A home that laces a built environment into its natural setting, functionally and aesthetically
A key consideration in the design of the Southlands Residence, for architects Dialog, was the relationship between the building and its site. The goal of the project was to blend the interior and exterior together, resulting in a series of spaces that flow into each other in an organic manner. A year-round freshwater stream divides the irregularly shaped property, nestled into a mature and heavily vegetated corner site in a historic Vancouver neighbourhood. The home spans the riparian environment and sets up a circulation sequence that culminates in a grand south facing outdoor ‘room’ on the water’s edge. The design capitalizes on moments of natural splendour in social zones while playfully borrowing from foliage and topography in the creation of private contemplative spaces.
The house was designed around the structural grid established by an earlier residence. While remnants of original footings and columns remain, Southlands completely reinterprets notions of privacy and exposure while being adjacent to a well-travelled avenue. Strategically placed concrete fin walls in the landscape, interior millwork objects, and feature skylights define private living zones on an otherwise open main level.
Large expanses of commercial curtain-wall glazing and deep eaves offer framed views of the planted basin while maximizing natural illumination. A network of decks creates a covered zone, further blurring the line between interior and exterior. The surrounding landscape becomes as much a part of the interior living areas as the client’s carefully selected pieces of furniture. A highly crafted steel and glass stair connects the main floor and a lower living area. Descending to the more sequestered zone in the lower level affords a fleeting glimpse of the creek and navigable landscape beyond. A concrete path crosses over the slow moving water and threads south under the sculpted wooden belly of the house. The house fulfils its ambitions as a home that laces a built environment into its natural setting, functionally and aesthetically.