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home of the week

Oleg Solodchenko/Oleg Solodchenko/Inframe Films

2910 Park Lane, West Vancouver, B.C.

Asking Price: $26.8-million

Taxes: $65,691.78 (2021)

Lot Size: ½-acre

Agents: Holly Calderwood, Christa Frosch, Michael Frosch (Sotheby’s International Realty Canada)

The back story

The residence – with five bedrooms and seven bathrooms in 9,432-square-feet of living space – is built of concrete on three levels.Oleg Solodchenko/Oleg Solodchenko/Inframe Films

Entrepreneur Mossadiq Umedaly has been immersed in architecture and design since he worked on the development of Aga Khan University in the 1980s.

“I learned so much about architecture and how architecture must work for you.”

Over the years, Mr. Umedaly went on to serve as chief financial officer of Ballard Power Systems, chairman of BC Hydro, and chief executive officer of Xantrex Technology Inc., among other roles.

“I’ve built every headquarters of my tech companies,” says the pioneer in renewable energy.

Mr. Umedaly had accumulated a depth of knowledge about architecture and sustainable technologies by the time he decided in the early 2000s that he wanted to build a home on the water in West Vancouver.

Bald eagles roost in a conifer close to the house.Oleg Solodchenko/Oleg Solodchenko/Inframe Films

When he learned that a parcel overlooking Burrard Inlet had landed on the market, he went to see it that weekend. The site was carved from a former apple orchard owned by Vancouver’s influential Woodward family, which rose to prominence in retailing and politics.

The land sloped down a hillside to 98 feet of shoreline. Before he had time to consult an engineer or architect about the challenges of building on such a steep site, Mr. Umedaly submitted an offer.

“I looked at it and said, ‘this is it,’” he recalls. “By Monday I had closed. It was a bit of a risk but I didn’t want to lose it.”

Mr. Umedaly began interviewing architects, but he found many of them had one style for all of their residential projects.

Paul Grant, a fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, impressed Mr. Umedaly with his ability to design in many different styles – each tailored to the project. He also understood the entrepreneur’s vision.

Mr. Umedaly had long admired the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. He asked Mr. Grant to create a modern residence that would take full advantage of the oceanfront site while favouring the American master’s emphasis on organic materials and fine craftsmanship.

An added twist was that Mr. Umedaly had also chosen much of the furniture and artwork before the house was built. “It made it very exacting in a way,” he says. “All of the materials are natural materials in their glory.”

The house today

The kitchen, with European cabinets and appliances, is open to the dining area, living room and family room.Oleg Solodchenko/Oleg Solodchenko/Inframe Films

After five years of planning and construction, Elemental House was finished in 2008.

“The important thing was to honour the site and the fantastic 180-degree view of the ocean,” Mr. Umedaly says.

The residence – with five bedrooms and seven bathrooms in 9,432-square-feet of living space – is built of concrete on three levels.

A driveway winds from street level down to a four-car garage.

“From the street, you don’t even see it,” says Mr. Umedaly of the home’s deliberately low profile. “We sunk the house into the land.”

Mr. Grant used concrete and Pennsylvania bluestone for the exterior, with a zinc roof designed to collect rainwater and funnel it to a cistern. The recycled water is used to irrigate the landscape.

Throughout the house, materials include white oak and limestone for the floors, Pennsylvania bluestone and concrete for the walls, and Douglas fir for the window frames.

“I don’t like ostentatious things. I like humble things that are good quality,” Mr. Umedaly says. “The whole thing is meant to give you some sense of peace of mind.”

Residents and guests arrive to a foyer, with a mud room tucked to the side. The private main-floor office sits next to the foyer. Stairs descend to the main living areas, where gatherings and entertaining take place.

The kitchen, with European cabinets and appliances, is open to the dining area, living room and family room. All of the rooms face a large ironwood terrace, with ocean views beyond.

On the upper level, the south wing includes the home’s primary bedroom suite, with an ocean view through floor-to-ceiling glass, a gas fireplace and a door opening to the terrace. The ensuite bathroom has a stand-alone tub clad in limestone and a large steam shower.

An elevator runs between the home’s levels.Oleg Solodchenko/Oleg Solodchenko/Inframe Films

Two additional bedrooms on that level each have their own ensuite bathrooms.

The home’s upper north wing has a private entrance to a guest suite that includes a kitchenette and laundry area.

The geothermal heating and cooling system can be controlled by a smart device. The systems are in place to accommodate the addition of solar panels, which would allow it to become Net Zero.

An elevator runs between the home’s levels.

The lower level has the fifth bedroom and ensuite, a recreation room, and a room designed as a karate studio for Mr. Umedaly’s daughter. Today the studio serves as a home gym.

The lower level also has a professional-grade soundproof music studio room built for Mr. Umedaly’s son.

Mr. Umedaly says his kids are out on their own now but they still come by often to have dinner, swim in the pool and take the kayaks out for a paddle.

The best feature

The home’s outdoor infinity-edge pool is positioned for panoramic views of Burrard Inlet and the Pacific Ocean.Oleg Solodchenko/Oleg Solodchenko/Inframe Films

The home’s outdoor infinity-edge pool is positioned for panoramic views of Burrard Inlet and the Pacific Ocean.

There’s also a hot tub and a sun deck for lounging.

Mr. Umedaly had Japanese-inspired gardens created on every level.

“You feel at peace – you breathe nicely,” he says of the setting.

Bald eagles roost in a conifer close to the house and migrating shorebirds fly past as they head south, he says. On occasion, he spots sea lions on the rocks and humpback whales offshore.

“It’s a dream place to be.”

Throughout the house, materials include white oak and limestone for the floors, Pennsylvania bluestone and concrete for the walls, and Douglas fir for the window frames.Oleg Solodchenko/Oleg Solodchenko/Inframe Films

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