A Laser Cut Metal Screen On A Mid-Century Swell Dwell

Riverdale / Playter Estates

Welcome to The Tales From Tennis Crescent, where I share my journey of re-inventing a 1960s super-solid utilitarian plain-jane duplex on Tennis Crescent in Riverdale.

Lately, I've been Obsessed With An Exterior Metal Facade, as I try make my semi-detached house – with which I Navigated The Committee Of Adjustment and got approvals to add an extension and third floor – become a contemporary slice of Canadian architecture.


With a 25 year history in Toronto's Adaptive Reuse and Conversion market (being part of development teams which completed about a dozen projects including The Button Factory, and The Movie House) I'm exploring how to impart my own point of view on this property while respecting its architectural roots. As mass-produced as my house was, I don't want to discard its heritage like it doesn't matter. Because it does. My efficiently designed and produced 1961 concrete block and brick duplex represents an iconic Canadian homestead. Mass produced in the 60s and 70s, these solid, pragmatic shelters that cover the country's urban landscape are structurally superior to much of Toronto's housing stock, including much of the new production-based housing today. What it lacks – like insulation for example – I'll be addressing in its transformation as I incorporate modern building components in a contemporary way.

In my initial design – see below – I got the exterior form of the property right but I wasn't loving my material choices, not for dislike but for their increasingly common use. I love the 'Dwell look', but there are many new ways to create a facade today, and I want to experiment with the concept.



Meeting with Paul Dowsett and his design team at SustainableTO, I communicated my desire for a laser cut metal frame attached to the face of the house, where I could clip on metal screens. I'm fascinated with the 6 Layers Of A Building – including how essential each layer is as a component to the greater whole and its contribution to the value of a property. Given the 'skin' of a building typically changes and evolves over time, I'd like to create a framework by which this can be facilitated with a greater ease.

As a result, the current concept – see below – is to attach an elevated metal frame to the front of the house, whereby panels of different materials can be attached. The panels can be interchangeable, over time – or by season (and festive) – as my point of view evolves and as I use this newfound 'canvas' to create art or sculpture (as I am wont to do). In the images below, corten steel laser cut in a 70s floral motif ground the yellow brick structure, creating a visual contrast while complementing its 60s pedigree. On the front facade, the lower existing window of the first floor unit situated under the new box bay window and the bank of windows on the third floor are 'framed' in metal. At the top, four laser cut panels slide in line to leave three window panels exposed, creating maximum passive heat gain during the winter months, while in the summer months they slide across to filter the light. I'm excited by this, even though the idea is still gestating. 


Here's the rear elevation. The Garden Suite will retain it's original footprint but enjoy an outdoor Garden Room underneath the new rear second and third floor addition.



Don't you love?

How lucky am I? Stay tuned for more from The Tales From Tennis Crescent!

~  Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-8000

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Tales From Tennis Crescent

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