point grey cube house hits the market (again)

designed by : tony robins architect

built by : keystone projects ltd. in 2016 [2017-listed for 14mil]

photography by : ema peter

and again (as in 2016) its creating a media buzz. globe and mail has an article on it here, 2 articles in vancouver sun here and here and listing info here and loren’s listing page.

short blurb on the house:

this unique residence on pt grey rd was designed by tony robbins (recent winner of western living architect of the year) & built by keystone. the stunning home is a simple “cube”, 4 floors, a corner lot w/ close proximity to rvyc jericho. boasts a 4 car underground garage w/ laundry & glass elevator that unites flrs all the way to the rooftop deck. here you will marvel at the wide vista of mountains, the ocean & the city while soaking in your hot tub. deck has kitchen, tv & stereo, powder & outdoor shower. the open concept ground floor accommodates custom kitchen, dining & living room (w/ f/p), park view to the west & a water feature. 2nd flr bdrms have ensuite, decks & laundry. heating multi-zoned radiant hot water. private.

out of town goodie : revelstoke modern

revelstoke - housea great article in the globe and mail has been written by trevor boddy about a modern house designed by battersby howat in revelstoke :

A home to revel in

Maybe alpine air inspires architects to do their best.

Revelstoke – a railway and highway service centre quickly transforming into a mountain mega-resort – has an unusually high ratio of B.C.’s finest buildings. The West Kootenay town of 8,000 has two superior examples of architecture that I would put on my personal Top 10 list for B.C.’s Interior, which is two more listings than I would give Kelowna, 15-times its size.

My two faves are its 1912 neoclassical courthouse with a glittering metallic dome, plus the 1939 Revelstoke hybrid city hall-cum-fire hall, in my view the first fully modern-style public building in the province.

Now adding to Revelstoke’s architectural acclaim is one of the best single-family B.C. houses I have seen this year.

To be honest, shelter magazines and a regular column like mine are guilty of over-praising multimillion dollar trophy houses, even though few will be remembered when the money runs out. But, like Revelstoke’s authoritatively composed courthouse and crisply optimistic civic complex, the riverside retirement house for Dr. Geoff and Gwynne Battersby is modest in scale – two bedrooms and living spaces on 1,650 square feet, plus finished basement – but every tuck and flourish is there for a reason.

Good design moves here begin with the house’s siting on a small, west-facing lot on the geologically active banks of the surging Columbia River. The rectangular house has its long side facing the setting sun – so rectangular and modest in scale that a local joked, “Oh, you mean that fancy trailer?” when directing me to “Doc Battersby’s new place.” Indeed, across the river are trailers, and across the street are stuccoed former motel units with the same logical one-way slope away from the river. The simple reality is that shifting sandy soils and a sometimes-torrential river means snow shed off roofs needs to be deposited as far as possible from the Columbia’s changeable banks.

revelstoke - front yardThe trailer jibe may also have to do with the fact the Battersby house – co-designed by their Vancouver-based son David – is more metallic than woodsy, in sharp contrast to the loggy mock-Whistler houses newly arrived in town along with such other symptoms of resort mania as cedar-shake roofs – both less functional and more expensive than metal cappings. The David Battersby and Heather Howat design makes innovative use of a local vernacular building design element appropriate to this extreme snow zone town – standing seam metal roofs – then situates this material in an unexpected way.

revelstoke - entryThe Battersby house extends this Revelstoke metal roof vernacular, but more eye-catching is the use of the same zinc-coloured material on facade portions along both alley and river sides, making for no-maintenance, storm- and snow-resisting faces. Metal wraps the house, with angled bulges on the alley side balanced by that fearless vertical face on the river, with clear-stain red cedar boards warming more sheltered and high contact areas. Similarly, snow-resistant strains of Karl Forster tall grass and B.C. dogwood are set down in the house’s near-perfect rock garden. Gazing at it during our house tour, Gwynne noted “All those nice young people in the architectural office gave us the plants for the garden they designed – aren’t they lovely?”

revelstoke - fireplaceEqually lovely are the livable spaces and considered floor-plan her son and his Vancouver colleagues concocted. No grand flourishes here, the Battersby-Howat design intelligently puts a bedroom with a butt-jointed corner window at each end, with living-dining and a galley kitchen in the middle, all focus on the Danish Modern furniture and the stunning view of Mount Begbie out the window.

