Altius Featured in Dwell Magazine

A Hybrid Prefab in Ontario Drinks In its Lakeside Locale

A prefab core cuts down on construction time while site-built additions (like a screened porch) fine-tune the cottage for lakefront living.

Faced with a tricky lot that was both narrow and “unusually flat and low,” Toronto–based firm Altius decided to flip this cottage’s floor plan, clustering the bedrooms on the ground floor and locating shared living spaces up top. “A potential drawback of this approach is that it can cause the living spaces to feel disconnected from the outdoors—not ideal for a cottage,” says the firm.

Their solution was to place a screened-in porch, or Muskoka Room, halfway between the two levels. “In this way, the role of the Muskoka Room is extended to mediate between high and low, as well as interior and exterior,” says the firm.

The firm took a “hybrid approach” to the cottage’s construction, first installing a prefab module to form the core of the building. The screened-in porch, high-ceilinged living room, and carport were all added on site.

“This resulted in a significantly reduced construction timeline compared with our traditionally built projects,” says the firm, which has its own prefab division and construction facility. “We use the hybrid approach to a lot of our prefab projects as it allows greater flexibility in the floor plans and building dimensions while using the modules to create inexpensive floor space, which will be delivered to the site by truck or barge.”

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