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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

TETRIS HOUSE in Toronto by Reza Aliabadi [rzlbd]


 
October 19th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Reza Aliabadi [rzlbd]

We have all played the game “Tetris” at least once in our lives. We were mesmerized by the magic of geometry and rewarded by our efficiency. For rzlbd Tetris is not just a game of block arrangement and fast performance, but it is a quest of effective design. If a designer of space was as structured as Tetris blocks, there would be virtually zero wasted space within a building.

Image Courtesy © borXu Design

  • Architects: Reza Aliabadi [rzlbd]
  • Project: TETRIS HOUSE
  • Location: Toronto
  • Photography: borXu Design
  • Project Team: Reza Aliabadi, Ehsan Zareian
  • Structure: Ali Saeed
  • Construction Management: Doreen Development Inc.
  • Building Type: Single family house
  • Basics: Two & half story wood structure
  • Lot: 40’X110′
  • Living Area: 3000 sqft
  • Design: 2012
  • Completion: Summer 2013

Image Courtesy © borXu Design

When a client demanded a program that seemed impossible to fit in a 40’ by 110’ lot, specially if one tries to respect a tight zoning for an infill project in a city like Toronto, rzlbd decided to practice the challenges of “no leftover space” with a simple rule in mind: every inch is a usable inch.

Image Courtesy © borXu Design

The house is 3000 square feet, three-story structure that has the same program as a 4000 square feet house previously designed by rzlbd, 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 2 laundries, nanny room, home office, a large living/dining area and a spacious kitchen, bar with a wine cellar and entertainment area, covered garage and of course lots of storage area.

Image Courtesy © borXu Design

Although Tetris house is compact in program but it manages to channel sufficient natural light throughout the entire length of the house. The light well that penetrates from the upper floor to the basement plugging into the living room with a glass-covered opening is an invisible Tetris element that helps bring a vertical light element into the house.

Image Courtesy © borXu Design

For better efficiency the 55 feet long wall on ground floor is filled with a continuous built-in millwork that adapts to the needs of the programs. It transforms from the office shelving by the entry foyer, to the kitchen/dining cabinets and the fireplace in the living area. The millwork not only connects the four programs but also creates lots of storage space and a clean modern look to avoid a congested floor plan.

Image Courtesy © borXu Design

The Tetris elements that plug into one another create challenges such as meeting appropriate height clearances and stair landings to properly meet the floors. These issues were carefully dealt with in section by individual steps on each level corresponding to the change in programs to allow for sufficient height on the lower levels.

Image Courtesy © borXu Design

The exterior of the house is a surprising jumble of different materials and claddings that courageously expose the Tetris elements of the interior spaces. This bold exposure is not an attempt at creating a harmonious façade, yet it is an attractive and charming scene as it displays the geometry of a well-played Tetris game.

Image Courtesy © borXu Design

Image Courtesy © borXu Design

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Category: House

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