CLARE ST. HOUSE
Originally occupied by a small 1960's bungalow, this new modern home in Victoria BC is a compact, efficient, low maintenance version of an urban dwelling that fits the scale of its surroundings and provides both connections with the streetscape and privacy for its inhabitants.
Square Footage: 2600 sf, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths
Neighbourhood: Gonzales/Jubilee, Victoria BC
Design: MDRN Built Ltd.
Interior Design: MDRN Built Ltd
Structural Engineer: Ritchie Smith, Hoel Engineering
Millwork: Thomas Philips Woodworking Ltd.
Photography: Joshua Lawrence, JL Studios
This project was designed on an interior urban lot, measuring 55' wide by 100' long. The allowable site coverage was maximized by the building footprint due to above grade outdoor living spaces. The increase in building footprint from the original 1960's bungalow reduced the size of the pre-existing yard, so the decision was made to relocate that green space onto the top storey as a green roof. The house was sited with uneven side setbacks to allow for below grade outdoor space for a suite, and allow as much space between the neighbours house to the south for winter sunshine.
The clients desire was for a small, but functional house, that provided a balance between open public spaces and secluded private spaces. The design decision was made to reduce the size of the sleeping quarters, in favour of more space for the living and entertaining areas of the house. A 2-sided wood fireplace became the central anchor of the main floor, and the family chef wanted the kitchen to be significant and open, yet not part of the living room. The clients asked for an abundance of natural lighting with connections to the outdoors and protected outdoor spaces that could act as extra rooms throughout the year.
The main floor was designed through the use of void space to create sheltered outdoor rooms, which also created opportunities for siding transitions where natural materials could be protected from the elements. The void spaces allowed for large glazing units to connect the house with the outdoors, and increase the volume and quality of natural light on the interior lot. The front porch was designed as a series of terraced boxes to invite conversation and connection with neighbours and passersby, and to create an open, inviting entrance to the house. The top floor was clad in vertical standing seam sheet metal that drapes over the house to prevent the structure from appearing overly tall and provide a durable finish at the most inaccessible areas. The eaves were tapered towards the outside edges to allow more light in during the winter months and to reduce bulkiness from the construction. The Owner's Suite was 'sunken' into a lifted landscape, and sits atop the house overlooking the yard as a private jewel box and sanctuary from the open floorplan below.
The house uses a high-performance passive house standard exterior air barrier system to reduce heat loss due to air leakage, and utilizes an HRV (heat recovery ventilator) to continually supply tempered fresh air to the living spaces. The whole house is heated with a radiant hydronic system in concrete floors run by a high-efficiency gas boiler. The roof has an 8kw solar array that supplies up to 80% of the homes electricity needs over a year. As with all new homes in this area it is completely seismically engineered. Durable exterior claddings (stucco & metal) were chosen wherever there was little protection from the weather, while wood was installed under deep eaves and within the voids of the form.