Altius Featured in Globe and Mail: “Modern Lines Made Warm and Inviting”

April 26, 2018
The Globe and Mail
“Modern Lines Made Warm and Inviting”

The making of a perfect house can take a long time, as nobody needs to remind Toronto designer Graham Smith: He’s been at it for almost 10 years. The story of Mr. Smith’s beautiful residence began in 1998, when this partner in Altius Architecture and his wife, Dinah Hampson, bought a vacant lot above Wendigo Creek, on the west side of High Park. Situated on a steep slope of sandy ravine, the 105-foot-wide site had long been considered impossible to build on. Before doing anything else, Mr. Smith had to prepare the spot, first, by scooping out a deep recess in the hillside to hold his building, then nailing down the dirt with long pins and otherwise bracing the excavation with concrete. Next came the raising of the house’s basic structure: a 4,300-square-foot, five-level stack of oblong boxes defined by steel girders and set into the hill, turned so that the building’s long axis is parallel to the street. At the bottom is a 1,000-square-foot garage for four cars. On top and off the principal storeys are nearly 1,500 square feet of terrace. The general aesthetic of the structure, now almost complete, is modernist in feel and style, with the clean lines and simplicity of the best of such design. With a clear span made possible by the steel-frame construction, glassed in on two sides and with a wide deck sweeping around its east and south sides, the principal level offers an uncluttered setting for cooking, dining, relaxing around the fireplace, and the kind of large-scale entertaining the family likes to do…

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