John Sinal

The W38th Residence is a Tropical Floating House in Vancouver

A visually impressive and innovative, 370 sqm, tropical single family residence in Vancouver, designed by Arno Matis Architecture and RUF projects.

The initial concept design for the home was developed by Arno Matis Architecture with RUF project coming on-board subsequently to redesign parts of the interior and exterior while the project was in-progress. The home features a number of stunning tropical elements most prominent of which would be the facade of timber slats that serve as both an aesthetic focal point as well a tool to aid in sun shading. Yet another notable aspect of the design is the use of a reflecting that makes the building appear to float. Here are concise descriptions as seen on the website’s of both practices,


This house is a synthesis of West-coast and Eastern modernism with specific influences from Bali and Thailand. The open concept layout of the home has an open flow of spaces, yet still defined as rooms with a continuous indoor-outdoor connection at all levels. Inside, the house is lined with white marble surfaces, integrated millwork, and carefully crafted detail.

The exterior timber slats on the outside of the home are in dark stained sapele, providing solar shading and privacy to the large expanses of glazing. This unique home is a “Jewel-box”, with carefully crafted details, integrated millwork and luxurious materials to create warmth and surprise, while composed into a modest, minimal and homogenous whole.


This highly innovative private residence breaks new ground with an architectural concrete envelope that uses a completely unique white concrete mix custom developed exclusively for the project.

Original Concept from Arno Matis Architecture

The project is a fusion of contemporary east-Asian, and west coast design influences. The composition appears to float on a large reflecting pool set within an oriental garden setting. Large expanses of glazing and sliding doors are framed in African mahogany wood and screened with a dynamic architectural wood screen.

The interiors flow with cascading floor slabs and dramatic volumes as unnecessary partitions are removed to create interior ‘exhibition’ spaces. The minimalist interior finishing details include stone slab floors, a suspended main stair of steel and hardwood; floating ceilings; and suspended custom fireplaces. You can view construction images of the project here.


  • Design (Exterior & Interior): RUFproject
  • General Contractor: GWilson Construction Ltd.
  • Structural Engineer: Fast + Epp Structural Engineers
  • Landscape Architect: Paul Sangha Landscape Architecture
  • Original Architect: Arno Matis Architecture
  • Geotechnical Engineer: GeoPacific Consultants
  • Building Envelope: Spratt Emanuel
  • Millwork Production: Intempo Interiors
  • Photography: John Sinal

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