out of town goodie : revelstoke modern

revelstoke - housea great article in the globe and mail has been written by trevor boddy about a modern house designed by battersby howat in revelstoke :

A home to revel in

Maybe alpine air inspires architects to do their best.

Revelstoke – a railway and highway service centre quickly transforming into a mountain mega-resort – has an unusually high ratio of B.C.’s finest buildings. The West Kootenay town of 8,000 has two superior examples of architecture that I would put on my personal Top 10 list for B.C.’s Interior, which is two more listings than I would give Kelowna, 15-times its size.

My two faves are its 1912 neoclassical courthouse with a glittering metallic dome, plus the 1939 Revelstoke hybrid city hall-cum-fire hall, in my view the first fully modern-style public building in the province.

Now adding to Revelstoke’s architectural acclaim is one of the best single-family B.C. houses I have seen this year.

To be honest, shelter magazines and a regular column like mine are guilty of over-praising multimillion dollar trophy houses, even though few will be remembered when the money runs out. But, like Revelstoke’s authoritatively composed courthouse and crisply optimistic civic complex, the riverside retirement house for Dr. Geoff and Gwynne Battersby is modest in scale – two bedrooms and living spaces on 1,650 square feet, plus finished basement – but every tuck and flourish is there for a reason.

Good design moves here begin with the house’s siting on a small, west-facing lot on the geologically active banks of the surging Columbia River. The rectangular house has its long side facing the setting sun – so rectangular and modest in scale that a local joked, “Oh, you mean that fancy trailer?” when directing me to “Doc Battersby’s new place.” Indeed, across the river are trailers, and across the street are stuccoed former motel units with the same logical one-way slope away from the river. The simple reality is that shifting sandy soils and a sometimes-torrential river means snow shed off roofs needs to be deposited as far as possible from the Columbia’s changeable banks.

revelstoke - front yardThe trailer jibe may also have to do with the fact the Battersby house – co-designed by their Vancouver-based son David – is more metallic than woodsy, in sharp contrast to the loggy mock-Whistler houses newly arrived in town along with such other symptoms of resort mania as cedar-shake roofs – both less functional and more expensive than metal cappings. The David Battersby and Heather Howat design makes innovative use of a local vernacular building design element appropriate to this extreme snow zone town – standing seam metal roofs – then situates this material in an unexpected way.

revelstoke - entryThe Battersby house extends this Revelstoke metal roof vernacular, but more eye-catching is the use of the same zinc-coloured material on facade portions along both alley and river sides, making for no-maintenance, storm- and snow-resisting faces. Metal wraps the house, with angled bulges on the alley side balanced by that fearless vertical face on the river, with clear-stain red cedar boards warming more sheltered and high contact areas. Similarly, snow-resistant strains of Karl Forster tall grass and B.C. dogwood are set down in the house’s near-perfect rock garden. Gazing at it during our house tour, Gwynne noted “All those nice young people in the architectural office gave us the plants for the garden they designed – aren’t they lovely?”

revelstoke - fireplaceEqually lovely are the livable spaces and considered floor-plan her son and his Vancouver colleagues concocted. No grand flourishes here, the Battersby-Howat design intelligently puts a bedroom with a butt-jointed corner window at each end, with living-dining and a galley kitchen in the middle, all focus on the Danish Modern furniture and the stunning view of Mount Begbie out the window.

revelstoke - bedroomIt is almost as if David Battersby synthesized the architectural essences of the courthouse and city hall he knew so well – metal wrap from the former, clean modern lines from the latter – then applied them to his own design. “Revelstoke has a huge amount of snow shedding – last year it was 12 feet deep on the driveway,” explains David Battersby of the town where his family has resided since 1968. “We designed it so that snow could pile up in places on the alley and river sides, leaving the corner views and windows clear.”

revelstoke - detailThe questioning of distinctions between wall and roof has emerged as a major theme in leading-edge architecture this decade, but too often this means angled and curving sections worthy of the futuroid rooms in old Jetson’s cartoons, or more earthily, the Flintstones’ Cro-Magnon rock-warrens. Neither Space Age nor Stone Age, Battersby-Howat’s fluidity of angled alley wall into sloping roof into roofing used vertically on the river side is as smart as it is seductive.

revelstoke - side of houseA house for one’s parents is a psychologically-wrought task for many architects, and clan-linked commissions were the first to be actually built by such intellectually-inclined designers as Robert Venturi, Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves and Laurinda Spears. David Battersby says of this, “I am a real sap, so doing a house for my parents was special – they really came to appreciate what Heather and I do.” This is not to say, however, that the design process was all sweetness and light. “I am my father’s son,” says David, “and there were times we butted heads, but my much mellower brother Rod did both the plumbing and the go-betweening.”

