House in Frogs Hollow

The House in Frogs Hollow is a country retreat located on a long slope of the Niagara Escarpment overlooking Georgian Bay. The property is a collection of eroded clay hills and protected watershed zones blanketed with a dense field of hawthorn and native grasses. It is not picturesque, but tough and rather impenetrable.

The clients, who gather at the property throughout the year, are avid cyclists who spent months on the 100 acre property prior to construction cutting in discreet mountain biking trails and learning the paths of the horses and snowmobiles as they emerge from the community over the seasons. Because of their connection to the landscape, a primary site strategy was to resist the inclination to build on the top of the hills where one could survey the property in its entirety and instead carve out a building area at the base of the hillside.

The house is not the final destination, but a stopping place within their network of activity. Carved into the landscape, the muscular tectonic of the long concrete wall figuratively clears the site for building while bridging the natural and tempered environments. The concrete has a toughness that mirrors the landscape, providing protection from the prevailing winter winds. During the summer months the wall provides patio shade, creating pools of cooler air that are passively drawn through the house.

Entry is at the west end of the concrete wall and into a service bar containing the stair, kitchen, office, bike workshop, storage room, and mechanical room. This functional zone serves as a backdrop to the glassed in living area that opens on three sides to an extended view of the rolling landscape.

The second level hovers above the concrete wall and living space. It contains the bedrooms, bathrooms, and family room in a tight wrapper of customized ship lap siding. Designed as an undulating rhythm of varying widths, thin boards are CNC milled to a shallow depth while wider boards are milled with deep striations, casting long shadows that track the sun as it moves around the house. The siding is stained with a linseed oil based iron oxide pigment that requires reapplication only once every 15 years.

The first and second floors are connected by a figured stair enclosure. This digitally fabricated element is designed to filter light from the clerestory volume above. At the ground floor it carves into the area below its upper run to gather more space at the entry and allow for a seating area.

The house’s connection to the land is reinforced not only in its architectural form, but also in its environmental footprint. The house is heated with radiant floor loops that supplement the passive winter heat gain from south facing windows. In addition, there is no mechanical cooling. Instead, the stair tower and operable windows facilitate passive ventilation that draw cool air through the house from shaded exterior areas. Natural materials and pigments were used throughout and a small square footage was maintained to further reduce construction costs and keep future energy consumption to a minimum.

The House in Frogs Hollow is a country retreat located on a long slope of the Niagara Escarpment overlooking Georgian Bay. The house was not conceived as a final destination, but as a stopping place within the network of activity for a family of avid cyclists.

Project News

Domus Web Publishes the House in Frogs Hollow

Domus Web ed. et al, "House in Frogs Hollow," Domus Web, October 2014, Online.

It is an honour to have Domus publish the House in Frogs Hollow in their online publication.  The layout is beautiful and the format suits the project well. You can see the project here.

Residential Architect features Frogs Hollow on the cover

Katie Gerfen, et al., Residential Architect Design Awards 2014, Residential Architect Volume 2, 2014. p. 16, 24, 44.

Of 700 entries and 26 victors, Williamson Chong took home three awards at this year’s Residential Architect Awards!

“These winners represent some of the best residential architecture that North America has to offer… The assembled winners represent the hopefulness of a market that is recovering, if not recovered, and transitioning, if not transformed. Such are the beginnings of a revolution in the definition of “home.””

Phaidon Atlas

Phaidon ed. et al, "House in Frogs Hollow," Phaidon, June 2014, Online.

The House in Frogs Hollow is now live on the Phaidon Atlas! Here is a link. The Phaidon Atlas is now an on-line idea as opposed to a printed volume. This allows projects to be uploaded by the editors as they are completed which makes it current and timely. We have already starting exploring the website to see what has already been published and have found lots of inspiring projects with fantastic drawings and details along with all the images that we are accustomed to seeing.  Making it into Phaidon should be our goal for every project we do.

 

 

EDITION29 publishes an iPad App on Frogs Hollow

Ninan and his team have put together a fantastic issue of EDITION29 on the House in Frogs Hollow. It is designed for the iPad and is accompanied by an oral description of the house culled from a conversation between Ninan and Betsy last month. We are very excited to show our work this way and are looking forward to another collaboration.

The House in Frogs Hollow, the Howland Residence, and the Blantyre House Receive 2014 Residential Architect Design Awards

Williamson Chong is honoured to have 3 projects selected for the 2014 Residential Architect Design Awards.  The winning projects were selected from nearly 700 entries and “represent some of the best residential architecture that North America has to offer””from luxurious custom beachside estates, to net-zero prefab infill, to high-density affordable living units.” Jurors included Cary Bernstein, AIA, Gregory Hoss, AIA, Joel Sanders, AIA, and Josh Shelton, AIA.

