The Zen Barn by Christopher Simmonds Architect is a home in a historic Ottawa neighborhood. It achieved LEED Platinum for homes status while maximizing on a casual, modern style. The second story is cantilevered over the first story to shade it from the sun, while a recessed courtyard allows for large windows on the south for passive solar heating. All of this work is invisible, with a light, effortless and tranquil effect to the final home.
“The linear composition of this contemporary home is interrupted by the vertical volumes of light wells, the stairs and the courtyard,” the architect said. “The resulting interpenetration of views, light and space along the south side of the home creates strong indoor-outdoor connections. The building’s orientation allows passive solar exposure at the east, west and south sides during winter months.”
White lacquer and stained ash cabinetry create a sense of ease and flow through the interconnected kitchen, living and dining areas. The inside is bright, clean as a warm and inviting family space. There are three levels to the home for a total of 2,300 square feet. However, the home retains a welcoming sense of intimacy through the use of warm woods in the kitchen, dining room and living room.
The long and lean exterior is clad with reclaimed white oak barn boards and lets in maximum natural daylight. Paired with sharp angles and glass balconies, the Zen Barn is what both relaxing and formal living spaces can be. The home has a rain shower, floating vanities and an open staircase that allows for light to flow from every angle around the central axis of the home.
The Zen Barn achieved an EnerGuide rating achieved of 82, 10 points higher than what is required by the Ontario Building Code.
Photography by Peter Fritz