“Yew House / Campos Studio + Tom Chung Studio”
Text description provided by the architects. Yew Street House is a traditional Vancouver house that was renovated to suit aging in place. The project was executed as a collaboration between Vancouverdesign firm Campos Studio and Toronto based industrial designer Tom Chung. Yew House is situated on a small corner lot in Kitsilano, one Vancouver’s original working class neighbourhoods. Originally built in 1907, the house underwent a patchwork of renovations and in the 1970’s most of its land was sold off to accommodate a neighbouring development. Due to the sale of this land it is now impossible to build a new house on the lot. Therefore, the plan became to upgrade the existing house by gutting it down to the studs, reinsulating and seismically upgrading the shell.
Having raised their family in this walkable neighbourhood the owners wanted to find a way to renovate the house to suit their transition to being semi-retired empty nesters and through retirement to aging in place. The plan became to create a bright modern open loft style living area with an unobtrusive and private guest area for visiting children and friends. The previous attic den was converted into a master bedroom and ensuite loft with hidden storage while the ground floor bedrooms are now a self-sufficient guest area connected to the main living space through a concealed door in the kitchen millwork. The main floor was designed to be convertible to one level living by anticipating the eventual conversion of the TV room and powder room into a master bedroom so that the couple could age in place.
Finishes were kept hardwearing and timeless throughout. The floors, including the stairs, are European white oak. The millwork is a combination of Oak and Baltic Birch. The ceiling was braced with black metal turnbuckles which echoed the black metal screens and metalwork. During the demolition, an original fire place was discovered hidden behind drywall. It was restored and helps to define the dining and living areas. The project includes a number of custom lights by Tom Chung while the furniture is a mixture of client owned vintage pieces and contemporary design pieces.
07.16.14 | Arch Daily
From the architect. This project is an exploration of the modernist pavilion in an extreme desert context. The site is a west-facing rocky knoll with distant views of a volcanic mountain ridge to the west and the Sea of Cortez to the south. The organization of the architectural program is used to create a passive solar response to the constraints of a challenging site and modest construction budget.
The project utilizes a relatively small building footprint on the steeply sloping site - organizing the public living areas on a series of cascading platforms, shaded and sheltered by a single monolithic rectangular volume that houses the bedrooms above. The circulation corridor on the upper floor features a southwest-facing perforated exterior wall that absorbs the intense solar gain, isolating the inboard bedrooms from the heat while also creating a pressure differential that results in effective passive ventilation.
The upper volume is supported lightly on three points, with the majority of the main floor opening into the landscape through a series of operable glass panels. There is a large internal rectangular opening in the upper box, through which a cantilevered stair rises upward over the plunge pool. This deep opening blocks direct sunlight from penetrating into the exteriorized living space below, while providing an open connection to the sky above the exterior living area and pool.
07.13.14 | Arch Daily
This project is the second of a series of desert dwelling prototypes that comprise an ongoing body of research into off-grid living in a relatively extreme climate. All three research sites are located in the remote community of Los Zacatitos, in Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Zacatitos 02 is an architectural experiment that fully explores the concept of architecture as a device which mediates occupation of the site and experience of the landscape. It presents a minimal architectural aesthetic wherein interior and exterior blend seamlessly, lightly demarcated by large operable glazing panels. The detail-oriented minimalism evoke an inevitability that is a direct reflection of the frugality and sparseness that is the ethos of this landscape.
Using a convertible architectural strategy this project strives to strives to provide a sense of inhabitation of the landscape which affords the luxury of being neither completely inside, nor entirely outside, but somewhere in between. To achieve this, the primary living space features three walls with large operable glazing panels that fully retract, providing the effect of expanding the dwelling almost infinitely into the natural landscape beyond. The concrete topography of the dwelling dematerializes in fragments as it extends into the desert context. The restrained material palette consisting almost exclusively of glass, concrete, steel, and aluminum provides a minimal monochromatic landscape that is a direct reflection of the ethos of the desert.
07.10.14 | Arch Daily
This project is the third of a series of desert dwelling prototypes that comprise an ongoing body of research into off-grid living in a relatively extreme climate. All three research sites are located in the remote community of Los Zacatitos, in Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Zacatitos 03 was designed as a formal expression of the local construction methodology - concrete-reinforced insulation panel system. The program elements are organized in a linear fashion across the sloping site in response to the orientation sun, direction of local prevailing breezes.
The double line of panels was then shifted and laterally accommodate views, maximize ventilation, and protect against solar gain.
"Ocean Park House"
07.07.14 | Arch Daily
This project is conceived as a domestic landscape that blurs the boundary between interior and exterior space in a temperate coastal rainforest climate. It is essentially a ranch house typology with a guest house stacked upon it - designed for a physically active empty nest couple who enjoy the idea of welcoming family home for the holidays. The domestic program is spread across the entire site, across a series of stepped platforms, and the vertical vertical circulation connecting the main floor to the upstairs is deliberately understated.
The programmatic organization allows the primary residents to live entirely on the ground floor in a series of specs that have intimate connections to the landscape. The primary living spaces are organized around a japanese-inspired courtyard, or ‘moss garden’, that operates as a multi-faceted architectural device. On the one side it provides circulation along the primary axis which connects the main entry through to the backyard pool and workout pavilion.
Secondly, it creates a visual extension of the living room into the garden. Lastly, the kitchen opens directly into the courtyard, providing a sense that it is a glass pavilion in the garden. The central living space is bracketed on the south side by a large concrete fireplace which provides privacy from the street. The orientation, form, and positioning of the upper volume was designed to protect against direct solar gain during the summer months, while allowing light at lower sun angles to penetrate into the spaces during the winter months.
