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Photo courtesy Shim-Sutcliffe Architects

House on Ravine Edge

Shim-Sutcliffe Architects


Shim-Sutcliffe Architects' House on Ravine Edge is a series of low pavilions that make the most of Toronto's unusual terrain.

By Laura Raskin

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Sometimes called “the city within a park,” Toronto is known for its ravine system–natural river valleys that create urban oases. At the edge of one of these forested pits, Toronto-based Shim-Sutcliffe Architects used an intimate understanding of the terrain to design a single-family residence of Wrightean pavilions clad in weathered steel and green, powder-coated-aluminum panels. “The house and the pool house are part of a journey from the city to this natural area,” says architect Brigitte Shim.

After visitors arrive in the driveway, a long weathered-steel wall to the left and narrow koi pond to the right guide them to the covered entrance canopy. The canopy is partially clad in geometric green panels that screen a bedroom window. (The material palette is one the architects like–they used it on an assisted-living facility for a congregation of nuns, which recently opened in Toronto.)

The extensively glass-walled ground floor contains a living room with mahogany fins along the south elevation that offer privacy while maintaining a view. Here, a poured-in-place-concrete floor and columns contrast with the delicate custom stainless steel uplights.

Outside, the site slopes down to a pool house with a weathered-steel green roof that floats above a wood deck and fireplace, creating an outdoor room. “Even though it's a new house, it feels like it's been there a really long time,” says Shim.

Completion Date: July 2011

Gross Square Footage: 6,566 sq.ft. (incl. basement), Pool House - 969 sq.ft.

Location: Toronto, ON

Shim-Sutcliffe Architects Inc.,
441 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON,
M5A 1T5, Canada

June 2013
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