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Overcoming Budget Challenges: Compact Family Residence in Canada

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When dealing with a restricted budget, the challenges can prove to be intimidating. Not for Kariouk Associates, who managed to design a functional and appealing contemporary home for its inhabitants, an adult couple and their teenage children. Located in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada, the residence displays a compact shape, characterizing its simple masonry volume. Here is more information provided by the architects: “In response to the project’s very modest budget, industrial concrete blocks were used as the exterior veneer, but in an unconventional manner: the rough material is arranged in a pinwheel pattern yielding a playful façade throwing deep shadows. Because the house is quite small for a large family, an exterior, screened-in living/dining area was designed for the flat roof. When completed, this space will be accessed by an exterior steel stair, linking the interior living area and exterior living area.”  As far as the interior structure is concerned, the spaces most used by the teenagers- their bedrooms, a TV area, and sports equipment storage- are located on the ground level. while the formal areas of the house are given the most privileged views on the second level. How would you comment on the overall layout of this residence?

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An example of a huge success is Heneghan Peng Architects’ Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Using the large difference in level across the site, the architects created two folds in the landscape. Bold, but not conflicting with the rather bleak natural environment, these folds draw all the man-made areas together and create one fitting man-made break in the natural landscape. In the words of the architects themselves, There is no longer a building and a landscape, but building becomes landscape and the landscape itself remains spectacular and iconic

Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.

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