St. Catharines, Ontario
Located on a corner at the base of the Niagara Escarpment in St. Catharines, "For Two on the Hill" completed in 2009, was built on a vacant lot and is a good example of site infilling residential principles. The geography of the site posed many challenging opportunities, the natural geology consisted of loose shale and limestone founding rock formations; the site topography consisted of challenging slopes on each face of the respective streets, thus creating interesting opportunities from a constructability perspective but also from a grading elevation perspective.
The resultant conveys a modern home design cut into the slopes of the hill giving the perception the 2nd storey is floating above a podium of stone with a full walkout at the lower level elevation.
For Two on the Hill incorporates environmentally sustainable design standards, including:
- Higher heat reflective roof membrane properties and higher insultation values in both the roof and the wall assemblies, R54 and R40 respectively
- High performance glazing systems, low E, Argon, tinted and reflective glass system, known as a warm window with low thermal bridge characteristics. Minimizing cold and heat transfer to interior spaces.
- South facing orientation, takes advantage of full natural day lighting through large expanse glazing and natural ventilation via westerly winds
- Shading devices such as roof overhangs and summer shade sails on both south and west facades of the home assist in shading and the reduction of heat gain.
- Landscaping is used for both sound and solar shading mitigation along south facing facade. Landscaping open space includes permeable materials such as shrubs, trees, grasses and river rock stone.
- Distinctive courtyard entrance and rear yard walk out features with natural stone retentions walls characteristic of the escarpment features.
- Two car garages have been recessed with second floor cantilevered over garage creating covered main entrance feature and scaling device to front facade.
- Home incorporates 10KW MicroFit solar panels generating electricity back to the grid and reducing the homes carbon footprint.
- Hot water high efficiency combination boiler system providing radiant in floor and in slab heating and domestic water on demand throughout the home.
- Rough in for rain water harvesting and capture for irrigation
- Incorporates both exterior and interior LED lighting and exterior solar powered landscape lighting
- High efficiency Energy Star appliances and HVAC systems with automated controls including season energy efficiency ratio, low flow plumbing fixtures, and water closets for water conservation
- The design characteristics promote creative and high-quality architecture
- A good example of compliance with both Municipal and Regional Smart Growth Principles
The project was successful in enhancing Smart Growth Principles through its usage of exterior finishes, materiality, and colour, while exhibiting an appropriate character, function, form, street scale, fit and compatibility within its existing sub-urban residential fabric. Through a significant improvement to its building design characteristics and thus giving it the ability to foster a distinct, readily identifiable consistent and attractive street edge with quality landscaping, and facade lighting. It contributed towards the creation of a walkable neighbourhood character; as the project encourages and strengthens the already walkable characteristics of its community and residential neighbourhood by demonstrating a safe and clear pedestrian access via a new walkway - pedestrian oriented and encourages an interface with the public and private realm. An added sense of building permeability is seen via an abundant use of fenestration. A reduced setback from the street via a minor variance places the home closer to the street line thus embracing the public and pedestrian realm.
The improved quality of public space via added quality landscaping, segmented facades by the use of windows, roof overhang lines and architectural building features expresses a hierarchy of architectural form that is balanced yet distinct with its facade treatment.
*Winner of the 2013 Niagara Community Design Architecture Award*