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Step inside this spectacular steel-clad ski house in the Canadian Rockies

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This modern steel-clad ski house designed by Olson Kundig Architects is located in Whistler, a town north of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Create as a family retreat, this dwelling was constructed to withstand its harsh mountain environment. Elevated ten feet above grade, the main level provides a sense of occupying the tree canopy while also floating above snowdrifts and the flood-prone lakeshore.

The house is designed as two separate structures connected by an 80-foot-long glass-walled bridge. The larger of the wings contains the living and dining area, master bedroom, and two guest rooms. The smaller wing, or kids’ wing, has four rooms furnished with enough beds to accommodate the family’s children, their friends and leaves room for future grandchildren.

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The bridge not only creates privacy between the two wings but also weaves through a grouping of evergreens. By spreading out the house across the site, trees were preserved and views maximized. On one, side the floor-to-ceiling windows overlook a mountain lake stretching across the foot of the property; on the other side is a forest of firs, hemlocks, and aspens.

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A custom-designed horizontal shutter system creates privacy and also protects upholstery and art from harsh snow glare. With simple crank and switch controls, the facade can transform from glass-clad to semi-exposed with raw-edged Douglas fir louvers, to be completely protected with weathered steel.

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Due to the nature of the deep soft soil on the lakeshore and the home’s location in a high seismic risk zone, the house is supported on a continuous 2-foot thick raft slab on densified soil, created by a series of vibro-densified rock columns that extend 60 to 68 feet deep into the ground. The raft slab “floats” on the densified soil which allows the house to remain stationary during a seismic event that would cause un-densified soil to slide into the lake.

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What We Love: This steel-clad ski house can be completely sheltered from harsh weather conditions due to its rugged environment. The windows can be completely exposed to the picturesque scenery or partially sheltered in the summer or completely buttoned up. We are loving the unique design of this home and how the operable devices, in true Olson Kundig trademark style, can shutter this house when needed… and the lakeshore setting is just stunning!

Tell Us: What details do you find most inspiring in the architectural design of this home? Let us know in the Comments below!

Note: Check out a couple of other amazing homes tours that we have featured here on One Kindesign in the Canadian province of British Columbia: Spectacular indoor-outdoor living on South Pender Island, B.C. and Modern home in West Vancouver offers wonderful indoor-outdoor lifestyle.

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A large two-sided board-formed concrete fireplace with custom enclosure doors separates the main living and dining space from a more intimate media room. The sliding fireplace doors allow the owner to tune the size of the fireplace opening in the smaller setting of the media room. The ground level includes a garage, screened terrace, and a ski room.

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PHOTOGRAPHER Benjamin Benschneider

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