We’ve seen our fair share of amazing house transformation. This next home was designed to catch your eye like a red dot in a sea of black dots. What used to be a 1930s house in Toronto, Canada, was refreshed by Johnson Chou as his design studio embraced the original building in the new redesign. Known as 142 Kenilworth, the fully renovated home displays the original bricks which have been revived.
This house needed a complete renovation including opening it to light and air. An oversized pivoting glass door pierces the glazed back side, leading to a cozy patio. Even from afar, this 1930s structure conveys a sense of respect and a sense of wonder.
From the outside, the seemingly modest home relates to neighboring homes in terms of design and frame. Keeping the roofline and beautiful brickwork was important in order to embed the completely transformed home into its surroundings. Piercing the facade, floor-to-ceiling windows on the first floor shine natural light inside bright, open social spaces. Upstairs windows give off a modern, geometric vibe.
A protruding window frame gives an extra dimension to the aluminum bookshelves bursting through the glass floor up to the second level, visually and spatially connecting social and private quarters. Another window wraps around the corner, making you instantly wonder how the backside of the house looks. Topped off with a dark-framed triangular window shining light on the modern freestanding bathtub, this dream home proves that borrowing charm from the past makes for incredible renovations.
Architects shine light on the ideas that had this home completely transformed: “The design concept was two-fold: to perforate the volume of the building with openings to provide visual access throughout the space on a horizontal and vertical dimension; and to develop a motif that redefines the existing building as a series of overlapping ‘frames’ that function either as portals or apparatuses for viewing. The project is about creating volumes of flowing spaces in both the horizontal and vertical dimensions and the kinaesthetic experience of framed views from within and without.”
The new floor plan allowed for the creation of a double-height space used as the new living area, where everyone gathers in a bright and cheery atmosphere. Custom-made mullions decorate and frame the home, making it appear sleek and sophisticated in photographs by Brenda Liu. You might want to think about the alterations made to this home before starting a renovation in your own house.
An example of a huge success is Heneghan Peng Architects’ Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Using the large difference in level across the site, the architects created two folds in the landscape. Bold, but not conflicting with the rather bleak natural environment, these folds draw all the man-made areas together and create one fitting man-made break in the natural landscape. In the words of the architects themselves, There is no longer a building and a landscape, but building becomes landscape and the landscape itself remains spectacular and iconic
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests