Accessible only by boat, The Gambier Island House in British Columbia is a weekend getaway that puts a contemporary spin on the idea of a “cabin in the woods.” Designed by Mcfarlane Green Biggar Architecture + Design, the structure overlooks the waters, and sits atop a steep rocky cliff adjacent to a protected, forested watershed and private cove. Conceived as an off-grid escape, the home is powered by independent sources for heat and electricity. In celebration of the rugged qualities of the site, the design is conceived as simple forms and modest materials that barely touch the ground.
The main bulk of the Gambier Island House consists of two stacked boxes clad in wood, cement board, and glass to fend off the elements. In addition to the three bedrooms, two bathrooms, open-plan kitchen, and combined dining/living area, the getaway is crowned with an expansive roof deck that offers unparalleled views and a convenient way to connect with nature. Simple lines have also been employed throughout the building to frame beautiful views of the nearby mountains and oceans.
In an attempt to reduce the site’s environmental impact, architects opted to use as little concrete as possible, as well as prefabricate certain elements offsite. This not only reduced the number of barge trips required to deliver the construction materials, but also those needed to remove waste. While the most environmentally-friendly option would have been not to build a second home in the first place, at least the owners made an effort not to disturb the natural landscape too significantly.