The Floating House is part of a master plan including five proposed guest houses based on the repetition of a generic vernacular house. Located on a remote island in Lake Huron with a harsh seasonal climate, an on-site construction process would have been difficult, so the 2,200-square-foot house was built on a floating steel pontoon structure at the contractor’s lakeside workshop and then towed and anchored to the final site for the installation of finishes. The front of the house faces the water. There is a loose symmetry in the plan. The entrance opens onto a landscaped path that passes through the building and down the stairs, wrapped behind a screen of cedar siding. This path connects the two sides of the U-shaped island.
The house is clad in a cedar plank rainscreen that visually unifies walls and roof. The spacing of the planks varies around openings to admit light and air. The rainscreen provides air movement between interior and exterior, dissipating heat gain and reducing wind load. Anchored to the granite lakebed, the house moves with the changing water level. The architecture floats; it is an abstraction of the vernacular house, displaced onto the lake.
Project Team: Michael Meredith, Hilary Sample, Fred Holt, Chad Burke, Ryan Bollom, Forest Fulton, Temple Simpson, Martin Kedzior, Jimenez Lai
Structural Engineer: J. David Bowick, Blackwell Engineering Ltd., Toronto