This project challenges what “modern, urban living” could or should be.
The developer for a new condominium building in Ottawa championed the apartments as “…statements of modern, urban living.” In reality, this marketing cliché merely describes small apartments featuring the suburban spatial logic of segregated spaces. But whereas suburban homes afford larger living spaces, costly urban real estate results in spaces made to be a fraction of the size that are shoe-horned into small footprints; moreover, these spaces are generally made yet smaller by large concrete columns and mechanical and electrical runs.
The resulting plans often allow only a single furniture arrangement and therefore only a single way for the space to be inhabited, ironically suggesting that “modern, urban living” is simply the equivalent of predictability.
This re-design of one of the 850 square-foot condominium suites rejects the model of segregating “served” (public) space from “service” (private) spaces. Here, “modern, urban living,” in an architectural sense, involves the dynamic and poetic use of poché, the conventional "service space" of any home (bathrooms, storage, closets, structure, chases, etc.).
After the existing partitions were removed, the resulting interior remained littered with large mechanical units and columns, as well as a highly irregular wall that created pockets as deep as three feet. In response, the perimeter was regularized by a continuous floor-to-ceiling wall of cabinetry. Elliptical volumes were then used to conceal the mechanical units and columns, as that shape yielded the intended result with the utmost spatial efficiency. These ellipses, made of silk stretched over steel frames, are used as closets. To maintain a visually unified interior, an elliptical form, this time made of curved glass covered with the same silk, was used to create the shower. Thus, the shower, generally one of the most private of spaces, becomes the focal point of the unit. (How many apartments can boast a shower with 270-degree views of the city?)
A toilet and sink are nestled into the long storage wall, and, near the entry, a urinal (bathroom technology engineered to minimize splashing) is the solution to providing a drinking bowl for a very large dog with sloppy drinking habits. A “study” housing a work station, shelving, and an electric piano are likewise enclosed in this wall.
While the location of the ellipse housing the mechanical unit was predetermined, the second fabric ellipse and the shower ellipse are calibrated to inflect the movement throughout the apartment with nuanced delineations of sleeping, dining, and living areas. Drapery stored within the cabinetry that moves on ceiling tracks allows for visual separation at the rare moments when such privacy is desired.
A “garden” of fibre-optic acrylic rods that sway and make sounds in the manner of reeds is placed around the edges of the balcony. Thus, the balcony, most often a token condominium feature, here creates a vital outdoor living room whose garden aspect, even in the winter, creates a serene visual counterpoint to the bustle of the city beyond and below.
Material Used :
1. Rubinet – Shower Fixture, Soup Dispenser
2. KWC – Kitchen Sink Faucet
3. Lotte – Radianz Quartz
4. Franke – Kitchen Sink
5. Sub-Zero – Fridge
6. Porter & Charles – Stove
7. American Standard – Sink Faucet
8. Kohler – Toilet
9. Juno – All Track Lighting