Hindu "science of architecture" used to arrange British Columbia house

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Hunter Office Architecture uses Hindu "science of architecture" to arrange British Columbia house

Canadian firm Hunter Office Architecture has built a stilted concrete house with ample glazing, which has a layout influenced by a traditional Hindu organisational system.

Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture

Located in Britannia Beach, a small town north of Vancouver, the secluded Stilt House was designed using guidelines from the Hindu system known as Vastu shastra – which translates as "science of architecture" – upon the owners' request.

This system, described in ancient texts, dictates that the home should integrate with nature, while implementing symmetry and directional alignments.

Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture

"It required the main axis of the house to be aligned along the north-south axis and orient each space towards the central open courtyard," said Hunter Office Architecture founder Chris Hunter.

Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture

Therefore, the two-storey, 1,800-square-foot (167-square-metre) home wraps around a courtyard in a U-shape. Concrete pillars support a portion of the upper storey, and are constructed on granite bedrock, allowing waters from a nearby creek to flow underneath the home.

Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture

"Initially, this was a massive design hurdle to overcome, however it quickly became a key experiential character of the house," said the architect.

Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture

A black metal staircase leads from the open courtyard area to the upper floor, where the main living spaces are found. This arrangement creates a treehouse feel, with views of the surrounding nature in nearly every space.

Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture

On this level, a living and dining room occupies one wing, two bedrooms and bathrooms fit into the other, while the kitchen takes up the adjoining space. A covered balcony connects the other ends of the wings, enclosing the courtyard. Downstairs, there's room for an art studio and a fermenting cellar.

Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture

A corrugated roof tops the structure and is a subtle reference to a Balinese mountain house, a feature also requested by the owners. Black-stained cedar cladding surrounds the raised portion of the house, while the concrete structure is left exposed below.

Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture

For interior decor, light pine wood features throughout, from kitchen cabinetry to interior cladding and flooring. Poured concrete floors are found in the kitchen and bedroom.

Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture

Hunter Office Architecture was founded in 2014 and is based in Squamish, a small town very close to Britannia Beach. The firm designs family houses and vacation cabins in the area.

Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture

British Columbia's dramatic landscape draws artists and holiday makers from across the world. Its forested terrain is also home to a small wooden artist's cabin, while in its winemaking region, an angled, metal-clad building for a vineyard steps down a hillside.

Photography is by Provoke Studios.

More images and plans

Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture
Lower floor plan
Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture
Upper floor plan
Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture
Site plan
Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture
Section plan
Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture
East elevation plan
Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture
South elevation plan
Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture
North elevation plan
Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture
West elevation plan
Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture
Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture
Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture
Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture
Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture
Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture
Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture
Stilt House by Hunter Office Architecture