The change in grade across a shallow lot presented challenges for the design of this contemporary home.
Architect: Christopher Simmonds Architect Inc.
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Project size: 4,000 ft2
Site size: 3,000 ft2
Photography: Doublespace Photography
From the architect: The solution was found in an unconventional way, by locating the front door on the floor below the main living rooms. This would normally be a problem, but here the floating staircase and interconnected floor levels allow people on main floor to see who is coming to the front door below.
The open stairwell immediately welcomes visitors into the interconnected living spaces on the main floor, where the kitchen, living and dining areas are located, and washes the space with southern light. The fireplace with a surround of concrete tile is at the centre of the space, anchoring the open plan.
The main living space has a direct connection to a ground-level terrace overlooking the Rideau Canal. Built-in benches act as a screen and wrap around the terrace providing privacy while maintaining views to the north and west. The terrace features a modern concrete fire pit, completing the outdoor living room.
The master bedroom on the second floor has sweeping views of the canal. Moving upwards, the view only gets better, and at the third floor a second terrace provides sweeping views of the city. The north façade was conceived as two stone masses flanking a wall of glazing, creating a massive bay window.
On the opposite side of the home, the roof shape is a modern approach to the mansard roof, specifically chosen to moderate the height and mass of the four-storey elevation. The exterior material palette of synthetic stone, cement panel, and wood creates contrast, and their congenial composition strongly defines the south façade, further breaking up the home’s massing.
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