Ravine Residence was designed to accommodate the integration of life with nature by Hariri Pontarini Architects, located in an area of North Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The 12,000 square foot (1,115 square meters ) contemporary home was completed in 2006, situated within a large ravine system. This private residence not only takes advantage of the surrounding expansive natural vistas, but also creates a close relationship with its immediate environment.
Designed to accommodate the integration of life with nature, the external treatment of this house explores a carefully honed language of natural materials, while the slightly curved front facade is carefully sculpted, presenting a solid entity to the street. The house opens to the back, inviting nature to interact with the everyday living of its residents.
Accented in earthy tones of French limestone, wood detailing, rift-cut oak and teak windows, this private home is juxtaposed with the natural greenery of the adjacent ravine. The property is, in essence, a two-acre room enclosed by a natural wall of fir trees. Settled within the center of the site, the two storey house is designed to enhance the views to the two pyramidal oaks and catalpa tree in the front with a silver maple and Japanese maple at the back.
The sculpted space of this private residence resonates an understanding of human comfort. Carefully carved windows penetrate the facade, allowing arrays of natural light within, while the finishes add a warm touch. Utilizing a consistent palette of limestone and walnut flooring, the interior provides a sophisticated setting for a family residence and flows easily from the front entrance to the third floor family room with views focused towards the heavily forested ravine.
This residence employs two volumes with carefully choreographed openings, each addressing the public street while preserving domestic privacy. The rear of the house takes advantage of the picturesque ravine landscape by maximizing the flow of natural light into the space, and providing stunning landscape views.
Green construction practices on site were encouraged through the use of local materials, by maximizing natural light, and by minimizing damage to the existing ecosystem and habitat. The construction team established a process for the reduction of waste, reuse of materials and control of generated emissions.
Various construction systems were employed in the design of this residence, including a “poured in place” concrete foundation system and structural steel framing. This framing, which uses chimneys as lateral bracing elements, allows for expansive widths while permitting light flow throughout the house, to ensure a lasting comfort and an uplifting experience. The completed design underscores the client’s desire to create an enduring generational home.
Photos: Ben Rahn/A-Frame
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