Situated on a lot just 7.6 meters wide - typical of its Victorian-era North Halifax neighbourhood - this King Street space designed by architect Susan Fitzgerald includes both residential space for her family and office space for their businesses. Offering a viable model for soft density increase - integrating three units onto a single lot - this building stands out for the way Fitzgerald incorporates natural light and outdoor spaces throughout the dwelling and workspaces.
Entrances to both office and residential spaces are grouped around a central courtyard, where a glass corridor connects the front and back of the development. This approach allowed ample, inward-facing glazing to flood the interior spaces with sunlight, while complying with building code regulations that restrict windows overlooking neighbouring properties. Board formed concrete and corrugated siding keep the building’s exterior cohesive with nearby work sheds.
The ground floor is occupied by office spaces at front and rear, along with the children's bedrooms located along the corridor. On the second floor, a living and dining space (pictured above) cantilevers over the front office, connected by a terrace to a studio flat over the office space at the back of the property. The third floor features a master suite pulled back just slightly to create a double-height space in the living and dining area. Stairs lead up to the flower and vegetable gardens on the roof of both the family's front unit and the rear studio flat.
The property packs a lot more interior space into a small footprint, but Fitzgerald was able to add to, rather than sacrifice, outdoor space options. None of these are your typical lawn surrounded by a picket fence, but between the courtyard, terrace and roof gardens, there’s ample room to gather, to enjoy a cup of coffee in the sun, and even to grow some of the family’s food.
While the space is conceived around the specific needs of the architect’s family, it has the capacity to adapt to the needs of a variety of users. Integration seems to be a key concept at play in this project: both how it integrates a newer housing model amidst traditional residential properties now, and how the property will continue to integrate with the neighbourhood as it evolves and with the lifestyles of future occupants.
View more projects in Susan Fitzgerald’s online gallery
This article was written and researched by Miranda Corcoran, a young designer based in Toronto, completing studies in Lighting Design at Ryerson University