Completed in 2013 by Splyce Design, Russet Residence is a modern house located in West Vancouver. This house sits on a steep site with an ocean view to the south and mature cedar and douglas fir to the west. With 4600 ft2 in size, this project also includes reclamation of the house space while the house front area is modest in scale.
It is a modern house that responds to the conditions of the site by nestling itself into the hill. This house is also projecting out to maximize connectivity and stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The house’s proximity to the sloping and rugged creekside bank makes it subject to strict geotechnical and environmental conditions, including a required setback from the top of the bank. This pushes the foundation of the building eastwards.
The resultant footprint of this house is very narrow so a portion of the main and upper floor is cantilevered back out past the foundation of the building to gain back valuable space. This way allows native creekside vegetation to grow up well as an uninterrupted, wild, forest floor.
The space reclamation in this project is pronounced in the dining room where it projects out fifteen feet without any supports. The architect also extends the glazing panels and eliminates window frames on all three sides of the room to dissolve the house space into the adjacent forest canopy and also provides awesome framed views of the ocean.
The front area of the house is modest in scale and it is tucked into the hill, set off by the large mature cedar. This cedar becomes anchors for the front yard. The site’s topography also reveals itself as one descends the exterior stairs and it follows the exposed concrete wall to the main entrance of the house. The wall rises up to the interior, helping to frame the bright circulation volume of the building with stairs leading to the upper floor of the house and also down to the main living spaces.
From this house space, one can understand the house orientation in relation to the house site, topography, and also the sun movement across the building. Subtle hints of views to the forest, ocean, and sky are also suggested from this point but it’s not until one moves into the house spaces deeper when they are revealed fully.
The openness and porosity of space fit perfectly to effective cross-ventilation. The balance of solidity and robust materiality and massing anchor this house to the land. The result of this house is a modern building where it has a balanced relationship with its surrounding nature.
Russet Residence Gallery
Photographer: Ivan Hunter