Shaft House

Shaft House

Architect
Atelier RZLBD

Urbanscape Architects
Location
Toronto, Canada | View Map
Project Year
2010
Category
Housing
Stories By
Atelier RZLBD

Urbanscape Architects
borXu Design

Shaft House

Atelier RZLBD as Architects

The Shaft House is an unexpected and exciting spatial experience that survives the limits of our ordinary living spaces. The two and a half storey detached house reevaluates functional arrangements within a narrow building while creating bright and airy spaces. Affordability is a value that the building successfully owns by integrating well thought low-cost strategies in the design process; from purchasing a modest lot of about 20 feet wide to choosing sustainable and cost efficient materials. Aluminum siding, untreated wood and recyclable rusted steel for the exterior of the house not only help reduce the costs of the design but t also tried to make a statement on organic behaviors of buildings by changing color while aging along with the house. The Shaft House generates spaces without walls. Circulation and services surround a void of light that is called “The Shaft”. Floors on either side overlook each other allowing light and sight to travel deep inside the house. The staircase circulates around the central shaft and cause rooms to emerge in space by changing levels. The levels have been shifted in section resulting in a canopy facing the street, and a south facing deck on the rooftop. While the construction cost of the shaft house is almost as affordable as a ready-made design set of standard housings in Toronto, it is yet a surprise for the neighborhood and perhaps for many other neighborhoods in the city. But atelier rzlbd’s aspiration towards changing the face of Toronto by creating innovative and affordable designs is a goal that Shaft House successfully represents.

Shaft House

Urbanscape Architects as Architects

Shaft House is a project pertaining to the urban-regeneration and aesthetic rejuvenation through low-cost building strategies. Slightly in contrast with its immediate surroundings, it nevertheless, subtly resides in a camouflage of the neighborhood through appropriate use of materials and building techniques.

This house negotiates between the vernacular and the contemporary. Shaft House attains the objective of creating an economically efficient, sustainable

and responsive housing design through function and innovation.

 

The structure of the house revolves around a central shaft, which is open to all levels of the house and lit by a skylight and south facing windows; this allows for natural ventilation and maximizes air circulation. Through this method, this 16-foot wide project manages to be innovative in its formal complexity and spatial configuration while respecting all the city bylaws. Materials employed (rusted steel, aluminum, and untreated wood) are more sustainable than those used traditionally (brick, shingle, and stone, etc.) As the building ages, these organic materials age along with it and the house eventually blends into the vernacular oeuvre of the neighboring dwellings. The materials also provide efficiency and sustainability through maintaining ideal lighting situations and heating conditions. The openness of the south façade allows for the optimal intake of natural light during day hours while the implementation of the rusted steel on the north façade operates dually to insulate the climate conditions of the interior (heat), and, simultaneously, prevents the emission of excessive sound from the street within the interior.

 

The innovative and economical aspect of the project were accommodated to meet our client need and concerns. The urgency of revitalization is emphasized through raising social awareness and urban expectation, and in due time this process of re-urbanization will encourage and attract the “young professional” and widen the distribution of socio-economic opportunities.

Project Credits
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrand
Tiles and countertopCiot
WindowsGrace Windows
Product Spec Sheet
Tiles and countertop
by Ciot
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