Tofino Beach House

Tofino Beach House

Architect
Olson Kundig
Location
Tofino, British Columbia, Canada | View Map
Project Year
2016
Category
Private Houses
Nic Lehoux
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct Name
minimalist windowspanoramah!®
Custom front door – Rift-oak, bronze and steelSpearhead
Windows – Custom extruded aluminum mullions/frames/flashings with argon-filled IGUs Atlas Meridian Glass Works
Recessed downlightsLucifer Lighting
Bathroom sconcesWaterworks

Product Spec Sheet
minimalist windows
Custom front door – Rift-oak, bronze and steel
Windows – Custom extruded aluminum mullions/frames/flashings with argon-filled IGUs
Recessed downlights
Bathroom sconces

Tofino Beach House

Olson Kundig as Architects

Perched on the westernmost edge of Vancouver Island, Tofino is one of Canada’s favorite recreation destinations, where extreme weather conditions draw surfers and storm watchers year round. Nestled in a weather-beaten forest, this 2,500-square-foot beach house creates a connection between the drama of the nearby ocean and the sense of sanctuary provided by the trees. Composed primarily of one large room, the house is light-filled on the south side facing the ocean, and insular and protected on the other side, paneled in dark, rich wood.

photo_credit Nic Lehoux
Nic Lehoux

“The beach house is essentially one single room, with the emphasis on feeling connected to the ocean and the surrounding woods.”

– Jim Olson, Design Principal at Olson Kundig

photo_credit Nic Lehoux
Nic Lehoux

Glass walls open the living area to panoramic views of forest and ocean, while two fireplaces on either end anchor the space and provide a feeling of refuge. Cantilevering the house from its base provides space for ferns and beach salal to grow underneath the glass flooring that runs the perimeter of the main room, giving the sense of floating above the forest floor.

photo_credit Nic Lehoux
Nic Lehoux

“The emphasis was not on framing a single focal point view, but rather on capturing a panoramic view of the ocean beyond. The roof is held up only by the two chimneys on either side of the living space, which gives the feeling of the roof floating. There are no columns or interior structural systems to obscure the panoramic view; instead, it feels almost like you are outdoors in a big open space with two cozy campfires at either end.”
– Jim Olson, Design Principal at Olson Kundig

photo_credit Nic Lehoux
Nic Lehoux

The warm, natural tones of the interior take inspiration from Tofino’s coastal forest, and are punctuated by pieces from the owner’s striking contemporary art collection. Artworks were incorporated into the design of the home, with the fireplace walls specially designed to fit paintings by Sam Francis and Diego Singh.

photo_credit Nic Lehoux
Nic Lehoux

“The main room is solid on one end like a cabinet, with warm, dark walnut wood casework, and open at the other end with expansive glass walls and glass flooring. Here, you can look out on the surrounding vista, while you feel safe and protected from behind with the two fireplaces and the wood walls.”

– Jim Olson, Design Principal at Olson Kundig

photo_credit Nic Lehoux
Nic Lehoux

A collection of furniture pieces designed by Olson specifically for the house, including a walnut sofa built into the hearth of one fireplace, complete the interior environment.

photo_credit Nic Lehoux
Nic Lehoux

Tightknot cedar ceilings in the living area and rich walnut casework in the open kitchen to the rear provide a sense of grounded warmth, which extends to the back bedroom with its dark teak paneling. Here, a vista out over an elevated deck and long reflecting pool offers a second opportunity for views of water and woods.

photo_credit Nic Lehoux
Nic Lehoux

This house was sited so carefully that only one tree had to be removed during construction, and a green roof above the garage continues the home’s natural integration.

photo_credit Nic Lehoux
Nic Lehoux

“The house is raised up off the ground because of the salal plants, which grow naturally to five or six feet tall. This is the height of the floor level, which allows you to look out over the top of the native plants. Inside, it feels like you are in a boat floating over a green sea of salal.”

– Jim Olson, Design Principal at Olson Kundig

photo_credit Nic Lehoux
Nic Lehoux

A nearly continuous line of clerestory windows above the living area required an innovative engineering system for the cantilevered roof, which is held up in only two places by the concrete chimneys. As a result, the roof appears to be floating above the house, which itself is much like a glass boat gliding over a sea of salal. 

photo_credit Nic Lehoux
Nic Lehoux

Material Used :
1. Parker Johnson Industries – Roof and siding – VM Zinc in Quartz
2. Atlas Meridian Glassworks – Windows – Custom extruded aluminum mullions/frames/flashings with argon-filled IGUs 
3. Spearhead – Custom front door – Rift-oak, bronze and steel
4. Ceilings (main room) – Tight knot cedar 
5. Ceilings (bedroom, bathroom, closet) – Teak veneer
6. Waterworks – Bathroom sconces
7. Lucifer – Recessed downlights
8. Custom casework – Walnut
9. Custom built-in sofa designed by Jim Olson – Walnut and leather
10. Custom console table and coffee table designed by Jim Olson / fabricated by Chadhaus – Walnut
11. Custom side table designed by Jim Olson / fabricated by Chadhaus – Blackened steel
12. Custom X-bar chairs designed by Jim Olson / fabricated by Big Leaf – Blackened steel and leather
13. Custom upholstered chair designed by Jim Olson / fabricated by Big Leaf – Blackened steel and fabric
14. Custom dining table designed by Jim Olson 
15. Custom bed designed by Jim Olson– Walnut
16. Custom headboard designed by Jim Olson / fabricated by Hoss Brothers 

photo_credit Nic Lehoux
Nic Lehoux

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Project Credits
Architects
Structural and Mechanical Engineers
RDH
Envelope
Structure Prefabrication & Front Door
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