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Go Home Bay Cabin (2015)

09 Mar 2016
Image Credit: Tom Arban
Architectural Credit: Ian MacDonald Architect Inc.
Location: Go Home Bay, Georgian Bay, ON
Architects: Ian MacDonald Architect Inc.
Date of completion: 2015
OAA Awards 2016 Design Excellence Winner

Set within a rocky landscape of wind-shaped white pines, this all-seasons family cabin in Ontario’s picturesque Go Home Bay is a thoughtful response to the over-scaled structures that have become increasingly commonplace in the area. The cabin presents a promising alternative to the prevailing bigger-is-better trend, embodying the modesty of vernacular cottages that have unobtrusively dotted the area since the 1890s, all while employing a contemporary architectural language.

Photo Credit: Tom Arban
The cabin is strategically sited to respect the landscape’s natural beauty. When approached by water, mature trees fragment the views of the low-slung volume, making it difficult to distinguish site from building. It is only as visitors climb up from the dock and make their way through a juniper meadow that the building emerges as a clearly defined charcoal-coloured box. This soft-touch approach is instantly evident in the cabin’s construction: its form cantilevering off concrete piers so as to float over the granite outcrop.

The amber-hued interiors, framed in rough-sawn fir, are efficient, compact and distilled down to the necessary essentials for peaceful weekends outside the city.

Photo Credit: Tom Arban
An intimate knowledge of the site’s weather patterns – the inner bay locale can be stiflingly hot in the summer due to lack of airflow – lead to a multi-pronged approach to achieve passive thermal comfort. The irrigated green roof ameliorates cooling, integrated sunshades reduce heat gain, and the main space, capped by operable clerestories, transforms into a screened porch to improve cross ventilation.

Photo Credit: Tom Arban
The Go Home Bay cabin provides an alternative model for cottage development which is unobtrusive and site responsive. Its simplicity belies a profound connection to the surrounding nature that is at once strong and sensitive, stirring and peaceful.

To view the complete submission, including additional images and drawings, please click here.

This post (7/20) is part of the OAA Awards 2016 Design Excellence Finalists blOAAg series celebrating the best of Ontario architecture. Every day during the month of March we will be posting a new finalist. You can view all posts by clicking here. Winners will be announced April 1, 2016.

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April 18, 2016 12:47 by Anonymous
Designed to blend with its environment, hide in plain sight and be enjoyed for many years to come.

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April 18, 2016 00:33 by Anonymous
Re: anonymous on april 08

what does price have to do with it? isn't good architecture still supposed to attempt being good architecture? or is it only 'development' if it's completed it's race to the bottom?

regarding 'making a statement', i believe this particular architect cares deeply about the occupants of this particular site

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April 15, 2016 00:43 by Anonymous

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April 08, 2016 13:54 by Anonymous
all-seasons family cabin ... alternative model for cottage development? Not at that price.

Very restrained and will probably 'wear well' with the passage of time. Definitely not an effort by the architect to 'make a statement' at the expense of the occupants or the site.

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April 06, 2016 15:05 by Anonymous
Incredible! Simplicity and beauty.

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April 01, 2016 20:01 by Anonymous

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March 11, 2016 10:56 by Anonymous

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