W27th Residence: how to reinvent the typical infill mid block Canadian house
The W27th Residence is situated on a typical Vancouver lot within the Dunbar neighbourhood which was originally a post war neighbourhood with a mix of original 1950’s L plan modern bungalows, and post 1990’s infill houses. The design of this project is an attempt to reinvent the typical organization of infill mid block Canadian house which typically has light predominantly from the front and rear only. Natural light is brought deep into the interior spaces of the house by creating large cuts to the side and front yard elevations. The house volume is organized as a series of rooms, stacked and overlapped with each other which creates left over exterior voids. This approach allowed us to have full height glazing in every room - creating peak-a-boo glimpses from space to space within the house, and most importantly allowing the outdoors to be drawn in to the interior spaces. As the rooms within the house overlap - they borrow space from one another. The missing corners extend your eye, making the spaces and the wider volume feel larger. The end result is that the house feel bigger than it really is, creating a beautiful hybrid between an open plan house and one with traditional rooms. The dark exterior gives way to a light filled interior that is surprisingly open to the exterior. Full height glazing in each room directly face another room, creating a dialogue between spaces while bringing in views to the neighbourhood beyond. One of the side yard cuts was extended the basement, created an exterior space at the lower level, bring large amounts of side yard light into the lower floor office and kids play rooms.
The construction of the house is timber stud frame, with steel moment frame to span the large southern expanses of glazing. The materiality of the house is simple and minimal, using a custom metal break panel facade for the exterior, alaskan yellow cedar soffits and standard aluminium grate for handrails. The interior palette is bright, with ash floors and doors, pine windows, laminated birch plywood millwork, soapstone kitchen island and polished concrete floors to the lower floor.
A laneway house was added for extended family, guests or as a possible rentable suite. As a smaller sibling to the main house, the exterior finishes and details were maintained with the addition of full height aluminum screens for privacy. Internally a floating plywood stair connects the main floor with bedroom, closet and bathroom to the upper floor with a living space, kitchen and outdoor terrace.
RUFproject is a multi-disciplinary design firm with a rigorous aesthetic and an open-ness to crossing creative borders. We have two basic aspirations. The first is to honour the craftsmanship of building. Our second aspiration is to touch the minds and hearts of those that inhabit the spaces we design. We strive to create real conversation pieces, to say something out of the ordinary, and to touch people. Our design approach focuses on the experiential aspect of the space, allowing the design to emerge out of the narratives we weave with our clients. Spaces not only house people; they can also stir our emotions in the most subtle, intricate ways and elicit smiles, afterthoughts, surprises, and even arguments. As a result, no two of our projects are the same, each one is uniquely tied to its context, program and client.