Bamfield, British Columbia
Construction 2017
75 sq m

House on Helby Island will serve as a secondary residence for a young family living in Victoria. After many spectacular summer camping trips on the vacant lot, our clients want to build a permanent home which they and their young son can enjoy for many years to come. In keeping with the modest structures inhabiting the remote island we designed a small, tent-like dwelling that sits light and low on the land, protected by the natural elements. The form is familiar yet not easily identifiable. It sits comfortably perched on the rugged shoreline, allowing direct access to the activities that make Island life so appealing.

While privacy and access to natural light are in abundance, urban amenities are nonexistent. Access to potable water, electrical power, heat, and the disposal of waste are integrated into a semi-autonomous, functional design that does not sacrifice the quality of a contemporary living space. The house is anchored to the site through a minimal slab on grade foundation poured against earth formwork. The envelope, conceived as a puffy, layered coat, covering a lightweight galvanized steel skeletal structure creates a piece of architecture that all at once draws on traditional notions of dwelling and celebrates the temporary occupation of its unique habitat.