A LEED Gold Weekend Home Embraces the Ontario Landscape

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By Lucy Wang / Published by Dwell
This all-white LEED Gold home is undoubtedly modern, but takes cues from the historic precedent of the longhouse to bring the outdoors in.

Set back on a 200-acre property on the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario, Compass House is a weekend getaway for a family of six that embraces the landscape in all aspects of its design. The striking all-white residence is the work of Toronto-based architecture firm superkül, which strategically placed the residence along a line of trees that serve as a windbreak, and oriented the home to overlook 100 acres of fields to the north and east, forests to the west, and a hill to the south.

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Clad in cement-board siding, the choice for an all-white facade "helps register the seasons," say the architects. "[It's] distinct amidst the green fields of summer, and meld[s] into a winter landscape of waning light and snow."

The 4,300-square-foot home comprises two volumes—the main volume and a small annex—wrapped around a central courtyard. The main volume takes inspiration from the longhouse with its long and narrow footprint to allow natural light and ventilation to flow through all rooms. 

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Bedrooms bookend the open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living space placed at the heart of the home. 

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Like the exterior, white surfaces dominate the interior but are broken up by a warm, natural palette that includes the white oak and knotty white cedar that make up the floors and walls, as well as the stone fireplace. 

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Large bi-fold doors on either side of this family space open the home up to nature, blurring the line between indoor and outdoor living, and provide access to the outdoor entertaining area on one side and the courtyard on the other.

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Skylights on the pitched roof let in daylight to the mezzanine level that contains a secondary living room and intimate study. 

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The small annex contains a family room. 

Built to improve with age, Compass House features rugged and low-maintenance materials including cement-board siding, aluminum windows, and a steel roof. 

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High insulation values, construction waste reduction, passive ventilation, and an in-ground geothermal system helped the green home earn LEED Gold certification.

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Project Credits:

Architect of Record: superkül

Builder/General Contractor: Wilson Project Management

Structural Engineer: Robert E. Brown & Associates Limited

Interior Design: superkül

Cabinetry Installation: La Fabrika

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