RANCH ESCAPE. This project sits in the foothills, just ten minutes northwest of Ghost Lake. It is a beautifully designed ranch house with an equally amazing view of the mountains in Banff National Park. It is designed to take advantage of these views with 180 degrees of floor to ceiling windows and an open floor concept. The style of the ranch house combines rustic qualities inherent to its location, with the beautifully clean lines of modern architecture.
This project has been an emotional one as it was a collaborative endeavour between Claire and her father. 25% of the project was completed before Claire’s father died. As a young graduate, Claire was involved in this project from the beginning and worked on all aspects of its development, including labouring for seven months during the construction phase. After her father died, it was then left to Claire to complete the design and construction of a very sophisticated space. It is a great representation of the two styles and sensibilities of she and her father.
The inspiration for this project was based on the Tipi and the deep cultural and historical roots of Indigenous peoples. It factors in the circle: of great significance and meaning for First Nations people because it symbolizes and resembles many cycles occurring in the natural world. Some Indigenous people believe our world functions through the impact of circles such as are represented in the shape of the earth, sun and the moon, the wind as it whirls, and birds who make their nests in circles. In many Indigenous communities it is also a symbol of equity where no one person in the circle has an elevated position thus creating equal status for all participants. Many structures, including the tipi, are inspired by the attributes of a circle. It represents the basic symbols of protection, inclusion, equity and a wholeness: the cycle of life from birth to death.
Having originally raised a tipi on the ranch land and influenced by the importance of the circle in Indigenous culture, the three components of the ranch house are adapted circles: functional yet very pleasing.
The structure of the main ranch house was an architectural feat! The living area, with 1,800 square feet of open floor space, is free of any central supporting walls. The structure of the roof is supported by a massive one- ton central kog holding the large timber beams in place. The load is then picked up by the 12" thick concrete walls. The main house is made up of two adjacent hexagons and the sleeping quarters are made up of another two hexagons with one being an open breezeway connecting the sleeping quarters to the main house.