Striking contemporary design in West Vancouver: Esquimalt House

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The Esquimalt House is a contemporary single family home completed in 2012 by Mcleod Bovell Modern Houses, located in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The 7,015 square foot residence moves laterally across a wide, steeply sloping 14,988 square foot lot, allowing natural flows between a side yard, the living areas, and the pool and outdoor entertaining spaces. The  extra wide property allows views of downtown Vancouver, the Lion’s Gate Bridge and Burrard Inlet.

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Twenty feet of vertical distance between the street and the main floor entry is divided into three distinct experiences in order to alleviate, what would otherwise be, a relentless downward movement. First, a set of concrete platforms through a small ornamental orchard, then down a single run of stairs overhanging a pond, and finally through a courtyard over a bridge to the front door. The courtyard with its wide reflecting ponds creates a distinct space out of what would otherwise be a compressed valley between the street and the face of the building.

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A second entrance on the lowest level creates two distinct arrival experiences: a lane entry designed to welcome family, and a guest-oriented, top-level courtyard entry that is unencumbered by driveway infrastructure. The house provides dramatic interior and exterior quasi-public spaces for entertaining while offering a more intimately-scaled spaces for private living and personal contemplation.

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In accordance with the coupleʼs needs, the house operates simultaneously as a private place of retreat, a place of business, and a large-scale, quasi-public entertaining space. The office is reached via an exterior access ramp beside the reflecting ponds so that business can be conducted apart from the living spaces. Dramatic interior and exterior entertaining spaces that accommodate gatherings of the client’s Ismali religious community comprise one half of the site, while more intimately-scaled spaces for private living and personal contemplation form the other half.

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Private bedroom spaces are consolidated into a compact upper floor volume that floats above the strung-out main floor. This allows two scales of main floor spaces. Large spaces with tall ceiling heights, contrast with smaller private rooms- a lounge between the kitchen and dining room and a meditation room at the stair which looks back over reflecting ponds. These programs overlap and are made cohesive through a subdued internal and external palette: architectural concrete, light gray cement panel, polished concrete floors, white gypsum wallboard, and matching millwork panels.

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Photos: Courtesy of Mcleod Bovell Modern Houses

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