Toronto, Ontario

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:
533 College Street, Suite 401
Toronto, ON M6G 1A8
T. 416 324 9951 ext. 21

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)

Arborist: AO Tree Services & Consulting
Building Code: David Hine Engineering Inc.

General contractor: Phoenix Urban Development Corp

Photographer(s): Shai Gill, Ben Rahn



Structural system
Steel frame integrated into existing masonry

Exterior cladding
Metal/glass curtain wall: Sherwood Windows

Interior finishes
Special interior finishes unique to this project:
Ravine Floor, Polished Concrete
Stone: Crema Marfil, Marble Trend
Wood Flooring, Cabreuva Vermlha, European Flooring
Vinyl Wall Covering, Arte Maison Cube
Shower Walls Glass Tiles, Stonetile International Inc.
Barwood Flooring

Lighting (All)
Frank Gehry Cloud Lights