Award of Excellence Buildings
Ways Lane Residence
Address: 1 Ways Lane
Architect: A.J. Diamond, Donald Schmitt and Company
Owner: Claire Ironside
It would be easy to give this house an award purely on its architectural merits. The design challenges the "faux" history formula for urban housing by using industrial materials in a "de stijl" composition. Yet its rugged exterior is entirely comfortable and appropriate in a laneway with its omni-present chain-linked fences and overhead telephone lines. It is a good neighbour in the laneway, and therefore a good urban solution, not just a singular architectural composition. Behind the rugged exterior is a beautifully composed façade of windows set within mahogany frames opening onto what is perhaps the best small open space seen by this jury. The public face and the quiet, private realm is well understood: A very urban house.
This is surely a positive model for the intensification of lower density neighbourhoods in every Canadian city, handily converting the lane into a residential mews. At the same time, the building expresses a unique architectural composition and innovative materials that also make it a very creative one-of-a-kind design. The courtyard garden is especially effective.
This is an important demonstration of urban intensification, in a low-rise infill form reinforcing the character of the neighbourhood. This design of this modest project is quite sophisticated in exterior in materials and detailing, appropriately "tough" in the laneway context. Realizing that it is likely that significant regulatory hurdles had to be cleared to develop this project, we would hope that the positive example of projects like this will assist toward making this type of residential infill more "as-of-right".
Beautiful contemporary design for an infill residence. Most certainly sets a precedent for housing designed to increase the density in downtown neighbourhoods. Definite contribution to the character of Toronto's housing where there is a lack of contemporary designs. Every effort must be made for approval at lightening speed for this type of project!