Although Canada is a highly urbanized country, there are also plenty of cabins, retreats and beautiful houses that take advantage of the wild landscape. There are a lot of forests, mountains and tundra regions which have inspired architects to create amazing structures that adapt to their surroundings and bring the outdoors in. Let’s check out some of the ideas and designs that they came up with.
Canadian Houses With Cool Architecture And Design
A mountain house among the tree canopies
The Whistler Ski House was designed by the architects at Olson Kundig and is situated in the Coast Mountains, a region defined by a rugged topography and harsh climate. In response to that, the architects elevated the main floor 10 ft above the ground, placing it among the tree canopies and offering it a great view over the surrounding areas. Special precautions had to be taken due to the fact that this is an area with a high seismic risk and the area around it has deep soft soil. As such, the house is supported by a 2 ft thick raft slab which sits on densified soil with several rock columns which extend over 60 ft deep into the ground. That keeps it stable and allows it to make the most of its beautiful surroundings.
Original cottage built from simple materials
The Saint Donat Cottage was built more than 50 years ago and it was in 2018 that it got a big remodel. It was a project developed by architect Cardin Julien. The goal was to extend the existing structure and to also renovate the interior. The owners wanted to pursue a more energy-efficient design but also wished to preserve the style and charm of the original building as much as possible. In order to achieve that, the architect chose to work with simple and raw materials such as stone, steel, wood and glass throughout the project. The result was a modern cottage that’s as cozy and as inviting as the original.
A house with an exterior made of stone and weathered steel
The Smith House is a very special project by vacation home and is one of several structures that occupy the old fishing village area. The structures closely interact with each other and there are multiple courtyards between them which creates a sense of community. The Smith House has a very interesting design with a stone base that transitions into Corten steel walls and roofs. The base is made of locally-sourced granite which was also used for the other structures in the surrounding area.
A modern house with multiple beautiful courtyards
The New House project was completed in 2017 by studio Sturgess Architecture. It consists of a modern residence designed to adapt to its immediate surroundings and to fit within the context of the neighboring structures. It has four neighbors to the west and rather than separating them with a big solid wall the architects chose to connect their courtyards in a natural manner. Each courtyard maintains its integrity and privacy while at the same time serving as an extension for the other adjacent spaces. The house itself is raised at a 1.5m height to match the flood retaining wall in accordance to the typical conditions of this beautiful riverfront property.
A beautiful house in a small forest clearing
Another beautiful example of architecture coexisting with the beautiful Canadian landscape is the Sooke 01 House which was designed by Campos Studio. It occupies a small clearing among the trees between the ocean and the mountains. It was actually the landscape that shaped the house in a lot of ways. In particular, it was the rocky knoll at the top of the site that stands out, being the perfect spot for admiring the views. It thus became a part of the house. The building is organized around a concrete column that mimics a tree trunk and has a very diversified floor plan which frames views of the beautiful surroundings on all sides.
Seaside retreat high up on a slope
The name of this project makes perfect sense once you have a look at it. This is a seaside family retreat designed and built by studio Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects which sits not on the shore but high up on a slope, bridging between two rocky outcrops, hence the name Bridge House. From up here it gets to frame a series of panoramic views over the sea and also gets to interact with the landscape around it in a really cool way. It has a variety of different outdoor areas such as open and covered decks, balconies and a screened porch and they’re all aimed at bringing the indoor and the outdoor closer together.
A charming cottage with a modern twist
The Big Rideau Lakehouse is a lovely four-season cottage designed by modern aesthetic. It’s a cottage but with a twist. The gable roof and chimney definitely give it a very homely look while the grey exterior and large windows and openings add a breezy and open feel to the overall design. One of the main requirements from the client was for a large screen porch which can now be easily accessed from the indoor living area. The house is surrounded by lush greenery and trees which contrast with its neutral and simple aesthetic, creating a harmonious connection between architecture and nature.
