Inspired by the simple and prevalent image of wooden docks found along the edges of Canadian lakes, the Muskoka Boathouse was conceived as a series of planar elements that slide past one another; the slippage of planes echoing the movement of water as it shifts and sways.

Rethinking The Future Awards 2022

Project Name: Muskoka Boathouse
Studio Name: Akb Architects

Project size: 214 m2
Completion date: 2018
Building levels: 2
Location: Toronto, Canada
Photography: Shai Gil

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Muskoka Boathouse by Akb Architects - Sheet8
Outside View ©Shai Gil

Located amid a myriad of seasonal cottages, the home is an elegant, durable, and eco-friendly structure that blends with the rugged natural surroundings and expresses the use of all-natural materials. The home is comprised of two levels: on the upper level, a cozy suite with two bedrooms, a shared bathroom and a lounge area with a kitchenette; on the lower level, three boat slips and a functional storage space with custom cabinetry for recreational equipment. The upper level is accessed by an exterior wooden staircase and there is a generous dock that extends into the lake. The 2,300 square foot lakefront structure serves as a guest home adjacent to the main cottage, with panoramic views of the open water, islands and distant shoreline beyond.

Muskoka Boathouse by Akb Architects - Sheet12
Bedroom ©Shai Gil

An elongated cantilevered trellis supported by a permeable wood screen provides an area of reprieve from the expansive, south-western exposure on the dock. Locally supplied cedar wood siding was charred in a Japanese process known as Shou Sugi Ban which helps preserve the wood from natural weathering, rot and bugs, providing a low-maintenance exterior finish. A sequence of horizontal and vertical boards differentiates each planar element while a combination of Baltic Birch and Douglas Fir plywood wrap the interior walls, ceiling, and soffits. A polished concrete floor on the upper level defines the interior living space in contrast to the cedar wood decking that presents an otherwise continuous field throughout. Glass doors provide access to the wrap-around terrace.

Muskoka Boathouse by Akb Architects - Sheet14
Living room ©Shai Gil

Warm and inviting, the interior of the Muskoka Boathouse provides a bright contrast to the dramatic dark exterior which in turn, blends elegantly with its rugged natural surroundings.

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Rethinking The Future Awards 2022