2002 Governor General’s Medals for Architecture: House in Mulmur Hills #1, Mulmur Township, Ontario

Ian MacDonald Architect

The house design has as an objective to enhance the user’s experience of the 100-acre site, located in the rolling hills of Dufferin County, Ontario. The complex spatial character includes flat terrain bounded by cedar bog to the east and a pond nestled in a deciduous valley to the west. Closer to the house, a dense pine forest leads to the top of a drumlin at the edge of a six-acre clearing where the structure rests. A base for the house structure is created with a linear retaining wall that reorients the visitor toward a view of deciduous forest. A long public zone is incised into the crest of the hill anchoring the house and internalizing it until the long vista is revealed. Each component in the house–living/dining room, master bedroom and mudroom–enjoys its own relationship to the site. The most important view culminates on a long north-northeast view to the Dufferin Forest.