House H by Chris Collaris Architects
Chris Collaris Architects is a Dutch studio whose House H project in Ontario, Canada has caught our attention. This beautiful contemporary residence is placed within the Mount Brydges area in Southern Ontario, right next to the US border at Canada’s Great Lakes region. This means that the area that is found around the home is nothing short of a stunning natural wonder. Of course, anybody building a home in a place like that would want to have plenty of opportunities to peek outside. This is exactly what this home allows its residents to do with plenty of glazed surfaces all around.
The Dutch architectural office of Chris Collaris designed a villa in Mount Brydges, overlooking the green fields and woods in the rural area of Southwestern Ontario, Canada. While having a successful green nursery, an adjacent plot of 50 hectares, mainly consisting of seasonal beans fields and woods, was the number one chance for the client to extent the existing property and getting it ready to build a villa for the rest of their life. To fit the design to the future wishes of the client, the villa had to be life cycle proof. But the design also had to meet the demands of a big family house, because a family growth of children with grandchildren had to be foreseen.
The functional program had the most important influence on the architectural design. All the living spaces have been organized on one floor. The spread of this program lead to a central atrium which connects all spaces and brings in light from the most inner part of the building structure. Natural daylight comes from above and most of the long sight lines in the villa go through the atrium. Every single space on the floor plan has a different connection and orientation to the outside. With green bean fields and woods the view is different in every room. The villa is specifically designed on the climate in Southwest Ontario. Summers can be very hot and winters are always cold with lots of snow. The villa has been designed with a big canopy stretching longer and shorter in different directions. The canopy is keeping the intense sun light and warmth out of the house in summer, but allowing it in again in winter.
The majority of the materials used in the villa are coming from local production areas. The natural stone of the floors (inside and outside) and the facades are coming from a quarry in Ontario. The Douglas fir cladding of the canopy is coming from a local forest and some furniture pieces (the coat rack and dining table) are even made with wood of old trees from the plot. The big green roof (Liveroof Ontario) has been produced on the fields of the green nursery next to the plot. Making as much as possible with sources and materials from a local area was important to the client, echoing the joy of the social nearness of the bigger family with all children and grandchildren. In this way, the villa found its destiny as a future proof sustainable inheritance of the whole family, made with things which were pleasantly close.