Which would you gravitate to? A house in the woods or a beachfront home?
For one fortunate family it wasn't a question of choosing one over the other. After all, why choose one when you can have both?
Yes, The Russet Residence by Splyce Design is the best of both worlds.
Located in West Vancouver, this heart-grabbing architectural masterpiece was completed in 2013. Situated on a rugged steep site, the dwelling is artfully nestled between stands of cedar and douglas fir trees and Vancouver's oceanfront. Responding to the topography of the site, its geographical conditions, and some spectacular vistas the objective was to maximize the landscape and bring it indoors.
The architectural framing of the landscape comes from the clever placement of glass boxes, which stack and jumble to make up the 4600 square feet of various levels and spaces. Not unlike the pursuits of Cubist painters - where an object is understood through its depiction from all angles simultaneously - to understand and connect to the Russett Residence one must comprehend it both from all sides and within. Moving inside the house, panoramas of the ocean, sky, and forest are cleverly revealed through the protruding and receding framed cubes.
One of the most visually-arresting examples of the building's relationship to the topography and the design firms' commitment to celebrate the views is the dining room. A set back requirement to accommodate the strict environmental and geotechnical conditions resulted in the building's foundation to be pushed eastwards. So, to claim valuable living space, the dining room was cantilevered 15 feet, leaving the natural vegetation and forest floor uninterrupted and wild. And to make the most of views, frameless glazing wraps all three sides of the space to create a floating effect amidst the forest canopy.
How magical is this?
The floating staircase delivers a similar sensation of lightness. The recurring combination of wood, concrete, and glass creates a tactile environment that complements the natural surroundings. The balustrade of the staircase extends just beyond the stairs avoiding connection, while the glass pane below extends past the concrete floor, extending a subtle yet consistent outward leap into the landscape.
In the photo below, the composition of cubes truly creates a functional form, showcasing how the structure embraces - and accommodates - the forest and ocean views.
Marrying a strong modern aesthetic on a compelling site, this architectural wonder brings domesticity and nature together as one.
All Images Courtesy of Photographer Ivan Hunter
For more of Splyce's completed and upcoming projects, visit Splyce Design
Researched and Written by Sara Nicole England, undergraduate student of OCAD University in the Criticism and Curatorial Practice Program.