Sculptures Within A Sculpture By RZLBD In Toronto

Photographs Courtesy Of borXu Design


Situated on a narrow city lot of Toronto, this two storey modern minimalistic dwelling is known as The Totem House.

Designed by architect Reza Aliabadi and his firm rzlbd, the residence accommodates two owner's who share a passion for collecting and cooking.

On the exterior, the dwelling comprises a larger mass of charcoal brick adorned with two wooden blocks on the north and south facades. Sandwiched between the more conventional architecture of the neighbouring properties, I adore how the house appears like an art piece modestly framed by its surroundings.


Photograph Courtesy of borXu Design


The design developed from a geometrical obsession for squares and grids. The 10’x10’ square modules not only make up the interior rooms but also created the boundaries of the backyard patio, the landscape, the parking space, as well as the entry to the house. This design totally reminds me of the De Stijl style architecture, where squares, vertical, horizontal lines, black, white and grey colours are hugely used. The classic example of this style of movement would be the Rietveld Schroder House, which is one of my favourites.


Photograph Courtesy of borXu Design


The ‘totem’ of this house is the vertical gallery that provides built-in niches for the owners to display their artworks. The wooden staircase circulates around the totem, allowing one to view each piece of the collection as one progresses to each floor. A skylight illuminates the totem by day, while LED lighting in each niche highlights the artworks.


Photograph Courtesy of borXu Design

Photograph Courtesy of borXu Design


The kitchen is also an integral component of the design, since the owners love to cook. They also like to avoid the unnecessary, so the kitchen was kept minimal with floor-to-ceiling white cabinets and no exhaust hood creating a streamlined appearance.


Photograph Courtesy of borXu Design


The sleeping sanctuary fuses the bedroom and bathing space into one, creating a zone of domestic bliss. The designer used marble tiles to separate the shower/bathing areas with the hardwood floor of the bedroom.

A solar passive design captures sunlight during the winter while providing shading in summer. The south exposure is more open while the north side is more enclosed to prevent energy loss. Aside from the skylight bringing in natural light, the staircase can also help to vent warm air through the stack effect.


Check out more work by rzlbd HERE

Photography courtesy of borXu Design


Researched and Written by Christine Chow, Undergraduate Student of Environmental Design at the OCAD University

Posted In: Ontario

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