Williamson Chong was recognized for the following projects:

Custom Home | Under 3,000 Square Feet | Citation
House in Frogs Hollow

“You get this iconography of grasses in the stair,” juror Gregory Hoss said. The exterior cladding of the upper level, stained in iron oxide pigment, blends parametric design with more traditional shiplap siding. Juror Cary Bernstein was impressed with how the architects took commonplace elements such as the cladding as opportunities for “exploring new technologies for fabrication and integrating [them] in a really great way.”

Renovation | Award
Howland Residence

“It has a level of exquisite compositional and material precision that I think really finds a way of blending hard edges and curves,” said Juror Joel Sanders.

Kitchen | Honorable Mention
Blantyre House

“It’s beautifully crafted and the composition is very beautiful,” juror Cary Bernstein said. “It’s a piece of design.” Calling the kitchen wall unit “sculptural,” juror Gregory Hoss noted that “you don’t read any constituent parts; it looks like one big piece. Realizing that all these cabinet doors open and reveal lots of different things is really wonderful.”

 

 

 

 

Arch Daily Features House in Frogs Hollow

It was a pleasure working with the editors of Arch Daily to post this project. You can find the link here.

Celebrating Excellence in Wood Structures

Theresa Rogers, "House in Frogs Hollow," Celebrating Excellence in Wood Structure: 2011-12 North American Wood Design Award Winners. Canadian Wood Council, 2011; p. 192-195.

The Canadian Wood Council just released a publication celebrating the 2011-12 North American Wood Design Award Winners. This is a follow-up feature for the House in Frogs Hollow which has now been recognized for a 2010-11 North American Wood Design Award and a 2011-12 Ontario Wood WORKS! Award. The jury for this past year included Michael Green, Michael Green Architecture Inc., Tye Farrow, Farrow Partnership Architects, and Brian Rudy, Moriyama & Teshima.

On the Pleasures of the Window Seat

Matthew Hague, “A perch with a view,” The Globe and Mail, November 22, 2012; Page L3.

Sometimes the details get noticed...On the Pleasures of the Window Seat in today’s Globe and Mail.

The window bench in the House in Frogs Hollow was conceived of for a fairly practical reason. The Loewen window we used only came about 7-1/2′ tall. We didn’t want to have a transom above the window to fill the 9′ tall space, so we shifted the windows up and installed the bench below. As you can see on the right side of the fireplace, the same size window sits on the floor and the space above holds ducts and structure concealed in a bulkhead.

The bench is solid maple with a stainless steel liner in the wood storage area just to the left of the fireplace. The other bench storage areas hold the stereo equipment and speakers with the wires running through a chase in the back. We configured the bench to relate to the maple panels on the other side of the fireplace that conceal a fresh air vent and a structural column while providing a place to house the fire tools.

The cushion on top of the bench was custom made in 2-1/2″ thick high density foam. It is a very comfortable place to lay and read in both the summer and the winter. We looked at a lot of fabrics at Maharam and finally chose the pattern ‘Venn” in paprika colour because it matches the natural colours in the landscape and helps to tie the inside and outside of the house together. The fabric is quite durable and has held its colour well, even with so much exposure to direct sunlight.

House in Frogs Hollow featured in Architectural Record: All in the Details

Alex Bozikovic, "House in Frogs Hollow," Architectural Record, March 2012, Online.

The House in Frogs Hollow has been included in Architectural Record’s March 2012 “All in the Details” section of featured houses. Special thanks to Alex Bozikovic for the write-up.

House in Frogs Hollow featured in Celebrating Excellence in Wood Structures

Bernadette Johnson, "House in Frogs Hollow," Celebrating Excellence in Wood Structure: 2010-11 North American Wood Design Award Winners. Canadian Wood Council, 2011; p. 36-40.

The Canadian Wood Council just released a  publication celebrating  the 2010-11 North American Wood Design Award Winners. The House in Frogs Hollow is featured along with the work from Studio Gang Architects, IwamotoScott Architecture,  Cutler Anderson Architects, David J. Agro,  Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, Mankouche/Bard/Schulte, Flansburgh Architects, Robert M. Cain, Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects, HGA Architects and Engineers, The Miller Hull Partnership, StructureCraft Builders Inc. , and McFarland Marceau Architects .

House in Frogs Hollow Receives a 2011 Wood WORKS! Award

The House in Frogs Hollow has received a 2011 Wood WORKS! Award. The Wood WORKS! Awards recognize the people and organizations pursuing excellence and innovation in wood design, advancing the use of wood in Ontario. The 11th Annual Wood WORKS! Awards evening took place on Thursday November 3, 2011 at the Ottawa Convention Centre.

House in Frogs Hollow featured in The Globe and Mail

John Bentley Mays, “Grey County Home Rides an Uncompromising Landscape,” The Globe and Mail, August 19, 2011; G.

