Forest Retreat / Kariouk Architects

Forest Retreat / Kariouk Architects

Forest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - Exterior PhotographyForest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - Exterior Photography, FacadeForest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - Interior Photography, Dining room, Table, Chair, Beam, Windows, Patio, DeckForest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - Interior Photography, Living Room, DeckForest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - More Images+ 24

Caledon, Canada
  • Principal Architect: Paul Kariouk
  • Architect: Chris Davis
  • Intern Architect: Adam Paquette
  • Design Associate: Joel Tremblay
  • General Contractor : Michael Dunn Construction LTD.
  • City: Caledon
  • Country: Canada
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Forest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - Exterior Photography, Facade
© Scott Norsworthy
Forest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - Exterior Photography, Windows, Facade
© Scott Norsworthy

A Family Retreat in Rural Ontario. The clients for this project live abroad and sought a Canadian homestead — an anchor — for their large, young family. During the summer and winter holidays, the parents wanted their children immersed in an Ontario landscape like the one in which they were raised. To this end, they requested a “rustic, modern retreat” for their 100-acre property of forest, wetland, and meadows.

Forest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - Exterior Photography
© Scott Norsworthy
Forest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - Image 24 of 29
Site Plan

The family sought a generous home to allow young teenagers and extended family to be comfortable in a remote area for long stays. They sought a casual, comfortable space for the family and their dogs that would encourage activities like hiking and snowshoeing — no fancy entertaining.

Forest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - Interior Photography, Dining room, Table, Chair, Beam, Windows, Patio, Deck
© Scott Norsworthy
Forest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - Interior Photography, Table, Chair, Beam
© Scott Norsworthy
Forest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - Image 25 of 29
Plan - Ground Floor

Under One Roof. The most powerful aspect of the design is the long, tent-like roof, which follows the site’s topography. The roof and its ridge beam became the design’s primary focus, shaping the circulation path through the home’s interior, ultimately extending a view toward the forest. A primary technical challenge was the roof’s structure, which despite its 60-meter length needed to seem light. The folds and angles of the steel roof are supported by the meandering ridge beam. The roof cantilevers and tapers at all edges. At the entry side of the house, the roof lifts like a bird’s wing off the garage volume beneath, sheltering an outdoor terrace.

Forest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - Interior Photography, Living Room, Deck
© Scott Norsworthy
Forest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - Image 26 of 29
Plan - Second Floor

Playing with Heavy and Light. Monolithic slate-clad volumes anchor the home and define the space between the curtains of glass. These opaque volumes echo the property’s rock outcrops. The garage, bathrooms, stairs, and pantry are grouped inside, and appear to hold up the dynamic roof. Steel construction was chosen to avoid using the expected material of heavy timber for this forest getaway. Being cognizant of the clients’ desire for a warm interior, it was also important to avoid modernist tendencies for box-like forms. Because the main floor is lifted above the ground and the topography falls away, the main floor is in the treetops while simultaneously filling the lower recreation area with light.

Forest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - Interior Photography, Bedroom
© Scott Norsworthy
Forest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - Interior Photography, Bedroom, Beam, Chair, Bed
© Scott Norsworthy

A Contemporary Approach to Warmth and Closeness. The continuous space of the home, with only bedrooms and bathrooms closed off, is a layout that underscores closeness. The family areas and parents’ areas are on the main level. The kids’ bedrooms are bundled into a single slate-clad volume, suspended like a cocoon above the main floor from a 40’ steel beam and accessed by a catwalk.

Forest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - Image 29 of 29
Perspective Section

Sustainability. To avoid cutting trees, the home was placed on an existing cleared ridge overlooking a wildflower meadow. The home is heated and cooled via a geothermal unit with summer solar gain reduced by significant roof overhangs. The glass walls are triple-pane, and high-efficiency fixtures and equipment for the well and septic system help reduce the home’s environmental impact. Historically, the Canadian identity has been defined by our relationship to the land. Fulfilling the client’s mandate, the home honors that emotional connection through visual and material harmonization with its surroundings.

Forest Retreat / Kariouk Architects - Exterior Photography, Forest
© Scott Norsworthy

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Cite: "Forest Retreat / Kariouk Architects" 05 May 2022. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/981270/forest-retreat-kariouk-architects> ISSN 0719-8884

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