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A 2500 square foot house located on the  slopes of a mountain valley in West Vancouver. Occupied by the architects, initially as residence and studio, the house was intended to be a speculative development which would initiate their practise in a new community.

A 2500 square foot house located on the  slopes of a mountain valley in West Vancouver. Occupied by the architects, initially as residence and studio, the house was intended to be a speculative development which would initiate their practise in a new community.

Site
The steeply sloping site, 85 feet wide by 225 feet deep, is heavily forested with mature cedar, hemlock, fir, and big-leaf maple. Rogers creek runs along the bottom of the slope 55 feet below the street above.

Design
The design was shaped by two major considerations: the mild but frequently overcast and rainy climate, and the steeply sloping site.

To not only occupy the site, but make it accessible, the house  was organized on three levels in an elongated plan which ‘bridges’ from the top to the bottom of the slope. Each level is connected directly to an exterior space, part of a terraced series of south-facing garden or forest spaces, which parallel the interior spaces of the house.

The conjunction of heavy forest, frequently overcast climate, and valley location result in the need to maximize the amount of natural light which enters the house. The section responds directly to this need. One third of the roof is glazed. The dining room rises as a double-storey volume in the center of the plan to flood the main level of the house with light. A large canopy over the south-facing terrace adjacent to this level, designed to make this area useable during periods of rain, is glazed to avoid shading the large window openings below it.

As a final gesture in the interests of natural light a large pond has been created at the bottom of the site to reflect the light of the sky above back up into the interior of the house.

Construction
In response to a strict budget the configuration of the house has been limited to a largely undeveloped rectangular box. Within this box four heavy-timber columns divide the interior into major and minor bays. The surrounding envelope is conventional wood framing on a concrete foundation. Secondary elements, such as exterior canopies and interior guard and handrails are painted steel. A reinforced concrete-masonry fireplaceprovides seismic bracing for the open  heavy timber frame.

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