2017 Award Winner – Acre Architects Inc.
Into the Wild
Saint John, New Brunswick
A BELVEDERE TO THE CITY
Perched on the edge of a wild and heavily treed urban infill property over the city of Saint John, Into the Wild’s sweeping vistas include the industrial heart of the city to the east and the Bay of Fundy to the west. Between these two views lies the urban architectural panorama of Canada’s oldest incorporated city. Sited high above sea level, the project acts as a belvedere to the city.
Between the upscale enclave of grand manors and a working class culture is a project to nurture a number of dichotomous relationships– old versus new, traditional versus contemporary, urban versus wilderness, industry versus environment. The design is a conscious expression of its site and context, carefully shaped into a sense of regional identity by topography, views, and landscape. This bond between site and context builds a unique sense of place that informs all aspects of the design. The project aims to promote a greater understanding of the role of contemporary architecture, and to shape the artistic value of architectural design to New Brunswickers. This is crucial, as the lack of contemporary design precedents in our region has traditionally lead to a misunderstanding of its possibilities, and hence, is often met with resistance. The full integration of this residence with its site, and site with its context clearly proves otherwise and will serve as an example for years to come.
The choice of materials was linked to the spirit of the place; celebrating the natural beauty of craft and raw materials that welcomes the imperfections of natural wear. The corten steel-clad garage, a nod to the city’s industrial language as well as the iron oxide veins visible in the site’s rock ledge, beautifully compliments the cinnamon-hued, weatherworn up-cycled Wyoming snow fence boards and gives an overall natural feel to the project, blending perfectly with the ruggedness of the site. An extensive green roof with 13 varieties of sedum acts as a natural extension to the surrounding lush ledges that make up the property. The soothed white interiors were planned as a contrast to the rawness of the site and the industrial nature that is innate to this city. Seen as a refuge, the interior is a place for refined living and a comfortable getaway within the heart of the city.