This crisply detailed house for a family is part look-out tower, part courtyard, and part landform. The front of the house wears a simple mask, to set a quiet and private tone even though the project is located near a bustling neighbourhood intersection and commercial area.
The house’s angular exterior is designed to minimize interior glare and to keep water off the wrap-around windows. Inside, the same long horizontal windows take advantage of 180º degree views towards an ocean fiord-like inlet, alive with shipping freighters, kayakers and sometimes even whales.
When you are seated or lying down inside this house, the surrounding suburban context is edited out, so no one can see in, but you can see out towards nature, perfectly. The house’s pinched waist has two outdoor courtyards to allow uncommonly dramatic interior views from inside to outside, to inside again. One courtyard is full of native plants and trees, mimicking the forest that wants to be on the site if the house was not there. The other courtyard filters the western afternoon light, creating a sunny pocket to sit or eat outside, protected from the wind.
The house seems smaller than it really is. A basement under the lower level conceals a gym, a sauna and mechanical spaces. The interior was inspired by older architecture’s desire to make generic rooms instead of spaces with specific uses. So most rooms in this house are not designated. The master bedroom could be in one of two spaces, bedrooms could be dens, and dens could be bedrooms.