Located on the east side of Quadra Island, British Colombia, Canada and overlooking the Discovery islands as well as BC’s mainland coast, Tula House is perched on a large boulder that protrudes out and over the beach below. The luxury home was designed by Patkau Architects to blend within its natural landscape in part by the use of a green roof planted with moss and local ground covers.
Quadra Island is accessed by a BC Ferry that travels between it and Campbell River on Vancouver Island approximately 200km north of Vancouver, Canada. It is a 120sq mile island with a population of approximately 2700, which increases dramatically in the summertime.
Quadra Island has an irregular topography and the site Tula House is perched on is no exception.
Patkau Architects took advantage of a large, natural boulder on the edge of the site and designed the home to extend out and over the beach below.
The east-facing site takes advantage of the sunrise.
The beach below and high/high tidal zone has an ever-changing climate of wood and seaweeds tossed ashore by the ocean currents, and during the non high/high tides the seaweed feeds a lush growth of lichens, ferns and mosses.
While the home is a concrete structure, the cantilevered deck is a combination of steel frames and wood decking.
The irregular typography is a combination of moss covered rock and heavily treed expanses of red alder, Douglas-fir and big leafed maple.
The cantilevered portion of the home has two triangular glass floor modules inset into it, one in the living room and the other in the office area..
The combination of concrete, black fiber board fencing and living roof lets the house virtually disappear from site at a distance, even the skylights appear to be no more then reflections of water pools.
It is only as you approach the home that the deliberate geometry separates it from its surrounding landscape.
Part of the deliberate geometry is the low rock walls that edge the gravel approach. The geometry of the approach is deliberately blurred by including pre-existing Douglas-fir’s into the design.
The gravel pathway makes way for large plates of concrete that cover the courtyard, steps and interior floor.
As a sustainable feature, the architects included a geometric pool fed by a continuous flow of groundwater that travels to and from it before dissipating into the ocean below.
The captured ground water is centered within the courtyard and concrete paths lead all the way around it.
The pool is completely separated from the surrounding landscape, creating a moment of calm amidst the home’s “wild frontier”.
Once inside, walls of glazing keep the pool front and center.
On the other side the Pacific Ocean, or more specifically – Discovery Passage – is the main attraction.
Allowing the view to be visible from each zone, the dining room is raised to allow it look over the living room, which has a front row seat whenever Orcas or whales travel by.
At one end of the living room is a triangular glass floor module that allows views to the boulder below.
On the other side of the wall is a small home office, separate and yet part of the social zone, it too has a triangular glass module in its floor..
On the other side of the social zone behind another concrete wall is where the kitchen is located.
The kitchen morphs into an eating nook that is wrapped in glass.
The kitchen has its own entrance/exit that leads to an al fresco area with views east and south, overlooking the southern most tip of Cortes Island and Savory Island.
The terrace is just outside the living room and in the summer, the glass wall can be opened up to create an uninterrupted connection to the zone.
Hallways shaped like a funnel open towards to the social zone and conversely narrow in size as they lead to the private sections of the home.
The master bedroom also overlooks the ocean but has a peek a boo view through the trees that also offer the room privacy from boats passing by.
The ensuite is mostly private, but even here there are peek a boo views.
Photography by James Dow and Patkau Architects
See another waterside home design built in the unpopulated portion of the west coast in BC to take advantage of the Pacific Ocean views. Such remotely located homes are becoming more and more common as advances in construction technology improves, allowing homes to be built in what used to be thought of as unfriendly sites.