Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Jay S. Lim, OAA, AIA, LEED AP, Matthew Beerman
In the 1950s, the Canadian Home & Mortgage Corporation (CMHC) developed hundreds of plans for low-cost houses for working-class citizens. Once the houses were completed, the intention was for homes to be renovated and to grow together with the size and wealth of the residents. The Ross Haus is an exploration of expanding on the CMHC housing model to transform something traditional into something of its era.
Re-Visiting & Reversing Style:
The design reinterprets the traditional housing style of the era while creating a style of its own. The gabled roofline was extended over the entire house to unify the original model with an earlier addition. The new second-floor bedrooms are situated under dormers that contain a continuous ribbon of windows, creating the impression of a large, single space from the street. A new master bedroom suite is located over the entryway, and a private balcony is carved out of the roof, creating an oasis for the residents to watch the sunrise.
While the front façade respects the heritage of the neighbourhood, the rear elevation is dramatically modern and is shaped by the functions of the interior. The edges of the roof are punctuated by new dormers with an oversized window to flood the interior with natural light. The standing seam metal roof and horizontal white siding draw inspiration from the original cladding of the house. The monochromatic exterior serves as the perfect canvas for the Guards Red entry doors, bringing life to the façade.
The interior was reorganized and optimized to create an open plan. The new entranceway creates a welcoming place for the residents, and doubles as a foyer for a home office. The key space in the home is the double-height living room which connects both floors of the house. The second floor hallway looks into the living room and serves more than mere circulation: it doubles as a homework station for the family’s young children. Each workstation is anchored by a large skylight that provides views of the epic garden. The skylights are strategically positioned low enough to enable the residents to admire the treetops, but high enough to provide privacy from the adjacent neighbours.
The backyard was envisioned as an outdoor living room. Tiered plateaus create separate zones for relaxing, eating & gardening. Warm wood tones contrast the black & white cladding to bring balance to the façade and enable this modern design to compliment this mature neighbourhood.