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Whistler Cabin


The Armitage Residence is located in Black Tusk Estates, just off the Sea-to-Sky Highway, 8 miles south of Whistler Village, in British Columbia. The 2,200 sq.ft. house is for a couple, an artist and project manager who wanted a weekend and vacation retreat. They desired a residence with a modern materially expressive aesthetic, integrated harmoniously with the mountain valley landscape.

The site lies at the edge of a forest clearing that opens to a seasonal marsh and dramatic view of the coastal mountain range and the distinctive volcanic spire of Black Tusk, to the east. The alpine climate is characterized by hot arid summer months, heavy rainfall in spring and fall and a deep snow pack in the winter. The flora and fauna of the marsh vary seasonally as the wetlands expands in the rainy season and contracts in the hot dry summer.

The structure rests on a bedrock swale between several large boulders at the forest clearing. The house is organized as two parallel rectangular forms shifted in plan to create a sheltered forest side entry and an open plan oriented east to the clearing and the view. Living spaces are located on the main floor; the second floor has a painting studio, two bedrooms, and a open den / library overlooking the two-storey living space.

The house has a modern and materially expressive aesthetic with a directness of expression, simplicity and clarity. Starkly modern, formal yet one with the natural terrain. The materials are straightforward and used with a matter-of-factness to create a strong modern architectural character: freestanding masonry block walls with a natural finish, polished concrete floors on the main level, exposed engineered glulam structure with T&G Douglas fir decking, an apple plywood on the upper ceiling, anodized aluminum window and door frames, galvanized standing seam metal roof and corrugated metal exterior skin.

The roof structure floats above the masonry walls separated by a continuous clerestory. The standing seam metal roof is taut and stretched giving the structure a tent-like expression. On the east elevation, a continuous band floor-to-ceiling glazing and block walls extend outward from the structure to form a generous terrace blurring the boundary between the interior and exterior spaces. Prepared by Jerry Doll, NSDA Architects. Vancouver. 2014.

All photographs are © 2014 Derek Lepper, All Rights Reserved.

Although other homes are nearby the mature woodland provides seclusion.
Looking down from the mezzanine library to John and Gill relaxing by their wood-pellet fireplace.
The upper bridge connects the two volumes and separates the master suite and the mezzanine library from the guest rooms.
The stairway leads to the bedrooms and the mezzanine library.
Cross country ski trails start outside the back door.
The powerful glulam structure gives warmth as well as strength.
Apple plywood gives a soft and warm covering to the...
A large studio is what every artist dreams of.
The wetland contracts in the hot dry summers.
The frosted windows allow some privacy to the studio, while bringing in natural light.
It's warm inside.
The upper bridge connects the two volumes and separates the master suite and the mezzanine library from the guest rooms.
From the back of the house the view is across a pond surrounded by a wildflower meadow and on to woodlands with...
The artists' studio.
The roof floats above a continuous clerestory resting on freestanding masonry block walls.
The kitchen is accessed from two sides. Convenient to the dining room and open to the lounge.