An Integrated Design Approach


The original home was a 4000 s.f. house that was renovated multiple times from its original structure built in the 1930's.  Our original intention was to lift the house and set it down on new foundations and renovate. A thorough Hazardous Materials Survey revealed toxic materials containing asbestos, vermiculite, lead, mold, rot and water egress.  Our design team decided to change directions and explore deconstructing and salvaging materials from the original building and building a new 2,500 s.f. building (smaller footprint) on the existing foundations to Passive House (PH) and Living Building Challenge (LBC) certifications. This approach was more affordable, energy efficient and returned more space to the ecosystem.

To design and build a building to PH and full LBC certifications, we felt that an Integrated Design Process was necessary. At every stage of the design our team work together to derive sustainable and affordable options and outcomes.

We knew immediately that the success of the project would be is based on how the design responds to the site and to maintain a focus on an affordable budget.  We want to live in synergy with nature and create an architectural experience that explores living in a healthy and vibrant way by connecting with nature, and the history of the site. It was imperative to assemble a team of inspiring colleagues and industry professionals that have all contributed their expertise in an integrative way to our design process.

  • The design concept is a by-product of our teams response to the site.

Our Concept: to Re-Wild the ecosystem by reconstructing a Living Building that regenerates the environment.

Inspired by rural and indigenous buildings in the region, and a need to connect with nature (Biophilia) the design of the building evolved into:

a bridge: crossing from outside to inside (for accessibility)

a roof: a simple shelter to capture the rain (Salt box roofline)

a deck with 4 columns: an outdoor space (to experience nature)

Simple Idea drawing

Simple Idea drawing

Interior Spaces

Interior Spaces

Meet our Design Team and Project Contributors!

Fiona McLagan, MBA, ABMP and Kenneth Chooi, Architect AIBC, MRAIC, Co-Founders

Brett Sichello, CPHD and Jack Kitchener, NIDO Design

Mark Ashby, Architect AIBC, CPHD

Ross Wood, ABT

Mark Bernhardt, CPHD, Bernhardt Contracting

Victoria Drakeford, Landscape Architect

Dan Fell, Ted Sorenson, Sorenson Trilogy, Structural Engineers

Andy Chong, Michelle Phillips, Erika Mak, Integral Engineering (Electrical & Mechanical)

Ian Ralston, Trax Development Ltd & Henry Van Hell, Envirosept Wastewater Systems

Steve Hamm, Archaeologist, Matt Bullock, Archeologist, Madrone Environmental

Nathanial Tougas, Geotechnical Engineer, Madrone Environmental

Sarah Bonar, Biologist, Aquaparian

Harold C. Joe and Shawn Canute, First Nations Specialists (Cowichan Tribes)

Sam Van Hell, Rob Wilson, Jack Van Hell, Arcas Media

Gail Cole, All Things Balanced (Feng Shui)

Kurtis Howes, Lunarbloom, Perma-Culture Design

 Mike King and Scott Conrad, AREC Environmental (Hazardous Materials testing)

Robin Kenyon, Kenyon Wilson Land Surveyors

Robert Ryan, Earth Cycle Technologies (Passive House Certifier)

Braden Geric, Fenstur Windows and Doors

Shaun St. Amour and Lucas Johnson, 475 Building Products

Hajo Meijer, CPHD, Cowichan Valley

A special Thank You to Ken Connolly and Burke Stoller of Pheasant Hill Homes

Earth Cycle Technologies

Earth Cycle Technologies