Location: Toronto, Canada
Type: Residential – Houses – Renovation
Size: 3,500 sq. ft.
Client: Ken Zuckerman
Architects: Taylor Smyth Architects
Photographs: Ben Rahn/A-Frame Inc.
Awards: OAA 2009 Design Excellence Award – 9th Annual Best of Canada Design Award
On a narrow street of Victorian, working class cottages in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood, Bishop Street Residence is the conversion of a post-industrial building from a graphic design firm to a bachelor’s residence. The design negotiates the tightness and public nature of its urban site, while playing out desirable scenarios of a contemporary, urban retreat.
The dynamic exterior composition consists of a solid material palette of black zinc, grey concrete block, stucco and clear anodized aluminum. Ipe, a sustainably harvested rainforest wood, is incorporated on the gate to the garden at the front entrance, for garden walls, and the deck to bring warm, natural touches to the project.
The strategic insertion of new linear skylights and slot windows on the street facade of the house create an intensely private yet naturally lit environment. The back of the house opens up into a private garden courtyard, with a swimming pool and hot tub and generous lounging space for outside entertaining.
Inside, the existing steel structure was modified, exposed and painted black. The ground floor integrates the living room, dining room and kitchen in one open space. White walls and ceilings with black feature walls showcases the owner’s extensive collection of furniture, photography, lighting, and sculpture. This gallery-like concept is accentuated by the use of a tinted, hydronically heated concrete floor. In the dining room, a custom wine cooler is encased by floor to ceiling glass that creates illusions of floating wine bottles inside clear plexiglass boxes.
Blackened steel lines the staircase and continues to the upper hall floor, where a glass floor slot runs directly below one of the linear skylights, drawing more light onto the ground floor. The master bedroom is surrounded by glass walls that overlook the double-height living room.