Georgian Bay, Ontario, also known as the northeastern arm of Lake Huron, is known for its spectacular islands, beaches, and ethereal natural beauty. It's also home to over 30,000 islands and holds the nickname of the Sixth Great Lake for its massive size and impressive length which covers an area of 15,000 km². As cited on the site VisitGeorgianBay, Georgian Bay boasts the longest freshwater archipelago in the world!
This is also the landscape where you will find the glorious cabin in Go Home Bay which was designed by the Award-winning Canadian firm Ian MacDonald Architect Inc.
This cabin illustrates how modern architectural design can seamlessly blend into its natural surroundings.
An accomplished architect and professor, Ian MacDonald is known for trying to see where a building - or an addition - fits into the landscape of its surroundings, both in the sense of how it appears alongside the traditional architecture of the space and in how it complements the natural features of the site. The Go Home Bay cabin is an excellent reflection of MacDonald’s architectural style.
"Split rock Georgian Bay" by Tom Thomson (1915) photo courtesy of Canada the Store.
The cabin is located in the famous Georgian Bay archipelago that was celebrated for its beauty by the works of Canadian art legends the Group of Seven. The Group of Seven, a collective of Canadian landscape painters that were active between the years of 1920-1933, frequented the area of Georgian Bay often for inspiration from the rugged landscape. The area's famous granite rock formations and eastern white pine are beautifully captured in many of their paintings, like this painting by the Group of Seven's Tom Thomson.
The exterior is made up of primarily black-stained cedar shingles and the interior is dominated by natural fir. The contrast between the dark and light is meant to further emphasize the feeling of coziness found in the woods.
The cabin is a series of rooms lined with floor-to-ceiling windows, with panoramic views of the water and forest. It includes snug sitting areas, an expansive porch, exposed ceiling beams, and built-in furniture.
In addition to its beauty, the cabin is also eco-friendly and meant to be respectful of its environment. The exterior sun shades mitigate heat gain, the abundance of windows provides effective ventilation, and the house also features a green roof with deep overhangs for passive thermal comfort. MacDonald drew on his knowledge of Georgian Bay's weather patterns--as the inner bay location of the cabin can become hot and humid during the summer. In addition to the sustainable material, the main construction materials were coordinated on a single barge to reduce the embodied energy of transportation.
The cabin is a breath of fresh air amongst the homes built in the saturated cottage country of the Georgian Bay. Whereas those cottages are built for size and emphasis on their appearance, Ian MacDonald purposefully strayed away from the big is more mentality when it comes to the Go Home Bay cabin. “Over-scaled structures have become ever more commonplace, dominating the context, dwarfing the surroundings, and spoiling one's experience of the natural realm," the firm said. “This cabin is an important, positive alternative to the prevailing trends” (Dezeen).
If you liked this subject, check out more Ian Macdonald Architect works on Houseporn.ca:
Photography is courtesy of Ian MacDonald Architect Inc.
Researched and written by Guhar Ullah, Graduate of BA Architectural Studies at the University of Toronto's John H Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design.