The project began life as a renovation for both architecture and surrounding landscape. The original post and beam, 1962 Gardiner, Thornton and Gathe Associates house had been added to and fiddled with over the years with layer upon layer of stylistically questionable decor and remodelling, each owner bringing their own interpretations and taste. Similarly, the landscape was a hotpotch of picturesque style and references to English cottage gardens complete with goldfish ponds, garden gnomes and clouds of incessantly nibbling mosquitos.
Our approach was to begin the project by editing the existing condition in order to pair back the house and garden and in so doing, redefine the relationship between architecture and landscape. Once the archeology was complete, the mosquitos gone and the goldfish re-housed we were free to define a new typology based on a pragmatic use of outdoor space, in turn making reference to the wild and untamed landscape we were fortunate to become a part of.
A simple palette of native and native adaptive plants and tree species were defined and based on the specific requirements of light, shade and tolerance for the soil conditions created in mature coniferous woodland settings. Muted tones and plants that help define seasonal variation are utilized with simple, robust hardscape materials all chosen to show patina and graceful aging over time. Basalt stone paving, Corten steel and timber deck platforms create areas for outdoor socializing. Corten steel fire bowls help keep the early evening chill at bay and simple overhead cafe style string lights bring a festive atmosphere to even the most damp of temperate rainforest days. Geometric forms are employed throughout the outdoor garden rooms, sometimes as planted beds at others as patios and pathways, all uniquely derived from the rugged rock outcroppings accompanying the thunderous Cypress falls flowing adjacent to the site. Composed throughout, each is piece forms a part of a new calligraphy, both abstract and immediate in its response to the raw and untamed nature of the surrounding greater landscape.
The ever changing face of nature is never far from this site. From inside the feeling of security that a home brings is often juxtaposed by the wind swaying giant old growth trees and crashing rocks, washed down from Cypress mountain. Our role in this project was very much to uncover these visceral qualities, with designed interventions only paying homage to their setting, allowing for simple utility and celebration of life’s milestones amongst the forest. In so doing, the gardens and outdoor spaces create a new typology and relationship between Architecture and Landscape. Both modern and yet familiar, designed to adapt and change over time and still appear part of the ancient organized chaos experienced on a walk in the woods. The landscape reinforces ideas developed by the early pioneers of West Coast Modernism, with a hat tip to the new generation of prosectors uncovering the gems of modern living.
Entrant office name: CONSIDERED DESIGN INC
Role of the entrant in the project: LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT
Other design firms involved in the design of the garden (if any): NONE
Project location (State or Country): West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Design year: 2016
Year Built: 2016