Turkel Design’s Award-Winning Gambier Island House

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By Turkel Design
Turkel Design’s Award-Winning Gambier Island House - Photo 1 of 5 -

Imagine a contemporary cedar and glass house on a remote island, nestled into a steep hillside of fir trees overlooking the ocean below. It would be the perfect weekend refuge from a hectic urban work life. 

Gary, a city-dweller in British Columbia, dreamed of such an escape, but it wasn’t until he discovered Turkel Design and the Dwell Homes Collection that he was able to do more than dream. Building a house in such a challenging location would require precise siting, a sensitive design philosophy, and materials delivered by barge to a rugged island. 

With his partner, Gary researched Turkel Design’s 2008 collaboration with Lindal Cedar Homes that resulted in the inclusion of the TD3 series in the Dwell Homes Collection. Together, Turkel Design and Lindal Cedar Homes have developed a proven system that simplifies not only the process of designing a house, but also the process of delivering a precise package of extraordinary materials to a remote site. Sold on this approach, and with the added benefit that the local independent Lindal dealer, My House Design/Build in Vancouver, was experienced with island sites, Gary put his dream into play. 

Gary and his partner chose to modify the TD3 2490, an original design created by Turkel Design to be adaptable for diverse site conditions while offering a flowing interior layout and sweeping views in several directions. They wanted a home that blended seamlessly into its surroundings and was not only energy-efficient but also self-sufficient when winter storms knocked out the power supply. They were also determined that the house be sited and built with minimal disturbance to the hillside or the rocky shore of BC’s Strait of Georgia below. 

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Although perched within dense foliage, the home’s construction required that only six trees be removed. Says an admiring Gary, "Joel Turkel so carefully sited the house, utilizing computer-aided mapping. Since access to the site is primarily by water, the ‘front’ entry is on the waterside of the lowest level. You work your way up three levels to the primary living spaces on the top level where the filtered sun moves from east to west through the day, continually changing the warm ambiance of the interior." Turkel Design collaborated with My House Design/Build in positioning the house to open into a stand of old-growth cedars and out through the treetops to the opposite shoreline. 

The TD3 2490 was designed to collect its own rainwater, uses passive methods to self-ventilate, and can be delivered and constructed in almost any location worldwide. Gary’s version, known as Gambier Island House, was the first TD3 2490 to be completed in North America, and recently received two Gold and one Silver Awards for design and green-build features from the NAHB in its Waterfront Hideaway categories. 

Filled with a collection of modern furnishings, Gambier Island House is an oasis for its owners. Says Gary, "The interior volumes are a wonderful relief … The Lindal materials add such warmth without being cabin-like and the quality is remarkable … Windows strategically placed to capture small but important exterior features … And the filtered sunlight from dawn to dusk adds a natural rhythmic serenity. It’s just wonderful!" 

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To read more about the Gambier Island House and our other projects, please visit turkeldesign.com.

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