The Rock by Gort Scott

  • London-based architecture practice Gort Scott design a home built into a rock in Whistler, British Columbia as an extension of the natural landscape it inhabits.

    Perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Alta Lake in Canada, Gort Scott’s latest project resides on a series of landscaped levels cut into the mountainside. Surrounded by pine tree forests and mountain range, the four-storey home is strategically built in line with the natural contours of the site; its orientation maximising light, tailored outlooks and terraces towards the lake.

    Through a utilitarian design approach and robust material palette, The Rock by Gort Scott intuitively acknowledges the site’s context, integrating seamlessly into its scenery.

    Gort Scott Architects director Jay Gort says the London team spent five days on the site absorbing its characteristics to achieve this harmonious layout; the weather, topography, fauna and the distant views. “This appreciation of the site has been critical to the design, siting and arrangement of the building,” Jay says. “Although we are placing a significant building on the site, our aim throughout has been retaining this experience when walking to and through the house.”

    The open-plan kitchen, living and dining area are positioned across split-levels around the crest of the rock on the second floor to capitalise on the views. Subterranean spaces carved into the rock on the first floor include a cinema room, gym and wine room, while the master suite occupies the top floor with 360-degree mountain views.

    The custom made dining table by Leon Lebeniste is accompanied by the Semi Pendant designed by Claus Bonderup and Torsten Thorup for Gubi and Miyazaki Chair Factory dining chairs; a mix of the Hata Chair by Yoshinaga Keishi and DC10 by Inoda+Sveje.

    “The house grows out of the landscape but isn’t deferential to it, neither does it dominate it – we feel the house and the rock are better for each other.”


    – Gort Scott Architects director Fiona Scott

    Moving throughout the home, the floorplan was designed akin to walking up the hill to the summit of the rock. Dropdown living areas and geometric ceilings pay reference to the natural imperfections of the Whistler terrain, while hemlock timber panelling used throughout is a clear reference to the infinite stretch of pine trees. To distinguish each space from the next in the central hub of the home, linear ceiling cladding laid in alternate angles subtly marks the different zones.

    Durable, long-lasting materials create a tactile aesthetic, comprised predominantly of concrete, timber and black aluminium. Oversized rugs soften the communal spaces, where classic pieces like the Gubi Semi Pendant, Miyazaki Chair Factory dining chairs and Zanotta sofa add a design-led sensibility.

    The two-bedroom guest house is connected to the main build through both an outdoor walkway and the entrance corridor. Situated at the base of the rock, the guest apartment marks the home’s entrance and shares access to the infinity pool with the main house.

    Gort Scott’s deep appreciation for the site is evident throughout The Rock. Their sensitive response reveals itself in the layout, materiality and outlook that together pay respect to their unrivalled location.

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