Escarpment House

Unraveled on the Edge

At the edge of the escarp­ment cre­at­ed by the now reced­ed ancient Lake Iro­quois, Escarp­ment House is fash­ioned in, around, and above its exist­ing post war host.

Ship-lapped cop­per rib­bons wrap the base of the old bun­ga­low, and then spi­ral upward like a con­tin­u­ous orange peel to shape a kind of tree­house, perched above the city, and sculpt­ed by the angles of the sun.

This com­pact house pulls back to respect new side yard set­backs as it ris­es above the exist­ing build­ing, and in so doing cre­ates a struc­tur­al arma­ture that appre­ci­ates the light­ness of the cop­per rain­screen. As a ‘liv­ing mate­r­i­al’, time will reg­is­ter on the cop­per facades as they oxi­dize dif­fer­ent­ly depend­ing on ori­en­ta­tion over time.

Cop­per first installed, soon begins to oxi­dize…

Mill­work, ceil­ings, light­ing, and some spe­cial fur­ni­ture ele­ments required cus­tomiza­tion to accom­mo­date a dynam­ic vision of the day-to-day. The design push­es the bound­aries of con­ven­tion­al res­i­den­tial arrange­ments in favor of deceiv­ing­ly open but acousti­cal­ly sep­a­rate col­lec­tive spaces and more enclosed spaces of escape. Exte­ri­or ‘rooms’ both at grade and on the 3rd floor ter­race are care­ful­ly lit and cre­ative­ly cli­ma­tized to extend across the sea­sons.

The cop­per wraps around the re-defined struc­ture like an orange peel.

The main stair pulls back and splays to stitch the var­i­ous lev­els of the house togeth­er along the slen­der, dou­ble height space fac­ing north, leav­ing added depth to rooms fac­ing south to take advan­tage of city views and nat­ur­al light.

the plate alu­minum canopy is struc­tural­ly stiff­ened like the folds of a paper air­plane.

Just as the cop­per pan­el­ing unrav­els to cre­ate pock­ets, ter­races, and win­dows on the exte­ri­or, broad white oak boards unrav­el at the inte­ri­or to give-way to wool felt and stone ele­ments. Each is designed to define inti­mate famil­ial spaces with­in the larg­er ‘open plan’ also imag­ined for great gath­er­ings and guests.

Project Facts

  • Client


  • Location

    Toron­to, Ontario

  • Size

    3200 sq.ft.

  • Status

    Under Con­struc­tion

  • Sub-Consultant Team

    Struc­tur­al — RJC Engi­neer­ing, Thorn­ton Thomaset­ti

    Mechan­i­cal — Lar­ry Pet­ri­cone, P.Eng, Doug McCal­lum, McCal­lum HVAC Design Inc.

    Elec­tri­cal — CORO Elec­tri­cal

    Land­scape — Lake Ridge Land­scape

    Land Sur­vey­or — J.D. Barnes


  • Fabricator

    Novak Cladding Ltd.

  • Photography

    Riley Snelling
    Phil St. Mar­tin