Minnedosa House / Design-Built | ArchDaily
Minnedosa House / Design-Built
Text description provided by the architects. Situated on an elevation of land in the scenic landscape of western Manitoba, Minnedosa House is designed to blend in with the natural elements of the surrounding rural countryside. A series of axes throughout the house organize spaces and programs, intertwining living areas and dividing more private areas. These axes incorporate full-height glazing to blur the barrier between exterior and interior conditions, substantially extending the infinite interior spaces outward into the landscape (or vice versa) through carefully framed views. Double-height volumes of space and an open floor plan create a dynamic relationship between the first and second floors, inviting curiosity and activating connections between inhabitants across many spaces.
The home is designed to age alongside a young family, and materials have been selected and finished to not only stand up to time and use, but also to celebrate it. An understated palette is woven throughout the home and includes cedar siding, oiled ash floors, polished concrete, raw steel, and walnut hardwoods. The cedar siding will one day mature to a soft silver color and the raw steel will oxidize, imparting new hues and textures to its surface. The oiled finish of the ash floors and walnut stair treads will scuff and wear gracefully, revealing paths of play and action over time.
Using these materials, the appearance of the house will change over the years, capturing the history of the family’s habitation in the markings and patina of its surfaces. As these materials come together, the unique approach to design and construction is revealed in the details of the project. This approach combines knowledge of contemporary construction practices and advanced manufacturing technologies with a rigorous approach to design based on questioning and conceptualizing solutions. This encourages design and construction to continuously and cyclically inform each other throughout the process to create highly intentional, detailed and elaborate projects.
Examples of this approach are speckled throughout the project and are seen perhaps most dramatically on the staircase. The typical structural requirements of a staircase have been taken apart, re-examined and reassembled to refer to the forces exerted on the system as it passes through and the way each step is held in place. Perforated raw steel panels direct most of the action, diffusing natural light, extending a sculpted handrail and crossing each of the oiled walnut steps.
The panels attach thin steel bars to hang from the ceiling, holding the whole system entirely off the ground in a gesture to celebrate the vertical transition in the space. Blurring the line between designer and builder, constructed design traces ideas from concept to execution throughout the project, magnifying the expression of how materials are worked, juxtaposed, combined or set to celebrate the tectonic qualities of the details themselves. .