When Don Evans and Susan Wilson bought their new home, they literally tore the roof off. The couple made the 1930s Tudor house a modern home in downtown Toronto by removing the gabled roof and adding a “light monitor”—an angled rooftop window like the ones that topped early 20th-century factories. It is emblematic of architect Paul Syme’s design for the house, which has the openness and hardy materials of an industrial space. “There’s very little that divides the spaces inside,” Syme says. “I think of it as the folding of a loft space into a contemporary house.”
The thorax may be a curious source of design inspiration, but for Canadian firm rzlbd, it provided a smart solution for maximizing the buildable area of a small space. Challenged to build a home on the site of a recently demolished bungalow, architect Reza Aliabadi took advantage of existing zoning laws by adopting the former building’s footprint and thorax-like floor plan. “The bungalow had a ‘spine,’ the staircase, with functional spaces, or ‘lungs,’ on either side,” Aliabadi says. “We wanted to incorporate that model in a way that spoke to our client’s desire for a pared-down, modern home.” True to its name, the Thorax House’s double-height ceilings and efficient layout offer plenty of room to breathe.
On a leafy residential street, Paul Raff Studio Architects created a family-friendly home where light takes center stage. Dubbed the Counterpoint House, the modern design offers a bold counterpoint to the more traditional homes in the surrounding Toronto neighborhood. Composed of 220 aluminum "light shelves," the solar reflector screen is the focal point of the front façade. The home takes advantage of its Southern exposure, using the reflector screen to funnel sunlight and warmth deep into the interior space.
On a residential street in midtown Toronto, Studio JCI undertook the renovation of a two-story home, adding two generous rental units while preserving the street’s established character. The architects grafted a third floor onto the home, thereby satisfying the owners’ desire for high ceilings and providing them with ample living areas.
In architecture, as in life, you can often kill two birds with one stone. DUBBELDAM architecture + design demonstrated that recently when tasked with remodeling a 1,850-square-foot Victorian house that was not only dark and cramped, but also a major energy drainer. How to make the house breathe easier and more sustainably? The firm overhauled the floor plan in a way that smartly opens up the space, introducing better lighting and passive ventilation without increasing square footage.