Having moved from Arizona to Toronto, the owners of this modern home looked to Toronto-based architects Paul Raff Studio to create a passive solar design that would maximize daylighting for a bright interior reminiscent of their previous sunny abode. All around the house, floor-to-ceiling windows serve as transparent walls that allow light to flood indoors — culminating with a large front window, made up of 475 stacked 19-millimeter panels of glass, that filters light into the home in a textural pattern and inspired the house’s name, Cascade House.
Unlike a home in the southwest, the Cascade House has to moderate the effects of both cold and hot. In the winter, the thermal mass of the walls coupled with the concrete floors help warm and moderate temperatures. To keep cool during the warm summer months, the architects installed automated shades and passive ventilation techniques throughout the home. The trees that surround the home, which were thoughtfully preserved during the construction of the home, also help with cooling.
Despite being 3,500-square-feet, the home looks quite compact from the front. The home’s darkly-colored exterior contrasts greatly with its bright and open interior, an airy feeling likely facilitated by the large windows. We find the home’s slate-like facade quite unusual for a home in a region more known for its houses constructed of wood — though stone does make the home feel more southwestern, a region that is decidedly less woodsy and forested.
Lastly, we can’t help but be impressed by what seems to be a serendipitous moment in the back of the home. Left transparent with a large window that allows for views in and out, the staircase creates a strong angular line that floats against a perforated back wall that allows light to filter into the living room. And although the owners will certainly miss the bright light of the Arizona desert, we think Paul Raff Studio has certainly provided a home with thoughtful and varied elements that play with light sure to delight any family.
More images at GreenSource Magazine
all images by Ben Rahn/A Frame