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Beyond the blueprints

Whistler's rich history of home building grows beam by beam



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What you can't see from the outside is another architectural feat within; the house is designed on the Fibonacci mathematical sequence — 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5, 5+3=8, and so on. That same mathematical sequence found throughout nature — the arrangement of leaves on a stem, the flowering of artichoke, the arrangement of a pinecone, the shell of a snail.

Such was the mind of Lynskey.

"It was always about the challenge," says Lynskey's wife Heather. "Otherwise, he was bored."

Lynskey was gifted, his intelligence pegged at an early age at school in Toronto. He quickly moved into gifted programs and ended up with a BA in history from the University of Toronto.

He also loved to ski, couldn't be enticed away from the hills when he was a boy. And that's how he ended up in Whistler in 1971.

Tree planting and building were the order of the day in Whistler at that time. Getting into construction meant he had the winters off to ski and also meant he could exercise his mind too.

Within a decade he had incorporated Alta Lake Lumber and was making his mark in residential homebuilding as new subdivisions began to spring up in Whistler seemingly overnight.

Lynskey always wanted to be an architect says Heather. He designed houses in the early days, including his own, complete with two-storey concrete walls.

Heather remembers what people were saying to her at the time: "Don't let him do it — he's nuts!"

Crazy? Hardly. A visionary, never one to shy away from testing the boundaries? Truly.

As the world began coming to Whistler, using architects became the norm, particularly as the homes stretched into the multi-million dollar range and with that, increasing complexity.

"A lot of people gave him chances based on just talking to him," says Heather.

In 2008 Alta Lake Lumber was named a finalist in the Canadian Home Builders' Association's annual Georgie awards, honouring excellence in construction and design in B.C. It was the first time they had ever entered the awards, says Heather.

It would be hard for Lynskey to pick a favourite says Heather but one was close to his heart — The house is in Horstman Estates, a four-year build, another labour of love.

Down at Lakecrest Lane, Lynskey's black pick-up truck is parked outside another big build on the lake. His crew is hard at work, pouring concrete today.

It's for two side-by-side lots for a family home that stretches across the lake. One building for the home — bedrooms, kitchen, living area. The other building for a home office and studio, gym and spa.

Lynskey's right-hand man, Brian Gavan, who is in talks with Heather to take over Alta Lake Lumber, says they are working not just on finishing up the ongoing projects but securing new ones for the future too.