Russel Hill Road / gh3

Architects: gh3
Location: Toronto, Ontario,
Design Team: Pat Hanson, Anthony Provenzano
Structural Engineer: Blackwell Bowick
General Contractor: Jens Nielsen
Project year: 2006-2007
Budget: US $500,000
Constructed Area: 185.8 sqm
Photographs: Ben Rahn


Built in the brutalist style of architecture of the 1970′s, the house was subsequently renovated several times following a more traditional approach to house design especially by converting large open spaces to a more cellular room design. The renovation reopened the ground floor so that it became an open loft-like space from front to back (the house is about 70′ long). By installing a new fully glazed wall at the rear garden side of the house, it was possible to extend the sense of the outdoor space through to the interior. This takes advantage of the house’s ravine setting by providing more opportunities to see and experience the natural landscape of the ravine from within the house and yet maintains privacy as the kitchen window is almost 30 feet above the public road.

The interior of the building was stripped back to a more modern tradition of interior. The house becomes a neutral shell punctuated by three sculptural elements – a block of stone that is associated with kitchen elements, a curved stair, and a 20′ stone bench/shelf and fireplace wall. Each of these elements is associated with windows, skylights, and double height spaces to enhance the spatial experience of the house. Kitchen working areas and storage for dishes, books and media are organized linearly along the exterior walls and are concealed behind full-height doors.

Interior finishes were chosen for their neutrality. Most surfaces were painted white and other surfaces that would incur more wear were finished with custom fabricated white corian – bathtubs, showers, kitchen and wet room walls, and counters with integral sinks were all designed and fabricated out of white corian. All floor surfaces, including the are wood, stained nearly black. The contrast with the walls also serves to extend and unify the space.

Cite: Saieh, Nico. "Russel Hill Road / gh3" 24 Feb 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 Oct 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=15136>