Architects: Prototype Design Lab
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Design Team: Antonio Tadrissi (Partner-in-charge), Johnny Sihra, Brenda Izen, Monir Zarnegar (graphics)
Contractor: Multicon Design/Build
Project year: 2011
Photographs: Johnny Sihra
The Birchview House is a project that introduces a narrated landscape into an otherwise flat site. The relationship between the interior and natural environment outside is blurred by continuous planes of floor-to-ceiling glass in key spaces, and accentuated by the movement of textures and colours from outside to inside. The elegant palette of natural materials draws from the surroundings and grows into distinct volumes that appear as if they belong in place.
The design concept is born from the interplay of different volumes that distinctly accentuate the facets of the clients’ lifestyle. All of the bedrooms and private spaces are contained within a volume clad with large slabs of cream-coloured stone, with minimal window openings. A birch plywood screen, out from which a unique landscape pattern is CNC-punched, creates privacy for the residential wing from the two-storey entertainment space. During the day, the screen projects a playful pattern into the residential hallway. At night, illuminated from inside, the screen glows, creating a work of art for the space below.
The house is organized around a central, two-storey grand foyer and space in which the clients can entertain guests. Wrapped in vertically-oriented Brazillian ipe, this space becomes a two-storey gallery and projects out into the expansive back-yard with an indoor-outdoor pool, above which a custom hand-blown bubble chandelier seems to extend the concept of water upward.
Both Residential and Entertainment volumes are enveloped within the extended corten-steel arms of the Living volume, in which the kitchen, dining room and family room are contained. This double-height space is almost entirely glazing. Sliding floor-to ceiling doors glass doors along the full length of the back of this volume allow for the kitchen and dining room to open out to the exterior. A generously scaled family room opens out onto a cantilevered void between the living space and its envelope, a private sanctuary wrapped in warm ipe.