Vacation house right next to a charming vineyard
After searching for some time for a suitable site that would allow their plans to be materialized, the clients together with studio Sturgess Architecture settled on a 2.5 acre piece of land on the Naratama beach. Here they planned to create a small vineyard and to build a vacation house which would take advantage of the view. The difficult topography didn’t make things easy. The vineyard occupies the upper part of the site defined by a shallow slope. The lower section extends into a deep gorge and that’s where the architects planned to build the house. The building extends over the gorge and offers amazing views of the area below.
A modern house with a barn-inspired design
This is yet another modern Canadian house which takes advantage of the rugged landscape around it in a very clever and interesting way. This was a project by studio Bourgeois / Lechasseur architectes which was completed in 2019. The house occupies a plateau framed by a forested hillside on one side and a steep slope on the other. The clients wanted their new house to be a modern interpretation of rustic barn-style homes. In that regard, the architects opted for a more traditional approach with a simple and elongated floor plan. They then included lots of large windows and various other elements into the design which are aimed at adding a contemporary twist to the project. This is the final result.
A mix of concrete and steel surrounded by beautiful greenery
The main objective when designing this beautiful retreat was, like in lots of other cases, to bridge the gap between architecture and nature. This was a project completed in 2017 by studio ESPACE VITAL architecture. The house has a balanced ratio of solid and open areas and also a cool-looking exterior which alternated between concrete and Corten-clad surfaces. Rather than terraforming the immediate surroundings and creating flat surfaces, the architects made the transition as natural and organic as possible and used the unique landscape in their favor.
A bridge house built over a ravine
This is one of the house that has the smallest impact on the site that it occupies and that makes perfect sense given its location and overall structure. It was designed by LLAMA studio and it stretches over a ravine close to Mary Lake in Ontario. The coolest thing about it is the fact that it stretches over a ravine, hence its name The Bridge House. The landscape is absolutely magnificent and required a very unusual design approach. The house has two main facades one of which overlooks the beautiful nearby lake. A balcony reveals a stunning view of the ravine 6 meters underneath the house.
An old log cabin transformed into a modern retreat
This project completed in 2020 by Paul Bernier Architecte started out as a 40 year old log cabin on the edge of a beautiful lake. The idea was to expand it and to give it a complete renovation with the goal of transforming it into a modern lakeside retreat. Rather than adding more volumes on the ground floor, the architects chose instead of build on top of the existing structure. That way the beautiful landscape wouldn’t suffer and the views would also be better from up top. Using natural materials and a clean and simple aesthetic, they created a magnificent structure.
Charming retreat made up of separate volumes and big courtyards
This project started back in 2003 when architect Florian Maurer began the construction of his personal home in Naramata. The idea was to create something original, a series of separate volumes connected by large gardens and courtyards. Three detached structures were built, each with a unique look and feel. Later in 2018 the new owners wanted to create a small addition to the existing house. This was challenging because the original design wasn’t meant to be expanded but the architect came up with a way to make it happen. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be another freestanding structure due to local regulations so instead the new area was connected to the existing spaces via a stairway.
A four-season glass pavilion surrounded by nature
Although it only measures 142 square meters this gorgeous pavilion looks and feels a lot bigger. It’s surrounded by glass on all sides, with a minimal visible structure and a flat roof. This gives it a sleek, low-profile aesthetic and puts an emphasis on the magnificent natural surroundings as well as the relationship between the indoor and outdoor spaces. The pavilion was designed by Maurice Martel Architecte and features an indoor swimming pool and a spa. The interior is simple and has a minimalist and modern aesthetic, with lots of greenery along the walls and a selection of materials that go really well with the surroundings.
A minimalist chalet that disappears into the landscape
Located in Laurentides, Canada, this lovely chalet is the work of studio NatureHumaine and was completed in 2019. It has a very simple and modest aesthetic with clean lines, a classic gable roof and a white exterior which blends in perfectly with the snowy landscape in winter. The interior is bright, fresh and very stylish, with white walls, a high ceiling and warm wooden accents. It’s quirky and chic without necessarily aiming to look sophisticated. This helps to complement its surroundings in a natural and organic way.