Bézier Curve House began as the initiative of custom-home builder Farhad Kazmian, owner of Abond Homes, to replace his family’s home in Toronto’s Lawrence Park neighbourhood. His desire was a family home that would also serve as a showpiece for his business. In particular, Kazmian wanted a house that would be the antithesis of the boxy fishbowl. Searching for “contemporary house with sloped roof,” he discovered Tania Bortolotto and her eponymous studio’s spirited and sculptural style.
Bortolotto’s starting point for the design was the original house’s atypical front courtyard. The lushly landscaped oasis with a lap pool had grown on the family. To preserve and make the most of this remarkably private retreat, Bortolotto began with an L-shaped building, with a chalet-style elevation on the west side, that balances the courtyard on the right. The elevation’s peak forms a complementary relationship with the Tudor-revival style home adjacent.
Employing Grasshopper architectural modelling software, the architects designed a softly curved roof that extends outward from the straight edge of the A-frame and cradles the courtyard and front door in three dimensions. A Bézier curve, the roof has an organic feeling that softens the overall form of the building. Clad with hand-laid, diamond-shaped zinc shingles, the material simultaneously recalls a shimmering reptilian body while also drawing connections with neighbouring slate roofs. In the valley above the doorway, a series of eye-catching, twisted zinc snow guards form a protective barrier and highlight the dip in the roof.
To economically construct the roof design, the team turned to old world techniques. Its structure was constructed using evenly spaced wood joists that were tied and pulled to their maximum tension, thereby fanning them into a natural curve. At the key juncture, the beautiful structure was left exposed and wrapped in red oak veneer, creating a sculptural moment that recalls a gothic cathedral while also setting up other interior details. For example, a curved central staircase picks up on the rhythm of the roof rafters and the second floor hardwood flooring was laid at the same angle as the stair and rafters to splay through the home’s private spaces. Altogether, these interior details create a feeling of movement that washes through the house.
The expansive A-frame window on the second floor is also a feat of careful design and engineering. The connection points for its substantial load are tucked in a robust frame that is then hidden by tapered fins giving the frontal elevation the illusion of lightness. This window provides the family a playful element from which to communicate with the neighbourhood. They often leave the lights on at night and create seasonal displays, inviting neighbours and passersby to stop and appreciate views into the home’s dynamic architecture.
Kazmian now has the ideal family home, and an inspiring showcase for his business. Bézier Curve House stands as a bold expression of innovation, custom design and contextual contemporary architecture.