Black Cliff House / MacLeod Boville Modern Homes
Text description provided by the architects. BlackCliff House is located on the west coast of Canada, on a granite boulder that rises 40 meters above the shoreline below. This location is a geographic “midway” point of a scattered family that works and lives sporadically on multiple continents. The house accommodates diverse living arrangements while connecting with the abundant natural character of the site. It is an expression of the client’s desire to create a gathering place for present and future generations while still accommodating a smaller family unit.
The house takes its cues from distinct and contrasting topographical features: views and light to the southwest; and the extreme lines that go down into the Salish Sea to the west. The house rotates around these two axes, resulting in a variable spatial geometry at the intersection of the main and upper floors which appears as a void in the middle of the site.
Organizationally, the upper floor supports the intimacy of a small family sleeping within a narrow heart while still being able to accommodate larger family units in outdoor ‘suites’. These two areas are separated from the building but externally connected by a common external terrace. A spine parallels this void in the center of the house to take advantage of the balanced lighting and vertical views that can be achieved through the sectional cut.
The ground floor living spaces on the ground floor are connected to outdoor spaces and additional spaces arranged alongside this plot. These spaces include a drawing room perched over a reflecting pool at the entrance hall at one end, a bamboo patio outside the family room, and an office, and tea room at the other end of the spine. The patios allow a deeply stacked program to attract light and air without affecting visibility or natural light.
The spatial experience of the house is familiar and a little confusing, as a result of efforts to balance the regular orientation of the steeply sloping ground and the off-axis orientation towards light and views to create primary and intimate spaces in the core that have a strong connection to the external environment.