House on Elm Street, 2010
Description —
This house explores personal and collective experiences of dwelling - of having been in spaces and places that we have stored in our memory. It resonates with the site, the street and the city. It is timeless yet modern, understanding its lineage yet addressing the future. It is a quiet container for life - that embraces the laughter and play of children as comfortably as the silence of sleep. This building embodies the form and history of the place. Like most of its neighbours, the house has cedar shingle cladding and shares the neighbourhood grammar of porches and bumps - it clearly fits, but it is also clearly different. 
Located in a dense neighbourhood in the west end of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on a 25’ x 100’ lot this house forms part of an ongoing study of affordable housing with particular interest in the side hall house plan. 
The foundation and two storey balloon framed sidewalls pre-existed and were kept to maintain the set backs from property lines. Spread over four floors this 1600 square foot space is the home  for the architect, builder and their two children.
This project re-evaluates space and place. It is square foot frugal but spatially generous. Many elements within the design have multiple functions. The house shares a driveway with its neighbour and together with the shed/workshop forms a sheltered courtyard for winter parking, children’s play area, outdoor workspace and flower garden. 
At the heart of the plan sits the kitchen table, simultaneously a place for preparing food, a dining table, a workspace, homework surface, and storage chest. This space contains everyday life. It opens up to the street and back deck with curtain wall glazing that borrows space and light from outdoors during the day and becomes contained and cosy at night.
The materials are simple and efficient and in the vocabulary of local construction. The polished concrete floors provide the thermal mass for the in-floor heating system. Stair railings double as bookcases on the interior, and planters or benches on the exterior. The top floor of the house becomes a breezy tree house up in the canopy as it opens up to front and back decks for cross ventilation. 

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