Ema Peter Photography, Janis Nicolay Photography, janis nicolay
This private residence is located in the Point Grey neighbourhood of Vancouver. The steep lot is situated in the RS-1 District, which is an outright approval development zone that mandates homeowners to maintain the single-family residential character of the District, with an emphasis on encouraging neighbourly development by preserving outdoor space and views. The heavily wooded lot looks north over the Burrard Inlet, downtown Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains. The owners requested that as much existing landscape features remain, ranging from large firs and cedars to indigenous shrubs and ground cover.
The upper two floors of the house sit on a concrete podium that forms a level base on the steep slope of the site, and creates a firm boundary for the extent of the building footprint. Two independent volumes are connected by a steel and glass structure, allowing for deep natural light penetration into all areas of the house, while helping to minimize the overall massing. Space flows horizontally, and steps down gradually from the south to north volume, following the natural slope of the site. Entrance to the house is in the south volume, which contains parking, a den and family room on the main floor; the main level of the north volume contains the living, dining and kitchen areas, which connect seamlessly to the patio and swimming pool that form the roof of the concrete podium. Sliding glass doors completely open the interior to the patio space, offering an extension to the living space in the warmer weather. The swimming pool frames the north end of the patio, and its infinity edge results in an uninterrupted and reflective frame to the forest and views beyond.
Stairs within the glazed void space connect the three levels of the house. Adjacent open to below spaces allow for light to penetrate from the overhead glass roof to the basement level. The second level contains the bedrooms, which are zoned for privacy and divided again by the glass void space. Three bedrooms run along the south face and share a recessed deck, allowing for deep solar protection for the large expanses of glazing. On the north side, the master bedroom is dominated by continuous floor-to-ceiling glazing, exposing the room to the views beyond, while maximising daylight exposure. The arrival point in the lower level is flooded with light from the glazing over. Its programme provides mechanical support for the house, as well as a media room, guest suite and a playroom for the young family members. The playroom also provides a physical, as well as visual, connection to the backyard, with the groundcover sloping up from the curtainwall glazing, further blurring the line of indoor and outdoor.