Humber Residence by Batay-Csorba Architects

Humber Residence by Batay-Csorba Architects

Curated by Aline Chahine | 
December 11, 2023
| Est. Reading: 3 minutes
Project Details:
Address: Toronto
Year: 2023
Area: 195 sq.m.

Batay-Csorba Architects introduce the Humber Residence, a new infill project in Toronto's Baby Point neighbourhood. Bordered to the west by the winding Humber River, many houses in the Baby Point area enjoy sought-after views of the river valley. Obtaining this view and taking advantage of the small 65’x20’ pie-shaped corner lot became coinciding drivers determining the spatial organization and hierarchy.

Humber Residence by Batay-Csorba Architects
Photograph © Doublespace Photography

Unlike the typical narrow Toronto lots, being on a corner site allowed for far more freedom to bring natural light into the various living spaces and, in this case, the long side of the site also happened to be the one facing the distant Humber River. This lent the opportunity to work in sections to devise a dynamic space that not only opened the house up to let light in, but soared up to a lookout point to see over adjacent buildings to the river.

Here, rather than using punctual light wells to bring in light, as is customary in narrow lots, the three-storey circulation is isolated and left open, stretching through a grand three-storey atrium space to arrive at a sheltered outdoor balcony carved out beneath the sloping roof. A transition of materials demarcates the significance of this space within the home, while highlighting the visual connectivity between it and the other major public spaces.

Humber Residence by Batay-Csorba Architects
Photograph © Doublespace Photography

Measuring 195m² (2,000 sq.ft.), the Ravine house is a modest three-bedroom home by today’s standards. With a compact building footprint, each room is resolutely designed to be well-proportioned and comfortable, but not excessive.

Corridors and stairwells are minimized, there are no walk-in closets, pantries, or unused bonus rooms, bedrooms are compact with space-saving built in furniture and wardrobes, laundry is built in off the circulation hall, and every square inch of space is thoughtfully designed and utilized to respond to the site’s compact circumstances. And yet, there are beautifully considered architectural details that speak of quality, attention, and care. A monumental and voluminous sense of space is created not with vast room sizes or uninhabited rooms, but by exploring verticality as its central organizing principle, where spaces are interlocked and combined to generate multi-layered programmed spaces akin to a stacked tree house.

Humber Residence by Batay-Csorba Architects
Photograph © Doublespace Photography

Tucked into the roof peak, above the children’s bedrooms, are hidden reading lofts accessed by custom access ladders.

Overlooking the primary bedroom is a small office and music studio. The home is focused around a dramatic central three-story wood clad lightwell, functioning as both a light monitor, a ventilation chimney that cools the home, and vertical circulation. At the top, large south facing doors open onto a covered roof deck with panoramic views of the Humber River, and a Japanese soaking tub for taking it all in. Southern light is collected within the wooden liner, illuminating the interior in a warm and calming amber glow.

The exterior speaks to the context, clad in old historical buff yellow brick in varying banded coursing patterns across the facades and a steep pitched roof. The front entry and third floor deck are carved from brick with contrasting black sintered stone panels . The interior is a casual and affordable palette of natural materials for an anti-museum aesthetic, with recycled strip plank wood flooring, Baltic birch paneling, terrazzo, and concrete.

For construction needs in the Greater Toronto Area, consider reaching out to Wellcore, a comprehensive construction company. Specializing in custom home construction, home additions, and gut renovations, Wellcore caters to homeowners aiming to expand their living space and enhance property value.

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