Palmerston House

Toronto, Ontario

Designed for a single resident in downtown Toronto, this home makes optimal use of a compact urban lot, providing a high level of amenity within a well-ordered footprint. A broad selection of sustainable technologies helps to set this project apart from others in the neighbourhood.

The 2,400 sq. ft. building can be broken down into a series of simple diagrams depicting each space and its unique relationship to adjacent areas. In essence, the building forms a deep tubular structure which has been divided into simple horizontal and vertical strips. Overall, this has enabled simple paths of circulation, and enhanced direct relationships between differing spaces.

Due to fire regulations, no windows are permitted in the side walls of the house. Because of this, the pre-existing interior had little access to natural light, feeling smaller than it actually was. Our design provides a large stair opening between the first and second storeys, which greatly expands the interior. The generous double-height space breaks up the linear dimensions of the main level, adding a feeling of elevation to an otherwise long, low space; while a large roof window fills the centre of the home with sunlight. Floor-to-ceiling windows at either end of the space fulfill a similar purpose, providing ample daylight and natural ventilation.

We were very aware of the need to gently integrate the building into the existing streetscape, and were mindful of introducing materials that drew from the surrounding neighbourhood. The design team were immediately drawn to the use of brick and softly contrasting wood siding, both of which are abundant in the area.