Drew Mandel Architects have designed the Moore Park Residence in Toronto, Canada.
This infill house is situated in the mid-town Toronto residential neighborhood of Moore Park. It represents the first tear-down replacement on an established street that is characterized by a common model: 1920s-era single-family homes with mutual drives. The concept of the project is to integrate a re-imagined single-family residence into a typical Toronto streetscape.
The design embraces the iconic, house-like forms of the existing streetscape and reinforces the setbacks, materials, and relationship with grade. However, it puts forward a contemporary example of home. The third floor is set back at the front and rear and match existing massing on the street, while providing opportunities for green roof terraces and privacy at the east and west side.
The house forms a complex figure-ground relationship. It is animated by light and shadow, and it is structured by a board-formed concrete wall, transparent partitions, interconnecting void spaces, and a large light well that slices through three storeys. The concrete wall satisfies building code restrictions on unprotected openings to the south while allowing light to reach deeply into the basement.
The lowest storey slides underneath the rear ground plane where one can access a narrow exterior space that is open to light from above. The floors and spaces are visually interconnected yet defined for the varied activities of modern family living. It is the half-open house; a nuanced glass envelope enclosure.
The house is designed to accommodate a family’s changing needs and interests in different occasions and through its lifetime. The rear ‘mud room’, kitchen, dining and front entry spaces all bleed into their adjacent space for adaptive accommodation. The spaces have a range of uses: The ground floor millwork detailing allows an extended table for large family gatherings; four desk areas found throughout the house allow for a variety of home-office options; the basement is treated as a prime, and not a secondary space in order to maximize the use of available space.
The landscaping extends the experience of the house into the site. It includes a gas fire pit, curved foot path for a mailman, and three separate areas of living green roofs. The third floor terraces offer delightful views of the mature tree canopy surrounding the neighbourhood. The shaped ceiling of the third floor master suite is uninterrupted in order to maintain both the views and access to natural light.
The architecture of the Moore Park Residence focuses on dissolving boundaries, framing views, and enhancing the experience of the rituals of everyday. This project manipulates the allowable building envelope to craft a rich and contemporary dwelling.
Architect: Drew Mandel Architects
Project team: Drew Mandel, Jowenne Poon, Rachel Tameirao, Jasmine Maggs
Photography by Ben Rahn/A-Frame