Cantilevered Contemporary Escape In The Canadian Wilderness
Located on a rocky outcropping on sparsely-populated Gambier Island, this elegant glass-faced house serves as the perfect secluded place to rest within easy traveling distance to the Canadian cultural and commercial center of Vancouver. Designed by that city’s McFarlane Green Biggar Architecture (which has since split into two separate firms), this two-bedroom dwelling has the privacy and beauty of a vacation cottage, but all the amenities and comfort of a year-round home. Far from neighboring residences, the building sets nestled among the trees, overlooking the sound around it while standing out for its own man-made beauty. Because of the elevation changes of the rocky property, the house takes on a staggered layout indoors, with half-story staircases leading between various rooms. Wood is incorporated smoothly into the decor of the whole house, covering floors and ceilings with natural tones. With such a pretty and remote location, the house features a focus on the water’s edge, with full glass walls at that side on both stories.
Because of its remote location, the design of the house is nearly unconstrained by privacy concerns. This has lead the architects to create glass-walled bedrooms and hallways which otherwise might be obscured in some way if there were other homes in the immediate vicinity. The house sits high atop a rocky outcropping next to the lake, with commanding views of water and woods.
The house’s top level has a wide facade which runs parallel to the water’s edge, and a deck extending from its center on the rooftop of the level below it. This floor contains the dwelling’s two bedrooms, with a public passageway at the center allowing the homeowners to bring guests out to the deck without disturbing any private spaces on either side.
In addition to the glass window walls at lakeside edges, the abode also features glass deck railings as a means to keep occupants of the deck safe without blocking the view outward from indoors. In each room, a set of thin columns provides the structure to hold the roof up and allow for window walls instead of traditional exterior materials.
On the level below, the house’s main living space is focused on a single long room combining living, kitchen, and dining spaces. Both the floors and ceilings of the house are covered in slightly different wood finishes, while the walls are kept minimally white. This combination of materials combines a minimal aesthetic with a contemporary connection to nature.