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Press kit - Press release - Christie Beach Residence - Altius Architecture Inc.

Christie Beach Residence

Blue Mountains, Canada

Altius Architecture Inc.

Toronto, Canada, 2011-05-24 -

Set on the south shore of Georgian Bay, this residence seeks to harmonize with its surrounding landscape with a minimal environmental impact while accommodating the diverse needs of four generations of occupants. Integration with the site is achieved by setting the building low and shifting floor and roof planes so that it becomes embed into the landscape. As the elevations shifts between the deck, loft, upper patio, green roof and floor levels; intimate moments are created as each space unfolds distinctly into the external environment. The elevation of the reflecting pool is also set specifically to create an effect of seamlessly extending Georgian Bay to the house, blurring the lines between building and landscape


Material choice is also significant in addressing the issues of site responsiveness, sustainability and for comfort. The rich wood in of the interior spaces brings warmth to the spaces in winter while the rich red cedar and cherry woods intensify the vibrant green of the surrounding forest in summer. The consistent palette of cedar soffits and ceiling cladding, window and doorframes seamlessly transition between the interior and exterior spaces. The exterior Ipe naturally blends with the surrounding rock soil, and becomes a geometric topography that extends its contemporary aesthetic into the natural environment. 

Flanked by hard edges on the east and west, the building maintains privacy from neighbours while emphasizing the views to the inner courtyard. The organization of the building is broken down into zones; the main floor is divided between the public / living area and service while upstairs there are the two wings – one for the master suite and the other for the guest wing to accommodate extended family. These spaces are unified by a central courtyard, which acts as the hub of the house, which gives access to all main spaces on the ground floor. 

It also was important for the owner to reduce the energy footprint of their home as much as possible without compromising comfort. The first line of defense was to optimize the building envelop by means of correct solar shading, effective ventilation and high insulation levels achieved with ICF construction and spray applied ployurethane as well as high performance Heat Mirror glazing. The building is effectively naturally ventilated to minimize the energy footprint of the home. The continuous clerestory windows in the main pavilion offer daylight as well as a 360° view of the adjacent external environment while its upward sloping roof utilizes stack effect ventilation. Solar gains are controlled through expansive south facing glazing with large overhangs and gypcrete floors acting as thermal mass. Regionally sourced limestone was used to minimize transport carbon emissions. 

The second line of active strategies implements a ground-loop geothermal system as the primary heating system. Solar energy is then collected to heat the pool and in a 10 kW grid-connected PV array to power the home. Comprehensive sustainable technologies and building practice sets this project apart from others in the Blue Mountain region while the unique building form and functional program promise to provide a wonderful family retreat as well as a year round dwelling for its owners. 

Altius Architecture
Altius is an award winning full service architecture, interior design and construction management firm. Spearheading environmental project initiatives Altius has a mandate to provide exceptional buildings with a focus on sustainability and continues to move towards a complete, holistic and collaborative approach to building. The firm subscribes to a team based process from the commencement of design where architects, engineers, consultants, constructors and clients come together to achieve something greater than the sum of their individual parts. Comprehensive involvement in the construction management process allows Altius to execute a high level of precision, craft and control of all details within each project. 

Aiming to harmonize architecture with the surrounding landscape, the firm designs its projects for minimal impact on the environment. Architectural form emerges from the existing context of each project, as well as the diverse needs of occupants and future generations to come. 

Expanding its expertise to include modular buildings, Altius partnered with Sustain Design Studio and together have been developing the miniHome, a world leader in ecological, selfcontained, mobile modular housing solutions. As with all Altius projects the primary focus is on passive heating and cooling strategies, while the active systems provide supplemental energy when the passive measures are pushed to the limit. 

Moving forward with extensive experience, the firm has multiple other projects on the boards and several currently under construction. Altius is dedicated to the creation of innovative projects with a commitment to sustainability, designing modern, functional and flexible spaces while providing the highest degree of client service. 

Name of Project: Christie Beach Residence
Lead Design Architect: Graham Smith
Location: Christie Beach, Ontario
Date of Occupancy: Summer 2009 
SF: 6,000 sf 

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