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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

Redeveloper Apartment in Ottawa, Ontario by Kariouk Associates

November 9th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: Kariouk Associates

Re-developer Condominium

This project called for the rethinking of an 850 square-foot apartment on the seventeenth floor of a new condominium building in the city’s downtown core.  The slogan employed by the developer for marketing this building championed the apartments as “…statements of modern, urban living.”  This cliché of developers has come to describe small apartments that feature the very same suburban spatial logic of segregated spaces.

Images Courtesy Photolux Studio (Christian Lalonde)

  • Architect: Kariouk Associates
  • Name of Project: Redeveloper Apartment
  • Location: Ottawa, Ontario
  • Project Dates: 2010-2011
  • Task: To re-develop a developer’s “model” condominium suite
  • Photography: Photolux Studio (Christian Lalonde)
  • Software used: Photoshop, FormZ, and AutoCAD

Interior View (Images Courtesy Photolux Studio (Christian Lalonde))

  • Team: Paul duBellet Kariouk (Principal) with Frederic Carrier, Chris Davis (Senior Design Associate), Todd Duckworth, Sarah Fleming (Design Associates)
  • General Contracting: Timber Wolf Developments (Donald Thom)
  • Custom Glass: Verval
  • Custom Hardware and Fittings: Graham Beard, Steven Tremblay
  • Woodwork: J.P. Yelle Custom Furniture
  • Tile Work: Preston Tile


Bedroom (Images Courtesy Photolux Studio (Christian Lalonde))

But whereas a suburban home at least affords larger living spaces, the high cost of urban real estate results in spaces made to be a fraction of the size that must then be shoe-horned into small footprints; moreover, the urban counterparts are generally made yet smaller by large concrete columns, as well as mechanical and electrical runs that must service the entire building.  The resulting plans generally 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 really just the equivalent of utter predictability and the suppression of individual choices.  Hence, the challenge of this project was to establish what “modern, urban living” could or should be.


Images Courtesy Photolux Studio (Christian Lalonde)

Project Response:

The redesign of this developer unit rejects the model of large homes that segregate  “served” (public) space from “service” (private) spaces; as is clear in the original layout of this unit, most urban apartments simply cannot comfortably create two such distinct types of spaces.  Hence, reasonable “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, service chases, etc.).

Interior View (Images Courtesy Photolux Studio (Christian Lalonde))

Even after the existing partitions of the unit were removed, the resulting interior did not appear spacious due to a jumble of variously shaped, large mechanical units and columns, as well as a wall that ran the length of the unit that at times projected forward as much as a three feet.  The space was too small for the use of multiple features to address each of the many visual encumbrances; the solution required a general “clean up” of the agitated perimeter and a single, primary design move to address all of the columns and mechanical components, deployed in a manner that would not recreate the initial situation of separate rooms each too small to properly function.

Images Courtesy Photolux Studio (Christian Lalonde)

The perimeter was regularized by a continuous floor-to-ceiling wall of cabinetry, which nearly doubled the amount of storage provided in the existing layout.  The form of an ellipse was then used to create enclosures that both concealed the most egregious central mechanical unit and column, as that shape yielded the intended result with the utmost spatial efficiency.  The area left between those two infrastructural items creates a closet.  A differently-proportioned ellipse was used to conceal the remaining column and to create a clothes closet.  To maintain a visually unified interior the same form was then 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 a 270-degree view over the city?)  The two closet ellipses are made of silk stretched to steel frames while the shower is made of curved glass with the same silk over its exterior.

Interior View (Images Courtesy Photolux Studio (Christian Lalonde))

Whereas the initial bathroom (like most bathrooms) required a sort of private circulation space between its fixtures and the shower, the new layout recuperated that “lost” space by  removing the shower from the bathroom altogether.  Without the shower and its attendant circulation space, a toilet and sink are fit into depth of the long storage wall.  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 the keyboard of an electric piano fitted to a drawer are likewise folded into the depth of the storage wall.

Interior View (Images Courtesy Photolux Studio (Christian Lalonde))

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 entire apartment with nuanced delineations of a sleeping area, dining area, and a living area.  Opaque drapery stored within the cabinetry that moves on tracks fit within the ceiling allow for complete visual separation at the rare moments when such privacy is desired.

Interior View (Images Courtesy Photolux Studio (Christian Lalonde))

White porcelain tile is used throughout to further unify the interior, but likewise its reflective properties contribute to an entirely luminous interior.  The tiles extend onto the balcony to visually link it to the interior.  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 that is most often a token condominium feature (ironically fated to become the storage place for bicycles and unused furniture) 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.


Living room (Images Courtesy Photolux Studio (Christian Lalonde))

Interior View (Images Courtesy Photolux Studio (Christian Lalonde))

Aerial view

Existing Redeveloper Plan

Kariouk Redeveloper Plan

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Categories: Apartments, Autocad, FormZ, Photoshop

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