An architectural project to protect the land and bring a community together
A conservation project and an innovative living environment where nature and culture meet: the very first BESIDE Habitat destination in Chertsey, Lanaudière can finally welcome its first visitors.
Lanaudière: a first
An hour north of Montreal, the BESIDE Habitat site is home to privately-owned architectural cabins, available as rentals for those who want to experience a closer connection to nature, on lots ranging from 2 to 6.5 acres, isolated from neighbours. This destination will eventually include 75 cottages, 25 self-contained pods, a music studio, two libraries, a common area, and workshop, as well as cultural programming.
To date, a dozen cabins are available on besidehabitat.com. They are all equipped with 1 to 4 bedrooms, a sauna, Wi-Fi, access to an electric charging station, and all the amenities needed to enjoy a unique stay. The project is expected to be completed in 2024.
A development for conservation
BESIDE’s unique business model aims to protect between 50% and 80% of the land it acquires by converting it into nature reserves. The company’s mission is to protect more than 500 million square feet of land by 2030. For this first site, around 900 out of a total of 1254 acres will be conserved in perpetuity. This includes two lakes (no subdivisions or development near the shorelines) and numerous lookouts that visitors will be able to explore as they enjoy their favourite pastimes, whether hiking or running on the trail system, fishing, gravel or mountain biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or canoeing and paddle boarding on site.
An architectural landscape
Created by the firm Appareil Architecture, the cabins are anchored in a century-old forest that inspired their minimalist lines. And in the image of Quebec’s nordicity, their design invites you to spend time inside as well as out, according to the seasons and landscapes that naturally draw your eyes.
“The challenge was substantial: provide an architecture that felt familiar, as though it had always been a part of the landscape, but would also have an element of the unexpected, both surprising and contemporary.” Kim Pariseau, architect and the firm’s founder. The cabins combine sustainable and local materials, including a galvanized steel roof, eastern white cedar siding, concrete floors with radiant heating, and custom furniture.
Where nature and culture meet
BESIDE Habitat aims to be a redesigned living environment where a community of creative people — passionate about nature, architecture, and cooking over a fire — can take root and grow.
“We wanted to offer spaces where knowledge and know-how come together. Using architecture as a guideline, the common areas in the heart of the forest will promote knowledge-sharing and common experiences through workshops and concerts, but also through the contact between the people, trees, and bodies of water that are there,” reflects Jean-Daniel Petit, president and co-founder of BESIDE.