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Project of the Week – Floating House

View-Towards-Floating-Dock

ARCHITECT: MOS Architects Michael Meredith, AIA; Hilary Sample, AIA CLIENT Young family
PHOTOGRAPHER: Raimund Koch
LOCATION Lake Huron, Pointe Au Baril, Ontario, Canada

Building a home on a rocky remote island in the middle of one of the unpredictable Great Lakes is just as challenging as it sounds. That’s why it didn’t take the MOS team long to start “listing” toward the idea of a floating house. Once everybody was on board with this concept, their primary concern turned to addressing the fluctuating levels of Lake Huron.

“As a response to this constant and dynamic change, the house floats atop a structure of steel pontoons that allows for it to fluctuate along with the lake,” says MOS architect Michael Meredith.

They also had to contend with building costs and constraints. After all, traditional construction methods would have been far too expensive and taxing on the environment. So they devised a prefabrication and construction strategy with the contractor.

Floating_010_HR

“The fabricators constructed the house on the frozen lake, near the shore,” explains Meredith. “The structure was subsequently towed to the site and finally anchored. Between the various stages of construction, the house traveled a total distance of approximately 50 miles along Lake Huron.”

Floating aspect aside, the most defining characteristic of this beautiful family retreat is the detailed design of the Western Red Cedar cladding

Floating_004_HR

“The envelope of the house experiments with cedar siding, which not only encloses the interior living space, but playfully wraps around the exterior spaces as well,” says Meredith. “This rainscreen envelope of cedar strips either becomes denser to shelter private interior spaces or becomes less dense to filter and modulate light and views outwards. The rainscreen also performs pragmatically in reducing wind load and head gain.”

Floating_001_HR

For this high-performance feature, they opted for a knotty grade of Western Red Cedar and they let it go au naturel.

“We like its roughness and the natural quality of the knots,” Hilary Sample says. “And we left it untreated so it would age to that beautiful silver-gray color that complements the color of the granite outcroppings.”

WRC SPECIFICATIONS
GRADE: Select knotty
SIZE: 1 x 4 battens
FASTENING: Stainless steel fasteners
APPLIED FINISH: None

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Get the full story behind more wooded wonders like this in Cedar Book 8. Download a PDF or order a free hardcopy today: https://www.realcedar.com/cedarbook/