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Monday, October 27, 2003

Mosewich House

Mosewich House in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada by D'Arcy Jones Design, 2003

The following text and images (click for larger and expanded color views) are courtesy Vancouver-based D'Arcy Jones Design.

This pragmatic and inviting family house is perched on the edge of a steep slope in a suburban setting. Existing ponderosa pines, bunch-grass and sagebrush were carefully preserved by siting the house away from the street.

A private, sunny courtyard merges the kitchen and dining areas with the landscape. Intimate views of vegetation and exposed rock are a welcome contrast to long views towards the river valley below.


A robust, dark tinted stucco mass anchors the house to the ground, morphing to create courtyard walls, terraces, fireplace chimneys and structural shear-walls. Opposite, yet never quite touching, is a muted stucco mass bending asymmetrically to frame dramatic views. Interior spaces are defined by modulating the voids between these two contrasting stucco masses. When these stucco masses extend inside the house, the threshold is defined with floor-to-ceiling glass, translucent in some locations for privacy.


Deep cantilevered overhangs provide both shade and upper level rock gardens. Carefully located operable windows provide effective cross-ventilation, eliminating reliance on air-conditioning.

Double-height dining and living spaces separate upper level bedroom wings. This central spatial "sigh" is naturally lit from two directions, admitting light deep into the interior. Punctuating this open space is a sculptural maple and steel stair, connecting all three levels of the house.


Mirroring the formal language of the exterior, dissimilar interior materials never meet, separated by thin reveals. A refined exterior palette of smooth concrete, cement stucco, aluminum windows and red cedar is paired with an interior of white gypsum-board with maple and slate flooring; the theme of a two-tone stucco exterior is repeated inside by interlocking cherry and maple millwork. Built-in cherry ledges double as overflow seating and toy chests.

This house is located on the same street as my first built project, designed and built 7 years ago. This project continues and articulates an ongoing search for form, material and space finely tuned to the particulars of site and client, synthesizing simultaneous qualities of simplicity and complexity.



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