When a music producer, jazz musician and teenage daughter contemplated the idea of converting an existing factory into their new home, we did not skip a beat and joined in on this unbelievable gig!
The project began by entering a dark, cold and unfriendly industrial space with flashlights, hardhats and safety boots. It was like entering an abandoned historical excavation site. The owners were quick to point their flashlight toward the existing turn of the century heavy timber structure and floor system. We then became equally excited about how to incorporate some of the old counter-weighted industrial sliding doors. Somewhere on this factory floor, we began our vision of a home for two musicians. Each required a studio and creative space, remote from one another. No less was the challenge to create a place that felt like “home” for their daughter who was more familiar with the traditional elements she left behind in her old residence.
The client’s architectural ambition was to retain the current industrial façade and the existing timber structure; a strategy to live with these elements in a comfortable residential setting.
By literally removing a piece of the building at the rear, natural light filled the existing spaces. A landscaped courtyard became the focal point and buffer for a practice studio. Acoustically isolated, and now light filled, this jam space could be directly accessed by band members without passing through the house. At the front of the main house, a separate entry point for a production/recording studio was retained and acoustical isolation solved the more technical requirements of privacy.
By bringing natural light into the building with large, warm, wood clad windows and sleek sky lighting, the house has been made more than home. The internal courtyard provides passive cooling in the summer months, and existing structural elements express a skeleton holding the old envelope intact and vibrant. An exposed radiant concrete floor provides a comprehensive background where timber elements, simple furnishings, bright coloured gypsum board surfaces, and musical instruments live throughout both in counterpoint and harmony.
This project provided us the fantastic opportunity to work with talented musicians to create a private respite in downtown Toronto; where family can entertain in comfort, can work near home, and have private outdoor space where musicians, guests and family can socialize and be creative.