Ridge HouseJun 21, 2012
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Valley in rural Canada
Overlooking a broad valley with distant views of rural Canada, this house stretches along the crest of a narrow ridge surrounded by evergreen and hardwood forest. The retreat was conceived as a place for year round recreation as well as quiet solitude.
After entering the site through a thick grove of evergreens, the drive turns to reveal the first glimpse of the home— a long, linear core of cut stone sliding under a single slope roof and through a delicate glass volume. The stone core, punctuated by two large fireplace masses, organizes the spaces, with primary circulation along the south face of the stone. Gaps in the stone core provide access to each of the living spaces, while the core itself houses bathrooms, closets and other support spaces. Anchored to the south by the stone mass, the living spaces extend north onto a wood deck overlooking the steep slope with tall walls of glass blurring the boundary between inside and out.
The master suite opens to the north and west, providing views through the forest to a secluded stone fire square for evening gathering. Three rows of rigorously detailed steel structure provide the framework for the Douglas fir rafters and single slope metal roof. The long south roof overhang provides shading in the summer, while the low winter sun warms the stone bar. The roof over the living spaces projects upwards and outwards, heightening one’s awareness of the sunlit view to the north. Light monitors are clipped to the face of both chimneys, washing the fireplaces with natural light. Additional free standing roof monitors provide light to spaces within a stone core. Both clear and translucent glass enclose the south wall, providing a play of light and space experienced along the circulation spine.
Carefully positioned in the natural landscape, this house is bold yet delicate. It is both a retreat and a gathering place.