"Campos Leckie Studio: Adapting Materials Across Contexts"
07.02.14 | Arch Daily
In the following interview, presented by ArchDaily Materials and originally published by Sixty7 Architecture Road, Canadian firm Campos Leckie Studio defines their process for designing site-specific, beautiful architecture that speaks for itself. Enjoy the firm's stunning projects and read the full interview after the break.
We asked Michael Leckie, one of the principals of Vancouver-based Campos Leckie Studio, about the importance of discovery in design and the textural differences between projects. Your website states that your firm is committed to a rigorous process of discovery. How do you explain that to clients?
Process is extremely important in our work. When we meet with clients we do not immediately provide napkin sketches or an indication of what form the work will ultimately take on. Rather, we focus on the formulation of the ‘design problem’ and the conditions that establish the basis for exploration and discovery. These contextual starting points include the site, program, materiality, budget, as well as cultural reference points. This is challenging for some clients, as our culture generally conditions people to expect to see the final product before they commit to something.
Describe the textural differences between your projects in Mexico, and those in the Lower Mainland?
The climate, of course, and especially the light is very different in Mexico than it is in the Pacific Northwest. The projects in each particular region are founded on the same general principles of sustainability in relation to climate, but the materials and envelope considerations are entirely different. We employ passive strategies for heating and cooling in both climates, but this means quite different things here versus there.
In Mexico we typically use very low-tech building techniques and materials – rough structural concrete, concrete block, single glazed windows, stone, steel, cane, and plaster. We are constantly working to blend the living spaces into the landscape as much as possible – creating spaces that are neither entirely interior nor entirely exterior. In Mexico we are focused primarily on technical issues of solar control and ventilation, whereas in Vancouver we are primarily dealing with moisture control and energy efficiency.
In our projects in the Pacific Northwest we employ relatively sophisticated assemblies and building envelope design, focusing as much on the psychological and visual connection to nature as on the opportunities for direct spatial connection. A number of our recent projects in the Lower Mainland have been designed to meet Passive Haus standards for envelope performance and overall energy efficiency.
The construction systems themselves tend to have a direct influence on the formal character of the projects. For example, when working with concrete in Mexico, we tend to focus more on monolithic ideas of massing; while working with timber frames and light wood construction in Vancouver leads to an approach that is conceived more as ‘frames’ and ‘skins‘. Having said that, our work in each region definitely has an influence on our work in the other regions.
Describe what’s special about the following projects:
This is the most minimal of the four off-grid modernist dwellings in the coastal Sonoran desert. This project was conceived as a series of convertible spaces and exterior courtyards underneath a single large hybrid roof. Multiple solar shading mechanisms were developed based on the traditional local vernacular – vertical slat walls, extended roof cantilevers, and a porous horizontal screen system that incorporates a woven natural cane. These three mechanisms are integrated with strategies of thermal massing and passive ventilation to provide year-round climatic comfort, while balancing the priorities of shelter, day lighting, and views.
The house occupies a sloped site that is bracketed by the ocean on one side and an extinct volcanic ridge on the other. A series of monolithic panels loosely enclose a series of interior and exterior spaces, providing protection from both the strong sun and tropical storms. The pairs of monoliths are staggered and pulled apart to organize the architectural program, facilitate ventilation, and provide an overall sense of openness. In order to maximize the efficient use of materials and labour, the panel width was derived from the working module of the SIPs panel system (structural insulating panels) that was the selected construction method.
The design addresses the limitations of working with a modest budget and the challenges of building on a steep rocky site. The strategy was to rethink the needs of the client through the creation of programmatic and functional overlaps. Using the modernist pavilion as a departure point, the private areas are organized to create a porous volume that is raised up off the site to capture wind and provide shelter from the extreme solar loads. Supported lightly on three points, the upper volume provides shade for the public living areas situated on a series of landscape platforms below.
William Street House
This is a renovation to a heritage-listed house, where we consciously introduced modern formal elements to contrast with the Victorian character of the existing dwelling. A porch on the back of the house was removed and the space reconfigured to provide a private exterior space in this dense urban neighbourhood. In addition, the timber-lined box connects the productive garden to the living spaces and acts as an aperture that allows natural daylight light deep into the adjacent living space.
Wallace Street House
Designed to passive house standards with a high performance building envelope, the crystalline volume of the house is carved away at the corners, providing exterior spaces that are a mixture of covered landscape or raised decks and planters. This house is clad in charred cedar, using the Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban.
"Inter | Section"
02.06.10 | Arch Daily
Canadian Architects Campos Leckie Studio shared with us this recent installation for an Exhibition for the 2010 Cultural Olympiad in Vancouver.
Consistent with the exhibition theme of Canadian innovation in design, inter/section demonstrates the potential of contemporary wood fabrication technologies to generate formal variation from standardized wood construction materials within the constraints of material efficiency, ease of assembly/disassembly, and adaptive reuse.
The form of inter/section structures the relationship between the viewer, the exhibition objects, and associated graphic information while specific sections respond to the particular placement and spatial dimensions of each of the objects.
All components in the assembly are joined through interlocking friction connections without the use of fasteners or adhesives. The installation is created using 172 sheets of plywood that were cut using a 3-axis CNC (computer numerically controlled) router. The 288 vertical planes are paired and cut from 144 sheet of plywood. The remaining 28 sheets are used for interlocking horizontal pieces that shape this particular installation.
Developed to be reconfigured in other spaces inter/section employs a standardized placement of interlocking connection slots on the vertical sections. These create a system with a high degree of flexibility that allows the overall reconfiguration of the installation while maintaining the specificity inherent in the vertical sections. The entire assembly can be packaged to fit within a volume of 4’-0” x 8’-0” x 7’-0”.