The Cherry Valley residence is situated in Prince Edward County, two and a half hours east of Toronto. Characterized by an intricate coastline and a burgeoning wine-making industry, the landscape and sense of place can be distilled to fields and shoreline. The site for this home offers both, starting with a meadow-like plateau upon entry and then a ridge that quickly descends to the lakeshore. This seam became a focal point for one's experience of the site—a natural perch just below the tree canopy, sheltered from the wind at your back by the ridge, and with a view to the water framed by the underside of the tree canopy. This is where the house was intended to be sited.
To capture the experience during early site visits, the house is sunken into the ridge, once again protected at its back and providing a vantage point below the trees. Large windows on the waterside frame views of the shore, while panoramic windows at ground level facing the meadow offer a vantage point to the 'field.' This panoramic view immerses the viewer in the landscape rather than placing them on top of it, allowing observation of the strata of nature from soil, fern, tree, and sky. Larger dormers bring additional light from above, sometimes conventionally through the vertical surface and at other times through horizontal analogs reminiscent of light beaming through the tree canopy.
While the spatial sequencing and siting concept are quite contemporary, the form and materiality of the project draw inspiration from more agrarian architecture in the area. Brick and cedar celebrate the duality of the site. Brick is used on the solid wall that holds back the hillside into which the house is nestled, while a cedar roof wraps down the facade facing the water, engaging in a dialogue with the trees that frame the lake views. The interior is entirely clad in Douglas fir boards, with brick again cladding walls that engage in a dialogue with the exterior tectonics.