Three-Unit Dwelling

2017, Ottawa ON

This project represents a three-unit dwelling which is set in a heterogeneous urban environment: a semi-detached dwelling to the north, a service garage to the south and a parking lot of a restaurant to the west. This odd setting results in a number of constraints but also a number of opportunities to design an interesting structure. Being located at the southern end of Riverdale Ave, on the edge between residential and non-residential uses, the proposal has an important task in mediating the transition between these two characters and taking on the duty of becoming a landmark.
The building architecture reflects in a positive way the various elements that converge in this location. In this perspective the roof-scape of the building plays an outstanding role in drawing ones attention and recalling both residential and non-residential architecture. Although the mass is not topped by a traditional pitched roof, some of its faces are slightly leaning inward to introduce a dynamic and playful effect in the composition of volumes. While the roof silhouette is reminiscent of the neighbouring houses, its manifold shape depicts a degree of complexity that is proper to non-residential buildings. Nested between these volumes is a roof terrace that is accessible to all the residents by an open staircase located at the rear of the building. The upper floor dwelling is endowed with its own access to the same terrace.
Because the building is perceptible from many angles, in a very dynamic fashion, all its facades are carefully designed. The building faces interplay changes as one moves around it. The orange-brown Corten surface provides the building with a cheerful and unique appearance. While the vertical joints of the cladding echo the shifts and cuts into the mass, the horizontal ones are calmly wraping the building thus providing it with visual stability and scale. The east and west facades are both generously glazed, which allows the natural light to flow inside the dwellings and ensures good visibility on Riverdale Ave and Bank St.
The three dwellings are stacked one on top of the other: the lower dwelling occupies the basement and the first floor, the middle one occupies the second floor and the upper one occupies the third floor and the mezzanine. All three feature comfortable living spaces raging between 120 sq m and 155 sq m.
Except for the driveway, the exterior space around the building is landscaping. Both the front and the rear yards feature a great amount of soft landscaping and therefore create an inviting outdoor environment.