tula house by patkau architects hangs over cliff edge in british columbia
photo by james dow / patkau architects

 

 

 

situated on a cliffside, 44 feet above the pacific waterfront, canadian-based patkau architects have completed the ‘tula house’ located on the remote quadra island in british columbia. the residence’s design seeks to reference a connection to its diverse surrounding landscape through a variety of means. most notably, living spaces feature wide panoramas toward ocean below, while concrete and vegetated walls remind of the rocky and forested setting. on its exterior, the structure visually blends with the wooded context by through its moss-covered roof. additionally, the topography has been manipulated to control groundwater flow through the site, while being momentarily captured in the courtyard’s pond.

patkau architects tula house designboom

hanging over the cliff edge, the residence’s floor is located 44 feet above the beach below
photo by james dow / patkau architects

 

 

 

the residence’s composition takes influence from the dynamic and irregular qualities of the rocky site. a scattered arrangement of concrete walls act as the main organizational elements, while at times clad in black fiber-cement panels. the resulting spaces provide a range of separate moments of connection to features surrounding the house, including a small tidal basin off the kitchen nook, a ledge of moss covered rock in the bedrooms, and a view back from the court to a swath of deciduous trees. the climax of openness to the site is experienced from the living room, which features floor to ceiling glass curtain walls toward the pacific.

patkau architects tula house designboom

the living room and outdoor deck take advantage of views toward the pacific
photo by james dow / patkau architects

 

 

 

a series of skylights in the roof and glass plates in the floor allow for a visual connection through horizontal planes of the structure. namely, an aperture in the floor at the cliff edge reminds one of the the cantilevering house’s height over the beach.

patkau architects tula house designboom

the living room cantilevers over the rocky face, and features glass plates in the floor
photo by james dow / patkau architects

 

 

 

to provide a better understanding of the setting, the design team describes the diverse conditions of the surrounding environment as follows:

 

‘views to the east stretch over the open water and islands of the strait of georgia to the mountain ranges on the mainland of british columbia. views to the south overlook a small tidal basin. moss covered basalt hills are interspersed among treed expanses and richly vegetated crevices, valleys and swales. stands of red alder and big-leafed maple enliven the predominantly dark fir forest. the beach below the house is littered with the flotsam and jetsam of the ocean where logs and rocks have been tossed around by the tides and storms like a child’s game of pickup sticks.’

patkau architects tula house designboom

interior spaces open toward a central courtyard
photo by james dow / patkau architects

patkau architects tula house designboom

the site’s groundwater is directed toward and momentarily capture in the central pond
photo by james dow / patkau architects

patkau architects tula house designboom

glass guardrails wrap the outdoor deck
photo by james dow / patkau architects

patkau architects tula house designboom

floor to ceiling glass walls offer wide panoramas of the ocean
photo by james dow / patkau architects

patkau architects tula house designboom

photo by james dow / patkau architects

patkau architects tula house designboom

photo by james dow / patkau architects

 

 

 

 

project info:

 

location: quadra island, british columbia, canada
dates: 2006-2012
status: completed
client: eric peterson and christina munck
floor area: 4,500 sqf
roof area: 5,958 sqf
awards: canadian architect award of excellence (2007)
architecture: patkau architects / john patkau, patricia patkau, and david shone with mike green, dimitri koubatis, and greg boothroyd, james eidse, marc holland, tony mah, henry murdock, ben raimes, thomas schroeder, craig simms and tony wai
structural engineering: peterson galloway
mechanical engineering: hirschfield williams timmins
contractor: toelle construction ltd. guy holmes, site superintendent
photography: james dow / patkau architects