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Tula House, Canada by Patkau Architects | via

This Canadian house by Patkau Architects is anchored to a rock by steel rods so that it treads lightly on the ground and cantilevers above the Pacific Ocean.

Tula House by Vancouver-based Patkau Architects was designed as the main home for a married couple on Quadra Island, nearly six hours’ drive north of Vancouver. It also doubles as informal headquarters for their organisation, Tula Foundation, which supports healthcare and environmental initiatives.

The remote cliff-top house rests 13 metres above the water, and is surrounded by spectacular and varied scenery. There is a forest behind, and the Strait of Georgia in front, where the owners can also see the mountains of British Columbia in the distance.

"The topography of the site is highly irregular, and the prospects are diverse," said architect John Patkau. "One site is actually many sites."

The house replaces a dilapidated cottage and attempts to realign the site with its surroundings, according to architects, whose other projects include a cluster of temporary shelters for ice-skaters and designs for six earth-sheltered houses on land surrounding Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater house.

Land that had been extensively filled in was removed to reveal the site’s natural terrain, and native vegetation that had been stripped away was re-planted. The house is designed as a single-storey building to provide a more direct and intimate connection with the landscape, and features a moss-covered roof to help it blend in with moss-covered basalt hills nearby.

Photography: James Dow, Patkau Architects

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