29 Hawthorn Avenue is a prime example of the early 20th-Century Victorian housing stock in Toronto’s South Rosedale Heritage District. The historic home sits on a shortened site, constrained at the rear by the near proximity to Castle Frank Road. SvN was retained to work with the owners, a growing family, to re-think the interior to accommodate their changing needs and desire to live in a contemporary space.
The home’s heritage designation limited the modifications that could be made to the exterior, thus the exercise became one of carving out new spaces from the existing interior and integrating the home more completely with it’s intimate rear garden through a re-fenestration and addition to the rear elevation. The design solution re-orients the central stair to create a vertical circulation spine across the north-south centre axis of the plan. The new stacked stairs separate the entertaining and public areas from the family / living areas. New floor to ceiling commercial glazing at the periphery brings daylight into the depths of the previously darkened central spaces and a double-height atrium serves the double function of simulating providing a sensation of increased height and volume in the family spaces and providing daylight to the kitchen. The design also incorporated both active and passive sustainable design solutions into the architectural and mechanical solution. High operable clerestory windows drive passive ventilation, high-albedo roofing minimizes heat gain, and planned green roofs minimize stormwater runoff.