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This modest 1900 sq. ft. family retreat is sited on a steeply sloping rock bluff overlooking a rural lake in southwest British Columbia. The house is situated on a narrow bench that takes advantage of the long and warm western light of summer sun, offshore cooling breezes, and near and distant lake and mountain views.

Initial work by the site development consultant successfully secured a Sunshine Coast Regional District allowance of three individual and separate "pods" under a continuous roof which relaxed current by laws governing single family residential design wherein all living spaces for a single family dwelling must be connected via heated interior space(s).

An 18-foot high rock blast wall and the long narrow allowable footprint suggested an elongated plan organized along the rock face. Experienced from both the interior and exterior, this rugged feature organizes the primary circulation pattern both vertically and horizontally. The resulting plan utilizes two outdoor spaces, each under a glass canopy, providing cover during inclement weather and existing as connectors between private sleeping "cabins" at either end of an informal living, cooking and dining space at the centre of a three pod plan. Large sliding glass panels open the great room to the lake side covered terrace and pathways down to a terraced garden and the lake shore below to fully integrate interior and exterior space.

Built of locally milled spruce from the Sunshine Coast region for the timber frame and Douglas Fir for wall planking sourced on site, the structure is a hybrid of off-site prefabrication and more typical on-site framing offering a novel approach to the realities of building on a remote and difficult to access site.

© phillip van horn 2011 all rights reserved