The Lander Cabin is located on the eastern shore of Indian Arm, a deep salt water glacial fjord near the city of Vancouver in British Columbia. The steep-sided fjord was formed during the last Ice Age and extends north from Burrard Inlet, between the communities of Belcarra and North Vancouver on into mountainous wilderness. There are no crossings and road access is limited north of the southern communities where the shoreline is primarily accessed from the water as the steep mountain slopes are impassable. Development is very limited despite the areas proximity to a major city.

The project takes its initial cues from the site’s two unique points of access, the forest road at the site’s high point and from the water via the dock. The cabin’s program - living/kitchen/dining, 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, studio and garage - is organized between these two access points on a series of terraces, bound by a single mono-pitch roof. To move though the cabin is to walk up, down and across the site, which is steeply sloped and rocky. Each level of the cabin is offset from the next and supports a distinct programmatic function. From these levels one has a unique visual and spatial engagement with the landscape.

The traversing and stepping nature of the design allows for the combining of different types of cultivated landscape spaces with the building form. The primary example of this relationship is the way in which the main courtyard carves out its place at the core of the house. There are other smaller garden courtyards at the entry and adjacent to the master bathroom. 

The upper level of the project contains the entry, garage, studio and powder room. It is a low simple rectangular form as viewed from the forest road. The garage door is disguised as a series of wall panels, some of which are operable. The studio is mostly glass and looks back onto a nearby rock wall to the east and has a commanding view to the west over the main courtyard, the living pavilion below, the fjord and mountains beyond.

The mid level of the house contains only the master bedroom and ensuite and has level access to the central courtyard. The bedroom has a private framed view of the dramatic landscape of the fjord.

The prominence of the main living level is reflected by its position at the lowest point on the site and close proximity to the water as well as its unencumbered view of the fjord to the west and north. The main living level includes a guest room, bathroom, and wine cellar (under the stairs). At the southern end of the living space (the kitchen) sliding doors open up to an outdoor kitchen area and lower deck from which a meandering path leads down to the dock.

The interior of the cabin is defined by the juxtaposition of minimal white walls and programmatic blocks clad in Alder plywood panels that frame movement, space and views.

Project Information

Location  /  Belcarra, British Columbia, Canada
Type  /  Single-family residence
Size  /  3,138 sf
Status  /  Under construction
Role  /  Architect of Record & Design Architect
Cost  /  undisclosed