|Type of Residence||Triplex Residential|
|Built Surface||3600 Square Feet|
|Contactor||Alva Roy Architects|
Alva Roy is a residential and commercial architect in Toronto. It has extensive project experience with institutional projects and complex urban town environments.
Formed in 2003, the architecture firm has been able to amass over 115 projects of which 89 were located in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. 30 of these projects were in Ontario, Canada. The Brother’s Residence is a project in Toronto, Ontario that was completed at the end of the pandemic year 2020.
Table of Contents
- The Neighborhood
- The Brother’s Residence: A Multi-Unit Project
- The Interior Space
- The Main Floor and the Master Bedroom
- The Second and Third Floors
- The Natural Environment
- The Finishing Touches
- The Architect
Situated near Harbord Street in Toronto, the Harbord area is described as the grittier side of Toronto’s Annex neighborhood, located between Spadina and Bathurst street. The Annex is generally recognized as a fraternity zone given its proximity to the University of Toronto.
Between the 1920s and 1960s, the Harbord area between Ossington and Spadina was home to many Jewish residents. Through the mid-1960s and 1970s, Harbord would also become the nexus for University of Toronto students. The community would inspire the growth of indie cafes, restaurants, and bookstores. The Annex, also residential, was known for its tall trees, and large Victorian and Edwardian era homes, built between 1880 and the early 1900s. The ’50s and ’60s would see the evolution to mid-rise and high-rise apartments, developed in a major architectural style called internationalism (1920s, 1930s) with close similarities to modernism and modern architecture.
The Brother’s Residence: A Multi-Unit Project
The Brother’s Residence triplex is a multi-unit building that complements nicely with low-rise residential and commercial buildings that are now popular in much of the Harbord Street area.
The area surrounding Harbord is experiencing rapid gentrification with new multi-unit condominium projects which incorporate housing and new retail operations. The area has been largely upper-middle-class and family-friendly but real estate prices over the last five to six years in Toronto (2015-2020) have seen real estate prices soaring. There is a general risk that some displacement has occurred as current residents sell long-held properties as an opportunity to down-size or move to more rural towns as office/workplaces shift or consider hybrid workplace models.
The Harbord area still has an excellent east-west cycling route within the city of Toronto and is known as a massive dog-loving community.
The Interior Space
The real benefit comes from interiors that meet the functional needs of each brother in the family. Coming in at 3600 square feet, the multi-unit drowns in well-lit living spaces which demonstrate planning efficiency across four levels and 3 liveable units.
To meet building and fire codes with the City of Toronto, the multi-unit has separate entry and exit points which are supported by separate laundry and furnace rooms.
The Main Floor and the Master Bedroom
The lowest level of this triplex has the main floor with three bedrooms, a master bedroom, main and walkout entry points, kitchen, living, dining, and office space. A master bedroom unfolds out to the courtyard, situated below street level, balancing the building’s design with greenery.
The Second and Third Floors
The second and third floors are separately occupied by two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, living, dining, mechanical room, and laundry facilities. There is a private spacious balcony on the top floor which allows sunlight to flood into the master suite.
The Natural Environment
The architects have taken special care to develop a multi-unit that integrates nicely foliage and the neighborhood streetscape. The three-story structure uses natural materials that promote the building facade, making it impossible to look at.
The building’s six sides use sawed Eramosa stone. This is a hard-class limestone that can be used for interior and exterior applications. The color variety of this limestone can vary from very dark brown to light grey.
The Brother’s Residence also uses Shou Sugi Ban cedarwood, which is a popular treatment for contemporary exteriors and indoor furnishings. It is a method to treat cedar siding for weather-proofing. This technique, originating in 18th century Japan, is generally used to char a wood surface into a deep charcoal-black.
The final touches include a complement of porcelain floor tiles with anodized aluminum screen walls which were laser-cut.
The Finishing Touches
We could not help but notice interior touches. Interior stairs are designed from oak panels. Floors and handrails are matched by pre-engineered oak and support by skylights which allow natural light to flood through reservoirs that allow the brothers to travel within the functionally connected triplex.
The multi-unit residence does not ignore the urban context and provides outdoor access. Mid-century modern or contemporary builds always consider the outdoor environment as an extension or additional living space.
A rear-balcony off the main floor, lower-level courtyard, and front-facing terrace of the third-floor master suite ensure private outdoor relaxation. Outdoor views of the neighborhood can be enjoyed, as well, from the large windows within interior locations with
Alva Roy, a recent immigrant, came to Canada in 2010. He received his Masters’s Degree in architecture from AZAD University of Tehran. In 2003, he founded AX Architects, a Tehran/Dubai-based practice, securing clients in Europe and the Middle East.
Upon arrival to Canada, he obtained his professional architectural license and was recognized as a Canadian design practice. As such, he is a registered architect with the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), is a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (MRAIC), and is a member of the Toronto Society of Architects. His internship in Sharestan allowed him to work on high-rise residential and institutional projects.
He is recognized for his work on the Garden Void House, Exhibition Hall for Homa 2, and the BMW Showroom in Tehran.