The New Modern Farmhouse - Design Bureau

Linear House by Patkau Architects

Linear House by Patkau Architects

Linear House by Patkau Architects

Linear House by Patkau Architects

The New Modern Farmhouse

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

When a couple close to retirement approached architectJohn Patkau to design a house reminiscent of an open farmhouse or a villa in the South of France, Patkau looked not into the past, but into the future, for inspiration. Indeed, everything from its design to its name — the Linear House — signals modernity.

Despite the unconventional take on the classic farmhouse, both Patkau and the homeowners stand by the concept. Patkau planned for the home to feel just as expansive as the couple’s French villa inspiration. “The general thought was that [the house] would have a grandness to it, by virtue of the length of the home and the height of the ceilings,” he says. At 276 feet long, with 12-foot ceilings and full-length windows, the single-level home exudes a grand vibe.

Patkau arrived at the Linear’s unique concept the same way he does for most of his designs: by taking a look around. He surveyed the lot, housed on a small island in British Columbia, and its three distinct landscapes: a meadow, an orchard and a long area of fir trees. He was most drawn to the latter. “The inspiration for the long dark exterior came from the row of Douglas firs,” he says. The outside of the home—crafted from charcoal-colored, fiber-cement panels made in Switzerland—blends so well with the surrounding fir trees, that it’s almost invisible from the road.

The inspiration for the long dark exterior came from the row of Douglas firs.

The inside of the home, on the other hand, is as bright as the outside is dark. “The luminous interior was then a reaction or complement to the exterior,” Patkau says. Moreover, winters in British Columbia are notoriously overcast, and the couple wanted the home to feel bright and airy year round. A combination of large skylights, sprawling floor-to-ceiling windows and interior walls finished with a plastic-like coating combine to create a living space that literally radiates light in the winter. In the summer, the windows, which cover nearly a third of the home, retract into the walls, turning the home into an almost pavilion-like space.

The homeowners, who moved in during fall of 2009, love the finished product, Patkau says. “They’d seen other houses in the region that had gotten a lot of notice, so they knew what kind of design we did and knew what to expect.”

Text by Kaitlin Madden, a Chicago-based freelance writer
Photos by James Dow

 

Tagged with: