Sunday, October 30, 2011

Staples Residence

Erickson Massey's 1967 Staples residence in West Vancouver is currently for sale.

It sits next door to the old Graham residence location on Cliff Cove and takes advantage of a breathtaking waterfront site that looks up Howe Sound. As with many houses from the era, the lot is now considered 'under-built'–in developer parlance–and there is concern that the house will come down.

However, unlike the Graham residence, which was badly renovated and allowed to deteriorate, the Staples residence has had no modification over the years and remains in beautiful and original condition.

It shares a common DNA with the Smith and Graham houses in its post and beam-based spatial explorations and a material palette of cedar, glass and bush-hammered concrete. All three houses showcased Erickson's renowned ability to design for difficult sites.

Soaring beams shoot past floor to ceiling glass into the surrounding foliage. The house achieves a quiet but powerful drama through clarity of design and an intimacy with the site. A Japanese influence is felt in the austerity of the composition and elements such as shoji screens, sand-float stucco and a koi pond.

Landscaping was designed by Don Vaughan and focused on native plantings and bonsai trees which still cling doggedly to the craggy slope.

The Staples worked closely with Erickson Massey and project architect Bruno Freschi to achieve a stunning design that happily accommodated a family of four for decades. The home now needs a new custodian to imbue it with the vitality and appreciation that has been its hallmark.

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