Rock House – A Contemporary Cabin Nestled In The Rock.

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THE PROJECT. This 800 sq. ft. one-bedroom cabin, designed by Cutler Anderson Architects of Bainbridge Island, was nestled between two massive lichen-covered rocks in the rugged landscape of Alberta. Rock House is located at Carraig Ridge, “described by the developers as a hub of contemporary architecture, set in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains in southern Alberta.”  Photographs are courtesy of Bent René Synnevåg.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THIS PROJECT.  What first drew me to this project was the property and the view. The view is stunning and the surrounding land is rugged and very pristine. The placement for the home the architect chose was perfect and the design is very sympathetic to the land, not the other way around. It’s like he shoe-horned the home to the land.

The second element of the design is the transparency of the home to the surrounding area and the view. The floor to ceiling windows allow you to be pulled through them and out into the void. You become one with the earth and the sky. (I know – pretty new age hippyish but it works) Imagine yourself sitting in the space and having the tranquillity and serenity wash over you. If you ever needed a place to get back to your centre you could do no better than this.

The approach is from the rear of the house through a wooden door, cut into a concrete wall. As you enters the cabin, a dramatic view of the sky, the mountains and the river valley below, is revealed through floor-to-ceiling windows of thick insulated glass. The roof is supported by a central steel I-beam which rests on slender steel columns. Because this cabin is about its relationship to the land, each facade has glazing and is carefully cut into the rock. The material palette is board-formed concrete, Douglas Fir and steel.

The interior of the home is very organic, the choice of concrete flooring, wood clad walls and open rafter ceilings compressing the space slightly and giving it a lot of warmth despite the ceiling volume.

Notice how you can look right through the home and out the other side of it. The view of the horizon with light clouds and pink sky off in the distance is not broken or blocked by the cabin. You, the property and the dwelling are one at this place and time.

This image shows galley the kitchen, clad in wood with cook top oriented to the view. The furniture and décor is minimal. The polished floor reflects the light. This is a property that invites peace and contemplation and allows a space for it.

This image shows how the home is nestled into the landscape, and because you can see right through it, it becomes one with the land and not juxtaposed on it.  The architects chose this site for it craggy topography, which they used to frame the house.

What Have We Learned? There is a lot that can be taken from this home and be applied to homes in the Okanagan area. The walls of glass, soaring ceilings, open floor plans, nestling the home into the land. All of these are elements can be incorporated into designs for view lots.

THE AREA: The home above is located at Carraig Ridge an area of contemporary retreats, set on lots of 2 to 5 acres, each featuring spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains. The developers describe it as an innovative rural community, focused on balancing the solitude and beauty of a rural lifestyle with a sense of community, support and amenities, and exceptional design.

NATURE IS LUXURY  Carraig Ridge is an escape from the demands of daily life in the city. Each of the 44 homes is meant to be a rural retreat, focused on engaging views, both near and far, to bring the surrounding landscape into the house. Every lot within the community features stunning panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains.

FIRE PLACE  Architect: Young Projects

Fire Place at Carraig Ridge amplifies the conventional fire pit to create an inhabitable fireplace that functions as the hearth to the surrounding hills. Perched on the shore of Anna Lake, a seven hectare (17 acre) enhanced natural wetland, the pavilion is simultaneously a landmark and a destination; it is a beacon hovering above the lake, but rooted in simplicity and connection to the surrounding landscape.

Fire Place is constructed of local lumber cut into lengths of 3 to 5 feet and stacked in six specific positions according to simple rules of rotation. This subtle twist is a playful interpretation of the traditional method of stacking logs, referencing the traditional log cabin while exaggerating texture for a contemporary result.

This creates a thick surface that envelops the warmth of the fire and blocks wind, but allows light to slip through to the outside. Rather than isolating users, Fire Place provides moments of oblique views back to the landscape, framing their surroundings in unexpected ways.

Fire Place provides a gathering spot for residents of Carraig Ridge – a rural community that will, upon completion, feature 44 contemporary homes – to meet with neighbours, friends and family over roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate, or warm up during an afternoon of skating.

Carraig Ridge is a constant place. It exists to improve the rural character and natural integrity of its surroundings. The primary amenity offered by the community is immediate access to an unspoiled, peaceful landscape.



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