The Collingwood House is a unique local collaboration between an established practice and an emerging studio to create a living accommodation that is responsive and personal. It is a successful example of small-scale residential architecture which utilizes its immediate context and the local climate to generate a sensitive contemporary house.
Upon winning the Beebreeders’ Microhome competition in 2019, Bla Design Group received their first commissioned project, the Collingwood House. They invited Campos Studio to collaborate, to bring their approach to architecture in which each project is led by the specific conditions of the local context. With a site located in a traditional residential neighbourhood comprised of diverse architectural styles, the design of the Collingwood House became a sensitive contemporary response rooted in local context, climate and culture.
The project draws from the Craftsman housing stock that formed original settling of Vancouver. From this, ideas of the porch, cover and textural facade became part of the design. From the West Coast Modern tradition, careful attention was paid to the transitions between interior space and garden. The resulting dwelling tied together these typologies found in the surrounding neighbourhood. Transparency, texture and light drove the interior and exterior of the house.
The quality of light in Vancouver changes drastically with the seasons. A blackened gable roof wraps the dwelling, defining its form amongst the winter’s dull grey skies, with windows letting in light from above. As the seasons change and the trees begin to blossom, the form remains defined but the textured cedar facade begins to blend into the natural environment. This colour palette allows the contemporary dwelling to maintain a sophisticated, yet humble appearance year round.
The interior of the house is light, airy and soft contrasted by warm wood and black detailing throughout. This palette allows for a calm and relaxing atmosphere, especially during the grey winter season. Large corner windows are positioned beside a floating staircase, allowing natural light to flood the entire length of the living spaces.
Site The site is situated on a downward sloping lot overlooking a small dog park, creating an unobstructed view of the Northeastern mountains and Downtown Vancouver. The landscaping in the rear of the house steps down, allowing an abundance of natural light to enter the basement living spaces. The basement’s recreational room is also a space that can be converted into a second master bedroom with it’s own ensuite bathroom.
Material The materiality of the exterior is one that reflects the climate and mood of the pacific Northwest. The natural stained cedar cladding hints at the lush forests of British Columbia and the metal roofing is a low-maintenance material that suits a rainy climate. This color palette continues throughout the interior of the home, warm, neutral tones allow the space to feel airy and bright throughout each season.
Form An asymmetrical gable roof is present to maximize the height of the dwelling. The gable shape extends to create a prominent massing outline and provide weather protection at the entry. The vaulted ceiling of the second floor follows the shape of the roof, resulting in various open and volumetric spaces. The house has cantilevering balconies on the first and second floor, allowing each living space to extend into the backyard. The main access through the rear of the house is located at the basement level so that there is convenient access from the garage to the mudroom and storage areas.