We spent a lovely afternoon with John Bentley Mays at the House in Frogs Hollow and enjoyed his reading of the house featured in last week’s Globe and Mail. The article can be found on The Globe and Mail’s website with a slideshow of images by Bob Gundu.

John Bentley Mays, “Grey County Home Rides an Uncompromising Landscape,” The Globe and Mail, August 19, 2011; G.

Firm Profile and House in Frogs Hollow Featured in Canadian Builders Quarterly

Julie Schaeffer, "WILLIAMSONWILLIAMSON INC.: Digital Fabrication Gives a Young Residential-Architecture Firm an Innovative Edge," Canadian Builders Quaterly, April 2011; p. 32-3

Our firm has be profiled in the April 2011 issue of Canadian Builders Quarterly, featuring the House in Frogs Hollow.

House in Frogs Hollow featured in Construire, Renover, Transformer

Lucie Lavigne, "Galley House" & "House in Frogs Hollow," Construire, Rénover, Transformer: Les meilleures idées d’architectes pour réussir votre projet. Montreal, Quebec: La Presse, 2011; p. 70-1 & p.156-7

Thank you to Lucie Lavigne from La Presse for including two of our projects in the French language publication Construire, Renover, Transformer.

House in Frogs Hollow Receives a 2011 North American Wood Design Award

The House in Frogs Hollow has won a 2011 Wood Design Award. “The Wood Design Awards is the only North American Program to recognize, award and publicize excellence in wood architecture, and to publicly acknowledge the importance of architecture to our society…The selection of the 13 winning projects was challenging for the jury, as all of the projects displayed innovative uses of wood as a building material.  These projects push the boundaries of conventional wood building practices and highlight the special qualities, versatility and sheer beauty of wood as a building material.”

House in Frogs Hollow Receives a 2010 Design Exchange Award

The House in Frogs Hollow has won a 2010 Design Exchange Award for residential architecture.  The project received a bronze award at last night’s ceremony. It was wonderful to spend the evening with friends and colleagues and support Canadian design.

The DX Awards celebrate excellence in Canadian design, successful partnerships between designers and clients, and the importance of design in all organizations. It is the only Canadian design award to judge entries based on results, balancing function, aesthetics, and economic success.

The House in Frogs Hollow will be showcased alongside fellow 2010 DX Award winners at a special exhibit at the Design Exchange, from November 24, 2010 to January 30, 2011.

House in Frogs Hollow on the cover of Azure Magazine

Shimo, Alexandra. "House in Frogs Hollow." Azure July/August 2010: 46-50.

Azure magazine has a fabulous cover this month; a sunset view of the house in Frogs Hollow!

 

Plan Magazine publishes the House in Frogs Hollow

Denise Maguire, “One-Off Houses: House in Frogs Hollow,” Plan Magazine, June/July 2010; p. 25-27.

Plan Magazine, out of Dublin, Ireland, has chosen The House in Frogs Hollow as one of its featured “one-off houses.”  Bob Gundu’s photographs look amazing.

 

House in Frogs Hollow Receives a 2010 OAA Design Excellence Award

The House in Frogs Hollow has won a 2010 Award of Excellence from the Ontario Association of Architects. The Awards of Excellence recognize the innovative skills of Ontario architects in creating spaces, buildings, and communities that respect and enhance the environment and enrich human activity. Award recipients will be honoured at the Celebration of Excellence Awards Ceremony at the 2010 OAA Annual Conference May 7, 2010.

Casa Living introduces the House in Frogs Hollow to Korea

Jin-Young Yoo, “Unique Homes: House in Frogs Hollow,” Casa Living, April 2010; p. 211.

Jin-Young Yoo, “Unique Homes: House in Frogs Hollow,” Casa Living, April 2010; p. 211.

Mountain Life publishes the House in Frogs Hollow

Pat Whyte and Colin Field, “Thorny Retreat,” Mountain Life, Fall 2009; p. 46-48.

Night shots by Colin Field are featured in this article.

 

12 Alumni: Architecture, Change, Globality

Tunnel Gallery, Barnard College, New York, NY. The House in Frogs Hollow along with the work of 11 other alumni of the Barnard and Columbia College Architecture Program was selected for the inaugural alumni exhibition 12 ALUMNI: ARCHITECTURE CHANGE GLOBALITY.

Participants were asked to reflect on the following questions: In what ways do the various aspects of your practice reflect the changes that are happening in our world? What are some of the global issues you address through your practice? How are new practices, like building sustainability, redefining how architects think about the responsibility of the profession and the malleability of the environment? How has the global sourcing of materials impacted your practice of architecture? Does it simply represent the widening of available materials, or has the unpredictability of global commodity prices forced architects to re-invent the design process? If modern architecture played a role in defining globality in the 20th century, then contemporary architecture should be capable to playing the same role in the 21st century.

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