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A place of refuge and protection

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Paul Merrick

Paul Merrick was born and grew up in West Vancouver, remembering his Ambleside neighbourhood as a “real village,” and remarks on the multi-generational shops that are still there. His grandfather was an engineer on coastal ferries, his father an industrial arts teacher at West Vancouver High and his uncle ran the local gas station. Young Paul played in the surrounding forests, caddied at the Capilano Golf Club, and picked up the wood-working skills that still serve him today in his sailboat design and construction at his East Sooke workshop.

Paul Merrick faced a choice when applying to the University of British Columbia: “There’s not much room for imagination in engineering, so I choose architecture – it looked like more fun.” His natural abilities with freehand drawing served him well as a student, but his real education in design thinking came from one of the School of Architecture’s most charismatic professors. “Arthur Erickson had a Socratic teaching process,” Merrick says, “He showed these magnificent slides of his travels – he took us on mental journeys, talked about pace and place and light.” At the time, Erickson was designing the Filberg House in Comox – his first large house commission – and he shared the evolution of its design with Merrick and his classmates. After third year, he spent a summer working at Ron Thom’s office, working on the details of Massey College in Toronto. Upon graduation, Merrick faced a choice: “I had offers from two firms that were on very different wavelengths. You could say that Arthur Erickson’s office was FM, but Ron Thom’s was AM, and that is what I chose.”

Soon, Merrick was designing small wooden houses in the Westcoast idiom that was Thom’s hallmark. “It’s hard to know where one’s influences come from, but from an early age I had a strong empathy for an organic way of thinking,” he says of these designs. These tendencies are evident in the larger Sciences Complex and Library/ Bridge commissions he was given as part of Thom’s design of the Trent University campus in Ontario, which meet the technical needs of a contemporary university, but retain a sense of handmade tradition. Merrick says: “When Ron put his hand to something, a different kind of light emerged.” After a few years in Thom’s then-Toronto-based office, and some extended travels in Europe, Merrick returned to Vancouver.

Working with Thompson Berwick Pratt, Merrick was lead architect for the lobby extension and interior adaptive re-use that transformed the former Orpheum cinema in to Vancouver’s leading concert venue, winning Governor General’s Medal for Architecture for his design.
A felt pen elevation for UBC student house design project
A sketch for Paul Merrick Family Residence, Eagle Harbour

For Thompson Berwick Pratt he designed the powerful Brutalist forms of the downtown Vancouver CBC studios, then was project architect for the very different interior renovation and lobby addition for the oncethreatened Orpheum Theatre, which won a Governor General’s Medal for architecture. Merrick designed a sublime house in the forest for his family in West Vancouver in 1972, then a few years later formed his own practice. The range of buildings completed since is remarkable, ranging from the Gothic touches of the UBC Alumni Medical Library at 12th and Heather to the assertive wood structure of the Day Lodge at the Callaghan Valley installations for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Merrick says that one of his most important techniques he used as he built his own architectural practice – which has grown to forty employees in offices in Victoria and Vancouver – is to constantly ask “What is the site asking of us?” He regards the current commission for Westbank on the Sewell Marina site to be one of the great challenges of his career. “Horseshoe Bay has the curious condition of the view being north, the sun to the south,” he says. A breakthrough came with memories of the rural English architecture he had toured with is family in the 1970s, with “buildings one room thick” being the perfect strategy he had sought for this confined site having the additional site conditions of steep forest on one side and harbour on the other. “During design development all the notions were there, but they got pumped up a bit, more texture came in,” says the architect of his Horseshoe Bay design, concluding: “Listen to the land, and it will tell you what it wants to be.”

Interior Finishes & Specifications


  • West Coast Modern luxury homes in the waterfront community of Horseshoe Bay
  • Horseshoe Bay West Vancouver steps right out from the hillside to the ocean front
  • Interior design inspired by natural west coast surroundings
  • Layouts allow for natural cross ventilation and expansive views of the waterfront, mountain, forest, or park
  • Homes are accessed through covered external walkways
  • Reinforced concrete construction

Sustainable Design

  • In building heating and cooling provided through an onsite geothermal ocean loop, allowing for a reduction in greenhouse gas emission of up to 70%
  • Underground Parking supplied with electric vehicle charging stations (available for purchase)
  • Onsite cistern to capture stormwater runoff and recycle it for irrigation, thereby reducing the use of fresh water
  • Local recycling of onsite rock material to protect and enhance to waterfront
  • Local material use that supports local artists and trades


  • 24-hour concierge
  • Building-wide electronic Access Control system
  • 24-hour digital video recording surveillance of building entry points
  • Electronic access using a single encrypted security device
  • Video Entry System allows identification and screening of guests
  • Elevators include restricted floor access


  • Amenity Boat House, that is truly one of the most breath-taking boathouses in history
  • Luxurious 24 foot Chris Craft boat, with dedicated Captain
  • Paddle Boards and Kayaks for residences to use
  • Private Lobby with soaring ceilings and architectural fireplace, and additional private lobbies for each building
  • State of the art gym


  • Designed by Merrick Architecture in a West Coast Modern typology
  • Unique overheight extra wide solid oak suite entry door, modern interpretation of the Arts and Crafts style
  • Overheight ceilings
  • Wide-planked wood flooring in all living areas
  • Porcelain Limestone look tile throughout the bathrooms and up wet walls
  • Designer wool carpet in bedrooms
  • European kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities
  • 30" and 36" gas fireplace in majority of homes, covered in travertine stone
  • Finest quality roller-blinds with woven sun control fabric


  • European teak vanities
  • Polished quartz countertop for master ensuite and second bathroom
  • Porcelain Limestone look flooring in oversized tiles, and up wet walls
  • Grohe polished chrome fixtures including a rain shower head, with a 3-jet hand shower wall mounted
  • Duravit undermount sink basin
  • Duravit rectangular deep soaker tub
  • Floor heating in master bathroom


  • European matte lacquer cabinetry
  • Contemporary built-in under-cabinet lighting
  • Self-closing cabinet drawers
  • Polished granite slab countertop, glacier white corian, or an exquisite glass fused countertop
  • Contemporary satin brushed metal and glass backsplash
  • Grohe polished chrome fixtures
  • Stainless steel double kitchen sink with built in garburator
  • Ceiling treatments will incorporate wood panels and elements to recall the forested surroundings while adding warm and tactile
  • contrast to the clean lines of the kitchens


  • Miele 30" or 48" Dual Fuel M Touch Range
  • Miele 48" Range includes Speed Oven (Combination Auxiliary Convection Oven and Microwave) and Warming Drawer
  • Miele Futura Classic Plus custom panelled Dishwasher with Cutlery Tray
  • Miele 30" or 48" stainless steel hoodfan
  • Miele Microwave (in Residences with 30” Ranges)
  • Miele 30" or 36" MasterCool Refrigerator with Bottom Freezer Drawer & Ice maker
  • Miele MasterCool Wine Fridge, Tall Unit with 3 temperature zones, or Under-counter Unit with 2 temperature zones.
  • Garburator
  • Miele 24" stackable washer/dryer

New Home Warranty

  • 2 Years Materials and Workmanship Protection
  • 5 Years Water Penetration Protection
  • 10 Years Structural Protection