17.5.2013

Casa en Limekiln Line, Ontario, Canadá

El sitio de 25 acres está en constante transformación debido a los cambios estacionales vinculados al clima, a los cultivos y a la ocupación. La casa se apoya ligeramente sobre la tierra, amplificando las condiciones específicas de este vasto paisaje productivo: enmarca las amplias vistas de las áreas de cultivo próximas a la casa y actúa como un punto de referencia del cambio topográfico del sitio.

The 25-acre site is in constant flux due to seasonal shifts tied to weather, cultivation and occupation. The house sits lightly on the land while registering and amplifying specific conditions of this vast productive landscape: it frames expansive views of the shifting crop quilts adjacent to the house and acts as a datum to an existing topographic shift on the site. The house is calibrated to allow views into and through the house, which gives a sense of spatial expansion to the interior. An extended south deck and west deck walk offer threshold spaces that extend this experiential choreography while also mediating between enclosure and exposure and extending seasonal exterior occupation of the site.

The house is off-grid and a variety of sustainable measures reduce both operational and embodied energy. Siting and orientation facilitate passive heating and cooling to temper the vast seasonal temperature swings in Ontario. The generous south deck overhang blocks summer sun while allowing winter sun to heat the concrete thermal mass floor. Evenly distributed operable windows generate summer cross-ventilation and facilitate stack effect heat purging. Triple-glazed windows, a highly insulated envelope detailed to reduce thermal bridging, and high efficiency appliances ensure energy consumption is minimized.

The house offers back to the cultural landscape in which it sits. The architectural language of the exterior, a monolithic galvanized steel shed, is informed by the local agricultural vernacular. This ensures visual coherence within the landscape and means that the house could be built with locally available and sourced materials. Wood used for siding, decking, and interior counters, for example, was harvested from a forest within view of the house, and the galvanised steel came from a local company that specializes in roofing for barns and other agricultural buildings. Recycled steel farming implements were re-appropriated into light fixtures, counter bases and other furnishings, and steel grating was adapted from agricultural uses to form the guardrails on the west deck walk and the interior loft space. The rich dialogue with local craftsman ensured that the house is rooted in the building practices and conventions of context while also offering the community exposure to innovative resource and energy-conserving construction practices.

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The interior of the 83 m2 house is composed of a core floating within a shed shell. There are no conventional rooms or hallways; inhabitable spaces flow into one another, making the compact space feel expansive. The shallow end of the shed contains an intimate east facing sleeping area, while the west end of the house contains a double-height living space. In between and within the core are the bathroom, storage areas, kitchen, and stairs to a floating loft space that overlooks the double-height living space. Services are contained within a small footprint within the core to minimize pipe and wire runs and to allow balanced continuous views to the surrounding natural environment. The house was detailed with a deliberately reductive palette and in such a way as to reduce material redundancy where possible. The concrete floor, for example, serves as a structural element, a heat source (through radiant in-floor heating), as thermal mass for passive solar gain in winter and passive cooling in summer, and as final floor finish.

Generous threshold spaces including a continuous 15m long covered south deck and 15m long west deck walk extend living into the site without disturbing farming activities, and abundant windows and carefully calibrated views into and through the central core ensure that, despite its limited footprint, the house is visually expansive. The experience of moving into, within and through the house, along with careful siting and generous threshold spaces, allow the house to act as a place of slow seasonal observation.

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