As property values in metropolitan areas continue their prohibitive rise, young urban families are always on the hunt for creative affordable living solutions. Founding partners of Canadian architecture firm Studio Junction, Christine Ho Ping Kong and Peter Tan designed their own home in Toronto to explore how they might use ancient architecture to transform urban infill into habitable plots, creating their own brand of urban alchemy.
Photography by Rob Fiocca.
Above: The greatest challenge to building a home on an urban infill site is the potential lack of natural daylight. Studio Junction found inspiration in the ancient form of courtyard housing to solve the problem on their site in a mixed-use industrial neighborhood and designed two courtyards; one at ground level and the other on the second floor. The light from the secondary courtyard brings natural daylight into the bathroom and laundry on the second floor as well into the office on the first floor.
Above: The courtyard on the ground level separates the house from the office studio, creating a communal space for both structures and functioning as the primary source of natural daylight.
Above: The living room, kitchen, and dining area all look onto the courtyard.
Above: A view from the house across the courtyard into the couple's studio workshop.
Above: The studio workshop has two sources of natural daylight; borrowed light from the communal courtyard, and light from a continuous skylight above.
Above: The couple run their architecture practice from this office, which is top-lit from the secondary courtyard at the rear of the house.
Above: Tan, a woodworker as well as an architect, built the majority of this finely crafted house.
Above: The second floor courtyard catches the sun.
Above: Green plants thrive with light from the secondary courtyard and moist air from the shower.
Above: Japanese shoji style screens allow the light from the courtyard to come through the bathroom and into the hallway.
Above: A built in bed and storage divide the children's room from the master bedroom. A sliding partiton within the bed provides easy access in both directions. For more innovative children's beds, see 10 Favorites: Creative Beds for Children.
Above: The original contractor warehouse that sat on the typical infill site in a mixed-use industrial Toronto neighborhood. Image via Dwell.
Above: Studio Junction's Courtyard House under construction. Image via Dwell.
For another creative affordable urban living solution where Remodelista Architect and Designer Directory member Elizabeth Roberts helps two families share one house, see The Architect is In: Elizabeth Roberts Adds Value in Brooklyn.