House on Fuller Terrace, 2010
Description —
An infill or a densification strategy needs to maintain what is good about the character of the city but also anticipate the city’s future. The success of these projects depends on the sensitivity of such interventions within the grain of the existing urban form while also understanding the need for increased density, affordability, and livability in a sustainable city.
Located in an eclectic, turn-of-the-century, north-end community in Halifax, Nova Scotia, this speculative live/work project understands and reinterprets the urban fabric of the tightly packed wood frame shingle row homes. The project explores changing lifestyles and work cultures, with many people needing work space within their own home and flexible, dignified living arrangements for aging relatives or extended family.
The transparent ground floor is the public face. It invites people in and through to the rear courtyard. The back ‘garage’ is currently a work shop for a contractor, but is designed to become a future carriage house as land use by-laws are updated to allow for second suites on a property. Across the garden courtyard the spaces interact and form an outdoor work/play area. 
Conceived of as two clearly defined wooden boxes – one black and one grey that intersect with each other, the form responds to both the street and the program. Small and compact the project explores gracefully living and working in a reduced footprint, with 1100 square feet for the dwelling portion of the project, 650 for the office and 550 for the future carriage house. The grey shingle box appears to float above the glass public ground floor, with the indoor and outdoor cedar soffit lead you through the public space into the courtyard. The great room on the third floor becomes a tree house surrounded by decks on three sides – so the occupants can follow the sun with indoor/outdoor living.
The design-build process allowed for collaboration at all stages of the work. Together builder and architect understood and explored the project, learning from the found potential and conditions of the site. It is this conversation between design and the craft of construction; the combined act of making, that shaped the work. 
Although clearly modern, this home maintains the setback and the rhythm of the street. The elegance and economy of the side-hall plan and the simple vernacular language resonates with the neighborhood whilst motivating change in Halifax’s dated land use by-laws to encourage density with livability.
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