The clients of this home were looking for a house that would eventually become their fulltime residence but could also serve as a getaway, vacation and gathering place in the interim.
Architects: Balance Associates Architects
Project Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia, Canada
Project Team: Tom Lenchek AIA, Principal; Kyle Zerby AIA, Project Architect
Structural Engineers: Quantum Consulting Engineers
General Contractor: Jean Fontaine
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 1,850 sqf
Photographs: Steve Keating Photography
Located at the south end of Desolation Sound on Cortes Island, British Columbia, the site is formed of natural granite bedrock and contains a dramatic peninsula and cliff which serve as a windbreak for Cortes Bay as well as the Seattle and Vancouver yacht clubs. To the south, the house is exposed to the Straight of Georgia which delivers extremely high wind speeds and salt spray during winter storms. To withstand the high winds, the house structure is embedded into the bedrock with steel columns and exposed wood floor beams allowing the house to cantilever off the hillside. Steel cross braces resist the large lateral forces brought by the high winds.
The entry side of the house sits level with the bedrock and is made up of visually solid concrete forms that create the entry space and anchor the house to the site. From the entry, one accesses the central great room which includes the living, dining and kitchen, all with expansive views to the straight beyond. The main gathering space opens up to a south facing exterior deck by way of a grand 11ft tall by 24ft wide custom sliding door. This great room is flanked by a guest suite and study to the west and a master suite that captures the morning sunlight from the east.