The Carraig Ridge Fireplace is a folly, a communal pavilion that is part of a 650-acre development of 44 contemporary rural retreats, located approximately 80 km west of Calgary in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The project amplifies the conventional fire pit to create an inhabitable fireplace that can be used as a gathering spot throughout the year, functioning as the hearth to the adjacent Lake Anna and surrounding hills.
It is both a landmark and destination, a glowing beacon hovering above the shore. With a limited design schedule of just four weeks, it was important to develop a straightforward method of construction using readily available materials. As such, the Fireplace is constructed of stacked, heavy, Douglas Fir timber cut into lengths of 3-to-5-feet and arranged into any of six unique positions based on a rotation, creating a subtle twist around the center. This playful interpretation of stacked firewood produces a thick yet porous veil between the cubic exterior and cylindrical interior.
The gaps between timbers allow light to slip through to the outside, and provide users with moments of oblique views back to the landscape. There are two distinct cuts; a corner entry and a framed viewed of the lake. From both interior and exterior, the strange articulation of the four facades and shifting degrees of porosity encourage visitors to move around and within the humble shelter.
The unique positioning of the stacked wood also serves to enhance the passage of time. Says Young Projects partner and founder, architect Bryan Young, “One alluring aspect of the rotational nature of the stacked wood is that the shifting positions relative to solar orientation and direct sun exposure result in varying degrees of weathering on the exterior surfaces of the timber.
This reading of a gradual tonal gradient reveals itself over time, adding depth to the interwoven nature of the structure.” Young Projects designed Carraig Ridge Fireplace as the first in an eventual series of three communal landscape follies on the Carraig Ridge site, seeking to provide moments of pause with minimal impact to the majestic setting.