Friday, September 12, 2008

West Vancouver Modern House Tour

On July 12 the West Vancouver Museum and Archives held their annual tour of Modern homes. Following are some photos taken at perhaps the most high-profile house to appear on the tour, the Binning Residence. Though much has been written recently about this house, given it's state of limbo after Jessie Binning's passing last year, it's worth revisiting.

The house remains, save for a few small alterations by Jessie, largely as it has for the last 60 years. It has a ship-like feel in it's economy of materials and space and the built-in cabinetry is simple but well-crafted and remains in excellent shape. The ship analogy is not surprising considering Binning's sailing experience in local waters, as well as his fascination with seascapes and the assorted motifs.

The landscape has grown over the years so that the house - which was designed to work sympathetically with the site in the first place - is virtually enveloped by lush greenery. The house is also remarkable for it's scale and size. On the inside, in addition to thoughtful built-ins, the footprint of the house is sparing and the rooms are small. The only sense of expansiveness is in the main hall that runs up to south facing clerestories and in the doors that open onto the patio and view out towards the water. This modulation of space helps create a house that is tranquil, welcoming and unpretentious and above all, representative of architecture on a human scale.

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