Ravine Residence / Hariri Pontarini Architects

© Ben Rahn/A-Frame

Architects: Hariri Pontarini Architects
Location: Toronto, ON,
Project Area: 1,115 sqm
Project Year: 2006
Photographs: Ben Rahn/A-Frame

Located within a large ravine system in a North Toronto neighbourhood, this private residence not only takes advantage of the surrounding expansive natural vistas, but also creates a close relationship with its immediate environment. Designed to accommodate the integration of life with nature, the external treatment of this house explores a carefully honed language of natural materials, while the slightly curved front façade is carefully sculpted, presenting a solid entity to the street. The house opens to the back, inviting nature to interact with the everyday living of its residents. Accented in earthy tones of French limestone, wood detailing, rift-cut oak and teak windows, this private home is juxtaposed with the natural greenery of the adjacent ravine. The property is, in essence, a two-acre room enclosed by a natural wall of fir trees. Settled within the centre of the site, the two storey house is designed to enhance the views to the two pyramidal oaks and catalpa tree in the front witha silver maple and Japanese maple at the back.

© Ben Rahn/A-Frame

The sculpted space of this private residence resonates an understanding of human comfort. Carefully carved windows penetrate the façade, allowing arrays of natural light within, while the finishes add a warm touch. Utilizing a consistent palette of limestone and walnut flooring, the interior provides a sophisticated setting for a family residence and flows easily from the front entrance to the third floor family room with views focused towards the heavily forested ravine. This residence employs two volumes with carefully choreographed openings, each addressing the public street while preserving domestic privacy. The rear of the house takes advantage of the picturesque ravine landscape by maximizing the flow of natural light into the space, and providing stunning landscape views.

© Ben Rahn/A-Frame

Green construction practices on site were encouraged through the use of local materials, by maximizing natural light, and by minimizing damage to the existing ecosystem and habitat. The construction team established a process for the reduction of waste, reuse of materials and control of generated emissions. Various construction systems were employed in the design of this residence, including a “poured in place” concrete foundation system and structural steel framing. This framing, which uses chimneys as lateral bracing elements, allows for expansive widths while permitting light flow throughout the house, to ensure a lasting comfort and an uplifting experience. The completed design underscores the client’s desire to create an enduring generational home.

Cite: "Ravine Residence / Hariri Pontarini Architects" 20 Mar 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=53239>
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  • Architist

    Love the exterior. Clean interior. I love that corner light in the living room. Nicely achieved!!!!

  • blackstone

    very nice. floor plans?

  • http://josephiklein.com joe Klein


    looks rich and expensive to me. Fabulous

  • teo

    It would be nice to see the floor plans.
    I tried searching for them but I had no luck finding them.
    Thank you.

  • scarpa

    Oh, to have moneyed clients who are open to architectural expression! It’s one thing to have a big budget, and another entirely to put it to use. Well done: this house is clear, cohesive, and beautifully detailed.

  • http://twitter.com/nicholaspatten/status/10922798522 Nicholas Patten

    I'd Live Here: Ravine Residence. http://bit.ly/dnbet4

  • arnold

    when I’m looking at this house, I can smell luxury from the distance. well.. anyway its true, when the client has many money, you can built any house, who will look much or less good. becouse the luxury can hide some limitations.

    this house is logical built. even some poetry you can find here (the curved shapes, the glass cracks..). but this house is a little borring: there’s nothing new, there’s no interesting idea (except only one curved shapes in one facade).. it’s sad a bit, becouse I can see, that this house cost many money and of course, you can get here the living quality, but having such (cleant) money, you could create much interesting, conceptual living house.

    anyway this is a very good and strong the architectural average (medium, middle) level. this architecture are for conservative rich client who also wants or likes a little innovativeness.

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  • A.R.

    It’s a great house, though I wish the front facing the street didn’t have that huge featureless wall. It’s saved by the high quality cladding.

    Arnold: sadly the architectural average at this price point in the U.S. and Canada seems to be Disney-esque recreations of past styles with lots of precast. This is definitely above average. The truly unique work in residential low-rise architecture is really rare. In Toronto, I’d say the Integral House is one such example.

  • mehr

    does that bland facade remind anyone else of those old school billboard cinemas??