By Anuradha K R
Photography: Arnaud Marthouret; courtesy the architects
Weiss Architecture and Urbanism Limited, Canada, designs a boathouse and docking facility on an island dotting the archipelago in Georgian Bay, Ontario that makes the most of its environs: a stunning jack-pine clad glacier-carved granite shoreline, and an equally stunning waterscape...
Designed as the primary location of a family’s daytime leisure activities – both active and reposed, the boathouse is composed of a cedar dock, storage building for water-sport equipment, food servery, a seating pavilion, linear shade canopies and floating docks and bridges.
Considering the extreme cold conditions that the place is predisposed to, the designers have reposed their faith in Douglass-Fir for the superstructure. Traditional technique of constructing robust Fir and rock cribs for support has been adopted, to effectively resist tremendous ice-upheavals during winters. Cedar is the chosen wood for the deck and the boathouse, as its natural resins resist decay.
The interiors of the storage block glow in its natural cedar finish, skylights accentuating it further. Strategically designed brackets hold kayaks, canoes, bicycles and windsurfing equipment in place and order. Extra-wide doorway leads to an inclined ramp, giving direct access to water. Exteriors are finished in black-stained cedar, providing a captivating contrast, when the doors are open.
According to the principal designer Kevin Weiss, black-stained cedar was preferred, as they wanted to create a building that was more ‘background’ than ‘foreground’, considering the overwhelming-ness of the surroundings. Hence, it’s a deliberate attempt to let the landscape be the dominant experience, while the structure only facilitates this motto, despite all its articulations.
Positioned at the far-end of the dock is a seating pavilion, made of steel and covered with cedar and terne-coated copper. It’s connected to the servery, adjoining the storage area by means of a linear canopy made of steel and canvas that virtually melts into the surroundings because of its sleekness. The presence of sun loungers, open-air seating and dining arrangements complement the objective.
The project comes across as resultant of a quest to deliver a leisure-haven that responds to the natural and cultural context of the area.