Integral House by Shim-Sutcliffe Architects
Dr. James Stewart is a math professor as well as a former violinist with the Hamilton Symphony Orchestra near Toronto, Ontario. He chose Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe, or Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, to create a residence for him in Rosedale, a neighborhood in Toronto.
But it wasn’t just any residence that he wanted. He wanted a private concert hall with lots of curves. To make it slightly easier for the architects, he gave them unprecedented freedom with no schedule and absolutely no design restrictions. A decade and $24 million US later, an 18,000 sq ft home called The Integral House was completed.
From the architects: “This project creates a new place for architecture, music and performance in Toronto at the edge of one of its verdant ravines. Curvilinear, undulating glass walls with syncopated oak fins are used to shape a large gathering space where building and landscape are intertwined. The journey through the house parallels the experience of descending the ravine slope taking advantage of the sectional qualities of the site and amplify the journey through the project”
Sustainability is integrated into the project.
Twenty-three geothermal pipes provide heating and cooling for the main performance space and rest of the residence beneath the entry driveway. The demands of an assembly space for larger events and gatherings made it necessary to find an approach that is simultaneously energy efficient and also extremely quiet both inside and outside given its prime location in the heart of a large urban metropolis and along a ravine edge. The project’s extensive green roof reduces the heat as well as being a visual feature viewed from many parts of the project. The vertical wooden fins provide sun shading on the exterior as well as contributing to the acoustical performance of the performance space on the interior. Materials have been selected for their aesthetic contribution as well as their enduring qualities based on life cycle costing calculations.