house no. 80
In 1998, the post-war North York suburb joined in the process of amalgamation that produced modern Toronto. A change in local zoning by-laws permitted far larger houses. Tear-down and rebuilding quickly accelerated, ultimately replacing virtually every original post-war modern one-story bungalow. Today, almost every residential building site maxes out its permitted floor area.
At House 80, Suulin Architects preserved and sculpted the surrounding outdoor space instead, making its topography and landscape integral to the design. The site embraces and intertwines with the building in ways that create varied outdoor rooms, vistas, framed views and landscapes. Plantings, heritage trees, flowing lawns and hardscapes form a unity with architectural stairs, site walls, planters and extended terraces. Carefully modulated direct and indirect natural illumination play upon building surfaces, constantly shifting, transforming and infusing spaces with ever-changing varieties of light.
A program uniquely designed to embody, satisfy and promote the family’s core values also sets the residence apart: Life within centers around gathering together, academics and a broad range of physical activity. The home accordingly offers a number of zones used intensively by its three young residents. Study areas and workspaces are right-sized for growing children and subtly woven into the more standard residential program elements. So is a large family gym. Mezzanines, double-height spaces and interior balconies that peer down into them break down vertical separation between spaces to cement the sense of connection and togetherness.
At entries on two levels, the landscape moves into the house. The building’s balconies, overhangs and other projections reciprocally reach out into the surrounding landscape in all directions. Together, such moves provide a range of physical and visual inside|outside connection.