Governor General's Medals in Architecture — 2010 Recipient

Prefab Cottage for Two Families
Award Category: 
Governor General’s Medals in Architecture

Kohn Shnier Architects

Lead design architect(s): 

Martin Kohn, MRAIC

This year round two-family cottage is comprised of seven modules which required just 25 days to construct in an off-site facility. When assembled, these prefabricated units form a long and narrow building. The length offers a variety of living spaces while the constricted width maintains a level of intimacy and affords views of the lake from every room. Sited along a ridge, each of the three levels has a point of access at grade. Facing the lake, the east elevation consists entirely of sliding glass doors and provides every room with access to the forest or balconies.

Jury Comment(s): 

"It takes a careful and methodical approach to building to take the raw material of the prefab house and elevate it to the level of refinement we see in the Prefab Cottage for Two Families. While the module doesn’t dissolve into the overall composition, making sure we are well aware of its origins, we see it accommodate a range of spatial possibilities and site conditions and become much more than the sum of its parts."

"This project addressed the challenge of a remote site by using transportable prefabricated units – an exercise that has been studied by many architects over the last few years.  In many ways the Prefab Cottage characterizes our time as the pressures of time, labour costs, and issues of controlling our ecological footprint come into play.  I like the linear assembly and simple stacking of the units that has brought about an elegantly simple set of hillside living spaces and quiet views through the trees."

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photos: Tom Arban