Thursday, July 10, 2014
MOS Architects designed the Floating House on Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada.
The Floating House is the intersection of a vernacular house typology with the shifting site-specific conditions of this unique place: an island on Lake Huron. The location on the Great Lakes imposed complexities to the house’s fabrication and construction, as well as its relationship to site.
Annual cyclical change related to the change of seasons, compounded with escalating global environmental trends , cause Lake Huron’s water levels to vary drastically from month-to-month, year-to-year. To adapt to this constant, dynamic change, the house floats atop a structure of steel pontoons, allowing it to fluctuate along with the lake. Locating the house on a remote island posed another set of constraints.
Using traditional construction processes would have been prohibitively expensive; the majority of costs would have been applied toward transporting building materials to the remote island. Instead, we worked with the contractor to devise a prefabrication and construction process that maximized the use of the unique character of the site: Lake Huron as a waterway. Construction materials were instead delivered to the contractor’s fabrication shop, located on the lake shore. The steel platform structure with incorporated pontoons was built first and towed to the lake outside the workshop. On the frozen lake, near the shore, the fabricators constructed the house. The structure was then towed to the site and anchored.
In total, between the various construction stages, the house traveled a total distance of approximately 80 km on the lake. The formal envelope of the house experiments with the cedar siding of the vernacular home. This familiar form not only encloses the interior living space, but also enclosed exterior space as well as open voids for direct engagement with the lake. A “rainscreen” envelope of cedar strips condense to shelter interior space and expand to either filter light entering interior spaces or screen and enclose exterior spaces giving a modulated yet singular character to the house, while performing pragmatically in reducing wind load and heat gain.
Architect: MOS Architects
Photography by Florian Holzherr
Architect Stuart Sampley has designed the Ski Shores Lakehouse in Austin, Texas.
The spirit of traditional Texas dogtrot-style architecture is modernly refined in this modest weekend lake house. Two volumes flank a central porch that’s naturally cooled by lake breezes, capped on each end by tall, swinging gates for privacy and security, and anchored by a substantial outdoor dining table. On one side, a sleek, modern kitchen is minimal in material but heavy on style and storage. A sunken living room— highlighted by rich warm wood underfoot — exudes comfort and is the ideal spot to escape the Texas summer heat. On the other side of the porch, cozy bedrooms balance the house, featuring big windows offering views of the Texas landscape.
The home’s materials were sourced regionally and chosen to last; exterior walls made of gray Texas Lueders Limestone mix with Southern yellow pine to create a natural palette that requires no maintenance. It’s a weekend getaway the homeowner can enjoy for decades to come.
Architect: Stuart Sampley Architect
Builder: Mike Rhodes, Acero Construction
Interior Furnishing & Styling: Rebekah Gainsley & Robert Bentley, BLINK
Photography by Casey Dunn