Completed in mid 2004, this home is sited on 0.63 acres in the Uplands neighbourhood of Oak Bay, near Victoria, BC.
The property is a quintessential southern Vancouver Island landscape, having over 30 Garry oak trees and significant outcrops of sloping bedrock.
The siting of the house is determined by these natural features, capturing the land’s topography within the everyday experience of the home. The building’s ‘U’ shape takes advantage of this found landscape by creating numerous indoor/outdoor spaces, intentionally blurring the interior and the exterior. A glass curtain wall system inside of the ‘U’ shape traces the perimeter of a mossy, rocky outcrop of oaks and grasses. The resultant courtyard garden becomes the focus for the kitchen, dining room, foyer, living room, and master bedroom. Highly charged, the courtyard registers climate changes, the space being shady in the summer and open in the winter. Mosses and leaves take the owners through seasonal shifts of time and light.
The theme of inside/outside is also explored in the front of the house where a voluminous veranda acts as an elongated transition from the ground to the entryway. Likewise, in the back, a large translucent canopy provides 700 square feet of covered outdoor space. The owners of the house love to spend their time in these intermediary spaces, taking in the fresh air and beautiful views typical of this area.
The interior of the house is organized into 3 main programmatic zones, connected by broad circulation spaces and a large floating roof. The ceilings of the 3 ‘useful’ areas are characterized by simple drywall, while the circulation spaces are rendered in lightly stained pine slats. The pine slats are continuous to the exterior soffits, drawing the eyes from the interior spaces through to the exterior landscape. Glulam beams span the boundaries between these two kinds of ceiling treatments, and enable large unbroken volumes of living area. In this house these glulam beams are always twinned with skylights to illuminate the beams’ artefact nature.
The house is clad in lightly stained cedar. Window mullions are anodized aluminium. Floors are clear-coated concrete with radiant heat. The outdoor canopy is fibre glass inlaid with pine needles. Horizontal elements such as counters are clad in an aqua coloured rice paper, suspended in plastic resin. They are conceived as sheets of water colours, complimenting the drier tones of the interiors and exterior.
Exeter Road, Victoria