Clear Lake Cottage
Parry Sound, Ontario
Client : Private
Area : 2,400 sf
Completion : August 2012
A Toronto family of five required a new four-season cottage to replace their existing 1950's structure. The goal was to blend with the rural character of the quiet lake community and provide a clean modern environment that engages the landscape and captures a cottage feel. The site is located on Clear Lake in Seguin Township, Ontario with a large lake frontage. The building sits quietly behind trees, away from the water with its orientation predominately to the east, collecting warmth and direct morning light.
Conceived as the 'campsite' (tents around a campsite), three primary volumes: living space, bedrooms, and master suite, are registered on the site to maximize views of the forest and lake, creating separation between program and privacy on site. The volumes are arranged to frame exterior spaces and capture indoor / outdoor conditions in-between. A peaked sloped roof is used to achieve an ambiguously modern vernacular feel, resulting in a formal expression of the archetypical ‘house’. Inside, the ‘big-top' single tent pole is used to support a giant hip roof housing the volumes below.
The building massing is carved away to expose the interior Douglas Fir roof and wall structure, capturing pockets of outdoor spaces and creating a spatial continuum – a porosity of inside to out. Taking cues from the client’s fondness for Scandinavian fishing shacks, with their pine tar-painted cedar, the building is clad in black corrugated metal – a cost effective North American interpretation of this shoreline aesthetic. The result is decidedly modern, but raw and industrial too. This approach to a ‘high and low’ material palette and divergent typologies is a strategy to disarm the precious nature of ‘designed’ space.
The interior is detailed with smooth, warm Douglas Fir plywood to contrast the textured exterior black cladding. Exposed areas of plywood framing are either open to above (morning terrace) or clad with smoke tinted corrugated acrylic (arrival spaces). The rooms facing the forest support an open mezzanine space, used as bedrooms. This mezzanine is emphasized with a stained oak ‘black box’ treatment and is an extension of the materiality of the exterior – signifying enclosure. The screened porch has a bi-folding partition opening to the cottage interior. 50% of the glazed envelope can be left in the open screened position allowing for the cottage to be exposed to breeze, fragrances, acoustics, and shadow play – capturing the natural feel of the site.