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Lake Huron House

A Dynamic and Unexpected Home

AA Robins Architect

Lake Huron House
By Elisa Grossi -

A series of metal-clad, sculptural volumes built on a solid limestone base, the Lake Huron House in Sarnia, Ontario, evolved out of spatial research into the two simple yet powerful lines of mass and matter. Designed by AA Robins Architect, the residence sits on the shores of the Canadian lake, surrounded by meadow that gradually replaces the sandy beach on approach to the building. Spread over four levels covering a total area of 600 sq. m, the house’s dynamic plan is characterized by interlocking spaces and rooms of differing heights to a surprising and unexpected effect. The building stands on a rectangular plot of almost 5,000 sq. m, for the most part a green area traversed longitudinally by a curvilinear path that connects the house with the road 100 m further south. The windows are consequently concentrated on the lake-facing north front; vegetation shields the east and west sides from adjacent properties.

The Lake Huron House was designed and sited to take advantage of four trees on site, one of which now stands at the center of the home’s courtyard. The theme of threshold plays a key role in the project: entering the building, the impression is of still being outside: the main entrance passes through a corridor with a continuation of the external limestone paving, the slabs rising to cover the side wall, while the courtyard wall is completely glazed.

In addition, the front door is clad on both sides in copper, a material that provides a common thread throughout the design, appearing in the interior and on the façade juxtaposed with a complementary dark gray metal finish. In this holistic design, the underlying concept was to bring not just the external façades but surrounding nature into the house: the coat racks along the corridor, for example, are made of pebbles collected from the beach.

The single large room with windows overlooking the lake is accessed via this narrow, elongated space, very...

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