BARRY'S BAY COTTAGE
This project is a 2500 sq. ft. cottage, containing a private master bedroom suite, a library, a reading room, a large family room and a boat storage for a family of six which has outgrown the old, prefabricated "A" frame cottage existing on the site.
The site is a rural parcel of land in Ontario Canada, sloping gently down to the fresh water, Lake Kamaniskeg. It is wooded with evergreens and tall birch trees. The setting is tranquil and meditative with the horizon line always present and defined by the lake's edge against trees of adjoining shore.
The client's sentimental attachment to the old cottage as children, resolved in keeping the old structure and guest-house, shoring up its leaning and faulty foundation. Consequently treating the existing cottage as a given. The existing fake shutters were then removed, the pink paint was stripped from the trim work and the asphalt roof shingles were replaced with galvanized steel panels to match the new house. However, the interior was changed minimally. The living area was removed, creating space for a larger new kitchen and dining area on the lower floor.
The new cottage is a 100 ft. long wood structure which stretches along the western property line, only three feet away from the existing structure. This tight condition preserves old trees and open space in front of the existing cottage while creating a peculiar tension between the old and new structures, very common in farm structures.
The old and new are connected with a large wood deck. Lifted up above grade on concrete piers, changing form as one proceeds towards the lake, this runway like deck compresses one between the two buildings at first revealing a narrow framed view of the lake. Further procession finds the view opening gradually as one approaches the end of the deck, some ten feet above the earth. A small structure designed for outdoor showers, completes this complex at the landing level of the stair, leaving the deck and leading towards the lake. The shower provides an intimate space, with framed views of the lake to reflect, while cleansing oneself from preconceived notions of every day life.
The idea of framing and the inspiration from horizontal markings on skin of surrounding birch trees, gave birth to the invention of slot windows on the east side of the new house. The structure of the house therefore became a post and beam structure, allowing for the exterior walls to be treated as curtain walls. These slot openings bring in outside light into narrow beams inside, at nights they act as exterior light fixtures and during the day they frame different parts of the landscape beyond. In contrast to the east side, the west side emphasizes the verticality of the adjacent field of very tall trees through vertical span of windows and the stair tower rapped in corrugated metal.
The interior of the new house includes a large living space with a freestanding fireplace at its center. At the upper level an open bridge connects the reading room to the library, all open to the living room below and the master suite at the very north end. A shaded upper deck adjacent to the reading room allows privacy for contemplation and rest.
The materials used in this house are mainly red western cedar, both on the inside and outside, White maple flooring and galvanized metal roof panels and siding.