great job at drawing our eyes through the archway and out to the other side of the overhang. The hard shadows on the snow give a sense of dimensionality, while the array of leading lines created by the planks help push our eyes through the scene.
Raphaël mentions “The clients were kind enough to let us be there the full day, which I really appreciate in terms of lighting possibilities. We were able to shoot with direct light in the morning, and then redo almost the exact framings later with a totally different mood and diffused light. The day can be quite short in winter for architectural photography, so I always appreciate having the most time possible on-site to see and document as many subtleties natural light can give to a project.”
Another thing I admire about Raphaël’s work, especially in this project, is how despite the sheer amount of white in these scenes, between the snow and the trees and the facade, he exercises a measure of restraint and keeps a proper balance in exposure, and just enough color casts to keep things looking real. These images are crisp and clean without looking renderish or totally blown out.
As we move inside, Raphaël’s compositions are a healthy mix of wider views that tell the overall story of the space, and smaller chunks where we are able to focus on the architect’s finer details — like textures, materials, and the way the light interacts with the home.
Using a figure gives movement, interest, and a sense of scale to this kitchen. I appreciate the simplicity of the styling, and how the addition of the lemons and the human element adds a bit of color and warmth to this space.
Raphaël explains “This house blends totally with the site, especially in winter, so it was all about keeping it simple, and not adding anything to the frame that is unnecessary. For example, most of the interior shots were taken in diffused light to avoid shapes and shadows that hard direct light would have made.”
In Raphaël’s interior images, there is a nice soft, yet directional light, which creates the gentle shadows that contribute to the peaceful and beautiful qualities of this home and its photographs. Even in his detail-oriented vignettes, Raphaël harnesses good light to explain the depth, shape, and texture of the materials in this home.
Raphaël’s photographs of the exterior at twilight are my favorite from this series. The blue/orange color contrast is gorgeous and that warm glow radiating from the interior onto the snow creates an inviting atmosphere and draws our eyes to the windows.
I love this perspective and how it really hammers home the way that this house sits nestled into the woods on this site. The inclusion of the trees and branches aren’t overwhelming though, and our attention still rests on the architecture itself.
A massive Thank You to Raphaël and Alain Carle Architect for sharing this tranquil beauty with us here on APA. Raphaël has shown off this home in such a lovely and inviting way, and given us a great sense of place throughout this series!
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