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Raven House

A Renovated Haven in Art and Nature


Raven House
By Caterina Testa -

Mayne Island is in British Columbia’s Gulf archipelago (south-western
Canada, bordering the U.S. state of Washington). Here, a thousand people share 21 sq. km, for the most part forest, interspersed with a limited number of clearings. A Montreal couple decided to relocate here to spend their retirement years on this strip of land suspended between silence and nature, the woods and the sea. They found, fell in love with, and subsequently purchased, a property at one of the highest points on Mayne Island, on a rocky promontory surrounded by trees with views out over the sea. 
The couple were keen to retain the existing house, built to a 1990s design, preserving its structure and relationship with the landscape. They were also interested in a more contemporary style, embarking on a radical renovation to ensure that the building more closely catered to their simpler, more minimalist tastes. After talking to several architectural firms, the clients reached an understanding with Measured Architecture to work together, repurposing the appealing original design and adapting it to the new homeowners’ sensibilities. 
Prior to any design work, the studio’s professionals conducted an in-depth sounding out process based on listening to the client’s needs and desires. Initial site surveys and conversations led to exchanges of notes, questions and images, ultimately identifying not just stated expectations but unexpressed desires. 
Without in any way altering the landscape and contextual elements, without touching either nature nor the house’s original footprint and structure, the new design rethought the relationship between the building and nature. Indeed, that footprint and structure provided the scaffolding for a new veil: a black wooden façade of vertical elements that, unlike its predecessor, hides the steeply pitched roof’s eaves line. As well as concealing the roof pitch, its sharp...

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