revelstoke - bedroomIt is almost as if David Battersby synthesized the architectural essences of the courthouse and city hall he knew so well – metal wrap from the former, clean modern lines from the latter – then applied them to his own design. “Revelstoke has a huge amount of snow shedding – last year it was 12 feet deep on the driveway,” explains David Battersby of the town where his family has resided since 1968. “We designed it so that snow could pile up in places on the alley and river sides, leaving the corner views and windows clear.”

revelstoke - detailThe questioning of distinctions between wall and roof has emerged as a major theme in leading-edge architecture this decade, but too often this means angled and curving sections worthy of the futuroid rooms in old Jetson’s cartoons, or more earthily, the Flintstones’ Cro-Magnon rock-warrens. Neither Space Age nor Stone Age, Battersby-Howat’s fluidity of angled alley wall into sloping roof into roofing used vertically on the river side is as smart as it is seductive.

revelstoke - side of houseA house for one’s parents is a psychologically-wrought task for many architects, and clan-linked commissions were the first to be actually built by such intellectually-inclined designers as Robert Venturi, Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves and Laurinda Spears. David Battersby says of this, “I am a real sap, so doing a house for my parents was special – they really came to appreciate what Heather and I do.” This is not to say, however, that the design process was all sweetness and light. “I am my father’s son,” says David, “and there were times we butted heads, but my much mellower brother Rod did both the plumbing and the go-betweening.”

revelstoke - porchWell, Doll’s Mountain Sheep butt heads in a mating ritual each fall on the alpine slopes of Mount Mackenzie above Revelstoke. A billion dollar’s worth of development on and below the slopes of this mountain will soon double the town’s population and hurl it into the leagues of Whistler and Banff. Rather than flaccidly ape those two architecturally compromised towns, I hope developers look instead for inspiration closer to home, being brave enough to revel in, then stoke the architectural fires of Revelstoke.

the house has also been featured in the cedar book 2008.


tour : west vancouver modern home tour 2010

stegeman residence, erickson/massey architects 1954 – renovation by brian hemingway 2001

helliwell+smith home studio, barry downs/fred hollingsworth architects 1964 – renovation by bluesky architecture inc 2001

this ensuite bathroom was featured in the may 2010 month issue of western living magazine. the article is here for all who are interested. what a great concept in bathroom design having a nice soaker tub with a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking tress and the ocean beyond. of course having a great site doesn’t hurt either.

eagle’s nest house, ron thom 1956

this house may have not been to most prettiest of all, especially from the outside but it sure was cool. the fact that not a single 90 degree corner can be found in the whole house made it quite unique.

a pool that just begged to be swam in. the crazy thing about this pool was that it cantilevered right over the property line and has a drop of about 30 feet down beyond the railings. a house on the adjacent lot (not visible in this photo) was built right into the rock face.

even the stairs were on an angle to the walls.

a nice view to the ocean from all the rooms. probably can do some serious stargazing lying in bed everynight with that skylight above the bed.

 bonus: this recently renovated house at 4192 rose crescent was quite cool looking too. check out the sales listing for this one here.

gordon smith residence, erickson/massey architects 1996

post and beam architecture at its finest. a simple palette of stained wood and glass.

this is looking from the central courtyard towards to carport. at the left is the main bedroom. the floor plan is conceived as a square spiral where you enter at the lowest level and as you progress around the courtyard, each room is stepped up a few steps from the last, ending in the main bedroom. the entry to the house is located just off the image on the right.

a glazed wall overlooking the gardens and a forest view.

detail of the cantilevered roof and heavy timber structure.

underside of ‘bridge’ element which is the living room.

wood block paving in the central courtyard.

original studio.

view of entry from driveway.

exposed aggregate concrete retaining planter walls.

rain forest house, russell hollingsworth, c.1973the approach to the house was a winding road up a steep hill. nestled tightly between old growth cedars is the stone and wood house.

water fountains. water pots. water ponds. everywhere water of all sorts. still water. moving water. evaporated water.

lush landscaping throughout the site. an open carport located under the cantilevered roof to the right.

floor to ceiling wood doors and windows blur the lines of inside and outside. what a great space to be in. there were lots of skylights that made the indoors feel even more like outdoors.

exposed wood rafter roof structure was a great natural material in this west coast modern house.

roof eave detail. the roof comes to a sharp point and no gutters were present.

the cast-in-place concrete steps. the floor inside the home was made of the same concrete.

instead of gutters, a long trough-type drain was found to collect all the rainwater that comes off the roof during rainy season.

a long narrow window gives view from the secondary bedroom to the patio. a ladder gives access to the carport below.

garden with reflecting pond at the sitting room.

feel free to read adele weder’s article published in the globe & mail here.