Williamson Chong Architects adds "carved" facade to Toronto family home


The wooden facade of this Toronto property by local practice Williamson Chong Architects is set-back and angled towards a nearby ravine (+ slideshow).

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects

The Bala Line home, which accommodates a family of five, is situated on a street towards the western edge of the ravine, and sits 60 feet (18.3 metres) above the disused Bala Line railway.

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects

In order to reflect the surrounding terrain, the architects stacked a series of staggered terraced spaces on top of each other.

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects

They added a shallow wooden void to the front facade, which is angled to provide the interior with daylight from the south and west.

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects

"This house integrates a series of terraced spaces strung together by a staircase – coinciding with the cascading topography beyond," said the architects.

"The project erodes toward the ravine, leaving a light-filled series of upper spaces capturing any natural light and thermally moderating effects of fresh valley air – most notably in the form of a carved front facade," they added.

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects

Towards the back of the house, both a sliding glazed door and glass wraparound wall can be pulled away to open up a corner of the house to the outside.

A shallow set of stairs provides access to the interior space, as well as doubling up as tiered seating for family and guests in the garden.

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects

Inside, the sunken living room at the rear of the house is situated next to a higher open-plan dining and kitchen area.

Two children's bedrooms and a large bathroom are located on the second floor, while the master bedroom and en suite occupy the entire third floor.

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects

Throughout the majority of the property, walls are painted white and floors are wooden – with the exception of the kitchen, where light-coloured floor tiles contrast with wooden cabinets.

Bala Line House by Williamson Chong Architects

Williamson Chong Architects was founded in 2011 by Donald Chong, Betsy Williamson and Shane Williamson. The Toronto studio's previous projects include a house in Frogs Hollow that burrows into the Ontario landscape.

Photography is by Bob Gundu.

Floor plans – click for larger image
Section – click for larger image
  • Gregory Walker

    Beautiful work all.

  • Sim

    I think it’s cleverly done. The plans don’t seem to match the pictures though. I suspect the plans have been mirrored.

  • Felix M

    No photos of the window behind the carved part of the front elevation? Surely that view is the whole point…

  • Robert Wilkanowski

    This is a beautifully conceived project. Elegant and simple. I love the faceted front facade. Whoever loaded the 2D plan images flipped them!

  • Concerned Citizen

    I do like this one. The front elevation is great, except for the metal roof. The kitchen cabinetwork is very nicely done. However, in one photo that island sink area appears to be about eight feet across. The other photo is more realistic. I really like the unsupported roof at the corner.

    Maybe the floor plans are correct and all the photos are flipped.

    • Harris Jay

      Must be the plans. Number on the letter box reads okay.