Russell Hill House
The Russell Hill house is a semi-detached single family home renovation in Toronto’s Russell Hill Neighborhood. The main mandate of the project was to create a space where the clients – a professional couple with college-age children -- could display their large collection of Canadian Inuit Art.
The existing home originally had flat, low ceilings on the ground floor with an under-utilized pitched attic space above. In lieu of adding an addition, the architect’s aim was to open up the space and better-use the existing volume of the house. The ground floor ceiling was removed and a mezzanine added, requiring substantial structural work. The mezzanine now serves as a bright and airy office space overlooking the living area where the clients’ impressive art collection is displayed. The crisp white palette and sharp geometry references the bright landscape of the arctic where the clients have travelled extensively.
The interiors adhere to classic gallery conventions -- the architecture of the space becomes a clean backdrop to feature the artwork. Careful attention to details and lighting and subtle finishes accentuate the asymmetric shapes of the architectural interventions, adding drama to the space without competing against the client’s collection. Strategically placed reveals and a restrained use of texture create interest and points of focus within the house. This adds to the project’s rich and complex design language, something not often found in traditional “white box” art spaces.