Located in Vancouver’s Dunbar neighbourhood, RUFproject’s W27th residence combines a single family home and laneway house. Dark cladding and a rectilinear form make for a strong, almost ominous impression when approaching the structure from the street, while notches cut into the facade, break up the volume and render it permeable.
The effect of these “notches” is not only visual, but functional too: allowing for floor to ceiling windows throughout various spaces of the home that provide ample natural light throughout the day while maintaining privacy for its occupants.
The treatment is repeated on all sides of the structure and further echoed by both a skylight that floods the central, floating stairway in sun, and the addition of a below-grade exterior space entirely wrapped in glass. This achieves an interior space where each of the rooms - even those in the basement - have a connection to the outside, while still feeling sheltered.
By breaking up the volume of the primary residence in this way and establishing the impression of multiple, overlapping volumes, the architects are able to generate a feeling of continuity with the separate structure of the laneway house at the rear of the property. Multiple balconies across the back of the main house, together with a roof deck on the laneway home further enhance connectivity between the two structures.
These personal but open patios, when combined with the shared backyard and concealed interior spaces, create a gradation in degree of exposure that unfolds in layers. The home presents a model for the construction of residences with detached suites that embraces the delineation and gradual transition between private and public realms that’s been cited as a means to increase residents’ sense of satisfaction and likelihood of building positive social connections (The Happy Homes project by Happy City Lab - also based in Vancouver - provides a great breakdown of this). While much of the discussion around these ideas has been focused on larger residential developments, as architects and urban planners continue to grapple with how to best implement laneway housing in major Canadian cities where property values continue to soar, it’s a conversation that will likely find increasing importance in projects like this one.
Susan Fitzgerald’s Halifax home and studio creates a similar flow between public and private space around a central courtyard, though in this case the division of spaces occurs between program rather than occupant.
For another post mentioning Happy City’s work, check out Rethinking Suburbia
Or, if you share my obsession with Laneway homes, take a look at this update on the state of Laneway Suites in Toronto
And of course, you can also check out a RUFproject’s range of multidisciplinary work on their site.
The design team for this project included: Sean Pearson, Edward Ozimek, Marco Mandelli, Adrian McGeehan, Nicolas D Robitaille, and Sofia Villarreal.
All images courtesy of RUFproject.
This article was researched and written by Miranda Corcoran, a designer and creative strategist based in Toronto, who began writing for Houseporn while studying Industrial Design at OCAD University.