At first glance, the 5/6 House, designed by Reza Aliabadi of rzlbd Architects, may seem like a simple, two-storey, modern home located in North York, Toronto. However, it is anything but simple. This house is also wonderfully practical!
Although it is quite different from its smaller, traditional, pitched-roof neighbours, it stands respectfully amongst them without screaming for attention. Its exterior is a simple white stucco with aluminium siding.
The brilliance of the home’s design is tucked away inside its unassuming shell.
rzlbd Architects noticed that Canada's seasonal weather conditions place limitations on how open to natural light present-day residences are. Consequently, the design philosophy that was used with the 5/6 House stems from a desire to create a house that funnels natural light into every corner. That may be the first noticeable deviation from the conventional suburban dwelling.
The architects opted for a more deliberate and selective funnelling of light achieved with a spatial organization method that gives the house its name "the "5/6 House"! This means that space was divided into six parts and one part was removed from each floor to create a connective void between the levels.
On the main floor, we have the dining room, living room, kitchen, home office, and a family room. Most of the building gets natural light from the spacious well-positioned living room that sits atop the garage.
Light floods into the room via expansive south-facing windows. The space detached from the upper floor is the one above the living room which means the room itself has a lofty ceiling with an enormous skylight that offers a stream of fresh natural light.
A short flight of steps leads down to additional primary living spaces in the residence. The spaces here are centred around the ground floor void.
This area, that includes the kitchen and dining zones, is more compact. The rooms adopt an open plan and allow the spaces to flow into one another. The white walls and dark trim features also create a formal atmosphere that is clean and devoid of ornamentation or frivolity.
The vacant space near the kitchen spatially connects the fully finished basement and the upper level. It hosts a glass-walled staircase composed of cantilevered treads. Above the void is the oblong volume that contains the master and bedroom suites. This volume seems suspended over a long rectangular reflecting pool that is not only fed by a waterfall, but also greets you upon arrival from the basement.
The atmosphere in the lower level is radically different from what one might expect; with the sound of running water, the sunshine streaming through the first-floor, and soft light filtering through the doors of the sunken patio in the rear of the home, it would be a perfect space for meditation. I think it speaks volumes about how carefully the atmosphere within the different spaces was realized.
The 5/6 House highlight just how creative and artistic Mr. Aliabadi was with this residence. As a result of the mathematic nature of the design process, the 5/6 House strikes me as a very calculated, deliberate and curated design. This is quite a departure from the modernist idea of generic space. Who would have guessed that a controlled spatial arrangement could be such a breath of fresh air?
Visit rzlbd to view their artistic work.
Check out these Houseporn.ca articles on creative housing solutions in Toronto:
Researched and Written by Yinoluwa Olowofoyeku, Undergraduate Student of Architectural Design at the University of Toronto