Dramatic gestures such as the triple-layer slate cladding and a curved glass wall could suggest this building in King City, Ontario, is a public one, a museum or community centre. But, its key attributes are decidedly residential. Designed by Toronto firm Bortolotto, led by Tania Bortolotto, for a couple and their two children, the house considers the needs of a family as well as that of the architecturally significant neighbourhood and surrounding environs — a lush ravine lot visible from every room.
In contrast to the home’s tough-looking exoskeleton, inside is awash in natural light and materials – warm woods and stone set against a clean, white envelope. The sculptural ceiling of the grand double-height living room swoops down to form the floor of the bedrooms and bathroom on a split second level. The back of the house reveals a walk-out to the ravine at ground level and an almost-full wall of glazing over the three levels. Though sizeable at 660 metres square, the house integrates several small, intimate spaces including rooms for music, fitness and recreation.
In addition to the passive solar gains through the home’s narrow width, strategic operable glazing, and siting on the property, many other green systems were incorporated— radient in-floor heating, ground-source heating, and photovoltaic systems reduce the home’s impact on the grid, while VOC-free materials create a healthy environment inside and out.