About a Boat
The Houdini-like designers behind this boathouse employed giant steel arches to make the structure disappear from view and in its place create the illusion of a gentle slope of land leading out to the lake.
When Margaret and Grant Pomeroy set out to rebuild the boathouse at their weekend home on Balsam Lake, about 80 miles northeast of Toronto, Ontario, they asked that it be invisible from their cottage. "We really wanted to enjoy our views of the sunsets," says Margaret.
Their designers at Agathom Co. were thrilled at making a building disappear. "It's a marvelous puzzle," architect Adam Thom recalls. "We knew we had to throw out the ideas of the standard boathouse. But that's when we started rubbing our hands together.
Margaret was interested in a green roof, but those are tricky to engineer close to water. Adam and his partner, Katja Age Sachse Thom, found an unorthodox answer: steel culverts, made in the eastern Canadian provence of New Brunswick, typically used for mining or railway tunnels. "It's very heavy-gauge steel, a quarter-inch thick," Adam says. "It's real industrial stuff.
All the earth works had the neighbors concerned, at least until the boathouse completed its vanishing act. "People were worried while we were digging that we were going to create a monstrosity on the lake," Adam says. "But as the project progressed, less and less could be seen.