Island Outpost

Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada

1 / 9 – Photo credit: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson



Located on one of thousands of mostly uninhabited islands and small rock outcrops scattered across the eastern shore of Georgian Bay, this remote location is accessible only by small watercraft, helicopter or by crossing the lake ice during winter months. The challenging nature of the site, both in its accessibility as well as a short construction season, inspired a solution in which the building is primarily shop fabricated into large shippable components and erected on site.

Evocative of traditional Great Lakes birch-bark canoes, this weekend retreat consists of two vaulted volumes, one for living and another for sleeping. The two inverted ‘hulls’ create the walls and the roofs of the retreat, the forms warped to take advantage of the island’s ideal view corridors, while maximizing the protection from bitter northwesterly winter winds. Using computational building modelling software, the foam insulated hulls have been broken down into individually unique shippable panels. The interior side of each panel is finished with narrow wood planking, twisted to conform to the shape of the panel. Every hull panel and each unique glue laminated structural rib will be CNC milled off-site and bolted together in the field atop a series of slender concrete pilotis that have been dowelled into the island bedrock. The exterior of the fully erected undulated forms will then be field clad with copper panels. A taut glass skin finishes the ends of the hulls, providing breathtaking westerly views across the bay.

Project Data

Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada