Yukon Cottage Development

Cedar-clad cottage dwellings sit lightly on the land at the water’s edge near Whitehorse, embracing dramatic views of the lake and mountains beyond.

A development of 80 dwellings located on the shore of Bennett Lake in Carcross, Yukon, was commissioned by a Whitehorse developer with aspirations of establishing Carcross as a destination for outdoor activity enthusiasts. The program called for 1,000 square foot single family dwellings that were open concept variations on one- and two-storeys with views to the lake and mountains beyond. The site presented several challenges – a rolling topography, wind erosion, and sensitive natural vegetation all of which required a careful approach to construction in order to minimize site disturbance.

The proposed cottage dwellings are designed to sit lightly on the land, appearing to float over the rolling topography so as not to detract from the beauty of the landscape that they inhabit. They are constructed on two long, concrete-grade beams supported by helical piers along their length, minimizing site impact while nestling into the shifting sands. An extruded wood frame and peaked roof encloses the dwelling and an outdoor storage area. The frame extends past the glazed façade, creating a pronounced overhang which serves to protect the lake-facing façade from snow and blowing sands while framing views across the lake to the mountains. The long, covered outdoor storage area for equipment and firewood is sheltered by a screen made up of an array of alternating wooden boards and openings that allow natural light to penetrate the space. The cottages are clad in a local red cedar that ages over time from warm wood tones, to a sandy colour, and then to grey; this is a material that was selected for its longevity and ability to blend in with the landscape as it ages.

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