Humber Residence, Modern Toronto home, New Ontario residence design, Canadian property images
Humber Residence in Toronto
5 October 2023
Design: Batay-Csorba Architects
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Photos by Doublespace Photography
Humber Residence, Ontario
Batay-Csorba Architects introduce the Humber Residence, a new infill project in Toronto’s Baby Point neighbourhood. Bordered to the west by the winding Humber River, many houses in the Baby Point area enjoy sought-after views of the river valley. Obtaining this view and taking advantage of the small 65’x20’ pie-shaped corner lot became coinciding drivers determining the spatial organization and hierarchy.
Unlike the typical narrow Toronto lots, being on a corner site allowed for far more freedom to bring natural light into the various living spaces and, in this case, the long side of the site also happened to be the one facing the distant Humber River. This lent the opportunity to work in sections to devise a dynamic space that not only opened the house up to let light in, but soared up to a lookout point to see over adjacent buildings to the river.
Here, rather than using punctual light wells to bring in light, as is customary in narrow lots, the three-storey circulation is isolated and left open, stretching through a grand three-storey atrium space to arrive at a sheltered outdoor balcony carved out beneath the sloping roof. A transition of materials demarcates the significance of this space within the home, while highlighting the visual connectivity between it and the other major public spaces.
Measuring 195m² (2,000 sq.ft.), the Ravine house is a modest three-bedroom home by today’s standards. With a compact building footprint, each room is resolutely designed to be well-proportioned and comfortable, but not excessive.
Corridors and stairwells are minimized, there are no walk-in closets, pantries, or unused bonus rooms, bedrooms are compact with space-saving built in furniture and wardrobes, laundry is built in off the circulation hall, and every square inch of space is thoughtfully designed and utilized to respond to the site’s compact circumstances. And yet, there are beautifully considered architectural details that speak of quality, attention, and care. A monumental and voluminous sense of space is created not with vast room sizes or uninhabited rooms, but by exploring verticality as its central organizing principle, where spaces are interlocked and combined to generate multi-layered programmed spaces akin to a stacked tree house.
Tucked into the roof peak, above the children’s bedrooms, are hidden reading lofts accessed by custom access ladders.
Overlooking the primary bedroom is a small office and music studio. The home is focused around a dramatic central three-story wood clad lightwell, functioning as both a light monitor, a ventilation chimney that cools the home, and vertical circulation. At the top, large south facing doors open onto a covered roof deck with panoramic views of the Humber River, and a Japanese soaking tub for taking it all in. Southern light is collected within the wooden liner, illuminating the interior in a warm and calming amber glow.
The exterior speaks to the context, clad in old historical buff yellow brick in varying banded coursing patterns across the facades and a steep pitched roof. The front entry and third floor deck are carved from brick with contrasting black sintered stone panels. The interior is a casual and affordable palette of natural materials for an anti-museum aesthetic, with recycled strip plank wood flooring, Baltic birch paneling, terrazzo, and concrete.
Humber Residence in Toronto, Canada – Building Information
Architect: Batay-Csorba Architects – https://www.batay-csorba.com/
Location: Toronto Ontario, Canada
Area: 2,000 sft
Photography: Doublespace Photography
Status: Completed, 2023
About Batay-Csorba Architects
Batay-Csorba Architects is a research-oriented architecture and interior design studio. Unbound by project type or size, the firm instead is founded on a core set of principles that position each project critically within a larger architectural discourse that directs their objectives and identity as an office. In 2012, Batay-Csorba Architects partners, Andrew and Jodi, brought their vast international experience back home to Canada, where they have since defined an architectural response to the design tradition unique to the region.
Whether a custom home, a retail fit out, ballet school, museum, or a midrise, their projects all start with a critical eye, a question of “what if”, and a curiosity to explore. Their projects are never alike, being less about formulaic style and more about restless innovation, boundary pushing, and delight.
B-CA is committed to architecture as a place where ideas find expression. Their work evolves through exploration; distilling context, client aspirations, historical reference, typology, and materiality into a project concept that conveys a clear project vision and tells a story about their clients. The firm challenges premeditated ideas about function and performance, rethinking standard typologies in search of improved alternatives. The architects seek to be contextually responsive, yet to evolve into something altogether new. They explore movement and materiality to create intensified, pronounced—even ornamental—elements designed with a meticulous and purposeful in-your-face refinement. They seek out spatial opportunities to evoke positive sensory responses such as joy, delight, and pleasure derived from the smallest details to grand spaces and experiences. They employ volume, geometry, light, scale, materiality, and texture to create atmospherically rich spaces that elicit an emotional response. That design process results in engaging, expressive, and dynamic spaces that are original and unique, as exemplified in the firm’s diverse collection of contemporary work.
At the core of B-CA’s practice is a context-driven design process. They look to move the discussion of “context” from a historical argument for semiotics and mimicry to one of abstracted impressions and concepts. The architects engage with the past by creating new relationships and connections with it, producing narratives between their buildings and their context, which provide an underlying sense of familiarity and continuity, while being unparadoxically unsettling and new. B-CA reignites a relationship with local traditions of materiality, while seeking to balance the comfortably nostalgic with the unsettlingly new, while being neither one precisely.
With a particular focus on the collective experience of architecture and its place within the city, B-CA have become leading voices in re-thinking long-term development of the City of Toronto, and the fundamental need for new housing typologies and alternative models of living. Seeking to revitalize and re-think the low-rise building typology, the studio’s various residential projects, both built and un-built, for both private clients and developers, demonstrate their commitment to creating density through sensitive and innovative solutions by accommodating changes in lifestyle, conventions, and ideals for more equitable and inclusive models of home ownership.
Photos: Doublespace Photography
Humber Residence, Toronto, images / information received 171023 from v2com newswire
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