Hintonburg project, 92 Merton Street Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
The concept of the house focuses on two key elements - a towering backyard spruce tree and the maximization of natural light. From the street a series of animated volumes encloses two floors linked vertically by an articulated "light tower." The first level is fully open with no interior walls. Facing the back garden is a wall of glass and this, as well as the use of only glass panels to enclose the steel and maple scissor staircase ascending the tower, ensures the tree is always on view. Large and multiple windows on all sides supported by the light tower floods the house with natural light. A loft with a steel grid platform seems to float in the tower's upper space, a half storey up form the second level. The open grid allows light to penetrate down into a family room in the finished basement. Frosted glass panel doors throughout assist with the distribution of light while the maple floors are water-based stained in order to ensure a light, natural hue. The house's exterior cladding counterpoints colour against light grey and black to articulate the volumes. Sandblasted steel panels provide richly mottled orange veneer that contrasts with softer, grey-stained white cedar and black corrugated metal siding. An orange-rusted steel screen also helps frame the house's covered entrance while at the back a shed of black stained cedar and a cedar/steel fence encloses the tree and rear yard.