Playful Coexistence: RZLBD’s Fun House

Located in East York, in the greenbelt next to the Don River Ravine, Atelier RZLBD’s Fun House discovers a playful coexistence with its surrounding trapezoidal site and its local residents.

The house, despite being so distinguished from its neighbors, blends into its environment so harmoniously. Its simple, rectangular façade with a long horizontal strip of windows on the second floor only mimics the gentle curve of the street in the front and remains crude and frugal in the rest of its details. 

Respecting the lot, the regulations, and the programs, it is divided by the main and side corridors crossing each other perpendicularly at the center into four quarters, which are further subdivided according to the programs of each floor.

Photo courtesy of Atelier RZLBD

Photo courtesy of Atelier RZLBD

The rear half is defined as a trapezoid, derived from the shape of the lot, which amplifies the space towards the ravine, its view through the double-story glass wall. On the other hand, the front half is defined as a clean rectangle, in order to subdivide the space rigidly and democratically as in the four children’s bedrooms on the second floor.

At the intersection of the two perpendicular corridors on the first floor, a double-height space with the stair benches facing the ravine acts as an agora. At this gathering point, the boundaries between the second floor and the first, the ravine and the house, the public and the private are obscured, allowing one to perceive the entire house and nature simultaneously.

In more intimate moments, playground elements are introduced to suggest multiple itineraries between spaces. Underneath the agora, a wide sliding floor connects the first floor to the basement, transitioning one emotionally to where one can practice many active hobbies. At the corner of the study room on the second floor, a firepole offers a secretive shortcut to the mud/locker room and the adjacent side entrance on the first floor.

Behind its unobtrusive and unimposing presence, it engages with the peculiar site and clients so energetically — the design team describes the home as “a child who can play anywhere with anything.”