Khyber Ridge / Studio NminusOne

Architects: Studio NminusOne
Location: Whistler, British Columbia,
Client: Marc Morisset
Construction Year: 2005
Contractor: Michael McGillion
Engineering: David Strandberg and C. A. Boom
Photographs: Studio NminusOne

The Khyber Ridge house was commissioned by a professional snowboarder. The strategy takes its cue from the intimate engagement of a shredder following the line of a mountain; it is one of maximum engagement with the site. The house is distributed along a steep slope, developing diverse tactical relations to the landscape, the surrounding views and the internal functions or program of the house.

section 05

Made up of five levels, the lower level, a guest house is embedded in the rock for maximum privacy. Its green roof blends in with the landscape. In contrast the main living volume is formed by a cantilevering roof with a suspended floor projecting out of the slope. The cantilever is anchored by four 3 foot deep steel beams drilled directly into the rock face; its floor is suspended by four, 1 inch diameter stainless steel rods. With its enclosure, the effect created is of a floating open platform, revealing when occupied the full impact of the surrounding mountains. One is literally suspended in space and surrounded by the foliage of trees. The upper level bedrooms retreat back along the contours of the mountain producing discreet relationships to the surrounding views. As the inhabitants navigate these volumes, they continuously weave in and out of the terrain.

In the winter, the flat roof of the living level retains the snow. The snow then acts as an insulating blanket keeping the temperature close to 0 degrees Celsius. In the summer, the flat roof becomes a necessary flat surface for outdoor living, leaving the rest of the sloped site intact.

Cite: "Khyber Ridge / Studio NminusOne" 22 Apr 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
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  • Javier Rosa

    Architecture is about improving landscape, not destroying it!

    • gordon

      you mean like the roads of the subdivision do?

      or you mean like the typical ski house in any mountain resort does?

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  • freddy wulf


  • Case

    What a great space, and nicely placed/oriented on the site. I also like some of the unconventional details like the hallway-sized door without jambs.

  • Dan

    slightly reminds me of Falling Water by Frank Llloyd Wright. I think its how it sits ito the hillside. Like it!

  • tony

    beautiful design and great section but poorly detailed
    it looks like 150 year old house already!

  • Case

    I like that it looks old and worn already… Looks like you were just walking through the woods and found it.

  • tony

    Case is okay to look old but it looks like an old ikea furniture: modern yet old due to the poor construction details otherwise great design it reminds of a recent student graduate project or someone who has not built much!

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  • Jason

    The influence I see is definitely OMA/Koolhaas. I like it. That said, I agree about the detailing and general lack of experience with built projects.

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  • bothands

    Come on, people are criticizing the lack of built work or detailing experience? Every architect should be so lucky to have such a badass first built project. I was pretty impressed with this house when I first saw it, and still am – glad that ArchDaily covered it, albeit a bit belatedly.

  • aw

    This great design could not have happened without the experience and skills of builder, Mike McGillion. Props to Mike for pushing against the Whistler establishment !
    Not only is it a great space; But across the street, when the valley gets a lot of snow, there’s some fun little lines that form on the rocks.

  • joseph

    Is half decent, good intentions on the design and good to see someone designing in section but i agree horrible details and bad executed! If you get a project like this you should find reliable help to finish the product with a high note
    I think we should all learn from our mistakes and I’m sure the designers have learn their lesson hopefully their next project will show some built experience

  • bothands

    I have a feeling the authors don’t even consider it badly detailed.
    In answer to Mies’ “God is in the details”, Rem once said “F_ck the detail”; and these guys are coming from the Koolhaas lineage…

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  • sgurin

    Спасибо archdaily, хорошая информация.
    Thanks archdaily, good.

  • Pete

    Have you seen a project by REM in real life?
    Beautiful details and well built
    You can see also the work of WorksAC (i think you can see OMA reference in their work) great details even on their first project, but don´t beat these architects so much is difficult to find a good client these days if you are not a celebrity architect

  • Laura

    Frank Lloyd Wright or something?

  • Josep

    I agree there is some nostalgia here
    certainly can see the Frank Lloyd influence here, having a hard time picturing Oma!

  • AMR

    Everyone seems to be a critic yet no one has named which details are poorly executed. Perhaps you are talking about the skirting shadowline? Or maybe the pivot door without a frame? The floor to ceiling glass? The single linear slot A/C in the ceiling near the windows?

    Seriously….get a life and maybe a job you actually like that won’t permanently depress and scar you.

  • Case

    My thoughts exactly AMR… The way I see it, it’s only poorly detailed if it physically fails. Otherwise, it’s just a different way of doing it – and I see a lot of beauty in that.

  • frank

    Like AMR says: which details are bad? the glass frame that sits flush with the concrete floor and the ceiling?…the glass walls that is directly slotted in the concrete floor? These are beautiful details…I don’t get these comments.

  • hz

    it looks clinical, looks made of the same stuff office buildings are made of, looks as if to many artificial materials put together in too complex a way have gone to make these severe rectangles. when is modernism going to stop echoing? it’s brutal. and the cantilevered room may look smart, but the occupants can now worry forever afterwards whether they’ve got too many bookcases or whatever in there. if that is ‘maximum engagement with the environment’, i’d hate to see minimum. top level, slope side, would be very depressing with that cutaway. on the positive side, it grabs uninterrupted views and heaps of light, which would be delicious on a sunny day that’s cold outside.

  • Micah Quinn

    I am not a builder nor an architect, so i can’t speak about the function..but i find this absolutely stunning.

  • kixvix

    Not a real design comment but this reminds me of the houses in the movies, Twilight and Charlie Bartlett. :)

    Great job!