Gallery: Toronto’s Shaft House Maximizes Space & Daylight on a Snug 20 ...

Materials were chosen in terms of sustainability and cost efficiency.
Materials were chosen in terms of sustainability and cost efficiency.

The Shaft House is so named because of a large void running up through the center of the home. Natural light travels deep into the house via the shaft and no air conditioning is needed as all the hot air ventilates up and out through the upper windows and deck. Stairs and the home’s rooms spiral up and around from a partially submerged room and covered parking up to a rooftop deck. The void provides views across into neighboring rooms and enlarges the feel of the home. Set back from the street more than the rest of the homes, the front facade is like a protective shield blocking out noise from the busy street. The backside is more open with larger windows, a garden deck and a rooftop deck.

To keep costs down, the owners chose to buy a small 20 x 100 ft lot so as not to build more than they needed. The 2.5 floor house makes the most of its space with smart and efficient design, clean lines and simple materials and only cost 220,000 CAD$ to build. Materials were chosen in terms of sustainability and cost efficiency. Aluminum siding, which is lightweight and fully recyclable, costs far less than brick or stone. The front of the home is covered in untreated wood and rusted steel panels, which give it an organic look that will naturally age over time. Seeming much larger than its 1,400 sq ft, the Shaft House blows away perceptions of such a narrow home and confirms that sustainable urban infill can indeed be achieved.

+ atelier rzlbd

Via Dornob

Images ©borXu Design courtesy of atelier rzlbd


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  1. Green Joy October 14, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I think we’ll start seeing more of these types of designs, structures designed to maximize space. I read an article that stated the average American home is shrinking.

    A cost effective building using sustainable materials and a very tight budget, hopefully this will become the trend of the near future.

    Juan Miguel Ruiz (Going Green)

  2. lazyreader October 14, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    It’s a skinny house. Architecturally, the building looks like a Nintendo Wii. A dark hideous sunken inward looking device. It’s urban infill at it’s worst. What we see happening is that planners are never satisfied, let them densify you just a little bit, and they keep coming back for higher and higher densities. Don’t let Toronto turn into Los Angeles. Downtown Los Angeles, perhaps the one place in the city that accommodated density seamlessly over the last decade, has a lot of residents driving to work, frequently outside downtown. In other words, people changed their behavior, as smart-growth theorists had hoped, by moving into multistory buildings. Then they found jobs elsewhere, creating yet another traffic problem. In Berkeley, California, the Planning Department is well on its way to building a high-density downtown Berkeley that has almost no parking… could rapidly become a problem for our business community. Smart growth is great if you are an upscale professional, preferably without children, who can score a relatively large apartment fairly close to work. It’s a lot less fun for the majority trying to cram your family into four or five rooms. Smart growth is great if you can afford to have everything you buy delivered, or are in excellent physical condition with a physically undemanding job; it is not so great if you have to come home from your shift or lugging stuff half a mile. Smart growth is great if you can afford to eat in the plethora of restaurants or a nanny to take the kids to the park during the day.

    In Montana, the town of Bozeman is the newest victim of the planning craze. Most appalling in Bozeman, The newcomers who sold their houses in the Silicon Valley and Seattle have plenty of money to buy the fancy log houses on 20 acres with views of the mountain ranges. Now that they are here they are doing everything they can to a) stop newcomers from coming; b) force anyone without their income levels to live in drab high-density housing. They get their piece of the Montana Dream, and everyone else can take a hike.

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