We're happy that as the residential design industry grows in Calgary, local practitioners have started to share their knowledge and experience with each other. The Modern Architecture + Design Society Home Tour was a great leap forward, where we got to experience first-hand some of the innovations our fellow designers have put to use.
Our first stop on the home tour was in Bridgeland (a community we are working in frequently) to visit a project on a narrow lot along 4th Avenue designed by KaBeN. Slim parcels have their own challenges, but KaBeN took on another by designing a sustainable house.
We were pleasantly surprised by the materiality of the house: the cork floors, plywood on the walls upstairs, oak on the ceilings, etc. The main floor was polished concrete, while the upper floor was cork—a great example of using materials to differentiate between public and private spaces. The narrow 22' lot meant that the interior would be quite tight, so partitions on the main were kept to a minimum and spaces, such as the kitchen, was delineated using bulkheads.
Our next stop was the reFAB design by HouseBrand, which was a project designed for aging-in-place. John Brown is addressing a growing market for individuals who do not want to move every time their life changes.
One of the features we loved most about the design was the built-in millwork that separates rooms instead of stud-walls. The house has core walls for mechanical systems, but otherwise has a modular room design that allows for alternative layouts as needs change without major renovation. We also liked the clever use of cost-effective Hardie-board cladding, which was tiered in gradients of grey to add more variety and tone to the exterior.
Next we visited RNDSQR in their show home in Marda Loop. They're experimenting with interior and exterior textures to add complexity to clean, streamlined designs. Exteriors feature natural-tinted cedar shakes on west-fasting facades while the interior showcases an patterned steel screen to act as a guard for the stairs and geometric tiles on walls and bathroom counters tops.
Stay tuned for our next post too see the other houses!