Island House / D’Arcy Jones

Architects: D’Arcy Jones
Location: Vancouver Island,
Project Year: 2000-2003
Constructed Area: 288 sqm
Photographs: D’Arcy Jones

This project was designed as a vacation house for an extended family. Three and glass pavilions are linked with a large heavy-timber roof, connecting the volumes with a breezeway and 6′-0″ deep overhangs. The elevation of the house facing the ocean is a continuous wall of full height glass doors, high on a steep bank above the beach. Nestled between a damp forest and a tangle of blackberry-bushes, the house was conceived as a single-level vacation and retirement house, appropriate for aging clients and their young extended family. The requirement for an extremely robust, durable and quiet house resulted in thick in-situ walls, intentionally left rough and crude. Hovering above, the simple Douglas Fir roof structure was left raw. In-fill materials squeezed between the and timber were chosen for longevity: bleached red cedar, polished , hand-made porcelain tile and smooth Douglas Fir millwork result in a rugged, unpretentious family house.

The modest materials are countered with a range of carefully sculpted spaces, inside and out. All designed outdoor spaces are clearly defined with wall or ground plane articulation on at least two sides. The morning deck is aimed to catch morning sun for reading and yoga, the two-level western terrace is for afternoon tanning or watching sunsets beside an open fire. These outdoor spaces are furnished with native plantings and large earth berms. Within a very hot and dry microclimate, the house’s mass, deep overhangs and carefully designed passive ventilation keep the house cool.

The house has a heavy and quiet presence, it’s porous edges abutting the surrounding vegetation. Though still quite new, the house is at ease in its setting; its roughness has the appeal of a well-used home with years of patina.

Cite: "Island House / D’Arcy Jones" 25 Mar 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • Jeison Gelaki

    I like it when I see the good use of wood on modern projects. I am not an architect, but I think that adding wood to a contemporary project requires a very good sense of what can or cannot work for the harmony of the project. And I think this house got it. Loved the bedroom.

  • odris

    me too

  • Carlo

    i suspect that the rather insignificant comments from odris are there just to attract people to his own website or blog, (or whatever that is.)

    hmm, who knows


  • David

    Odris please disappear. Your single word comments and photograph is irritating everyone.

  • Jeison Gelaki

    I suspect Oddris is having fun provoking all this reaction…

  • Troy Lemieur

    The plans remind me of FLW. I’m brought back to my visual communications I class at a time when I had a horrible professor that forced us to TRACE… FLW plans, because he’s so wonderful. It was torture.

  • jlbr

    Odris FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lulu

    The form is boring, although I admire the author’s ability to combine the materials perfectly.

    Carlo, I totally agree with you.
    odris, with all the respect, you’re a jack-ass!

  • tk

    you too, odris? that’s interesting.

  • db

    I think odris needs to loosen that bike helmet to allow more blood flow to his brain.
    this guys has annoyed the shit out of me since the first time I saw that photo….

  • db

    btw: great website tk. i love the web address.

  • hm….

    I think this house was in the movie, “What We Lost In The Fire” with Halle Berry?

    You could not miss the house, it was fantastic and so is this one.

  • LargoJax

    I love this house! The design, use of materials, scale etc. It works very well. I wish we could see more of the surrounding landscape since it is an “island” (probably vacation) house.

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  • Dan

    how are those 2 wooden beams cantilevered?? In the 6th image

  • mahsa irani

    very very nice and beautifull,hlove this house…………