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Christie Beach Residence by Altius Architecture

By Eric Meunier


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Altius Architecture has completed the Christie Beach Residence project in 2009.

Located in Christie Beach, Ontario in Canada, this 6,000 square foot residence was designed to reduce the energy footprint of the home as much as possible without compromising comfort.

Christie Beach Residence by Altius Architecture:

“Set on the south shore of Georgian Bay, this residence seeks to harmonize with its surrounding landscape with a minimal environmental impact while accommodating the diverse needs of four generations of occupants. Integration with the site is achieved by setting the building low and shifting floor and roof planes so that it becomes embed into the landscape. As the elevations shifts between the deck, loft, upper patio, green roof and floor levels; intimate moments are created as each space unfolds distinctly into the external environment. The elevation of the reflecting pool is also set specifically to create an effect of seamlessly extending Georgian Bay to the house, blurring the lines between building and landscape.

Material choice is also significant in addressing the issues of site responsiveness, sustainability and for comfort. The rich wood in of the interior spaces brings warmth to the spaces in winter while the rich red cedar and cherry woods intensify the vibrant green of the surrounding forest in summer. The consistent palette of cedar soffits and ceiling cladding, window and door frames seamlessly transition between the interior and exterior spaces. The exterior Ipe naturally blends with the surrounding rock soil, and becomes a geometric topography that extends its contemporary aesthetic into the natural environment.

Flanked by hard edges on the east and west, the building maintains privacy from neighbors while emphasizing the views to the inner courtyard. The organization of the building is broken down into zones; the main floor is divided between the public / living area and service while upstairs there are the two wings – one for the master suite and the other for the guest wing to accommodate extended family. These spaces are unified by a central courtyard, which acts as the hub of the house, which gives access to all main spaces on the ground floor.

It also was important for the owner to reduce the energy footprint of their home as much as possible without compromising comfort. The first line of defense was to optimize the building envelop by means of correct solar shading, effective ventilation and high insulation levels achieved with ICF construction and spray applied ployurethane as well as high performance Heat Mirror glazing. The building is effectively naturally ventilated to minimize the energy footprint of the home. The continuous clerestory windows in the main pavilion offer daylight as well as a 360° view of the adjacent external environment while its upward sloping roof utilizes stack effect ventilation. Solar gains are controlled through expansive south facing glazing with large overhangs and gypcrete floors acting as thermal mass. Regionally sourced limestone was used to minimize transport carbon emissions.

The second line of active strategies implements a ground-loop geothermal system as the primary heating system. Solar energy is then collected to heat the pool and in a 10 kW grid-connected PV array to power the home. Comprehensive sustainable technologies and building practice sets this project apart from others in the Blue Mountain region while the unique building form and functional program promise to provide a wonderful family retreat as well as a year round dwelling for its owners.”

Photos by: Greg Gannon, Altius Architecture

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About Eric Meunier

Currently the Owner and Chief Executive of HODYO Design, Eric Meunier's expertise in the design industry spreads over 20 years. He was the driving force behind HomeDSGN's early success, founding this website in 2011. Today, he loves to channel his passion for design into remodeling houses and transforming interior spaces with his keen eye for detail and architectural finesse. Learn more about HomeDSGN's Editorial Process.

1 thought on “Christie Beach Residence by Altius Architecture”

  1. Who knew that going green could not only BE good… but actually LOOK good, too!!!

    Damn fine job, Altius.

    I now wondering how many architectural firms in New Zealand can do this?


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