Zinc Encloses Private Retreat Ensconced in the Woods

Dark grey, gabled zinc roofs and cladding enable the five-building Canoe Point private retreat to blend into its forested surroundings on the shore of Lake Huron in Ontario.

“Their dark color allows the cabins to recede into the shoreline forest, thereby intentionally diminishing the presence of the structures when viewed from the water,” said Booth Hansen’s principal, Christopher Guido, AIA.

The 4,500 square-foot private residence is made up of a series of “cabins” connected by glass and metal-enclosed walkways, with five bedrooms, a study/library and dining spaces, opening onto a waterfront deck. Another structure serves as a garage and glass-enclosed dance studio with 360-degree views of the terrain, trees and water.

Three of the five quaint cabins are enclosed with RHEINZINK-GRANUM basalt-colored, matte-finished, architectural-grade zinc, and installed as angled standing-seam wall cladding and roofing.

Canoe Point marks the first North American project to use RHEINZINK-GRANUM. While zinc building materials have been used for European homes and buildings for centuries, North America is only recently tapping into the metal’s many benefits.

Zinc is a weather-resistant, self-healing, corrosion-resistant material with a potential lifespan of 100 years. At the end of its useful life on the buildings, the metal remains 100% recyclable. Air and water resistant, zinc has also been tested to withstand high winds and hurricane conditions. 

Zinc walls and roofing also serve as a finish material with no additional paint, varnish or sealants required. Aesthetically, the material changes color over time as a natural patina forms.

 “Our resilient, basalt-hued, RHEINZINK-GRANUM provides an immediate, distinctive dark-gray finish. Over time, the dynamic qualities of the finish and the zinc alloy naturally patinate to a lighter toned gray,” said Richard Strickland, RHEINZINK America’s regional sales manager. “The ever-changing, unique coloration and character of this elemental material will continue to evolve and enhance the buildings’ design throughout the decades.”

The structure sits on a raised pier foundation. This effectively maintains the natural topography and allows the snow to melt and rainwater to drain naturally into the lake.

The sustainably-designed retreat also employs passive house insulation strategies to optimize heating and cooling through a tight building envelope and energy efficient windows. In the summer, the operable windows are aligned with one another to promote cross ventilation through the cabins.

The windows are “located near the peak of each gabled volume and allow for natural stack effect to remove heat from the cathedral ceiling volumes as well as to allow diffuse light to enter,” explained Guido.

The window system was designed with another unique feature, added Guido. “Custom zinc-clad operable shutters are recessed into the walls in a concealed track to secure the building and protect the windows when it is not in use but recede from view and provide additional insulation to the walls when open.”

By sizing the windows and zinc shutters exactly the same, the seams terminate next to the opening. The zinc systems’ flat-lock tiles were also fabricated to precisely frame the openings.

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