The suburbs are a significant part of architectural history. And we believe it is important to preserve their qualities. For Woodbank—an extensive renovation and addition project—we aligned with the characteristics of an existing and robust 1970s side-split.

Project Name: Woodbank
Studio Name: Giaimo
Toronto, Canada
Photography: Arnaud Marthouret
Project size: 5000 ft2
Site size: 7600 ft2
Completion date: 2016
Building levels: 3

Woodbank by Giaimo - Sheet1
Living Room ©Arnaud Marthouret

Set within an established suburb just outside Toronto, this renovation and addition aims to reassess the original side-split house typology while maintaining an appropriate presence in line with the neighbourhood’s character. This approach differs from the current development in the area, as several original homes are being replaced with tumid versions of their predecessors.

Initiated by the requirement for a 3 car garage, opportunity presented itself to extend this requirement for a growing family to include extended living areas, additional sleeping areas and a renovated lower level unit for additional tenancy.

Woodbank by Giaimo - Sheet2
Kitchen ©Arnaud Marthouret

Situated on a corner lot, the prominent addition anchors the home at one street’s end while buffering it from the more travelled vehicular road. Re-locating the driveway left the primary house face clear of any car activity and exclusive for people.  Both suite entry doors are placed along this face, promoting a more neighbourly connection.

On the inside, the connection between levels typical of a side-split are maintained and enhanced with the addition, which follows a similar spatial and functional logic as the original home. The removal of the flat ceiling allows for the original attic space to form part of the home’s central living areas. This increased volume and visual connection between levels is further enhanced by the newly freed plan.

Woodbank by Giaimo - Sheet3
Front View ©Arnaud Marthouret

Subtle reconsiderations proliferate throughout. The addition and original home is mediated by a superimposed circulation for all occupants while retaining privacy between the lower level unit and main home. The primary entry to the lower level unit was relocated from the rear yard to the main building face. The existing single car garage was re-purposed as interior space and the new garage program was relocated to face the busier vehicular street.

A generous bay window is inserted into the original garage door’s opening. The suburbs are a significant part of our urban and architectural history. The project considers how we can intensify older suburbs by preserving and aligning with its existing characteristics through new and complementary design.


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