Site Size: 2,980 square feet
Project Size: 4,000 square feet
Program: Located in Toronto’s Summerhill neighborhood, this single-family 4,000-square-foot, four-story house overlooks a forested ravine to the south, taking advantage of views of the city skyline during the winter months and the lush ravine in summer months. It was completed in September 2011.
Solution: According to the architects, the previous 2.5-story, 1,600-square-foot house was “staid,” “darkly traditional,” and “designed without consideration of its breathtaking ravine site.” Bortolotto demolished it, except for the perimeter walls on the front and sides.
The house has two facades: a more traditional wood frame and steel structure with masonry infill in front, and a new glazed wall facing the ravine in back. The master bedroom and bathroom are located on the top level, with a bedroom and office below. A living room, kitchen, and family room occupy the ground level, while an open multi-use space on the lowest level opens onto the ravine with an outdoor deck overlooking the sloped forested yard. The design emphasizes a sense of space and light because of the glazed south façade, a central skylight, translucent walls and stair treads, along with a double height living area. Overhangs on the south side shade the house from direct sunlight in the summer.
Formal name of building: Urban Ravine House
Location: South Pasadena, CA
Completion Date: September 2011
Gross square footage: 4,000 SQ FT
Owner: Bob Peake & Jacqui Elliot
Architect's firm name, address, phone, and fax number:
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit: Tania Bortolotto; Jerry Lin; Alex Horber; Kristy Almond
Architect of record: Bortolotto Design Architect Inc.
Interior designer: Bortolotto
Engineer(s): Sustainable Edge Ltd. (Mechanical); Blackwell Bowick & Partnership Ltd. (Structural); Joseph Lee Engineering Co. Ltd. (Structural)
General contractor: Phoenix Urban Development Corp
Photographer(s): Shai Gill, Ben Rahn