The Brick House at 196 Manor Rd East seeks to establish a coherent dialogue with the heritage fabric of Manor Rd and the new city park that has recently been completed to the west of the property. The house has a unique position on the north side of the street since it’s the first house visible when approaching from Mt. Pleasant Rd.

Project Name: 196 Manor Rd
Studio Name: Gabriel Fain Architects
Location: Toronto, Canada
Photography: Dylan Tedaldi

196 Manor Rd by Gabriel Fain Architects - Sheet1
Backyard ©Dylan Tedaldi

The design has emerged from lengthy discussions with neighbours, politicians and city officials and has resulted in a house that intelligently responds to the unique challenges of the lot.

Over the last 10-15 years many new houses have been built on Manor Rd East. In almost every case, these houses have absolutely no sensitivity and relation to the existing mid-century built fabric in the area. They are typically walk-up style houses clad in grey and white stucco with hints of stone with an integral garage at grade.

196 Manor Rd by Gabriel Fain Architects - Sheet2
Outdoor View ©Dylan Tedaldi

From the street, these houses appear very tall and have little connection to the street. The Brick House seeks to re-interpret the language of the mid-century traditional brick houses and return to a scale that is more appropriate for the neighbourhood.

Following extensive discussions with the neighbour to the east – it was decided that the ground floor should setback so as to provide unobstructed views of the park. The owners did not want to place an unsighltly garage at grade so the decision was made to create a covered car-port and cantilever the second floor bedrooms 15’ beyond the ground floor. This also allowed the front of the house to create a consistent street wall with adjacent houses.

196 Manor Rd by Gabriel Fain Architects - Sheet3
Upper Floor ©Dylan Tedaldi

Even with the cantilever, the design of the south elevation is based on a specific response to the context. The brick houses on the street were carefully analyzed for their proportions and materiality. These features were then synthesized into the composition of the facades of the house. The design becomes a hybrid between a traditional and contemporary style house.

The Brick House is an exercise in architectural restraint and respect. By using the language given to us by the context – we’ve developed a building that will blend in rather than stand out from its surroundings over the course of years to come.

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