Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects
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Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects

A young family in Toronto built their house next to a verdant ravine, 2.7-meter-tall sliding glass doors blur the distinction between interior and exterior space.

Architects: Williamson Chong Architects
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Photographs: Bob Gundu

© Bob Gundu

Located in midtown Toronto with its unique ravine physiognomy, perched some 18 meter above the mid-slope disused rail line – the Bala Line – this single-family dwelling integrates a series of terraced spaces coinciding with the cascading topography beyond.

Designed for a couple and their three young daughters, the three-storey building erodes toward the ravine, leaving a light-filled series of upper spaces capturing any natural light and fresh valley air.

© Bob Gundu

Related ideas: Villa Bio by Enric Ruiz-Geli / Cloud 9

Geometric form is present in the front facade with a faceted sculpting of the second and third floors, the architects have carved into the façade on an angle, creating a shallow void that provides both western and southern light and orientation.

© Bob Gundu

One of the most striking features of the house is the tall and generous sliding glazing wall on the ground floor in back, the wraparound north wall of glass also pulls away, creating a completely eroded corner that captures even more expansive views of landscape and sky. A shallow wide set of stairs flows into the interior space, providing substantial informal tiered seating for family and guests.

© Bob Gundu

On the interior, the living spaces are compact, the vestibule is dining area and kitchen, leading to a stair down to the sunken living room at the rear of the house.

Two bedrooms and a generously sized bathroom are located on the second floor to accommodate the children, while the master bedroom and ensuite occupy the entire third floor.

© Bob Gundu

Inspiration from architects:

As a prototypical gesture to an otherwise neglected urban condition in Toronto, this house architecturally seeks to reclaim the ravine as a worthy, new public realm.

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