A Toronto Laneway Dwelling By Kohn Shnier Architects

Toronto - with a population of over 2.5 million residents - is a prominent world class city located in the heart of Ontario Canada.

Like many cities, Toronto is fast paced, synergetic, and filled with a cacophony of sounds, colours, and cultures.

In an environment like this, it's easy for inhabitants to miss seeing the hidden gems embroidered into the urban fabric. Like this nestled treasure tucked on a laneway street called Croft, which is mostly garages in the heart of the City.

The Laneway House, designed by Kohn Shnier Architects, won Honourable Mention, Building in Context – Private Low-scale Buildings at the 2007 City of Toronto Architecture and Urban Design Award.


“Every other year, the City of Toronto holds Urban Design Awards to acknowledge the significant contribution that architects, landscape architects, urban designers, artists, design students, and city builders make to the look and livability of our city. The Awards competition offers the Photos Courtesy of Tom Arban Photography via Kohn Shnier Architectsopportunity to receive city-wide recognition from a jury of urban visionaries.”

-City of Toronto

The jury notes that Laneway House is,

“An efficient model of its type and the most beautifully executed of several laneway houses entered in this category, this one elevates the vernacular architecture of sheds and garages into an elegant statement of new urban possibilities.”

To be recognized by a jury of your peers and the surrounding members of your community is truly worthy of celebration. This exemplary house rightfully deserves this prestige. As the jury astutely pointed out "Laneway house is an elegant use of existing sheds and garages. Elevating them into the status of permanent home, unknowing pedestrians may not be able to identify their vernacular origins".


Photos Courtesy of Tom Arban Photography via Kohn Shnier Architects


The stacking of units utilizes depth perception to create architectural profundity in both outside and in.

The exterior is like a simplified Mondrian, with a modest nod to the elegance of rectilinear geometry, while the interior is like a layered Rubick's cube.


Photos Courtesy of Tom Arban Photography via Kohn Shnier Architects


The clean-lined furnishings accentuate the rectilinear structure, while the use of muted colours keeps the focus on the spatial environment.

After all, this intelligently-designed dwelling - around 1700 square feet on three levels - finds its success in its proportions, tailored simplicity, and thoughtfully placed fenestration which celebrate its laneway views.

What's not to love?

For more on the work, click Kohn Shnier Architects


Researched and Written by Lydia Chan, Bachelor of Interior Design at Ryerson University

Posted In: Ontario

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