- Architects: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
- Location: Calgary, Canada
- Principal: Ray Calabro, FAIA
- Project Manager: Kyle Phillips, AIA, Senior Associate
- Design Team: Peter Bohlin, Nate Lambdin, Adam Pazan
- Landscape Design: Just Gardens
- Area: 3690.0 ft2
- Photographs: Nic Lehoux
- General Contractor: Brookwright Developments, Inc.
- Structural Engineering: DCI+BCE Engineers
- Interior Furnishings: Kit Interior Objects
- Cabinetry: Northmount Industries
Text description provided by the architects. This modestly scaled house in Calgary’s gentrifying Erlton neighborhood occupies a site on the Elbow River with sweeping views of the downtown skyline. The owners, both professionals, desired a loft-like living space, open to views of the river and city.
After a devastating flood in 2013 damaged many of the houses on this street, the massing responds to the possibility of future flooding by placing the primary spaces on the second floor, well above the 100- year flood elevation. Utilitarian spaces including a two-car garage, flexible space and laundry are located on the lower level. Mechanical equipment was intentionally located above the flood level to minimize repairs should another major event occur. Exterior finishes were selected to address the clients desire for low maintenance, durable materials in an area that experiences intense rain, hail and snow storms and extended frigid winters.
The upper, angular volume containing the living and sleeping spaces is clad in robust silver corrugated metal and cantilevers over a solid, rectangular base covered in black fiber-cement panels. The roof tilts upward and away from the entry toward the edges of the site. Drainage from the roof is gathered at the central trough and directed to a basin in the landscape that disperses the water slowly to the surrounding landscape.
The east elevation along Erlton Street is deliberately opaque, with horizontal slot windows that offer privacy from the busy neighborhood street. The entry is marked by white planes that extend through the house to frame views of the garden and river beyond. A steel and white oak stair clad in silver panels leads to the second level where the ceilings slope upward and the glazed west wall curves in response to a bend in the Elbow River. Living room, dining room and kitchen are angled toward long views of the river and skyline. A fireplace and custom window seat with bookshelves anchor the northern edge of the living space. Behind the kitchen, a shared office and guest suite are located along the street. A master suite occupies the southern end of the home, with expansive views and generous bath and closet spaces.
Along the west elevation, the cantilever is more distinct as the angled forms of the house and deck float on slender steel columns. A horizontal steel fin extends above the windows to shade the living spaces from the afternoon sun. It folds down at the southern edge to become a privacy screen for the master suite.
Modest in size yet bold in spirit, the Elbow River Residence is a direct response to its riverside location and rapidly changing urban neighborhood context.