Negotiating the steep topography of a lake-side site, this holiday house consists of two volumes stacked on one another. The lower volume nestles into the landscape so that it is barely visible as one first approaches the house.

Photographer: Doublespace Photography
General Contractor: Timberline Custom Homes
Structural Engineer: Jim Thomson
Landscape Design: Gray Landscape Construction

Sky House By Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster - Sheet7
©Doublespace Photography

The upper volume rests on the lower one and on a concrete pier to form both a bridge and a cantilever. This massing strategy allows for increased access and permeability of the site and emphasizes the charged relationship between the building and the ground.

Sky House By Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster - Sheet8
©Doublespace Photography

The upper volume contains living spaces and opens up towards the lake while the lower volume is more enclosed and houses bedrooms.  Responding to the need for accessibility for guests with disabilities, as well as thinking of the clients’ ability to use the building far into the future, a study/bedroom and accessible bathroom are provided on the main level. The roof of the lower bar becomes a terrace allowing elevated views and a direct connection to the living spaces.

The factory-inspired skylights are rotated to admit north light without heat gain while orienting the solar panels due south so the house can generate all of its own power. The combination of vertical skylights and a fully glazed south-facing facade result in a generously daylit interior. A covered walkway shades the main wall of glass from summer sun while admitting lower winter sun to passively heat the dark-dyed concrete floor.

Sky House By Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster - Sheet9
©Doublespace Photography

Simple, low-maintenance, long-life materials are used on the facade, including a reflective standing seam metal roof and a lapped heat-treated (petrified) wood cladding, while the interior is lined with formaldehyde-free plywood. Playful elements are placed throughout from a glazed brick socle for the wood stove, to scattered colourful coat-hooks and a custom undercroft swing-bench.


Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster

Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster are Toronto-based designers, artists and educators who have collaborated since 2003. Together they create spaces and objects that interrupt everyday situations in critically engaging and playful ways.

As a multi-disciplinary practice, they operate at a variety of scales, from temporary installations to permanent public artworks and architectural projects. Their artistic practice focuses on ‘social infrastructures’ which seek to build community by fostering playful interactions in physical space. Their academic research focuses on the role of play in the built environment and alternative methods of documentation as a form of historic preservation. They are the authors of “Growing up Modern: Childhoods in Iconic Homes” (Birkhäuser, 2021).

In 2018 the Architectural League of New York honored their work with the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Designers.

Julia is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Architectural Science at Toronto Metropolitan University.

Formerly, Coryn was an Architect at Herzog & de Meuron and a Project Director at Harry Gugger Studio in Basel, Switzerland. Julia was also an Architect at Herzog & de Meuron, taught design studios at the ETH in Zurich and was an Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo SUNY.

Julia holds a BA(Hons) from the University of Toronto and a Master of Architecture from the University of British Columbia. Coryn has a BA(Hons) from the University of Toronto and earned his Master of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a concentration in Visual Arts where he was a teaching assistant to Joan Jonas, Ute Meta Bauer, Antoni Muntadas and Krzysztof Wodiczko.

Together they have exhibited in galleries, produced temporary outdoor installations and realized permanent public artworks in Canada, USA, Germany, France, Italy and South Korea, including solo exhibitions at Vtape in Toronto and the Weissenhofwerkstatt in Stuttgart, Germany.

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