Gulf Islands Residence, Pacific Northwest

With jutting lines of burnt umber flying across the horizon, this remote single-family house is situated in rocky southern shores of the Pacific Ocean near Vancouver, British Colombia. Tony Robins of AA Robins Architect took on this 6,500 sq ft cladded challenge as lead architect and gave this hidden gem a contemporary style reminiscent of the modern sculptor Alexander Calder.

The exterior and interior cladding of the home is done primarily with A. Zahner Company’s trademarked patina, Solanum Steel weathering steel. This pre-weathered steel surface provides a vibrant and warm color to complement the surrounding blue ocean and sky. Comparative to raw weathering steel, Solanum Steel offers a stable surface which reduces runoff from the natural patina on its surface.

Photograph of the Gulf Islands Residence designed by AA Robins.
Photograph of the Gulf Islands Residence designed by AA Robins.
Detail of the facade design, Gulf Islands Residence designed by Tony Robins of AA Robins architects.
Detail of the facade design, Gulf Islands Residence designed by Tony Robins of AA Robins architects.
The Solanum Steel exterior of the Gulf Islands Residence appears bright umber in the afternoon light.
The Solanum Steel exterior of the Gulf Islands Residence appears bright umber in the afternoon light.
Photo of the interior Solanum Steel application. Light flows through the perforations on metal's surface.
Photo of the interior Solanum Steel application. Light flows through the perforations on metal's surface.
Zahner engineered a CAD layout of the panels on the Gulf Islands Residence.
Zahner engineered a CAD layout of the panels on the Gulf Islands Residence.

Fabricating the Weathered Steel Facade

The only way to reach this island is by taking a ferry directly from Vancouver, traveling through the narrow passage separating Mayne Island and Galiano Island. Because traveling to the house is an adventure of itself, the structural modules that make up the house had to be prefabricated, shipped over by ferry, and driven up the site on 23 trucks. Zahner provided the Solanum Steel pre-weathered sheets to local fabricators.

The design has many interior elements that bring the modern edge inside such as skylights framed with red steel beams, giant glass walls, and high windows hidden by the perforated Solanum Steel surface. The high windows are hidden so the rock-shaped perforations can cast light onto the adjacent wall adding a playful pattern to the room throughout the day. This same perforated pattern can be seen with the powder-coated aluminum on the edge of the infinity pool that is equipped with a waterslide.

This residence at Gulf Islands evokes the ebb and flow of its surrounding landscape. To learn more about Zahner’s custom patinas, see the surfaces page of the website, or contact Zahner about developing a custom patina to fit the needs of your project.