David Sasaki, Architect   
163 Kane Avenue, Toronto ON M6M 3N4   
david@sasarch.ca   ·   416 528 2182

By Category

Garnet Renovation and Addition   Posted on December 20th, 2019
Categories: Urban Infill


Location: Garnet Avenue, Toronto

Completion Date: 2020

Size: 450 sq.ft. renovation to existing ground floor and new 1,200 sq.ft. three-storey addition

This project began with the client’s need to improve the overall living space and to prepare the dwelling for aging-in-place considerations.  The existing house-form also had unique character – a turret with a gambrel roof – and preserving this character was also a primary objective of the project.  These goals along with zoning parameters helped shape the proposed built-form.

The scope of the project included the demolition of an existing one-storey addition which contained the original kitchen; a renovation to the existing ground floor to help rationalize circulation through the house and introduce an accessible bedroom / study and washroom; and, a three-storey addition with a new kitchen, living space, and bedroom with washroom.

Concept: The Courtyard or the Breath In-Between

Conceptually, the idea of creating a courtyard – or space to mediate between existing and new – is an essential aspect of the project.  It not only allowed the existing house-form to be preserved, but provided a much needed “breath” in the middle of the house to promote natural ventilation and access to natural light for the existing house and new addition.  In addition, it allowed the creation of a series of moments and views as one passes between new and old.





The rhythm of the plan is based on the organization of circulation, open plan space, and service space with the intent of creating open and flexible floor spaces on all levels.  No fixed elements were created in central open space.  In the kitchen, the island was designed to be mobile to allow the space to be reorganized for functions or events.


The facade builds on the importance of light to this project and was inspired by the works of Pierre Soulages who expressed light through the use of black paint and texture.  Similarly the facade is given a dynamic quality by the movement of the sun throughout the day, and the varying directionality of the black corrugated metal panels.


The core of the project deals with the sustainable concept of creating a dwelling for multi-generational living.  Minimizing transitions between spaces and preparing spaces for wheelchair maneuverability was considered throughout.  From an energy perspective, the facade is well insulated and employs a layer of continuous insulation to reduce thermal bridging and heat loss.  A Heat-Recovery Ventilator (HRV) was installed to temper incoming supply air, and triple-pane glazing was used for all new windows to increase thermal comfort.   LED lights were used throughout to reduce energy consumption.  The massing of the project promotes overall wellness by maximizing access to natural light, and allows each level of the dwelling (new and old) access to natural ventilation.