The cottage replaces an old seasonal A-frame that while interesting, did not offer a reasonable opportunity for expansion or upgrades for year round use. The structure was dismantled by hand in order to salvage the long Douglas Fir lumber. This unique site represented a prime example of the exposed glacial formed Canadian Shield that gives this area its unique identity. The building was sited to reuse the area previously occupied by the original cottage, in order to minimize the new building’s impact on the site. The additional footprint and organization of the new dwelling was determined by the granite shelves offered by the site, with each of the floor levels designed to hug the natural terrain. Upon arrival,the building appears as a single story though once inside it’s larger volumes are revealed as the spaces step down towards the lake.
Early in the design stage, after gaining an intimate understanding of the site, we made the effort to minimize the new building’s footprint beyond that of the existing A-frame. In keeping with our philosophy of site specific design we let the uniqueness of the site drive the design. No blasting. The result is a building completely engaged with it’s site and one that couldn’t exist anywhere else. This was our first goal for a building to tread lightly. As we considered the natural elements of the site, we paid close attention to attaining desired passive solar heat gains in the winter with passive summer solar shading and natural ventilation also integrated into the structure. Design first, Technology second. Here, as with every project, we do as much as we can with the design of the building, before making up the difference with the most economically sensible active systems.