Modern Elm Street Residence is dominated by very mature evergreen trees and high garden hedges

Modern Elm Street Residence is dominated by very mature evergreen trees and high garden hedges

Architects: James K.M. Cheng Architects
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Year: 2013
Photo courtesy: Ema Peter
Description:

“Elm Street is dominated by very mature evergreen trees and high garden hedges, so much so that the residential architecture on the street becomes secondary in prominence. The west side of the street also contains unusually deep lots, just under 350 feet in length, with no lane access at the rear. As such, the properties offer design opportunities & challenges not available on more typical residential lots in the city.

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This particular property is one of these deep lots with clusters of tall evergreen trees, both within the site and on the neighbouring properties, some close to 100 ft. in height. The site depth and the mature trees are the main influences on the design of the house. The 343 ft. long lot allows the house to be stretched apart into living space pavilions that open up to and integrate with the natural setting, while breaking down the building mass. The simple lines and natural materials are intended to create a quiet backdrop to the overwhelmingly established natural setting of the site and neighbouring lots.

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The house’s massing consists of single and double storey components straddling a central glass-enclosed circulation spine. The components are separated by garden courtyards and anchored to the site by three feature chimney walls. The house is set low on the property with the main floor level only a foot above the existing entrance grade. This eases the connection between interior and exterior spaces. Exterior terrace platforms become an extension of the living spaces into the surrounding garden. The pool is sited as a water court to the family room and main bedroom above.

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Utilizing a subtle palette of natural materials, the finishes are a combination of horizontal wood cladding, glass and architectural concrete. The architectural concrete finish on the three feature ‘chimney’ walls is expressed both inside and outside to further emphasize the connection to the exterior.

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The overall site landscape treatment is intentionally subtle, allowing the existing tall trees to remain dominant and frame the outdoor spaces.”

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