Architects: Omar Gandhi Architect
Project: Syncline Residence
Design Team: Omar Gandhi, Peter Braithwaite, Elizabeth Powell, Devin Harper, Ozana Gherman
Location: Halifax Regional Municipality, Canada
Project Year 2017
Photographs: Ema Peter
Syncline ˈ(\ˈsin-ˌklīn\): a fold in stratified rock with younger layers closer to the center of the structure. The home sits on the lone syncline that runs through peninsular Halifax. Located in the south end of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Syncline residence was designed for California-based Geoff and his husband, Nova Scotia-based James – the quiet, masculine modern form sits adjacent to Point Pleasant Park and overlooks the North-West Arm.
Sitting atop a concrete base which seemingly extends the rocky foundation, the Syncline residence is composed of twin volumes clad in a textured, white Fibre C – a German-made fibre cement panel composed of raw materials including glass fibre, sand, and cement. The volumes vary in proportion as well as location, with one lunging forward slightly ahead of the other. The taller volume houses the public program including the gym, living room and kitchen, while the lower features the home’s sleeping and office amenities. At the forefront of both are walk-out decks facing the western ocean view, one from the living room and the other from the master bedroom. Wood-decked patios overlooking the city’s primary forested park in one direction and the open ocean waters in the other sit high atop the two primary volumes.
A central core between the two is fully glazed in black-framed windows and topped with a razor thin canopy, encasing a porous, wood-lined steel staircase which winds its way up through the home. Flanking the taller volume is a tall, wood-clad structure which includes a residential scale elevator and back-of-house spaces including a high-end audio control room. The wood cladding is scorched, locally-sourced clear spruce with a clear coat finish. Wood scorching introduces flame to surface, intentionally charring it before it is brushed to remove any loose carbon, providing both decay and flame resistance through the process.
The interior material palette is composed wide white oak flooring, an all-white wall treatment and header-less doors which span from floor to ceiling. Natural light is drawn into the primary social spaces through the double height atrium and great room spaces.
The Syncline residence utilizes geothermal heat pumps as the primary source for heating and cooling. Energy requirements are supplemented by a rooftop field of photovoltaic panels. The entirety of the glazing utilized for the home is triple pane for both energy conservation and acoustic requirements. Automated blinds and recessed windows on the south west façade help to passively cool the house.