D’Arcy Jones Architects is a studio practice in Vancouver well known for their design excellence. The founder of this architecture firm, D’Arcy Jones believed in working in a small team so that he has the time to be involved in all the projects that the firm takes. There is an interplay of dualities and is heavily involved in contemporary culture. With the belief in lifelong learning and pushing for more mature and sustainable designs, D’Arcy Jones Architects find substance from studying the past and predicting the future to find inspiration in both the technical and poetic aspects of every culture.
1. Okada Marshall House | D’Arcy Jones
Awarded as the 2018 Residential Wood Award, Okada Marshall House is a perfect blend with nature. It features an H-shaped house that wraps around itself forming 2 inner courtyards. D’Arcy Jones Architects has made this project to be a tribute to wood. An efficient and aspiring engineered wood structure is adopted and wood was used for a delicate yet strong presence for the courtyard screenings. Wood was also used in the traditional board and batten cladding that is projected to last for hundreds of years.
D’Arcy Architects also tested its limits by using the absolute minimum number of 2×6 light-wood frame shear walls that were designed to make way for bigger windows and doors. Engineered laminated veneer lumber was also made to span more than 30’ without any columns to carry the outdoor dining roof. This was to make a sort of outdoor “room” that is welcoming and definitive to a natural outdoor courtyard area. To add, this house was designed in response to its topography resulting in its floorplan to feature seemingly odd angles.
2. Deep Cove House
Deep Cove House features a part look-out tower, part courtyard and part landform. The front sits to be of quiet contrast to the surrounding busy neighbourhood and commercial areas. This meant that the front held no windows ensuring the privacy of its users. The back, however, contrasts this with expanses of glass.
D’Arcy Jones Architects designed the house in a way that ensured users can be seated and laying down in the house whilst enjoying the views of nature from within and that no one can see in. To add, there are minimal furnishings which allow views of the natural surroundings to take the front seat.
3. 430 House | D’Arcy Jones
The 430 House features a renovation project that retained the entirety of the iconic Vancouver building form, foundation, and structure of the house. Minimal alterations of the exterior were made with it being wrapped with a new exterior skin whereas the interior plan was flipped. The kitchen, dining and living areas which were originally from the upper floor were moved to the main floor ensuring that the prominent spaces of the house could be at grade.
The new exterior skin features carefully designed and set windows that connect both exterior and interior spaces. A parallel-parking open carport was also designed into the house to conserve more space for a landscaped garden and terrace in the backyard. The previously dull house and generic is transformed to be one that is filled with natural daylight and air.
4. South Main Gallery
South Main Gallery was designed inside of a new condominium building. The piping and mechanical systems were purposefully left exposed adding an extra layer towards the art gallery. D’Arcy Jones Architects used beige tones and concrete construction for this project epitomising Vancouver’s then building boom.
A feature of this gallery is that a typical glue-laminated wood beam is used continuously to form a bench, a desk, and a reception area. Little features like having a spot for users to place their umbrellas were also integrated into the concrete base of the gallery.
5. Split Level House | D’Arcy Jones
D’Arcy Jones Architects were tasked to rebuild a split-level house from the early 1980s. The existing exterior form of the house was not touched, and window placements were preserved to leave the structure of the house almost completely intact and then lengthened to allow more light in. Corner windows were also put in place to create panoramic views as the house sits on a distinctive corner site. The Split Level House was finished with real materials that will patina resulting the house to last for one hundred years.
6. Friesen Wong House
Addressing the site context and free-flowing topography of the Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, Friesen Wong House has successfully sat to blend itself well with its surroundings and be a comfortable home to its users. D’Arcy Jones Architects used the most progressive concrete and structural insulated panel building technology (SIPS), without having these elements to overshadow the building.
The interior spaces were intrinsically designed forming a sequence of movement. This is done by the varying degrees of daylight entering the interior spaces which range from the blue northern light to the orange western light.
7. Ha-Ha House
The interplay of duality is prominent here with the Ha-Ha House either hovering above or heavily embedded into the ground. This hints to the duality of the temporary and the permanent that explain farming in harsh landscapes. D’Arcy Architects wanted to stray away from the use of farm fences and resorted to cost-effective concrete lock-block walls that circle the Ha-Ha House. It is designed not only to function with humans but with sheep too.
Close to the main office, there is a hole in the floating floor that allows closer views of the herd whenever they gather under the hovering portion of the house away from the hot sun or rain. The remaining courtyards with such “holes” each feature 1 lone tree hinting to nature’s quiet insistence.
