Bowen Island CabinBowen Island

Area: 3,000 sq ft

Bowen Island Cabin

bowen island cabin cliffside exterior

Imagine a tranquil 3,000 sq ft retreat, balanced over an ocean-facing cliffside lot. This is our recent cantilever architecture project on Bowen Island, a structure that perches on the edge, connected back to the cliff to provide living spaces floating above the cliff.

The cantilever design of the retreat involves strategically stacked volumes arranged perpendicular to each other. This arrangement forms a dramatic cantilever, with parts of the building seeming to float above the landscape, defying gravity. The cantilever design also opens up space for a large, occupiable deck, providing a unique outdoor area that combines comfort and a stunning panoramic view of the surroundings.

Serving as the backbone of the retreat is a 14' tall Vierendeel steel frame. This large steel structure lends the building both strength and stability, allowing the cantilever design to come to life. It's the skeleton that supports the innovative shape of the retreat, merging engineering and design in a harmonious blend.

Cladding the exterior of the retreat is slate, a durable and visually appealing material. The slate cladding offers a touch of elegance and effortlessly integrates the building into the natural surroundings. The natural texture and color of the slate mirror the rugged beauty of the cliffside, creating a synergy between the built and the natural environment.

The cantilever home takes advantage of floor-to-ceiling glazing to open up the interiors to the beauty of the outdoors. The transparent walls flood the interior spaces with natural light, and provide stunning views of the ocean and surrounding landscape, unobstructed by conventional walls.

One of the most striking features of this retreat is the cantilever's leading edge, suspended a breathtaking 150ft above the road below. This daring design element not only adds to the retreat's visual impact, but also enhances the panoramic views from the house.

bowen island cabin sea view

In the main living room, the windows look out across the tops of trees and onto the vast expanse of the ocean. The vantage point offers a unique perspective, giving occupants the feeling of floating amidst nature.

This project was a challenge, given the complex topography of the lot on Bowen Island. The steep cliffside location necessitated a thoughtful and innovative approach to design and construction. Despite the difficulties, it was an incredibly fun endeavor. The complexities of the site inspired us to push boundaries and create a design that's not just a house, but a real integration of engineering and architecture.

The result is a cliffside retreat that combines daring design, robust engineering, and elegant aesthetics. This project was a journey of discovery, an exploration of possibilities, and the potential of an otherwise unbuildable lot.