Ko House

COLLABORATOR: Jerin Dunsmoor

TSAWWASSEN, B.C. – The spatial complexity of this project developed due to a variety of issues surrounding the project site, program, the existing structure, the quality of habitable space, and the surrounding streetscape.

The clients were looking to expand their single story pan-abode house in order to accommodate a television space as well as a master bedroom with an ensuite. At the initial stages of the project, it was determined that, due to the budget and the existing pan-abode structure, the creation of a second story over the existing house was not feasible. The development of the design options for expanding the house horizontally was then under taken, using the site and existing house functions as catalysts for the design concept.

The entry to the house was at the south-east corner of the property, with a number of mature trees lining the perimeter of the south property line, west of the entry way. It was agreed, in the interests of the aesthetic beauty of the surrounding community, that the destruction of these trees was to be minimized. Limiting the expansion of the house to a location east of the entry recommended itself to such a requirement.

The existing structure – created over time by the continuous accretion of rooms – was long, narrow, and pushed to the north-east corner of the property. This condition left ample space for an addition along the properties south side.

In terms of internal organization, the functions of the existing house were divided into two zones – the private spaces extending from the center of the house to its west end and the public functions located along the east side. In seeing that the activities associated with television watching were primarily public in nature, it was agreed that the new addition should have a direct spatial relationship to the existing public spaces along the building’s east side.

As a means of minimizing site destruction, saving construction/labour costs, and maximizing the penetration of natural light into the existing house, a small addition footprint was created. For these reasons, it was also decided that the addition expand vertically over the new foundations in order to accommodate the master bedroom suite – a space that can also be transforms to a mezzanine space in the future if needed. Vertically separating the new bedroom from the public activities below also ensured privacy.

Aesthetically, the main issue was creating a two -story addition that did not visually overpower the existing one story structure or the neighbouring houses. This was made even more difficult by the fact that the front of the new construction would be only 10 feet from the main street. The asymmetrical roof line developed from this need, accommodating the required bedroom above while lowering the vertical scale of the addition. Projecting the second level over the first also served this end, while simultaneously protecting windows from the elements.

The new design transformed the existing elongated structure into an L-shaped house, the form of which defined a south-facing garden- courtyard with its much used deck. A covered entry verandah, defined by log posts 10 inches in diameter, was created as a transition between the interior and exterior environment. Two large alder doors also open onto this sheltered space, extending the newly constructed television room into the lush garden-court.

Window sizes and locations were chosen in order to maintain privacy from the street close by, while allowing views to the outdoors and maximizing the penetration of natural light. A complex spatial configuration of the interior spaces developed in order to make the most of the light entering the strategically located windows.

A 22 foot clerestory space was designed, scooping north light deep into the existing space of the living room as well as new addition. The operable windows in this space facilitate natural ventilation through stack effect in the summer months. The beams of the original roof were kept as remnants of the original structure and as elements that scale down
the space.

Interior windows open from the master bedroom into the high clerestory space allowing views into the existing living room and out of the north facing windows to the treetops beyond. These windows also allow for the south light entering the bedroom to filter into the center of the house.

The final result is an addition that meshes with the beauty of its surrounding community, respects its neighbours, fulfills its users needs, and effortlessly integrates with the original structure both physically and functionally.