23.2 by Omer Arbel


23.2 by Omer Arbel

The corners of this Vancouver family home by Canadian architect Omer Arbel can be completely opened up to the surrounding garden by pushing back glazed concertina doors. 

23.2 by Omer Arbel

The roof is made of douglas fir beams reclaimed from burned-down warehouses and its structure was dictated by their dimensions.

23.2 by Omer Arbel

Bent steel columns inset the structural support, further blurring the boundaries between living spaces and the garden.

23.2 by Omer Arbel

Photographs are by Nick Lehoux.

23.2 by Omer Arbel

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23.2 by Omer Arbel

Here's some more information form the architect:

23.2 by Omer Arbel

Designed by Omer Arbel, 23.2 is a house for a family built on a large rural acreage outside Vancouver in the West Coast of Canada. There is a gentle slope from east to west and two masses of old growth forest defining two “outdoor rooms” each with a its own distinct ecology and conditions of light; the house is situated at the point of maximum tension in between these two environments, and as such acts at once to define the two as distinct, and also to offer a focused transition between them.

23.2 by Omer Arbel

The design of the house itself began, as a point of departure, with a depository of one hundred year old Douglas Fir beams reclaimed from a series of burned down warehouses. The beams were of different lengths and cross sectional dimensions, and had astonishing proportions - some as long as 20 meters, some as deep as 90 cm.

23.2 by Omer Arbel

It was agreed that the beams were sacred artefacts in their current state and that they would not manipulate them or finish them in any way.

23.2 by Omer Arbel

Because the beams were of different lengths and sizes, the architect needed to commit to a geometry that would be able to accommodate the tremendous variety in dimension, while still allowing the possibility of narrating legible spaces.

23.2 by Omer Arbel

He settled on a triangular geometry. He folded wood triangular frames made of the reclaimed beams to create roof which would act as a secondary (and habitable) landscape, drapping this artificial landscape over the gentle slope of the site. Folds were manipulated to create implicit and explicit relationships between indoor and outdoor space, such that every interior room had a corresponding exterior room.

23.2 by Omer Arbel

Click for larger image

To maximize ambiguity between interior and exterior space, he removed definition of one significant corner of each room by pulling the structure back from the corner itself, using bent steel columns. Also large accordion door systems were introduced in these open corners so that the entire façade on both sides of each significant corner could retract and completely disappear.

See also:


Casadetodos by
Veronica Arcos
PL House by Fernando Maculan and Pedro Morais Bahia House by
Studio mk27

Posted on Wednesday March 2nd 2011 at 5:31 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • rock

    beautiful spaces, but the concrete seems to dominate much more than the 'sacred douglas fir beams of astonishing proportions' – where are they all?

    • artimon

      First four pictures, the beams have a concrete feel due to their scale.

    • littlesquidge


      I think you are mistaking the actual douglas fir beams for concrete. The age of these beams does give them a battered greyish concrete texture.

  • Alexandra Campbell Interiors

    Great angles! Very interesting space.

  • trey a.

    now those are some rich hippies…

  • WOW! I really enjoy this project and would love to tour it! Lots of character and special moments including several Lautner-esque details. I like the relationship to the surrounding landscape – there is a surprising subtleness to the sharp angles, which is evident in the habitable roof. The indoor/outdoor connection (and abundance of light) lightens the heaviness of the structure above. I want this house.

  • nofelix


    that connection from white bent column to timber beam in the third picture is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen

  • Greenish

    wow, this is freaking awesome. Opening out so much to the outdoors is a dream I've never seen realised so well.

    • hmmm

      You should look at some work being done in Brazil. They blend indoors and outdoors a lot better.