SYNOPSIS

Designed by Omer Arbel, Casa 23.2 is a house for a family built on a large rural acreage outside Vancouver in the West Coast of Canada. The design features sharp angles and a general ‘deconstructivist’ aesthetic that gives the home its distinctive character. One of the more notable facets of the project is the use of reclaimed wooden beams salvaged from a series of burned down warehouses. The design also allows one completely open up the sharp corners of the home to the surrounding garden via a series of glazed concertina doors.

ARCHITECT’S DESCRIPTION

Casa 23.2 is a house for a family, built on a large rural acreage with a gentle slope from east to west and two masses of forest defining distinct “outdoor rooms”. The house is situated at the point of transition between these two environments, and as such acts at once to define the two as distinct, and also to offer a focused transition between them.

The project began, as a point of departure, with a depository of reclaimed, century old Douglas Fir beams. The beams were each milled of a single tree, and consequently were of different lengths and cross sectional dimensions—some as long as 20m, some as deep as 1m.

The project treats the beams as archaeological artifacts of the social and ecological history of the region. As such, they were not milled, cut, or finished. Because the beams were of different lengths and sizes, a free triangular geometry was developed to accommodate the variety in dimension and to create implicit and explicit relationships between indoor and outdoor space.

In order to maximize ambiguity between interior and exterior space, the project employed a strategy of removing one significant corner of each room, with an accordion door system on both sides, allowing the entire façade to retract.

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