B.AM House Residential Renovation

B.AM House

  • Ottawa, ON
  • Residential Renovation
  • 1,400 sq.ft
  • 2019

In the 1950s, the Canadian Home & Mortgage Corporation (CMHC) developed hundreds of plans for low-cost houses for working-class citizens. The intent was for the homes to be renovated and to grow in parallel with the size and wealth of the residents. The BAM house is named after the initials of the owners and builds on the intentions of the CMHC. The renovation creates a new kitchen, as well as bathrooms and bedrooms for the growing family.

Creating a Cape:
The design takes its cues from this traditional housing type. The original A-frame roofline was kept and extended along the front and rear facades to create a cape, which created a semi-enclosed outdoor space. The new second-floor bedrooms are nestled under the dormers and are punctuated by large windows. Although the footprint is small, the rooms are flooded with natural light and connect the residents with the surrounding landscape.

The “Cape” is a design feature that extends the existing roofline to create new porches at the front and rear of the house. The house is clad in white corrugated metal which is economical and robust. The high albedo helps reflect heat during the summer months, thereby reducing energy costs to keep the house cool. The monochromatic metal is juxtaposed with wood cladding in the dormers and the Cape’s soffit. The wood provides a welcoming warmth and glow to the house.

The most compelling feature of the Cape is the strategic apertures to capture key views. A long vertical slot is carved in front of the living room window. This creates a framed view of the maple tree in the front yard. Additionally, the slot enables rainwater to naturally hydrate the planter bed located directly below the living room window. The entryway is punctuated by a horizontal opening that guides visitors from the driveway to the front door. The location and height of the opening were optimized for the residents to look out while enjoying meals at their dining room table.

The simple architectural design creates a striking and balanced composition that respects the history of the home while creating a unique structure bespoke for the family and the neighborhood.