Carraig Ridge Fireplace
Alberta, Canada

The Carraig Ridge Fireplace amplifies the conventional fire pit to create an inhabitable fireplace that functions as the hearth to the lake and surrounding hills. It is simultaneously a monumental landmark and destination, a beacon hovering above the lake, and very much a part of the site.

With a limited design schedule of just four weeks in January and February of 2013 for construction in March 2013, it was important to develop a straightforward method of construction using a readily available source of materials. As such, the Fireplace is constructed of local heavy timbers cut into lengths of 3 to 5 feet and stacked in six unique positions according to simple rules of rotation. This subtle twist is a playful interpretation of the traditional method of stacking logs, and produces a contemporary result that references the traditional log cabin but adds exaggerated intricacy and texture. This method creates a porous, thick surface that envelops the warmth of the fire but allows light to slip through to the outside, and provides users with moments of oblique views back to the landscape. The outside prismatic form is softened by the texture of the raw wood and shards of polished metal that dematerialize and juxtapose the surrounding water, earth, and sky into an ethereal veil cloaking the fireplace’s abstract mass. This first shelter (in an eventual series of three) balances clarity of form and construction technique with richness of texture, and creates a transformation from landscape to enclosure with minimal intervention.

Photography by Brett Bilon, Dan Kingston and Bent Rene Synnevag.