Montiverdi Estates Montiverdi Estates, West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Designed 1979 Montiverdi Estates is an exclusive residential neighborhood of single family detached houses, in a seven acre natural setting, with numerous large trees, rock outcroppings and other significant natural elements. The site has steep west facing slopes, offering views towards Howe Sound from the upper portion of the property. The uniqueness of the natural setting and the program requirements lead to the conception of a "residential park" with each of the twenty residences being carefully integrated with the setting. To foster the park-like quality, there has been no formal definition of property lines, with a central community open space in the form of a large open wildflower meadow being preserved and connected to the adjoining greenbelt. To soften the distinction between home and nature, and to enhance the views of the residents above, the forest floor is brought under those buildings constructed on timer stilts and onto the landscaped rooftops from above. The timber stilts have evolved as a response to the steep slope and rocky terrain and to set the building amongst the trees. The building section clearly responds to the site conditions as illustrated in the three typical conditions, changing from a low spreading building to one with an increasingly vertical presence. Homes on the downhill side of the road are kept low so as not to obstruct views to the west and to avoid a "canyon" effect between the homes. Additional features include the presence of islands of natural vegetation to break the stretches of brown chip pavement and low street lighting which adds to the sense of a special and private precinct. The homes have a distinctive quality with the strong interplay of horizontal and vertical members and with a unifying external finish of cedar siding interspersed with large window walls and wooden screening which allows for a subtle control of the degree of openness and of privacy for the residents. Within the residences, the entertainment size living room and dining room are positioned for the west views and late afternoon sun and sunset, these spaces bring set apart from the family-oriented kitchen, breakfast, family room area to the south east. The residences have, in general, transparent walls on the east and west with the north being opaque and the south either transparent or screened for privacy from neighbours. The east-west direction of the columns reinforces the orientation of the houses to afford maximum views, while also maximizing privacy.