“Perched on the edge of the Scarborough Bluffs, the dramatic views afforded by this site encompass lake and sky through the tall trunks of mature trees.”
The Toronto Islands are unique in all of North America, comprising the largest urban car-free community on the continent. Toronto’s Scarborough Bluffs are also unique in all of North America. For 15 kilometres they climb through a height of 90m*, hosting parklands, wildlife and unparalleled views of Lake Ontario. (* aka: 9.3 miles, 300 feet) They’re also “part” of the Toronto Islands. Thanks to lake currents from the distant Niagara River and housing development in the 1940s, the Scarborough Bluffs have been eroding into Lake Ontario, flowing to and settling at the Toronto Islands and Tommy Thompson Park, more commonly known by an earlier and more colourful name: the Leslie Street Spit.
So it’s fitting that House on the Bluffs by Taylor Smyth Architects is also entirely unique. At a relatively small 2,300 square feet, the home doesn’t ovewhelm the double-lot. Using the original 1960s foundation, it doesn’t boast its prescence into the streetscape and gently snugs up to somewhat ancient oaks that frame elevated views over Lake Ontario.
This home was designed to respect the integrity of the property – the owner’s childhood home – and embrace it: the kitchen lines extend throught the dining area into the BBQ area on the deck; the charcoal-coloured fibre-cement panels of the cantilevered balcony continue inside, above the living room. Featuring Ontario Algonquin limestone and stucco in front, glass and wood at the rear, the single splash of colour that is the mahogany front door ties everything together.
Not trying to be anything more than what you see, yet still speaking volumes with modern, simple, uncluttered design.
The architect provides a short video discussion with the client including scenes of the site, bluffs and lake views:
House on the Bluffs by Taylor Smyth Architects
Mapped By Architourist.ca
Bing Maps: Sinking through the cloud cover, Bing shows the original 1960s mansard-topped residence, built infill amongst its 1950s neighbours.
Original Street View Date: May 2012
Bing Bird’s Eye: From the north, Bing catches a glimpse of the facade of the original home.
From the architect:
Perched on the edge of the Scarborough Bluffs, the dramatic views afforded by this site encompass lake and sky through the tall trunks of mature trees. The foundations of the owner’s childhood home have been reused to create a new residence that celebrates this spectacular location. This allowed us to leave the trees, some of which are growing very close to the house, untouched.
Viewed from the street, the house is a simple stucco box distinguished by a screen of vertical channel glass that provides privacy while allowing diffuse natural light into the stair, guest bathroom and master bathroom. At night it glows like an oversized lantern.
Ontario Algonquin limestone wraps from the front wall around to the recessed entrance
Winner: Design Excellence Award – 2013 Ontario Association of Architects (OAA)
Winner: People’s Choice Award – 2013 Ontario Association of Architects (OAA)
Winner: 15th Annual ‘Best of Canada’ Design Competition, 2012, Canadian Interiors
The Americas Property Awards 2011: Highly Commended Architecture Single Residential, Americas – Canada, 2011
Taylor Smith Architects