John Bleasby 2017-11-17 02:27:10
YUKON GOLD The Woodland House Whitehorse, Yukon Architect: Kobayashi + Zedda Architects Ltd. (Lauren Holmes NWTAA, Lead Architect) Contractor: 360 Design Build (Nicolas Rasselet) Building in the Yukon presents obvious climate challenges. ‘Warm season’ lasts only three and half months, from mid-May to early September, with daily highs averaging +14°C, mitigated somewhat by up to 20 hours of daylight. In winter, average highs plunge to -5°C and often reach -23°C at night, combined with less than six hours of daylight. Architects Jack Kobayashi and Antonio Zedda have tackled Yukon’s climate for nearly 20 years, winning numerous awards including the Canada Council’s prestigious Prix de Rome in 2006. Both men graduated from the University of Manitoba School of Architecture and, finding themselves settled in Whitehorse around the same time, formed a design partnership in the late 1990s. Not long after, they decided to strike out in a unique way. In contrast to builders who incorporate design into their contracting businesses, Kobayshi + Zedda chose to add building to their design practice. “We found ourselves leading design projects with hardened contractors and very hands-on clients with years of practical experience in the construction industry,” recalls Kobayashi. “By the year 2000, we realized that if we were going to lead the design process in Whitehorse in earnest, we would have to gain experience and respect quickly. The quickest route was to actually work as contractors. Like an independent recording artist, we essentially had to create our own ‘label’ and produce our own buildings.” While the majority of KZA’s buildings are commercial or institutional, the firm undertakes custom residential work from time to time. The Woodland House shown here was, in fact, designed for a previous commercial client. The relationship inspired the home’s most striking feature: massive canopy housing the main living space overhanging a car port below, a design element originally conceived for the client’s car dealership. Another challenge in the Yukon: topography. The Woodland House site is a very steep, two hectare country residential lot just outside Whitehorse, with significant scatterings of bedrock and boulders below a thin layer of sand, gravel, sand and silt. Burying the power line from the street was painstaking. Hidden rocks impacting the foundation work resulted in the home’s site location being adjusted twice while still capturing the panoramic mountain views. Even so, the space below the ground floor level remains a 5-ft. heated crawl space, since the bedrock restricted further excavation. As might be expected in the Yukon, insulation values are high throughout. The underside of the overhanging living space is spray foamed to an R40 level. An ICF foundation wall rises just a few feet above grade, giving way to more traditional 2 x 6 frame construction. The frame walls are insulated with three inches of Roxul on the exterior plus another five and a half inches between the studs, for a total value of R36. The carport floor is an R20 poured concrete slab. Windows throughout are triple glazed, argon-filled, double low-e, mounted in fibreglass frames to an R8 insulation level. A radiant in-floor heating system using Warmboard under the hardwood floors was chosen for all levels of the three-bedroom, 3,800 square foot home. Kobayashi says that the system’s easy installation made it particularly appealing. “This product provides factory finished OSB deck sheets with a pre-patterned water loop complete with aluminum vapour barrier. That reduced installation time and ensured appropriate coverage of radiant loop.” The heat source is locally-generated electricity, thus meeting the client’s aversion to fossil fuels. The exterior cladding is a combination of tongue and groove fir, Prodema wood cladding, and metal. “Some of the metal cladding is factory finished. The remainder is Corten corrugated cladding, delivered in a silvered state but which quickly transitions to a rusty finish, a look evoking that of many local, dilapidated mining structures that dot the area,” says Kobayashi.
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