A Unique Home in the Canadian Forest That Doubles As a Bridge

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
On the shores of Mary Lake in Port Sydney, Ontario—just two hours north of Toronto—the Bridgehouse is a modern wooden home that straddles a ravine, forming a bridge over the forest below.

Created by Lima-based firm Llama Urban Design, the interesting home is constructed from locally sourced, glue-laminated Douglas fir (known as glulam) and was designed to have a minimal impact on the site. Its linear bridge-like design—which spans 59 feet across a ravine—forms a horizontal line, which acts as a counterpoint to the landscape, celebrating its sylvan location. 

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The narrow house is suspended from an inverted V-shaped glulam structure that supports an exterior staircase leading to the roof deck. 

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Set at the height of the tree canopy, the house features two main facades. The lake-facing side is fully glazed with a sliding-door system that converts the living room into a covered balcony, which overlooks the landscape when opened. The other side has glazing, which follows the form of the structure and features forest-facing views.

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The interiors measure 2,476 square feet and are clad in maple plywood. The large wooden panels act as a backdrop, reflecting the interplay of light and shadow created by the movement of the forest—integrating the surroundings into the minimalist interiors of the home. 

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The clean design frames the landscape, creating a sense of lightness throughout the interiors. 

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Like a bridge, the home can be accessed from either end—its open-plan kitchen and living room at the center of the long and narrow floor plan. A bedroom, bathroom, and a smaller room are set on either end and mirror each other's layout. 

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Extensive built-in cabinetry and shelving complement the design and provide ample storage.

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The exterior of the home is clad in locally sourced, unstained-cedar siding that runs horizontally, producing a contrast to the forest's vertical landscape. 

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Project Credits

-Architect of Record: Llama Urban Design

-Architects: Mariana Leguía, Angus Laurie

-Team (Llama Urban Design): Mariana Leguía, Angus Laurie, Patrick Webb, Alvaro Rivadeneira 

-Structural Engineering: Mike Feindel, Blackwell Structural Engineers  

-Engineering (Heating, Plumbing, and Electric): Gravenhurst Plumbing, Heating & Electric

-Photography: Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio, NY/Toronto

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