revelstoke - porchWell, Doll’s Mountain Sheep butt heads in a mating ritual each fall on the alpine slopes of Mount Mackenzie above Revelstoke. A billion dollar’s worth of development on and below the slopes of this mountain will soon double the town’s population and hurl it into the leagues of Whistler and Banff. Rather than flaccidly ape those two architecturally compromised towns, I hope developers look instead for inspiration closer to home, being brave enough to revel in, then stoke the architectural fires of Revelstoke.

the house has also been featured in the cedar book 2008.


pender island modern : 9809 spalding road

designed by : marko simcic / brian broster

built in : 2009

a short blurb on the house from the real estate listing:

ridge house: one of the most important houses on the southern gulf islands, this sensational marko simcic / brian broster designed getaway thrills with visual, spatial and emotional impact. vast uplifting views set the tone for architectural performance and this dynamic modern residence clearly and confidently steps up to the cutting edge. set on a sun soaked ridge, the house speaks a language of shape & texture; form & function with an energizing spirit and seductive form that just may change the way you live. environmentally mindful design provides aesthetic and thermal balance through careful application of methods and materials. Interiors convey an unwavering contemporary design idiom while epic views are pure and indulgent…

perched on the crest of a bluff with dramatic 180 degree panoramic views across the pacific ocean, this stunning contemporary offers a dynamic living environment both indoors and out. In 2009, architects marko simcic and brian broster utilized this rare site to create a structure that maximizes the birds-eye views. nearly every room in the house gazes upon the pacific’s marine activity and wildlife, including orcas and seabirds. sun infuses this modern sanctuary and creates beautiful shafts of light that bounces off brilliant white walls and dances across brazilian black slate floors. the gallery-like entertaining areas with floor to ceiling glass walls open to north and south courtyards. the north featuring a large water pool with floating patio; the south offering an expansive covered patio with outdoor kitchen, which in turn, opens to a stunning backdrop of sea and mountains. the private wings at opposite ends of the house comprises a deluxe master suite with dressing area at one end and guest bedrooms with deluxe bath servicing the entire upper level of the home. this dramatic setting and visually stunning residence truly embodies all that the pacific northwest has to offer with a mediterranean microclimate and enchanted forest walking trails at your door! pender island is considered to be the jewel of the pacific northwest and offers some of the best boating waters and spectacular natural scenery in all of british columbia.

check out the brochure here and the floor plan here.

sotheby’s pacific listing with 36 more images here, and realtor’s listing here.

9809 spalding road : view of house

the house from below.

9808 spalding road - living roomthe living space is all open with expansive glazing on both sides.

9809 spalding road - deckthe large undulating roof overhang provides excellent post-free weather protection for the patio area.

tsawwassen modern : 266 centennial parkway

266 centennial parkway - beach sidedesigned by : daniel evan white

built in : 1991

a wonderful custom home designed by dan white, was used in movies (link here) and now up for grabs with a view unlike any other. check out the 360 views here.

short blurb about the house from the realtor:

rarely does a magnificent waterfront property like this come available. a dan white masterpiece never to be replaced. truly a private resort feel, with miles of sandy beaches, breathtaking views of the bay, north shore mountains and sensational sunrises. three levels of endless glass, concrete and steel, this 5000 sq foot home was designed to bring the outdoors in with unobstructed views from most rooms, a cleverly designed beach front residence. enjoy a private 65 foot lap-pool and spa, large roof top deck, a six car lobby plus a master bedroom on wing of its own with unobstructed views. built for those who truly love to entertain in a setting few get to call home this gem is spectacular.

266 centennial parkway - courtyardclever use of site by placing a semicircular courtyard with a lap pool along one side directing towards the ocean.

266 centennial parkway - street sideunassuming and humble massing/facade from the street, but once past those gates and into the house….. boom pow!

west vancouver modern home tour 2014

the west vancouver museum’s ninth annual home tour took place on july 12th. five homes that exude the west coast modern aesthetic and lifestyle were featured on the tour, including one home under reconstruction with a new modern dwelling to be built on steep slope facing the ocean.

wv2014tourcheck out some of the photos from the tour:


open house : 135 east 17th avenue

135 east 17th - frontdesigned by: lwpac (oliver lang)

built by: vanglo in 2014

interior design by: modern 604

just completed and for sale. short blurb by realtor:

inspired. sustainable. stylish. don’t miss this opportunity to own one of vancouver’s most unique, new properties in highly desirable mt. pleasant. the super prime vanglo house is built by vanglo sustainable construction group and architecturally designed by lwpac. this urban sculpture features high-end finishings, a chef’s kitchen with leibherr, Viking, and wolf appliances, custom milled cabinetry, polished concrete floors, radiant heating, triple pane windows,  sound proofed garden suite, hrv and in-ground irrigation system . the top floor is an open living and entertaining space, boasting a peak ceiling height of thirteen feet that flows into a stunning, 300 square foot outdoor lounge. this home is one of only 3 homes in vancouver that is energy star certified. open house is this saturday june 21, 1pm-5pm.

check out more detailed walk-through of the house here.

some images and information of the house on contemporist.

of course, the link to the official house promo website here.