AA Robins in the Gulf Islands

This project by the architect AA Robins overlooks a bay in Canada's Gulf Islands, situated just off the coast of Vancouver, in a stretch of sea between the mainland and Vancouver Island.

Intersecting volumes, interweaving materials and juxtapositions of architecture and sculpture create a fluid environment featuring private and shared spaces, which open onto the outside world to bring the magnificence of nature right into the home.

The project concept revolves around the villa's integration into its natural setting, the aesthetic originality of its forms, the re-use of materials (the wood from the trees felled to make space for the building was re-used for the interior furnishings) and energy efficiency.

Coniferous woodland embraces the length of the house and absorbs it into the contours of the bay, making it almost invisible from the sea. From the land, meanwhile, the view towards the sea remains completely clear.

The steel cladding of the exterior has a rusted look, which reflects the colouration of the surrounding soil and tree trunks, while the glazed walls, almost all of which face the bay, can be opened completely to create a continuum between the interior and exterior of the home, and provide direct access to the patio and pool area. The pool can be used for several months a year because the water is heated by a geothermal system fed by the ocean and also connected to the indoor underfloor heating system, for the purposes of energy efficiency.

The judicious blend of different materials generates a harmonious dialogue between the various parts of the house: wood, stone, glass and metal are used both inside and outside, in well chosen combinations with textural and formal allusions to the setting.

The floor coverings are a harmonious blend of natural stone, ceramic and wood: the flooring is made of granite in the entrance and part of the living area, and basalt in the bathroom. The kitchen, the remainder of the living area, the bedrooms and the corridors, by contrast, feature Medoc oak floorboardsThe trapezoidal shape of the hardwood flooring, designed by Michele De Lucchi for Listone Giordano, brings to mind the natural profile of a tree trunk, while the sawn effect of the surfaces and the various shades of grey reflect the architect's vision of wood that bears the marks of having lived its life outdoors, and brings them into the house to fuel a never-ending dialogue between the indoor and outdoor environments.