The Aldo House by Prototype Design Lab

Designed in 2013 by Prototype Design Lab, this contemporary residence is situated in Southern Ontario in Canada.

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Description by Prototype Design Lab

The site of this project is in a country-feeling area of South Mississauga with small roads and mature trees. The house was designed for a couple of entrepreneurs with fast-paced jobs, who wanted to return home to a retreat-like environment at the end of each day.

The House is broken into three slipping volumes of varying heights and lengths, staggered to respond to site and programmatic conditions. Each one is clad with a different material to hint at its interior function: cumaru wood planks; white quartz; and custom, diamond-shaped corten steel panels. The interior of the house continues the clear lines and filigreed details of the exterior. In addition, the house opens almost completely to the outside on the west elevation. The floor spills out into the landscape in the form of a large deck at the same level of the ground floor, and the landscape is pulled into the house from the west with a living moss wall and linear bamboo garden.

The house is punctured by an atrium that runs the full-length of the house, topped with an equally long skylight. It is through this space that one first enters the house, through a patterned-brass screen. The focus of the atrium is a suspended, sculptural stair that runs parallel to an interior bamboo garden. The risers are solid walnut wood, and protrude seamlessly from a patterned wall punctured with sculptural, cast-aluminum recesses. These rain-drop like pieces are illuminated from within and are designed to feature a collection of small objects.
The rest of the building is developed around this central axis, continuing the game of harmonic volumes. The children’s bedrooms are separated from the master bedroom by a walk-way allowing for two separate wings of two separate functions, all of which is legible from the exterior. In addition, the clients are collectors of contemporary art and required specific wall and lighting requirements for their collection.

The clients wanted large entertaining areas throughout the house. The 20-foot kitchen island is the heart of day-to-day life. It provides the perfect space for informal gatherings, buffet-style meals, cooking and homework. There is a large, pivoting wall that separates the family room from dining room and can be rotated to combine the spaces into one. The kitchen opens up completely onto the deck through the use of a folding glass wall system, the largest of its kind in Southern Ontario.

The Aldo House demonstrates how technology, planning and design can be integrated to produce a comfortable and luxurious yet sustainable family home.The house benefits from several current technological advancements including smart wiring, motorized drapery, a state-of-the art kitchen, LED lighting, and zoned, integrated sound and media throughout. The dimming functions of the individual lights provides additional atmosphere, tailored to the rhythm of the day, the mood or the occasion. The baseboards, door frames and trims are all flush with the walls and separated by shadow joints as well. Much of the hardware for this house was custom designed to continue the minimalist language of the architecture. All of the above are integrated discreetly to work with the natural environment of the house rather than against it.

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- by Matt Watts