On the rocks

Located on the shores of Sparrow Lake, near Gravenhurst, Ont., Delta Road Cottage sits between a rock (the rocky shore of the lake) and a hard place (the dense surrounding forest). Designed by Toronto-based Teeple Architects Inc., this sculptural gem is predominantly composed of local eastern white cedar refined at a nearby sawmill. 

Two contrasting, curved elevations – one solid, the other transparent – define the building. Approaching by road, you encounter the solid elevation: a dark-stained cedar wall, with the front door set obliquely into a single opening in the curved wall plane. Entering, all becomes crystal clear as you step into the large central living space, cradled by a lake-facing curved wall of full-height glazing.

Because an austere, aluminum-backed curtain wall seemed wrong for this project, the architect relied on the expertise of glazier Luc Harrison, who helped engineer a structural silicone-glazing system, which fastened onto deep Douglas fir mullion back sections. A cost-effective and thermally efficient solution, the system adds the warm materiality of wood to an otherwise pared-down interior. 

Principal Stephen Teeple sums up Delta Road Cottage poetically: “A glass curtain wall is stretched along a swooping black textured cedar band; a perch, with panoramic views of its Sparrow Lake setting, is captured in between. It is a flowing, dynamic space that reaches upwards toward the lake, capturing the spirit of its demonstrative owner.” •