A desire to recreate the sounds of the stream beside our old summer cottage was the initial inspiration for The Aqueduct.

Congratulations!

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 view shows the Aqueduct shortly after it was completed in September 2014.
A desire to recreate the sounds of the stream beside our old summer cottage was the initial inspiration for The Aqueduct.

 

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.

 

The view from the deck looking out across the Big Lawn -- attractive but not spectacular.
Before the Aqueduct was built, this was the view from the house looking out across the Big Lawn.

 

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 focus of the view is now the water itself -- as it drops from one level to the next and as it reflects the sky and the surroundings. The plantings are bad, either!
The big sweep of lawn is now balanced by the structure of the Aqueduct and the exuberant plantings.

 

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.

 

The view towards the house shows a grassy slope and, beyond that, awkward stone steps with no railing.
The pre-Aqueduct view towards the house shows a grassy slope and, beyond that, awkward stone steps with no railing.

 

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.)

 

Water flows from the reflecting pond across the grass and eventually into the lake.
Water flows from the reflecting pond across the grass and eventually into the lake.

 

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.

 

Even in winter, the Aqueduct is a delight.
Even in winter, the Aqueduct is a delight.

 

Congratulations to Eric, Oscar, François and Myke. And thank you for such a wonderful addition to life at Glen Villa.

  • Congratulations to you all! And thank you for these before-and-after pics, as well as the several views of the Aqueduct. I had never understood how it related to the house before.

    • siteandinsight

      Understanding how things fit together is tricky. I put those slides together for a talk I gave recently and was surprised myself to see how significant the changes were.

  • Pam/Digging

    That is a spectacular design, and it’s interesting to hear how it has changed your experience of the garden. Congrats to all on the award! Pam/Digging penick.net

    • siteandinsight

      Thanks, Pam. I’m proud and very pleased for all of us.

  • Wow. That is quite wonderful, from so many perspectives – even in the winterscape.

    • siteandinsight

      I know, the winter scene is quite lovely. It doesn’t look like that now, though — bare ground, dirty snow and slush in the corners. Ugh.

  • Sherry Whitcomb

    Congratulations Pat. Magnificent, and I am sure the grandchildren will give you much joy.

    Sherry

    • siteandinsight

      Thanks, Sherry. I appreciate your comment.

  • Michiko

    Dear Pat:
    Congratulations!
    I am looking forward to visit you in spring to see the work since I can not quite clearly recall how it was before.
    See you soon,
    perhaps in May when gardens are starting in Eastern Township?

    Michiko

  • John Gronan

    Congratulations. It is both spectacular and inspiring!

    • siteandinsight

      Thanks, John. It inspires me every day.

  • Jane Brenneman Gibson

    Wonderful recognition for a fine piece of design.

    • siteandinsight

      Thanks, Jane. I appreciate the comment.

  • Jason

    Congratulations! That’s so exciting – and well-deserved!

    • siteandinsight

      Thanks, Jason. It’s a project that brings me pleasure every day.

  • kathy welch

    What a beautiful transformation- one of my favorite designs .

    • siteandinsight

      One of my favourites, too, Kathy.

  • Indie Redhousegarden

    Gorgeous! It is a very striking design! Congratulations to you and the teams that worked on it!

    • siteandinsight

      Thanks, Indie. It’s a constant joy, even deep under snow.

  • Françoise

    Magnifique réalisation qui respecte à la fois l’architecture de la maison et le paysage du jardin. La variété des matériaux, l’audace des lignes, tout est réussi. Le prix est plus que mérité.

    • siteandinsight

      Merci, Françoise, pour ton très généreux commentaire

  • Jean Potuchek

    And congratulations to you, Pat! What an honor for your garden.

  • Eleanor Kane

    Stunning design Pat, truly deserving of this ADIQ design award. The photos evoke the sounds of water. I long to visit one day.

    • siteandinsight

      I’d love to see you, too.