DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE
Toronto-based Architectural Firm, StudioAC, led by Andrew Hill and Jennifer Kudlats, transformed an older brick home into a modern masterpiece.
StudioAC Team: Mo Soroor, Yu Chu Su, Jennifer Kudlats, Andrew Hill
Structural engineering: GABRIS Associates
Construction management: Gozlan Vouriot & Co
Located north of downtown Toronto, near Casa Loma, South Hill House is a renovation, restoration, and addition to an older brick home. A sensitivity to the existing structure was observed when altering the interior and exterior. The new addition contrasts with contemporary details, larger open spaces, and modernist massing.
Local zoning regulations influenced the siting of the project. However, the new mass also yields to the existing house along the north elevation to celebrate the different construction periods. There is no mistaking what is new vs. old, but the recent addition utilizes a brick chosen to match the existing house and pay homage to the greater Toronto vernacular. Across the façade of the current house, built openings were respected and referenced when conceiving interior layouts. In addition, expansive panoramic spaces were used to bring in natural light and to expand the perspective across the leafy, tree-filled neighborhood.
Upon entry, one is greeted with a foyer that frames a new whimsical and softer geometry, denoted by curved openings, stairs, and double height spaces. This curvaceous approach also acts as a diagram to contrast new vs old. Existing openings and room divisions remain rectilinear, while new openings in the addition and incisions through the existing structure have softer edges, drawing the eye across, up, and through the project.
A minimalist pallet of wood floors and white walls helps maintain the play of light throughout the project, a prominent theme in the home that changes as the sun tracks across the property. Subtle accent materials, including stone at fireplaces, steel at kitchen islands, and a fashion-boutique-inspired pallet within the closet, are introduced where a more robust approach is required.