8. Island House | D’Arcy Jones
Island House acts as a vacation house, featuring three concrete and glass pavilions linked with a large heavy-timber roof that connects the volumes with a breezeway and 6’-0’ deep overhangs. A continuous wall of floor to ceiling height glass doors is used on the side of the house that faces the ocean. Tasked to build a durable, sturdy, and quiet house, D’Arcy Jones Architects pushed for thick in-situ concrete walls that are left naturally rugged and unrefined and carefully designed passive ventilation that keeps the house cool.
9. House with Two Bay Windows
House with Two Bay Windows sits in between 2 houses from different eras. One of which an original house from the early 1900s and the other a 1980 version of the same kind of house. D’Arcy Jones Architects created a duality of asymmetrical and symmetrical design that meshes the two adjacent architecture while being subtly modern. The interior spaces feature an almost rustic yet modern feel with large windows and simple concrete floors.
The contrast of the whiteness of the interiors and the darkness of the exterior elevates the presence of the building. With square bay windows, an offset entry and suppressed garage creates a house that stands alone with a smooth ambience and pinwheels around itself in both sky view and side views.
10. Waddell Kunigk House | D’Arcy Jones
Similarly, to the 430 House, the layout of Waddell Kunigk House is flipped locating all living areas at grade which allows the house’s small footprint to use up space from its wild urban gardens. The existing structure from the 1940s was purposely left exposed and supported by a large steel beam to raise the house.
The most interesting aspect of this design is that D’Arcy Jones Architects carved open the attic alike to a double-ended “Toblerone box” which allows users to use the entire attic despite living in a sensitive historic zoning district with mandatory traditional roof slopes.
11. Abenbare House
Abenbare House is designed under the 1957 house’s original roof. D’Arcy Jones Architects adopted a contemporary layout and exposed hipped geometry instead of concealing it and having flat ceilings. The common roof shape integrated with the new rectilinear interior spaces creates elements of surprise by using angled plans that flow through the spaces. The wood-lined interior allows pleasant viewpoints and allows users to fully experience the four seasons of Toronto through the use of courtyards and sunken gardens.
12. Yan House
Yan House pinwheels around four different sized courtyards. D’Arcy Jones Architects successfully address the growing phenomenon of incorporating secondary dwellings without having to sacrifice the privacy of single-family homes. Having the clients wanting to accommodate their aging parents, the house is designed with three autonomous living units. All of which address the noisy thoroughfare that fronts the house.
Yan House is designed with glimpses of greenery in every direction on the west wall and has its interior space flooded with natural daylight. Its placement is carefully thought out and only allows users to have views of the outdoors with little to no views of the other houses nearby.
13. Brown Cabin
Brown Cabin was built across the yard from an existing stacked log cabin. D’Arcy Jones Architects designed a minimal woodshed that acts as a “third wall” that sits on the side of a courtyard in between two cottages. The roof slopes were also made to match with the existing cabins and that the finishes are left intentionally rugged and rough.
The new Brown Cabin follows suit with the existing cabins, stuccoed with deep texture. This new cabin slots itself well into the existing conditions and design language of the site adding an instant patina to the compound.
14. Monte Clark Gallery
Monte Clark Gallery can be found carved from the shell of a paint shop in the old Finning industrial complex. It serves to be more of an archaeological excavation than a typical traditional renovation. It features a unique steel and glass entry that directs one straight into the art storage space, this strays away from the traditional front-of-house or back-of-house art gallery typology.
Reclaimed Douglas Fir floor from a demolished warehouse nearby was also used for the gallery. D’Arcy Jones Architects strived to blur the lines of what is existing and what is newly added to space. Overall, industrial materials were intelligently used to transform a former derelict paint shop into a popular art space.
15. Studio Three | D’Arcy Jones
Studio Three by D’Arcy Jones Architects was built inside a 106-year-old space. With several of its old construction left untouched, Studio Three sits to be an epitome of the duality of the new and the old. All its desk is simple, and custom made from raw steel whereas the cabinetry is made from cost-effective plastic laminate.
A strong contrast is cut through the studio, featuring a strong difference of whitewashed and bright working areas to the dark and hefty service spaces of the studio. Its main focus was to build a sculptural light-filled liner.
D’Arcy Jones Architects. 2020. “D’Arcy Jones Architects.” D’Arcy Jones Architects. 2020. https://www.darcyjones.com/.