The Eels Lake Residence by Altius Architecture

April 26, 2010

Altius Architecture have designed the Eels Lake residence in Apsley, Ontario, Canada.

Full description after the photos….


Description of the Eels Lake Residence by Altius Architecture:

This project continues the Southern Ontario tradition of cottaging, while pushing the typology beyond one of occasional use into a year round dwelling. The home immerses itself in the surroundings, drawing from the beauty of the entire site, in addition to the powerful focus of the lake. Clean, modern spaces, rich in material and texture, in concert with a solid sustainable foundation results in enduring architecture.

The side-split massing integrates naturally into the site conforming to a subtle shift in the underlying Canadian Shield and minimizing the overall presence of the building on the site. The efficient steel and engineered wood structure allows a delicate glazed skin to wrap the main volume, emphasized by a simple roof plane that connects the main program elements. Taking full advantage of the granite mass upon which the building rests, the simple roof plane floats over a glass pavilion that is anchored to the site by an insulated concrete formwork [ICF] foundation. Clad in brick, the ICF base emphasizes the solidity of the site and provides the solidity for the light structure above, while creating a tightly sealed envelope for the lower bedrooms.

Through the use of a consistent palette of materials, wall and ceiling cladding link the interior with exterior. The varied textures of the simple volumes and planes provide a subtle but distinct reading of space. The architects worked closely with on-site trades to fuse new technology with traditional craftsmanship–a relationship that is all too infrequent in current practice. An efficient structure of steel and engineered wood is also achieved through strong collaboration with the structural engineer. Since the structure is separated from the envelope, a delicate glazed skin is able to wrap the main volume while the slender columns emphasize the simple roof plane that connects the main program elements. Completed within a reasonable construction budget, the project demonstrates the value of an integrated approach to building.

Though the building features extensive glazing, the building was carefully oriented with extensive roof overhangs and high efficiency windows. In the winter, the south-shading deciduous trees drop their leaves and solar penetration exploits the thermal storage capacity of the concrete floors. Thick evergreens retained along the north and east elevations of the building fend off cold winter winds. Other features that passively reduce the environmental impacts of the project are a high-albedo flat roof membrane, low-flow toilet fixtures, native vegetation, natural cross-ventilation, and local materials. A lake-loop geothermal system supplies heating for the home, distributed through radiant concrete floors. In summer, the system is reversed to provide cooling if necessary. Energy modeling of the geothermal system demonstrates a 5-year life-cycle payback period over a propane fired boiler. These integrated strategies ensure occupant comfort at a reduced environmental cost.

This project’s triumph is in proving that green technology is viable for mainstream construction. Ultimately the economics of sustainability make sense and the suite of green strategies this project incorporates appealed to a client with no green agenda at the outset.

Visit the Altius Architecture website – here.