Off The Grid, On The Cliffs In Muskoka Lakes, Ontario By Altius Architecture Inc.

Somewhere within the dense forests, shimmering lakes and rocky outcroppings of Muskoka Lakes, Ontario sits a recreational property called the Cliff House.

Located in 'cottage country', this region has a strong tradition of hunting and fishing, as well as one of the oldest legacies of steamships in North America serving its abundant natural resources. Here is another interesting fact: Orville Wright, one of the American brothers credited with the invention of airplanes, once owned a cottage in Muskoka!

This exceptional property was constructed completely off the grid, embodying ideals of self-sufficiency and integration, while celebrating the breathtaking natural scenery.


Photo source: Altius Architecture Inc


Perched on a cliff of Precambrian granite, the residence is both hidden and embraced by the unique natural siting.

The openness of the design captures the stunning vista, while the ever-changing natural light in this lakeside landscape plays upon its interior.


Photo source: Altius Architecture Inc


Inside, the abundant use of wood, stone, metal and glass seamlessly connects indoors and out.

The broad expanses of glass creates a unity with nature.

While the space appears simple and balanced, it's really a testament to the clean lines of the well-executed craftsmanship, evident in the woodwork and hand-cut stonework in the photos below.


Photo source: Altius Architecture Inc


Photo source: Altius Architecture Inc


Photo source: Altius Architecture Inc


Photo source: Altius Architecture Inc


As a student enrolled in a 'Sustainability And The Environment' course, I was immediately attracted to the success of this property as a sustainable human-environment interaction.

Incorporating passive solar design - by orienting the windows to capture the sun's daily passage - was essential for a location this isolated, while the innovative use of green roofs, solar shading and operable windows contribute to reducing the energy load.

By taking an all-encompassing holistic approach to the site, building, landscape and interiors, architect Trevor McIvor - formally from Altius Architecture Inc. - is becoming renown for location-sensitive custom residential and cottage projects.

And I can see why!


Researched and Written by Angelina Sangulin, Undergraduate Art History, Human Geography and Urban Studies, University of British Columbia

Posted In: Ontario

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