Canada’s Queen City has become renowned for its housing boom. As the most populous location in the country, Toronto is also one of the world’s hottest luxury real estate markets. An hub for arts, business, and media, the city is sited on a sloping plateau with a unique ravine system. While it boasts incredible architecture and high-end designs, Toronto risks a housing correction. Rapid increases in home prices, overvaluation, and overbuilding have all attributed to the city’s mounting situation. Amidst these unstable conditions and uncertainty, new residential projects continue to be built.
Showcasing both elaborate and straightforward layouts, the following dwellings reveal contemporary housing trends. Embodying Toronto’s residential design culture, these designs craft spatial experiences through site planning, organization and form. Reinterpreting modern building practices, the houses combine multiple programs and varying levels of privacy. Designed as responses to existing landscapes and rare natural conditions, each house orients to surrounding views while embracing urban fabrics and streetscapes. Just as the existing building stock mixes many different architectural styles, new residential designs mix materials, spatial typologies, and diverse conceptual ideas.
Millgrove House, located in rural Hamilton, sits on a property that contained an abandoned apple orchard, and a hay-growing farm for local use. Situated between mature treelines and forests, the site is gently rolling. As a result, the design strategy was to use the topography in order to maintain a modest appearance from the street while providing a spacious home for a middle-aged couple with four adult children.
Built for an Italian couple, the design pays homage both to the clients' Italian heritage and that of the Toronto residential building fabric, while ensuring a sensitivity towards wellbeing, mobility, and convenience. The design of the Pacific project is born from the homeowners’ values and traditions where the comforts of their past are now viscerally felt within their present-day lives.
When an empty-nester couple made the decision to downsize, they knew they wanted it to be to a low-maintenance, age-in-place home, as well as an architectural showpiece. They had tried condo living but it lacked the familiarity of a low-rise dwelling. Their son, a builder, encouraged them to push beyond their traditional aesthetic and create a custom, contemporary home — something that he could help them build.
This project stemmed from the desire to transform the traditional urban garage into a flexible amenity space. This small structure re-imagines the detached laneway garage (often an under-utilized storage space), and makes it into a true extension of the home, as well as an open event space to forge community bonds. The 'Garage Gem' strikes a balance between precious and utilitarian to support a wide range of uses.
The Cedarvale Ravine House is a 3350 square feet home for a family of four that is located at the edge of the Toronto Cedarvale Ravine. The ravine system, the most distinctive feature of Toronto’s geography, comprises ofextraordinary arteries that flow through the city giving unique access to the wilderness. This infill house sits on a typical mid-town residential neighborhood street, but opens to protected woodlands at the rear of the property.
The form of the house is entirely based on context. The curved front wall mediates the street façade by responding contextually to the neighboring houses’ setbacks. This was designed for drama and made to serve a rational purpose to create room for a basement walk-out apartment while maximizing second floor space. The designers made small decisions, like the eave height on the right is aligned with the neighboring house. Simple cues like this were made to help the otherwise unusual shape blend in with the neighbors which are +100 years older.
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 Double Duplex infill project is located on Melbourne Avenue in Toronto's Parkdale neighborhood, notable for its century-old Victorian and Bay and Gable mansions. The existing double-wide site was severed into two separate properties with a four-story, 3,500 square foot detached duplex residence constructed on each site, each with two two-story units. Double Duplex pays tribute to the existing context and the beauty of its craft and local artistry by abstracting and reinterpreting the pervasive Bay and Gable typology and rethinking the two-story brise soleil.