Modern Special | DCA-01

Updated: Oct 16, 2021

Today, I share some progress renderings from a current project.

This house is being designed as a Passive House for Vancouver. This Kitsilano lot is 50' wide, has no rear lane, and has an ocean view to the North. The design concept for the 3500 sq.ft. house combines contemporary form and traditional Japanese styling. Dark stained wood trim on the ground floor breaks up the stucco, and the wood cladding on the second floor is used to create monolithic, angular planes.


With a low-sloped roof and two-storey side walls, the house bears some resemblance to the Vancouver Special. It avoids being boxy by two main means of articulation: a central glazed mass and drastic overhangs. Deep overhangs on the South face help prevent summertime overheating. Extensions of the East and West walls also provide shading against glare from the rising sun in the East and prevent overheating by afternoon sunshine from the West.


A central North-South circulation volume is defined by glass walls and glass roof that break up what would otherwise be a singular, opaque hulk and which brings South sunlight into the centre of the building to provide passive heating. A brise-soleil along this skylight mitigates excessive sunlight in the summer. Half of the roof is broken up by South-facing clerestory windows that bring a modest amount of South sunlight - and resulting natural daylighting - into the master bedroom, master ensuite, and master walk-in-closet.


The rear half of the roof comprises a small garden space. As the design proceeds, access to the rooftop green space may or may not be incorporated.


Both the master and guest bedrooms have modest decks. The living room and breakfast space also each open to generous deck space. Since the site slopes down towards the North, a stair from the ground floor leads you down to the back yard and to the walk-out basement.


The focus of the master bedroom is the wide view to what will be the ocean (temporarily depicted here by mountains). Narrow windows on the West and at the South clerestory ensure that the North-facing room is brightly lit throughout the day. There are also a second bedroom and two guest bedrooms on this floor.


Currently under design resolution is the Zen room - a quiet space for morning solitude and retreat or a flex space to accommodate a nursery or home office. This room projects beyond the building and is flanked by tall trees to give the impression of being alone, surrounded by nature.


The master ensuite has his-and-her vanities and toilet rooms, a large freestanding bath, and a generous, tiled rainfall shower. A common full bathroom is off the hallway, and the guest bedrooms share a Jack-and-Jill bathroom.


The kitchen features an oversized refrigerator, large pantry, prep hutch, and an island that doubles as food prep space and a family meal table or breakfast bar. The island opens to an adjacent outdoor deck.


The kitchen is open to the dining space and provides an open view to the living area.


Finally, the living room is open to both the dining area and the outdoor deck but still well-defined and intimate. A small play room is immediately adjacent, and a small home office space is further down the hall at the front of the house.