New home in South Okanagan takes inspiration from Le Corbusier's five points of modernsim
Located on the shores of Lake Osoyoos in the South Okanagan, this single-family residence, completed in May 2010, was designed to enhance the owner's recreational lifestyle. The physical constraints of the property provided an opportunity to experiment with a creative architectural solution that would meet the owner’s vision and the challenging, compact footprint and site. The site constraints became the driver for the main concept.
The building site is small and compact, facing eastward across the lake. Provincial legislation requires a 30-metre setback from the high water mark of the lake. The owner, a city planner, was able to convince the Ministry of Environment and Department of Fisheries and Oceans that a variance of 15 m to the setback was reasonable. With this approval, the building area was developed within a 9 x 15 m footprint. Spaces were stacked, creating a two-storey home with a roof garden for relaxing or entertaining. These initial design responses provided a parallel to Le Corbusier’s five points of modernism and so the architects attempted to address each point in their design:
1. Piloti: Although Piloti were not incorporated, the building footprint is smaller than the second level to maximise yard space and to create the appearance of a raised building form.
2. Roof Terrace: A roof garden was incorporated to allow for entertaining and relaxing.
3. Independent Structure: Although the structure is not independent of the exterior walls, it was minimised to allow for open planning and to allow for large glazed openings.
4. Free Plan: Planning was simplified with minimum interior partitions.
5. Free Façade: The structural design allowed for maximum window openings to engage the landscape and to allow for an indoor/outdoor living experience. A horizontal ribbon window was incorporated on the west wall as a modest reference to the five points and to Le Corbusier’s, Villa Savoye, Poissy (1928-9).
The building provides the basic needs of shelter in a simple, compact, organised box. The building aesthetics are intended to be simple and functional solutions that respond to the semi-desert climate of the South Okanagan, the owner’s program and the waterfront context. The building form is reminiscent of the early modernists. The white stucco accentuates the colours of the site, the ribbon windows maximise views and the roof garden allows for play and entertaining. The building was also designed to incorporate passive sustainable strategies to control heat gain and to minimise energy consumption. The building form provides shading and the natural ventilation allows a breeze to form between the lower and upper windows. In addition, the high water table made it ideal to incorporate a ground source heat pump and radiant floors.