This project was selected as an Honorable Mention winner in the 2023 Residential Architect Design Awards, Outbuilding category.
"I thought it was beautiful.” —Juror Tya Winn
Lake Muskoka in Ontario, Canada, is a quiet, forested retreat where lakefront homes dot the scenic shoreline. A new boathouse by Turkel Design, however, introduces a streamlined, modern typology to these oft-banal structures.
Confronted with challenges including a 14-foot roofline restriction, a sloped site, potential water damage, and a short construction season, the architects prefabricated all elements off-site. Construction took place during the winter months as components were carefully towed in via snowmobile, avoiding shoreline disruptions.
Striking in its austere wood appearance, the completed boathouse features visible post-and-beam construction. The laminated Douglas fir structure keeps a boat hoisted above the frozen lake and is clad with latticed fir boards designed to patina and help water drip from the surface. The firm topped the structure with a roof deck featuring joists that rest on horizontal beams above the sloped roof, allowing for integration of the roof plane and the deck support system. The resulting deck is subtle when viewed from afar but elevates what could have been a utilitarian storage space to an amenity that can host gatherings. More important, though, the project creates a precedent for efficient and thoughtful building under tight regulations and along sensitive coastlines.
Project: Lake Muskoka Boathouse, Port Carling, Ontario, Canada.
Architect: Turkel Design, Somerville, Mass.
Structural Engineer: Quantum Engineering
Other consultants: Shifflett Engineering (steel docks); Spielman Fabrication (stairs and railing)
MATERIALS AND SOURCES:
Structural System: Laminated Douglas fir posts and beams, galvanized steel cross-bracing