West Vancouver British Columbia 7000 sf
This home is sited on an acre of land in West Vancouver’s Caulfeild neighborhood. The house is an accretion of a series of renovations and improvements, dating from its original build in 1971. Originally conceived as a simple family home, albeit a white cube, the home has morphed over the years into a gallery as the owners collection of contemporary art grew in size and importance, and the two children left to start their own families.
This renovation saw the largest addition put onto the house at 4000 sf of additional dedicated gallery space. Instead of tearing down and starting new, the owners viewed a grafting of new space onto the old as more respectful of the history of the home, and more interesting as new and old are put together in continuity. The addition is comprised of 2 levels of stepped gallery space, centred on a courtyard containing an swimming pool. The deck of the courtyard forms the roof of a guest suite. Improvements on previous designs and renovations come down to the refinement of details: reveals, fixtures, and air grills hidden in steps risers speak to a refinement of detailing not possible in the 1970’s.
Aesthetically, the couple’s original choice of flat roofs and white stucco proved to be a viable, enduring and flexible form to work with. Very little, apart from fixtures and appliances, seems dated in parts of the old house, which allows it to blend almost seamlessly with the new. The placement of art was done at an early stage in the design process, with the house practically wrapped around the art. Views of distant Georgia Straight and Point Grey are orchestrated to complement sculpture and painting. Downstairs, video installations occupy the underground portion of the gallery.
The home represents a unique niche of west coast modernism, that of the Bauhaus cube. An aesthetic imported by northern European immigrants, the dramatic landscape of the west coast is offset by the purity of square white walls. Eschewing the woodsy coziness of post and beam construction in favor of clarity, light air and space, this home and others like it represent a living link to an important era in the modernist movement.