Bala Line House by Williamson Williamson

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects Toronto (1)

Williamson Williamson have designed Bala Line House in Toronto, Canada. Within many of Toronto’s network of well-preserved ravines and valleys, historic rail lines are occasionally found nestled unused on steep, wooded slopes between the upper plateau of residential fabric and the river valley habitats down below. The now de-commissioned Bala Line rail – once used for an industry-focused early 20th-century city – has evolved into a common passage for hikers and neighbours alike. This project is a single-family dwelling with a rare, accessible lot lining this western edge of the ravine, some 60 feet above the mid-slope Bala Line path.

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects Toronto (10)

The home for a family of five integrates a series of terraced spaces strung together by a 14’ flight-and-a-half stair, coinciding with the cascading topography beyond. Using a single-run stair to offset primary spaces at key landing points, the project frames views of the valley below. Ostensible ‘pressures’ of limiting-distance minimum unprotected openings, neighbouring heights, and physical grade preservation (for stable soil structure and integrity), together offered an opportunity for a monolithic, though stepped, mass nesting atop a grounded poured-in-place concrete structure. The project ‘erodes’ toward the ravine, leaving a light-filled series of upper spaces capturing any natural light and thermally-moderating effects of fresh valley air – most notably in the form of a ‘carved’ front facade and a generous double-cantilever open corner at opposite ends. As a prototypical gesture to an otherwise neglected urban condition in Toronto, this house architecturally seeks to reclaim the ravine as a worthy, new public realm.

Project: Bala Line House, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Architecture: Williamson Williamson
Architect Team: Donald Chong, Chris Routley, Shane Williamson, Betsy Williamson
Area 2,400 ft2
Photography: Bob Gundu

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects Toronto (2)

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects Toronto (3)

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects Toronto (4)

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects Toronto (5)

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects Toronto (6)

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects Toronto (11)

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects Toronto (8)

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects Toronto (9)

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects Toronto (7)

blank

Newsletter HomeWorldDesign

To be updated with all the latest projects

Most Recent

Most Popular

Low-Maintenance Vacation Home on the Edge of Lake Michigan 4

Low-Maintenance Vacation Home on the Edge of Lake Michigan

On the edge of Lake Michigan, this property contains both dense woods and a bluff to the sandy shore. Our challenge was to create a new, energy-efficient, low-maintenance vacation home that could comfortably accommodate multiple generations.
Apt.13 Fashion Boutique in the Heart of Kyiv / Yurij Tereshchenko

Apt.13 Fashion Boutique in the Heart of Kyiv / Yurij Tereshchenko

Apt.13 is a fashion boutique placed in the heart of Kyiv in a modern Business Centre. There is the unique view from “Apartment 13”: the famous catholic cathedral placed just opposite the new store.
Ply-Lined Play Room; a London Loft Extension

Ply-Lined Play Room; a London Loft Extension

This plywood-lined loft extension housing a child’s bedroom is conceived of as a ‘Treehouse’ - a perfect hideaway in which to rest and play, atop this north London family home.

Single family wooden house “on top of Oslo”

Linnebo Residence is a single family wooden house designed by Oslo-based Schjelderup Trondahl Arkitekter. Description by Schjelderup Trondahl: Clear cut, single family house “on top of Oslo”...
American Style Luxury Apartment 3

American Style Luxury Apartment Inspired by 30s / Alexandr Shepel Architecture and Design

This 200 sqm American style luxury apartment was designed by Alexander Shepel Architecture and Design, a Ukrainian studio founded in 2009, in Kyiv. The project of...

More Articles Like This