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Patricia Wheeler
Whistler Winter/Spring 2000/2001

Traveling the winding road through the luxurious Sunridge development, the peaks of the surrounding mountains slowly fade into the background. Rising high beneath the valley below is Akasha - a spiritual center, a home where nature meets technology and creativity is born. When Andy Munster first started building homes in Whistler more the two decades ago, he had no idea the scope of development that would come to this area.

At the time small A-frame cabins and quaint log dotted the Whistler Valley. No one could have imagined that one day, homes would be sold for millions of dollars and would have their own names. What Munster did know is that his goal was to build high-quality homes unique to Whistler. And today, modern high-end homes can be found in Whistler's neighborhoods - standing tall among some of the original A-frame cabins of the resort's earlier days.

Twenty-four years after the company first formed as Munster Davies Construction, Munster & Sons is recognized internationally for its high-quality homes and has carved a path through Whistler history.

One of Munster's visions came to fruition last year with the completion of Akasha, a 5,000-square-foot home on Sunridge Drive. To see this majestic mountain home as it sits high above the valley floor below, it's hard to believe the original concept came after a tour of the lot with the design sketched on a piece of scrap paper. "I spent about four hours one Sunday morning touring the site," recalls Munster. "I spent a lot of time on the lot before I came up with the design…. The design of the house had to fit with the lot," he says. In fact, with any of his one-of-a-kind homes, Muster says the piece of land involved plays an integral role in determining the style and design of the home. "It (the lot) has a great deal to do with the design of the home," he says. "We incorporate the lot into the design of the house … the views, everything … it's all important."

© 2000 Luke Macmillan Whistler Photo-File
Akasha in Whistler's Sunridge

The core team behind Akasha included Munster, his wife Bonnie and David McColm, although there would be many other professionals, craftspeople and artisans who would contribute to the final product. Akasha offers views from the Coastal Range to Mount Currie. Right from the initial conception stage, the Munsters knew that Akasha would be a home like none other. Even its name holds special meaning. As Bonnie explains, Akasha comes from ancient folklore. Akasha is known as the fifth element, the omnipresent spiritual power that permeates the universe. It is related to outer space, inner space, the unman fest and the life force.

The Akashic records refer to a database of information on subjects such as past lives, healing and other spiritual practices. "A cedar is the gateway to the Akashic records," explains Bonnie.

The name was appropriate, then, as a 428-year-old cedar stands tall and proud in the heart of Akasha. It took three months to find the perfect cedar that would be the focal point of the house. It was eventually located in the Fraser River, where it would have otherwise been milled. Custom old-growth cedar edge-grain fir trims the windows, doors and baseboards.

The unique wrought-iron railing that encircles the giant cedar winding from the foyer to the cupola room is part of our local history - it is the cable from the original Red Chair on Whistler Mountain.

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