Bowen Island Residence

Bowen Island British Columbia 4500 sf

This vacation home is sited on the southernmost projection of land on Bowen Island, approximately 30 km west of Vancouver. The 400’ long property is a gently sloping grass meadow terminating in a steep and rocky shoreline, rich with sea otters, eagles and mule deer. The house is sited in a U-shaped building envelope on the rocky promontory bordering the coastal bluff, with 180º views of the Straight of Georgia and the Gulf Islands. A stand of protected coastal fir, pine and arbutus trees fill the courtyard.

The design takes its cue from the rugged coastal fisherman’s huts whose straightforward lines and tight building envelopes withstand the strong Southeasterly winter winds and corrosive salt air. It stands as a refuge beacon on the edge of the sea. The tough outer skin is juxtaposed inside with milled hemlock roof trusses, black concrete floors and long white walls for the display of contemporary art. In warmer months stacking sliding glass walls are opened to permit free access to the moss-covered granite cliffs.

The home has in-floor radiant heating fed by geothermal coils buried in the meadow. A 10,000-gallon cistern collects rainwater (in limited supply in the warm months) from the roof for use domestically and in the garden. The house is durable in its construction (simple details, gable roofs), adapted to its climate (rain and salt air) it is energy efficient (high insulation values, geothermal heating), and has its own water collection and purification system for domestic use. It is green, harmonious with its environment, durable, and simplethe delicate coastal fir, pines and arbutus' seem to flow through the building. The owner's extensive collection of sophisticated contemporary art provides a stunning contrast to the jaw-dropping rugged beauty of its site. Visitors are pulled simultaneously towards the intellectual beauty of the art and the challenging physicality of the site.