Governor General's Medals in Architecture - 2020 Recipient | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Governor General's Medals in Architecture - 2020 Recipient

Lake Kawagama Retreat
Kawagama Lake,
Award Category: 
Governor General’s Medals in Architecture

Shim-Sutcliffe Architects Inc.

Lead design architect(s): 

Brigitte Shim, FRAIC and Howard Sutcliffe, FRAIC

Occupancy: September 1, 2014
Construction Budget: Withheld

In this project, natural light is used to create a strong sense of place in a building situated in the Canadian landscape. Located at 45 degrees latitude, the building’s design embraces the sectional aspect of the site’s naturally sloping topography by reconciling the north facing view of the lake with the introduction of warm southern light which enters deep into this residence. Located on the south shore of a majestic lake just west of Algonquin Park, the site is defined by the undulating shoreline, the Canadian Shield and its mature deciduous forest.

Jury Comment(s): 

“Comforting, inviting, and carefully crafted, this project carries on the grand tradition of wooden cabins nestled in the Canadian wilderness. The Haliburton retreat sits half-buried in the sloping terrain overlooking the lake, reducing our perception of the cabin’s bulk. Inside, every inch of is scrupulously designed, almost as if the interior were carved out of a single piece of wood. The sculpting of light using wood, such as the over-sized Douglas Fir fins in the main living area, creates a soft glow that animates the interior and invites you in any season.”

Jury members

Click for full version: 
Wooden Trusses with south light

PHOTO: Scott Norsworthy

View of clerestory windows and structural trusses

PHOTO: James Dow

View of West Elevation in winter at night

PHOTO: Scott Norsworthy

 View of South elevation

PHOTO: Scott Norsworthy

View of main space looking west

PHOTO: Scott Norsworthy

View of window next to fireplace and built in bookshelves and seating / View of Exterior Wood Storage / Stair handrail detail

PHOTO: Scott Norsworthy