Muskoka Builders Association Architect & Designer Tour

Muskoka Builders Association Architect & Designer Tour

In the summer of 2011 Tamarack North Ltd. was awarded a contract to construct a new summer home for a prominent Canadian family who have cottaged on Tobin Island since the 1960’s. As families do, this one had grown and change was needed to modernize and accommodate people comfortably.

The building was to be located on a family property that is subject to a zoning bylaw which permits multiple cottages, cabins and accessory buildings. The new building would be located close to the principle cottage on the property and replace an older cottage whose structure had seen better days. The architect and owner took care to design the new building with a complimentary aesthetic to existing buildings on the property.

The building architecture and interior design is by Wayne Swadron Architect of Toronto, Structural Engineering by Blackwell Bowick also of Toronto.

In order to site the building to a suitable elevation, blasting and rock excavation was required and undertaken in the Fall of 2011. An engineered reinforced concrete foundation was constructed in November, completing on schedule just before freeze up. The barging required for this project was extensive at all stages of construction, however once the barge trip to the island is behind you, access on the island is very good. Concrete trucks, pumps, large cranes and glass delivery and moving trucks were all able to drive right to the building site.

In order to make progress and maintain the schedule, off site fabrication of structural steel and windows were undertaken in the winter months of 2012. The structural steel for the building was staged at a local quarry and flown to the site by helicopter in a one day operation. Delivery in this manner ensured that the steel was ready for erection by crane in the early spring.

With the large expanses of glass and oversized doors, selection of a quality window and door manufacturer was paramount. The supplier needed to be capable of providing highly custom and large sized units, clad in a patinated copper finish. The field was narrowed to three potential suppliers. Loewen Windows of Manitoba was the successful bidder.

Construction of the building envelope and mechanical electrical infrastructure, including ground source heat, proceeded through the Spring and Fall of 2012. Interior finishes also began late Fall, carried on through the winter months with carpenters and trades accessing the island by snowmobile and ATV. A large delivery of millwork and other finishes were ready for the thaw of the ice in the Spring of 2013.

Substantial completion/occupancy was achieved at  the end of June 2013.

As can be said of most successful projects, communication is key. Much of the great success of this project can be attributed to the open communication between architect builder and client. Regular progress meetings were held initially at the architects office in Toronto and later on a monthly basis at the site.