Atelier RZLBD | STACK HOUSE


A building is like a pile of books, which, being scaled and sized to our human body, is composed of horizontal platforms with consisten ceiling heights. A tall structure of three stories plus basment, Stack House is a playful expression of horizontal volumes, which are stacked on top of and cantilevered from each other.

 

Designer: Atelier RZLBD

The stack is composed of three "blocks". The lower block, containing the public programs, is finished in stucco. The middle block, containing the transitional programs, such as the multi-purpose room on the mezzanine level, is ginished in charred wood. The upper block, containing the most pricate programs, such as the master bedroom and ensuite, is finished in metal paneling. While using stucco, wood, and metal to symbolize the three blocks, the overall dark gray color achieves subtlety in their differentiation, creating a contradictory image of monumentality and intimacy.


Penetrating all these blocks is the quadruple-height staircase with diverse light shafts around it, travalling from the skylights all the way down to the basement. Rooms on different level abut this extreme vertical void at the center, eithter closed to be seperated or opened to be combined. Located between the ground floor and the second floor, the multi-purpose room is a diafonal extension of the living room below and across as well as a distinct gathering space shared by the three bedrooms on the second floor. From the living room, this diagonal sightline continues to the transparent wine cellar and the feature garden in the basement. Unlike the clear delineation of the blocks on the exterior, the interior is a vertical labyrinth around the staircase, generating a constant motion either in body, eye, or mind, throughtout the entire stack of the house.


Located in Forest Hill neighborhood in Toronto, the stacked profile of the house is well scaled to the surrounding, its face with a pitched roof blending and provoking at the same time. Simultaneously, the monotonous, dark presence evokes a sense of monumentality, hinting at more fluid and undefined spatial boundaries inside. While complying with all the regualtions, the house rejects the homogenous conception of the majority of (residential) architecture in the city, siggesting an alternative typology; it creates an unorthodox form that reclaims the free nature of an architectural space, while maintaining and dramatizing the spatial order that unifies the interior and exterior complexity.

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