Situated on a steep waterfront lot flanked by suburban context, the Four & Four House knits together the client’s affinity for mid-century, post-and-beam construction with contemporary adaptations. The particularities of the site’s generous width and its semi-naturalized condition provided an opportunity for landscape elements to flow from the front yard, through the centre of the house, to the waterfront in the form of four distinct courtyards. Clad in locally milled yellow cedar, four massive beams frame these courtyards:
1. A sunken courtyard at the entrance framed by concrete walls provides lateral and vertical separation between vehicular movement and guest arrival.
2. A naturally planted garden courtyard opens up to the sky in a double-height atrium, bringing in filtered south light to the interior spaces below.
3. A sheltered outdoor living room immediately next to the garden provides the setting for multi-seasonal activities.
4. A lounge deck hanging over the edge of the house gives way to unobstructed views of the water and its everchanging conditions.
Spatially, the central courtyard separates the flanking formal and informal living areas while still allowing visual connection through full-height glazing. A fully glazed gallery acts as the intersection between the living spaces, sunken courtyard, and garden. The upper floor—a screened volume that contains the bedrooms—spans the outdoor living room below like a bridge. This volume is strategically shifted toward the street so that the monolithic façade at the south elevation conveys a sense of privacy when viewed from the street. Meanwhile, lowered window heads visually reduce the house’s massing from the water’s edge to give it the appearance of a single-storey volume following the client’s appreciation for mid-century aesthetics.