Humber Residence: Compact Elegance & River Views

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Project Info

Location: Toronto Ontario, Canada
Area: 2,000 sft
Photography: Doublespace Photography
Status: Completed, 2023

Toronto, Canada is renowned for its stunning landscapes and scenic river views, but it takes an architect’s keen eye to transform a modest corner lot into a masterpiece like the Humber Residence. Batay-Csorba Architects have breathed life into this compact 65’x20′ piece of land, crafting a dwelling that not only optimizes space but offers breathtaking vistas of the Humber River. Let’s embark on a journey through this architectural marvel.

Maximizing Natural Light and River Views

Unlike the typical narrow Toronto lots, the Humber Residence’s corner location provided an advantage – ample natural light and a view of the distant Humber River. Instead of relying on punctual light wells, the architects took a different approach. A three-story circulation space was isolated and left open, creating a grand atrium stretching through the house. This unique design not only floods the interior with light but also leads to a sheltered outdoor balcony beneath the sloping roof. The transition of materials in this space emphasizes its significance within the home, creating a visual connection to other public areas.

A Compact Masterpiece

Measuring 195m² (2,000 sq.ft.), the Humber Residence is a testament to efficient design. In a world of sprawling homes with excesses, this three-bedroom dwelling embraces compactness. Every room is thoughtfully designed for comfort and functionality. Walk-in closets and unused bonus rooms are absent. Bedrooms feature space-saving built-in furniture and wardrobes. The laundry area is efficiently integrated into the circulation hall. Every square inch serves a purpose.

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Verticality as the Organizing Principle

The architects eschewed vast room sizes in favor of verticality. The Humber Residence boasts multi-layered programmed spaces, reminiscent of a stacked treehouse. Hidden reading lofts above the children’s bedrooms add a touch of whimsy. A small office and music studio overlook the primary bedroom. The heart of the home is a dramatic three-story wood-clad lightwell, serving as a light monitor, ventilation chimney, and vertical circulation. At the top, south-facing doors open onto a covered roof deck with panoramic views of the Humber River, complete with a Japanese soaking tub.

Aesthetic Harmony Inside and Out

The exterior of the Humber Residence pays homage to its historical surroundings, clad in old historical buff yellow brick. The front entry and third-floor deck stand out with contrasting black sintered stone panels. Inside, the design palette exudes a casual and affordable elegance. Natural materials like recycled strip plank wood flooring, Baltic birch paneling, terrazzo, and concrete create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The Humber Residence is an anti-museum, where every detail speaks of quality, attention, and care.

In conclusion, the Humber Residence stands as a testament to the architectural genius of Batay-Csorba Architects. This compact gem maximizes natural light and river views, utilizes space efficiently, and embraces verticality as its central organizing principle. It’s not just a house; it’s a work of art that harmoniously blends with its historical context and offers an inviting, comfortable living space.

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