Thomas Balaban Architecte's Holy Cross House is an aluminum-clad home in Montreal, Canada that optimizes natural lighting and ventilation. The architects dealt with a narrow plot by flipping the traditional vertical hierarchy of two-story homes and carving out a series of spaces from the house's volume. The resulting space manages to both fit in and stand out in the neighborhood.
The architects’ main design concern was to provide optimal amounts of natural lighting to the interior space of the residence. This was a challenge because of the narrow plot, since it is surrounded by homes on both sides, so they decided to establish the living room upstairs in order to maximize direct sunlight in the rooms that require it the most. Interior space was opened up so to draw natural light into the heart of the house while still providing optimal amounts of privacy.
The residence features a courtyard that aids with the natural ventilation of the house.The south-facing facade features lots of glazing, augmenting direct solar gain in the winter, while the north facade limits the amount of natural lighting penetrating the interior. The thermal mass of radiant concrete floors helps to mitigate exterior temperature fluctuations.