Linear House On Saltspring Island, B.C.

This spectacular project, an Azure Magazine Awards winner— for excellence in international architecture and design— can easily be called a modern masterpiece.

Located on British Columbia’s Saltspring Island, this captivating property - appropriately called 'Linear House' for its clean unadorned lines - is surrounded by hay fields, orchids, and mature Douglas fir trees.

The temperate climate which prevails on Saltspring Island, drier and brighter than nearby Vancouver on the British Columbia mainland, is the ideal setting for a house that uniquely merges nature with built form.

Executed by celebrated Vancouver architects John and Patricia Patkau, of Patkau Architects Inc, Linear House was envisioned as a long and narrow horizontal structure composed of flat surfaces and rigid right angles.

Bold in volume and material, the house maintains a sense of lightness and airiness, elevated by a series of sliding glass doors which disappear into the walls.


Not uncommon to modern architecture is an overtly masculine, rational and domineering aesthetic.

Yet despite the weighty grey cement and overall authority of the structure, the open space plan, warm wood details and interior furnishings create a engaging contrast on the inside.

I love how the millwork and flooring exude a tailored serenity within the hard edges of the structure.




Linear House is truly unique and exceptional.

Although the structure, on first impression, holds authority and dominance, its connectedness between inside and out distorts the boundaries between domesticity and nature.

I applaud how harmony is found between the rational and the emotive, the aggressive and the soft, and the urbanity within the wilderness.


Architecture by: Patkau Architects Inc

Photographs by: James Dow


Researched and Written by: Julia Borowicz
Urban Studies and Human Geography
University of Toronto, Undergraduate Studies

Posted In: British Columbia

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