Clear forms against raw cliffs

Project: Ridge House, South Pender Island, British Columbia, Canada
Architects: Simcic + Uhrich Architects, Vancouver, British Columbia, Kanada
Pictures: Simcic + Uhrich Architects, Vancouver, British Columbia, Kanada
Text: TechLimits and Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc.
Nemetschek brands involved: Vectorworks

A luxury-class weekend retreat

This family weekend retreat is located on South Pender Island, BC. The building is approximately 2,500 square feet and contains a simple program—an open social space for kitchen, dining and living, and more contained spaces for the study, main bedroom suite and guest accommodation.

Although well connected by view, the one hectare site is high above and inland from the surrounding ocean. It is entirely made up of an east-west trending ridge and attendant slopes. The building occupies the top of the ridge providing a strong relationship to the northern and southern orientations, both characterized by openness and distance, while the site’s east and west sides remain treed and enclosing. This, together with steeply falling grades to the north and south, gives the site and the project a fulcrum.

In response to the highly exposed site conditions, the building form developed through a series of roof studies resulting in a form that either limits or emphasizes the various qualities of the site and program. The roof orients and opens up to the north and south for light and view, while closing to the east and west for solar shading and privacy. The intermittent vertical drops in the roof provide structure and solar shading from the summer afternoon and evening sun angles. Inside the house, these same forms provide the dynamic acoustic qualities in the main space required by the clients for their flute and piano rehearsals and performances. In the absence of trees to the south, the roof extends a large overhang to shade and protect against rain, wind and summer sun and captures reflected light from the ocean while also providing protected outdoor social spaces. By contrast, the shorter overhang on the north side exposes the sky vault with daylight also reflecting off roof-water periodically collected on the north terrace.