40R Laneway House by Superkul: Transformation of A Laneway Building into A Single-Family Residence

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With 805 SF in size, this laneway building is transformed by Superkul into a single-family residence based on the request of owners who interested in the storied past of the ramshackle structure and smaller-footprint living. 40R Laneway House is located in Toronto, purchased by its current owners in 2006.


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Besides converting the laneway building into a single-family residence, the owners also want to retain the character of the existing building as much as possible. This house is built to the property line on a 40′×18′ lot on three sides.

The design strategy for this transformation project draws additional air, light, and also views from above due to the current zoning regulations that don’t allow for additional openings in walls. There is also a light shaft topped by operable skylights that runs the west wall’s entire length and interrupted by a second-floor courtyard only.

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The shaft brings daily light down to the ground floor of the house and provides passive ventilation at the same time. The modestly scaled glass-and-wood-wrapped courtyard separates two bedrooms on the upper level to facilitate good privacy.

With its awesome primary view of the sky, a small stair that can be accessed from the courtyard leads to the two separate roof gardens, offering stunning vistas of the midtown Toronto neighborhood.



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On the building, the existing rusted steel cladding panels are cataloged before removed. These panels are brake-formed with a flat-lock seam then, reinstalled as the primary skin of the building. The knotty cedar is used as evocative warm tones of the rusted steel and a deliberate contrast against the compelling, which also stains the absorptive sooty black that clads the building’s remainder.


40R Laneway House Gallery


Photography: Tom Arban / Lorne Bridgman