Located on what would normally be an idea waterfront site on the south shore of the English Bar, offering views of the downtown Vancouver skyline and the mountains beyond, the Shaw House is defined by some restricting limits of a very narrow property.

Lap Pool House. Architect ¥ Patkau ArcihtectsVancouver, British Columbia

Courtesy of  Patkau Architects – Photographs : Paul Warchol

Patkau Architects designed the Shaw House realizing the narrow site only allowed for spatial expansion out over the water and upward.  This prompted the use of generous ceiling heights and clerestory’s to help enlarge the spaces as well as transmit daylight though the house.

Arch2o-Shaw House-Patkau Architects (32)

Courtesy of  Patkau Architects – Photographs : Paul Warchol

The house is organized with living spaces at grade, a music room below, and a single bedroom, study, and lap pool above. The dining room rises from the ground level to the upper level of the house. But what is notably the most interesting aspect of the design is the pool, with terraces at each end, and runs along the entire west side of the house.

Arch2o-Shaw House-Patkau Architects (36)

Courtesy of  Patkau Architects – Photographs : Paul Warchol

To highlight the pool, the entrance area is midway along the side of the house, directly underneath the pool. By removing the concrete in this area and having a glass bottom to the pool, the entrance is transformed into a magical gateway, dousing the space with aqueous light.

Arch2o-Shaw House-Patkau Architects (37)

Courtesy of  Patkau Architects – Photographs : Paul Warchol

 Since Vancouver is an area of high seismic risk and activity, a robust structure is required to resist the significant lateral forces that would result from the large mass of water in the pool in the event of an earthquake. Because of this the house is constructed almost entirely of reinforced concrete made from a special dense mix utilizing white cement.

Arch2o-Shaw House-Patkau Architects (51)

Section – Courtesy of  Patkau Architects

Inside the house is insulated and clad with gypsum board, but in areas where insulation is not required, the concrete structure is exposed. Due to Vancouver’s frequent rainy days, the muted materials and colors used in the design including the white painted walls, pale concrete floors, precast stair treads, and bleached millwork, allow natural light, even the soft light of winter, to describe the interior and make a comfortable living space.

Project Info:
Architects: Patkau Architects
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Architects: Patkau Architects
Architect Team: Michael Cunningham, John Patkau, Patricia Patkau, Peter Suter
Structural Engineer: Fast +Epp Structural Engineers
General Contractor: Glover Co.
Photographs: Paul Warchol

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