This project won the 2013 Architizer A+ Jury Award in the port facilities and boat pier category. See the full list of winners here.
Tony Guertin, CEO of a paint and coating company, fell in love with a scenic property on the shore of Storm Bay near the western border of Ontario, Canada. Though the economic recession forced him to shelve plans to build a new cottage and guest house, Guertin engaged 5468796 Architecture to design a 3,000-square-foot, two-story boat port complete with a sleek lounge and view-framing decks, making other nearby boat storage facilities look like glorified garages.
Though the Guertin Boatport could be the ultimate party pad, the space hosts more chill family reunions than swanky shindigs. A fixed extruded aluminum plank boardwalk hugs the rocky shore, and a floating dock juts out into the water at an acute angle to define a lagoon where Guertin’s grandkids can swim. Two sheltered boat stalls occupy the main level, and above, the informal lounge opens to fresh air and lake panoramas via a 25-foot-wide retractable roller screen. Directly above the dock, a bridge stretches between lounge and a high point of the property, making it accessible for elderly relatives.
Reflective aluminum panels clad the boatport and bounce light across surface of lake. Members of the nearby Hutterite colony custom-formed them by running thin-stock aluminum sheets through a break to create a corrugated effect for both solid and perforated panels. Ken Bolton, a member of the 5468796 design team, explains that while the modern design appears as a “fairly foreign object, atypical for cottage country, the reflective quality of its materials is important in connecting it to the landscape.”
The shiny surfaces really help it blend during winter months, when the structure is surrounded by snow and ice (the lake freezes for half the year). The design team articulated hinged joints that allow the dock and boat port to rise and fall with the level of the water. Dan Petrak of Wolfrom Engineering worked with the architects to develop a structural system comprising cold-formed steel C-channels, pressure-treated joists, and composite decking. A staircase and slide provide cross-bracing and allow the columns to measure a slender 2” x 2” HSS.
Says Borton, “we've had a few people in the dock business comment that they are amazed that the ice hasn't torn the whole boat port off the boardwalk when the water level drops each year.” Three winters in, this boat port isn’t going anywhere. Except up and down.