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Split House


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Project Description

Open to the landscape and the sky, this new house is designed to integrate with the neighborhood, while creating dynamic and light-filled interior spaces. The interior is by turn grand and intimate – accommodating both the day-to-day lives of the two owners, and their love of hosting family and friends.

Split around a double-height space at the center of the plan, the various rooms and spaces of the house are knit together with a bridge and stair that loop through the central volume. Climbing the stair and walking along the bridge the house unfolds, and the surrounding neighborhood and landscape come alternatively into view.

Located in a historic residential area in midtown Toronto, the house knits itself into traditional context through a translation of contextual proportion and materiality. Datum lines are taken from the adjacent houses and the wood and brick cladding maintain the material palette of the area. A textured landscape out front works to enhance the warmth of the building materials.

The double –height space at the center of the house was designed to maximize passive ventilation and cooling. Partial solar shading over the south and west facing windows reduces solar gain in the summer. A split mechanical system improves the energy efficiency of the house, as do wall and roof insulation values that are greater than those required by the building code. Thermally broken window frames reduce heat loss and transfer.

Above all, the clients wanted a house that was comfortable for just the two of them, but could just as comfortably host large gatherings. The split of the upper story in section and plan, linked with bridges, creates a sculptural and playful architecture of hidden corners and unfolding scenes, which changes as the light and seasons do, and feels both small and big at the same time.
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