Kawagama Boathouse

The boathouse on Kawagama Lake is tucked into a heavily forested corner of the site at the water’s edge. It includes not only dry slip boat storage via marine railway, it also includes a 42 sq.m. cabin above accessed by a small bridge structure which spans the native topography.

The site is accessible only by water and therefore the design was highly influenced by the practicality of the construction process. All systems including the structure were designed to be transported by small watercraft, moved and erected by hand with a small labour crew. The cabin facilities are basic and the intent was to create a space which heightens the experience of living on the water through siting, view, sound and smell. An outdoor fireplace sets the stage for lakeside star gazing with a large wood deck structure. Materials were primarily selected for both their aesthetics and their durability and performance in freeze/thaw conditions. The site topography and the adjacent forest were protected and strongly influenced how this building engages the site.

The Boathouse on Kawagama Lake provides both seasonal storage of watercraft and waterside living. It sits gently on the site with small diameter pier foundations and the materials used allow the building to quietly fade into the surrounding forest. On most days from almost all vantage points, the boathouse reflects the forest or lake and is challenging to identify until you are immediately in front of it. This was a fundamental requirement for the client and defining principal of the design.

  • Photography: David Whittaker
  • Structural: Blackwell
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