Project Essentials

  • LocationWhistler, BC
  • ArchitectOlson Kundig Architects
  • Size6,000 ft² (557 m²)

Western Canada’s Coast Mountains are a nature lover’s dream. Alta Lake Residence is a family getaway, built with all the comforts of home but also to withstand the unforgiving mountain environment. Elevated 3m above grade, the main level feels as if it is one with the tree canopy, while floating above snowdrifts and a flooding-prone lake shore.

The design team envisioned the house as two separate structures, connected by a 24m-long glass-walled bridge. On one side of the home, floor-to-ceiling windows overlook a mountain lake; on the other side is a forest of firs, hemlocks and aspens. A custom horizontal shutter system creates privacy and protects upholstery and art from the snow’s harsh glare.

Fast + Epp’s dramatic cantilevers support heavy snow loads and – due to the home’s location in a high seismic risk zone – we engineered a continuous 61cm-thick raft slab on densified soil. Created by a series of vibro-densified rock columns that extend 18 to 24m into the ground, the raft slab “floats” on the densified soil. In the case of a seismic event,  the house will remain stationary – even if un-densified soil slides into the lake below.