Lake Muskoka Boathouse
Port Carling, Ontario
Winner, Honor Award, Wood Design & Building Awards 2022-23
At its heart, Lake Muskoka Boathouse is a pared-back utilitarian structure, rendered in the simplest possible local materials: wood and only the required hardware for the building’s function. It is a contemporary homage to the great tradition of Muskoka boathouses that eschews any trend of the boathouse as grand showpiece.
All components were fabricated offsite – thereby maximizing an already short building season and building quickly enough to ensure the owners would not lose a summer to construction. Given the steepness of the site, offsite fabrication also allowed the components to be towed across the ice by snowmobile, avoiding the need for costly barging, undue site disturbance, and a lengthy winter build.
Lake Muskoka Boathouse’s prefabricated structural system employs laminated exposed Douglas fir post-and-beam construction amply sized to support the hoisted load of a boat suspended above the ice for storage (in addition to the snow load on the roof above). The cladding is a simple spaced fir board, edges beveled to allow water to drip off easily. The open lattice of the cladding allows the air movement needed for drying, while subtly offering a glimpse of the posts and galvanized cross-bracing that support the building. It also allows the building to glow warmly from within, presenting a welcome sight to boaters and revelers returning at dusk from the day’s adventures.
Photography by Révélateur Studio