Mcleod Bovell Modern Houses
West Vancouver, Canada

In this article, clients approached our firm at a significant turning point in their lives, preparing for the next chapter as their children were leaving home. This transition in their family life became a central theme in envisioning a residence that reflects both conceptual and physical transitions. We adopted the term “liminal” to describe our design philosophy, focusing on the sensations of being in a transitional space, guiding movement through the environment, and capturing the essence of transitioning from one stage to another.

Credit: Liminal House | Mcleod Bovell Modern Houses (

Situated at the junction of a suburban neighborhood and the rocky coastline of West Vancouver, the site presents a unique blend of urban and natural landscapes. The design of the house takes cues from the creatures inhabiting this boundary area, adapted to the harsh coastal conditions. The structure is built with durable materials such as concrete, stained Accoya wood, and aluminum plate, chosen for their ability to withstand the coastal climate.

Credit: Liminal House | Mcleod Bovell Modern Houses (

Our approach to this project was informed by our previous experiences with complex landscapes and close-proximity construction. We moved away from traditional flat architectural “elevations” in favor of a more dynamic, scenographic approach. This allows the house to be fully appreciated only by moving through and around it. The design integrates courtyards, overhanging structures, and the extension of natural landscapes into the lower floors, blurring the line between the built environment and nature.

Credit: Liminal House | Mcleod Bovell Modern Houses (

The fluctuating coastal atmosphere plays a pivotal role in the house’s interaction with its surroundings. The house not only responds to these changes but also enhances them. The design strategically frames views using solid and glass walls, creating reflections and refractions that play with the concept of space and location. The presence of a dark pool at the property’s edge and the reflective surfaces of internal courtyards further enhance this interplay, creating a sense of being in a liminal, transitional space.

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