Clear Lake Cottage
Parry Sound, Ontario
Client : Private
Area : 2,400 sf
Completion : August 2012
Clear Lake Cottage replaces an outdated 1950s-era structure with a low-profile yet rambling private residence for a family of five. Located in a remote setting in Central East Ontario, the Cottage is of a piece with the rural character of its heavily wooded site and the surrounding lake community, reinterpreting it within a clean, modern environment.
MJMA designed a structure that is long and linear, oriented with its longest wall facing to the east to capture the morning sun and views overlooking the adjacent lake. Its low-lying form, set back from the water’s edge and tucked behind the trees, is gently stepped along its length to follow the landscape, and clad in black corrugated steel that merges walls and roof to form a unified angular volume.
The interior—comprising a living room, dining room, kitchen, multiple bed- and bathrooms and an enclosed porch—is finished all in plywood, with no drywall, to foster a more pleasantly cottage-like atmosphere. Great care was taken to minimize the Cottage’s energy consumption; 50 percent of the windows are operable and positioned for optimal cross-ventilation, and concrete radiant flooring conserves energy and serves as a heat sink for easterly light. Mirrored glass is used on the west-facing windows and skylight; the envelope, roof and low-E glazing maximize the structure’s insulating properties, while a high-efficiency boiler, heat-recovery system and wood stove draw down energy consumption.
The layout is defined by open, casually linked spaces that flow smoothly from the exterior into and throughout the interior. Within this unified space, sheltered areas create such individualized moments as the arrival area—which is carved out from the pure volume and differentiated by its exposed Douglas fir structure—while the primary communal spaces, including the double-height dining room, are more open, lined up along the glazed eastern elevation to take in lake views through expansive windows. On the forest-facing side, the Cottage’s private functions are organized within a “Black Bar” clad in stained plywood, while at the narrow north end, floor-to-ceiling windows are fronted by large louvers that direct interior views and mitigate exposure, and paired with a generously proportioned covered entryway with a skylight.