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