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Clear Lake Cottage


Situated among a quite lake community, this modern four-season cottage stands behind the trees revealing its clean modern lines and connection to the outdoors. The Clear Lake Cottage, designed by Toronto-based firm MJMA, takes on a campsite look through its peaked roof which creates an ambiguously modern vernacular feel allowing for snow and water shedding, accentuating the building’s shape.


The plan was rationalized as a rectangle which is skewed to a trapezoidal shape to maximize the lake front exposure. The east facing facade allows natural light to flood the interior while punctures to the building envelop captures the uncovering landscape.



Taking cues from the client’s fondness for Scandinavian fishing shacks, with their pine tar-painted cedar, the building is clad in a black corrugated metal, a cost effective North American interpretation to this shoreline aesthetic. The result is a modern, raw and industrial appearance.



The resulting formal expression of the building resembles an archetypal ‘house’ quality. The roof and walls are merged into a singular streamlined form. The massing along the forest side is connected vertically with the above open loft space.


The screened porch has a bi-folding partition opening it to the cottage interior. Fifty perfect of the glazed envelope can be left open to allow for the cottage to be exposed to the natural breeze, acoustics and shadow play – fully capturing the natural surroundings of the site.


The interior is detailed to contrast the exterior black cladding. The interior material palette of Sapelle window frames, retroplate concrete floors and Douglas Fir plywood works as a visual counterpoint to the dark, textured exterior finish.


This approach to a ‘high and low’ material palette and divergent typologies is a strategy to disarm the precious nature of ‘designed’ space.



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