Opposite House / rzlbd

The Opposite House, is a commissioned private residence located on the Scarborough Bluffs, closer to the east edge of the Greater Toronto Area. The clients, a professional couple who both work from home and enjoy an active home entertainment lifestyle, were looking for a modern dwelling that would offer everything they might need and more, including enough space to transition into, if their family grows at a later time.

Opposite house / rzlbd
© Borzu Talaie

The new build sits partly on an old bungalow’s footprint, close to a quiet back-street, with a 2.7 acre site sloping down to the shore of Lake Ontario. To the northern street side, the house presents a purposely low, dark-brick profile – just a single, unobtrusive 146-foot long storey [equal to the length of an Airbus A321, the most efficient single-aisle jetliner ever built]; its stretched fuselage – measuring 146 feet], allowing for an unimpeded lake view from all points even in the north end of the property.

Opposite house / rzlbd
© Borzu Talaie

To the southern lakefront, the home’s face opens into a 10-foot curtain wall, lozenged in white. The house’s interior is 6,400 sq-ft; though massive in size, it feels quite human in scale, the result of the space’s precise geometric parsing, something the architect refers to as “mathematical poetry.”

Opposite house / rzlbd
© Borzu Talaie

Both outside and in, the Opposite House is at once familiar yet different, spectacular yet comfortable, private as well as public – presenting a study in subtly rendered juxtapositions. Two concepts are at work here: Louis Kahn’s “servant and served” maxim, wherein private, back-of-the-house functions are placed on one side, balanced by public relaxation on the other; and the “phototropic” nature of plants, which remain rooted in the earth while their heads blossom towards the sun – interpreted here as a north side wrapped in dark-black, textured brick and a south side presented in bright glass and smooth white stucco.

Opposite house / rzlbd
© Borzu Talaie
Opposite house / rzlbd
© Borzu Talaie

The main hall of the Opposite House forms a central nave that runs like a spine, east-west, along the home’s entire length, bracketed at either end by outsized windows. The foyer, with its 49-square-foot skylight, acts as a north-south transept, intersecting this main line, and descending via a stadium-stairway to the lower level. When the clients wish to entertain, guests can lounge on the agora seating and either admire the view from a dropped 20-foot double-height curtain wall or watch a show on the roll-down movie screen.

Opposite house / rzlbd
© Borzu Talaie
Opposite house / rzlbd
© Borzu Talaie

The central nave and the north-south transept divide the building program into four main zones: 1- the garage, mudroom and storage, 2- a guest-room with an en-suite, 3- home offices/secondary bedrooms, bathroom facilities, and 4- the master bedroom, kitchen, dining, and living areas.

Project Details:

Location: Toronto, Scarborough, Cliffcrest area, Canada
Lot: 1.093 ha.
Living Area: 6000 sqf
Architects: rzlbd
Design Architect: Reza Aliabadi [rzlbd] Project Coordinator & Interior design: Julia Francisco
Photographs: Borzu Talaie

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
TITLE | Founder of Architecture Lab
About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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