Saved by the design: J Residence

Nestled in the side streets of Windsor, near Lake St. Clair, the ‘J’ Residence is a Scandinavian-influenced home that stands in contrast to its neighbours.

Photo credit: Windsor Creative

Designed by Dory Azar Architect Inc., the residence was an intuitive and bold last-minute decision by the owners. The clients initially reached out to the firm for a fresh perspective on a previous design concept, done by another designer. After sharing  images of Scandinavian-style architecture, explaining how they identified with and appreciated the simple forms, clean lines, and modern aesthetic, the architect agreed, and the clients decided to abandon their original plan.

The challenges associated with the design began with the site itself. The property lies within the 100-year flood plain, as identified by the local conservation authority. As such, the clients were very concerned about the risk of flooding.

The design team worked with the conservation authority to establish a safe elevation at which to build the home. As a further precaution, slab-on-grade construction was implemented to eliminate a basement or crawlspace, both of which are common building practices in the region.

The space planning for the residence was a response to very specific client desires. The three volumes were established to encompass their unique uses. The first volume contains the private areas (bedrooms and bathrooms), the second contains the entertaining and gathering spaces (kitchen, living, and dining areas), and the third contains the garage and storage areas.

Photo credit: Windsor Creative

The axis of the private wing of the house is a single loaded corridor that separates the bedrooms and recreational room from the outdoors, providing a visual buffer from the main approach to the home. The corridor terminates with a modest outdoor patio, which the clients use for reading, drawing, and the occasional impromptu musical performance.

The construction methods are vernacular and include standard wood framing, polished concrete floors, and custom millwork. The exterior finishes include vertical white cedar siding and standing seam metal roofs.

The end result is an exercise in scale and simplicity which stays true to the architect’s philosophy of wrapping a home around a client’s lifestyle for a holistic and client appropriate response.

Technical sheet
Client: Withheld
Date: 2018
Architect: Dory Azar Architect Inc.
Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Site Dimensions: 70’ x 502’
Photographer: Windsor Creative