When the topic of architecture is brought up in conversation, many people envision aesthetics. The reality is that architecture is a design of a system of living. It draws from conditions and limitations as input and produces solution and accommodation as output.
To understand that architecture is a tool for design problem solving rather than just decoration is an important distinction to make, and the Pole House in Manitoba by DIN Projects is a perfect example. By truly understanding the limitations created by the natural environment, DIN Projects is able to apply their methodology of creative problem-solving.
Located in the remote, dense forest in the Manitoba Interlake, North of Winnipeg, Pole House is surrounded by a limestone bedrock covered by a layer of overburden. Because of the low profile of the area, the permeable overburden leads to large quantities of flowing groundwater. Compounded with the cold climate, the ground is a cataclysm of freezing and thawing: a nightmare for the material integrity of concrete footings.
But as with any problem, there are always solutions. Rather than using poured concrete as a footing, the Pole House is elevated from grade level by a system of pilotis as a foundation studs of steel, made from a recycled gas pipe, are drilled into the bedrock.
The limitation of its footprint by the surrounding dense forestry implored the design to form a three-leveled platform structure to make up for the space lost horizontally.
Connected by a rectangular spiral, the spaces in the home are informally transitioned with the most public and accessible areas at the bottom to the upstairs private quarters.
The height and positioning of the home allow for a lovely view of the nearby Winnipeg Lake.
The interior of the year-long cottage is of a bold, conceptual nature. The structure of the home is left exposed showing off its wood frame skeleton, and plywood sheathing. Completely genuine and visible, the structure and materials are almost constructivist in nature with their raw presentation.
The middle of the dwelling features a cast iron wood stove as the main source for temperature control, insulated by a layer of foam insulation, and vertically distributed and mediated by internal air ducts.
The Pole House is a terrific example of fantastic design, even without the use of flashy ornamentation and decorative elements. Given a strict series of limitations and difficult design conditions, DIN Projects outwitted every obstacle and knocked it out of the park.
For more fantastic projects like this one, you can have a look at DIN Projects.
Photography courtesy of DIN Projects.
Researched and Written by Mikhail Shchupak-Katsman, Undergraduate Environmental Design, OCAD University.