World Architecture Day 2014

THURSDAY 17 APRIL 2014

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House 4249, Vancouver, Canada 
Thursday 17 Jan 2013
 
Capturing the spirit of openness and a connection with nature... 
 
 
 
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08/02/13 Greg Dowling, Vancouver
Consider for a moment, the beauty of nature as art, and the window as its canvas. Just as a gallery uses contrast to emphasize and strengthen the experience of viewing the art within, so too does the neutral palette of this house bring greater experiential meaning to the nature that surrounds it. The power of contrast heightens awareness where material mimicry diminishes the viewed object, merging it into its background.
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22/01/13 James Martin, Denver, CO
Can anyone explain to me how a bright white house can connect to nature in any way at all? It simply jumps out of the landscape and screams look at me.
 

Award Entry

Dissolving boundaries between a building and its natural surroundings 

Nestled among boulders and rock outcrops, perched on the precipice of a deep, forested ravine in West Vancouver, Canada, House 4249 builds on the legacy of a West Coast Modernist style inspired by the works of Neutra, Ellwood, Koening and Erickson, with origins in West Vancouver beginning in the 1940s and continuing into the 1970s. Like many designs of these predecessors, House 4249 captures the spirit of openness and a connection with nature - both hallmarks of the Modernist movement in residential design at that time.

Both the intrinsic differences and the links between the built environment and nature are simultaneously celebrated. By strategically merging interior and exterior, both visually and physically, the boundaries between the built and the natural are dissolved, and living spaces, while distinct in character, become directly connected to, and are one with, nature.

In response to the naturally random and chaotic forms of the site, House 4249 expresses a contrasting, highly ordered, form of solids and voids. This ordered logic is achieved through a simple series of overlapping planes. Both vertical and horizontal, these planes form, in a very fundamental way, the organizational structure of the uses within. Expressing the simplicity of the composition, the thin, floating planes of the composition required a more innovative structural solution - the first of its kind in North America. With the use of this Cross-Laminated Timber structure, the house was free to express much thinner plane profiles, visually unsupported planes, as well as cantilevers that extend farther and thinner than would otherwise be possible in steel or concrete. The erection of this pioneering CLT project in North America was completed in a mere six days, allowing the house to take form much quicker and with less disturbance on this sensitive natural site than with traditional means of framing.

By addressing the challenging and steeply sloping site with a tactfully ordered form and innovative structure, House 4249 merges the contrasting qualities of both natural and built forms into a pavilion-like house that transitions from the intimacy of the forest to the dramatic cliff side view of the sea.

Key Facts

Status Completed April 2012
Value Undisclosed(m€)
DGBK Architects
www.dgbk.com

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