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GRAY AWARDS 2020 Editors’ Picks

See the entries that caught our editors’ eyes.


Each week through January 2021, we will be rolling out two of our Editors’ Picks from GRAY Awards 2020.

Editors’ Pick: West 27th Cabana & Private Garden

Andrea McLean Studio Inc.

By GRAY Editors

modern luxury garden stone pavers landscaping

This backyard cabana in Vancouver was one of two structures designed by architect Andrea McLean to give her clients more space without renovating their existing house. Image by Ema Peter.

There are generally two camps for people who need more space to live in. First are the movers: those who pack up and head to a larger house, and then there are the remodelers: those who renovate their existing homes to add more room. For architect Andrea McLean, neither choice suited her clients, a Vancouver family who wanted to keep their current house a single-level structure, so she came up with a plan to add two accessory dwelling units in the family’s backyard.

“The client’s original plan was to add a double car garage that could also serve as a workshop and gym, providing valuable amenity space that their home’s small footprint didn’t allow for,” McLean writes in her submission. “However, once the clients started to imagine the massing of the garage and the impact on their backyard, they started having second thoughts. After careful consultation, the design exploration looked at how two individual accessory buildings could create a more thoughtful experience, and complement one another, yet be specific to their use. One serves as a garage/ workshop, and the other as a cabana/ gym/ quiet retreat.”

Indoor outdoor garden, outdoor furniture fire pit landscaping

The modern cabana can be seen on the right, while the garage/workshop is tucked away to the left, its cedar shake cladding a nod to the style of the main house. Image by Ema Peter.

It was important to the clients that the two buildings, despite standing alone, would feel connected to the existing house. McLean studied the circulation of the site and designed the exterior patios as sequential experiences leading to the new buildings. “The garage/ workshop was designed as a modern interpretation of the existing house, by way of cedar shake cladding,” she writes, “yet formally it is connected to the cabana by way of a flat roof, and expansive glazing.”

The pavilion-like cabana is nested in front of a bamboo hedge and is an aesthetic departure from the bungalow-style house. Our editors felt relaxed just looking at this space. The cohesiveness of the entire outdoor area makes it feel like a private oasis, much like a vacation resort tucked away in the middle of the city. They also appreciated the creative approach McLean took in reimagining the way we live and what is possible to do with space, especially within a small footprint.

Outdoor patio garden ads kids playing hammock

A peek inside the workshop. Image by Ema Peter.

CATEGORY: Architecture: Residential

PROJECT: West 27th Cabana & Private Garden

FIRM: Andrea McLean Studios Inc.

DATE OF COMPLETION: September 2018

LOCATION: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada



Teer Co Landscape

Murray Sims Construction Ltd.

Ema Peter Photography


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