Located in the Montreal’s Southwest neighborhood, this detached dwelling entitled “Holy Cross House” hides a rich spatial complexity behind its tough working class façade. Turning to the neighbourhood’s post-war veteran’s home as its formal point of departure, the architects at TBA set out to make a project that simultaneously fits in and stands out from its heterogeneous context without sacrificing the contemporary nature of the project. The principal challenge lay in bringing light to the living spaces given the tight nature of the lot and the availability of direct sunlight limited to its center.

By flipping the traditional vertical hierarchy found in most two storey homes and by carving out a series of spaces from the building’s volume, the project was able to address the need for exposure to direct light and concerns about maintaining privacy. By bringing the living spaces upstairs, the house maximizes direct sunlight where it is needed most.  One of the most striking features of the residence is the central outdoor courtyard, created to funnel light all the way down to the lowest level.

On the exterior, the house is restrained, light and monochromatic, emphasizing overall form over components and details. To unify the shape, the architects sought a material in a natural color that could serve as both roofing and wall cladding– a standing seam aluminum cladding. Flat concrete panels painted to match the color of the metal cladding were used as subtle accents around doors and windows. In contrast to the cool vertical surfaces, many terraces are clad in warm Ipé decking, highlighting these outdoor extensions of the living spaces. [Photos and information provided via e-mail by TBA]