Best of est | Lake Houses

  • We’re revisiting six of our favourite lake houses from the Swedish woods to the rocky outcrops of Canada.

    Nothing compares to the serenity of lakeside living. Be it a Brutalist, sculptural concrete form by southern Switzerland’s largest lake or a family home overlooking Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin, North America, each lake house in this feature celebrates its waterfront vistas through robust materials and large, glazed openings. Fundamentally, our roundup of six lake houses let nature take precedence over the architecture. 

    The Rock by Gort Scott

    The Rock by Gort Scott takes its name from its location, built into a rock in Whistler, Canada, as an extension of the natural landscape it inhabits. Perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking Alta Lake, the home resides on a series of landscaped levels cut into the mountainside, surrounded by pine tree forests and mountain ranges. Moving throughout the home, the floorplan was designed akin to walking up the hill to the rock’s summit. 

    The open-plan kitchen, living and dining area are positioned across split levels around the crest of the rock on the second floor facing the water views, while dropdown living areas and geometric ceilings pay reference to the natural imperfections of Whistler’s terrain. Long-lasting materials create a textural aesthetic, comprised predominantly of concrete, timber and black aluminium – ensuring the rugged surrounds and blue water take focus.

    Casa Dem by Wespi de Meuron Romeo Architetti

    Wespi de Meuron Romeo Architetti designed this monolithic home overlooking Lago Maggiore in Switzerland for a family of three. Set into a steep slope in Brissago, the home has been designed to allow indoor and outdoor spaces to seamlessly flow into one another, comprised of four levels with a central courtyard.

    The kitchen and dining space are strategically positioned within the top storey of the home to make the most of the spectacular lake views, while the third storey houses the living room and library with a covered outdoor terrace and another courtyard framing the landscape. The bedrooms, bathrooms, gym and sauna are situated on the two lower levels of the home, connecting directly to the garden, swimming pool and outdoor kitchen.

    The VIPP Shelter

    The Shelter is the first of four hotels created by Danish furniture, accessories and kitchen brand Vipp. Dubbed ‘a human charging station in the woods’, the Vipp Shelter is a 55m2 all-inclusive retreat nestled in the Swedish forest overlooking Lake Immeln. The prefabricated two-level steel structure recedes into the woodlands, offering a return to nature.

    The living, dining and kitchen occupy the main space, walled in on both sides by full-height glass windows. The elevated loft bedroom, accessible via a steel ladder, features a glazed ceiling for star gazing. 

    MTR Residence by Alain Carle Architecte

    The site’s mountainous topography presented a challenge for Alain Carle Architecte in their MTR Residence, located on the cliffy terrain of Lac Tremblant in Quebec. Alain Carle Architecte selected a large, flat rock cap on the lake’s edge to form the first level of the home, its natural ‘balcony’ extending outwards and forming a strong relationship with the water.

    The surrounding landscape informs the layout of the three-storey family home, carefully arranged to capitalise on the lakeside views. While the bedrooms are designed to face inland, the kitchen and living room look out onto the picturesque Lac Tremblant, framed through steel-frame windows.

    MTR Residence by Alain Carle Architecte

    MTR Residence by Alain Carle Architecte

    Gjovik House by Norm Architects

    The Gjovik House by esteemed Danish firm Norm Architects comprises six overlapping ‘cubes’ of different sizes built to the slope composition of the site, overlooking Norway’s largest lake, Mjøsa lake. The concept of the cluster house is a perfect fit for the family home, giving you a sensation of being together even as you are not necessarily in the same room. 

    Norm Architects introduced the subdued colours of the Norwegian winter through cool grey linen and concrete in the living room warmed with timber joinery in the kitchen. These two ‘clusters’ enjoy direct lake views, with floor-to-ceiling views on both sides. 

    O.P. Residence by Bruns Architecture and Lindsay Pauly

    Situated in a family compound of five neighbouring properties, Bruns Architecture and interior designer Lindsay Pauly designed two connecting A-frame structures for a young family’s retreat overlooking Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin. The unique home is entirely clad in black tiles recycled from rubber tires. It features two gabled buildings held together by a single-storey structure, separating the entertaining space from the private bedroom wing. 

    The design team opted for a restrained colour palette and soft finishes inside, creating deliberate tension with the monochrome exterior and allowing the lakefront view to steal focus.

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