Gananoque Lake Road House, completed in 2007, was the first Solares project. Fresh out of school with their Master of Architecture degrees, Tom and Christine paired up for the first time as business partners to design and build a new home for Christine’s parents on their large, rural property in Gananoque, Ontario. One of the project’s main goals was to seamlessly integrate the home into the surrounding landscape, which includes a large outcropping of elevated, flat-topped bedrock next to the site of the house.
The two storey house is built adjacent to the outcropping, and has entrances on both levels. The main entrance is located on the lower floor and faces north to the road, and the upper floor opens to a large south-facing wooden deck that bridges the house and the outcropping, with its far end sitting flush to the bedrock. The large deck, complete with a hot tub, provides easy access to the rock “outlook” which has a fire pit, an intimate seating area and a spectacular view over the property, filled with marshland, trees, wildflowers and high grasses.
The house was built with passive solar strategies, including superior insulation, triple-glazed windows, and natural cross-ventilation patterns. The upper floor’s main living area faces south and features large, triple-glazed windows that not only capture beautiful views of the property, but also capture of the rays of winter sun that provide free heating in winter months. A roof overhang of 4 ft. keeps both the deck and the house cool in the hotter months by providing shade from the high-angled summer sun. Awning windows on the upper level allows for cross ventilation, and the stack effect draws cool air throughout the house. The house’s concrete structure acts as a thermal mass that keeps the indoor air temperature comfortable and consistent.
From start to finish, construction on the house lasted 13 months. The final EnerGuide rating is an impressive 87. Even in the hottest months, the house stays comfortable and cool; indoor temperatures have never exceeded 26°C.