Akb Architects completed the 2,300-square-foot (2137-square-metre) structure on a small, forested island in Muskoka – a region that is accessible within a two-hour drive from Toronto and is a popular vacation getaway.
Anchored to the shore by an expansive wooden deck, it comprises a lower volume featuring three mooring points for the client's boats and a second block on top that forms guest cabin and terrace overlooking the water.
A black lattice screen creates a buffer between the water and path leading up to the main residence on shore, matching the blackened cedar planks that wrap the exterior walls of each. A paler, grey-hued wood covers the floors of the surrounding decks, highlighting the distinction between the two.
Akb Architects, which was founded by Robert Kastelic and Kelly Buffey, likens the formation to the layout of the wooden decks featured on the lake.
"Inspired by the simple and prevalent image of wood docks found along the edges of the Muskoka lakes, the boathouse was conceived as a series of planar elements that slide past one another," said studio in a project description.
The cedar planks are charred black using the ancient Japanese technique of shou sugi ban, which helps make the wood resistant to rot and bugs.
On the ground level, three slips allow the owners to moor their boats and store other marine equipment. These can be closed off by garage doors for additional protection.
A wooden exterior staircase leads upstairs to the holiday cabin, which features deep overhanging roof that offers shade to large expanses of glazing.
The architects included two bedrooms with a shared bathroom, and a lounge area with a small kitchenette. Glass doors provide access to the terrace that wraps around all four sides.
Finishes are kept simple inside, with the walls and ceiling lined in the pale plywood, and the floor covered in polished concrete. Additional details include white cabinetry to form the small kitchen, a bright green sofa, and artwork.
Kastelic and Buffey established Akb Architects in 2004. The firm's other projects include a pop-up reading nook in Toronto that allows the public to participate in a community book exchange and a monochrome chalet that echoes the traditional forms of nearby farmhouses.
Photography is by Shai Gil.
Architect: Akb Architects
Principals: Kelly Buffey, Robert Kastelic