Shaw House

Vancouver, British Columbia
Patkau Architects Inc.

This private residence occupies a 33′ wide 155′ deep waterfront site with views across English Bay to the north shore mountains which dominate the skyline of Vancouver. Required sideyard setbacks result in a plan which is limited to 26.4 feet in width. The program for this 3,071 sq. ft. residence includes typical living spaces, a single bedroom, a study, a music room and a lap pool.

The house is organized simply with living spaces on grade, private spaces above grade and music room below grade. The restrictive dimensions of the site required the lap pool to be located above grade along the west side of the house in order to retain generous living spaces on the main floor. The pool relates to the spaces on the second floor via its connection at either end to terraces associated with the bedroom and study.

Within the small narrow floor plates, spatial expansion is achieved vertically by generous ceiling heights and strategic fenestration. The fully interiorized dining room rises two storeys through the floor above, and natural daylight filters in from the clerestory. Additional light reflected from the lap pool reaches deep into the central recesses of the house, and skylights at the bottom of the pool illuminate the entry sequence into the house.

A particularly robust structure is required given the high seismic risk factor and the location of the lap pool above grade. To resist potentially significant lateral forces, the house is constructed almost entirely of reinforced concrete. Within this structural concrete shell the interior is insulated and clad with painted gypsum board. In areas where insulation is not required, the concrete structure is left exposed.

Andresen: The architectural quality of this house is amplified by the play of light across elegant materials and construction detailing, and through artfully made spatial sequences.

Macdonald: The house is a virtuoso performance across all scales of consideration, rendered material with extraordinary finesse and confident measure.

Teeple: This is clearly one of the most finely crafted houses to be built in Canada. Moments of great spatial richness are achieved through a careful manipulation of the section within a confined site.

Client: John Shaw

Architect Team: Michael Cunningham, John Patkau, Patricia Patkau, Peter Suter

Structural: Fast & Epp Structural Engineers

Geotechnical: MacLeod Geotechnical Ltd.

Contractor: Glover Co.

Area: 3,071 sq. ft.

Budget: Withheld

Completion: June 2000