Johnson Chou’s Pivot House In Toronto, Ontario

Fit snugly into the streetscape on Woodbine Avenue, the Slide Pivot house stands out boldly and alluringly. At a mere 84 square meters, the tiny dwelling presented an intricate challenge to utilize what little space it had. But as I’ve always said in the past, a building limitation is nothing more than an opportunity waiting to be seized.

To any inventive designer, a constraint provides the framework to work around, and presents a distinct problem to be resolved. And unique problems beg unique solutions. Such was the product of Toronto-based design firm Johnson Chou.





Chou’s unique solution is indeed nothing if not inventive, and demonstrates a design mentality that is exceptionally noteworthy. A good phrase to summarize the approach is 'dynamic transformability'. Chou utilized numerous nooks and crannies for vernacular features, like surfaces and appliances, to be deployed, and retracted whenever necessary.

To the unknowing eye, the minimalism of the small open-concept seems almost barren. A long stainless steel countertop is situated between the kitchen and living areas, with what looks like a lightwood trim slightly below the surface.





When required, the 'trim' is easily rotated on its axis into a beautiful, oak dining table perpendicular to the counter, allowing for up to five seats.

White, MDF panels conceal a fridge, as well as kitchen storage space; while the oven sits behind the wood-veneered panelling by the hallway.







Even the adjacent hallway contains a hidden coat closet, a laundry area, and a guest bathroom.

Shortly across the room is a traditional, charmingly-wooden-yet-stylish patio. Along with a fire pit for entertainment, it hides within itself Ikea loungers, positioned flush with the elevated step of the multi-levelled deck.





The master bedroom, along with its en-suite bathroom can be closed off from the home by a beautiful oak partition, transforming an open concept into an atmospheric, cozy space for the owners.







On top of that, the laminated panels close off additional closet space, and a TV set.




Through use of transformative spaces, Chou practically doubled the living potential of the space, in a way that is not only aestheticly pleasing, but extremely practical and useful. As a strong believer in humanist design for the user, I can safely vouch for  as movement in the right direction of future design. has long been fans of Johnson Chou, including these past posts which showcase the exceptional talents of this firm

--> A Multicultural Sanctuary In Yorkville, Toronto

--> A Modern Toronto Haven By Designer Johnson Chou

--> A Sweet Redux In A Historical Candy Factory In Toronto

For more innovative work by Johnson Chou, you can see their portfolio here.
Photography courtesy of Ben Rahn/A Frame Studio.


Researched and Written by Mikhail Shchupak-Katsman, Undergraduate Environmental Design, OCAD University.

Posted In: Ontario

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