ABOUT THE ARCHITECT:
|Mateusz Nowacki is an architect and founder of Everyday Studio. Masteusz received his Bachelor of Architecture from Carleton University and the University of Toronto where he received his Master of Architecture. Everyday Studio is a collaborative design space dedicated to the research of domestic living prototypes and housing design. Predicated on the belief that architecture of all scales holds the potential to turn the everyday mundane into something wonderful and unpredictable, the studio devotes its efforts to creating spaces that are thoughtful, engaging, and timeless. Its work has been recognized in various architectural media including Dezeen, Dwell, Ottawa Magazine, and GOHBA Housing Design. Mateusz also has professional experience from several prominent Canadian offices, with current work ranging from multi-unit housing, multi-use recreational facilities, and post-secondary institutional buildings.|
ABOUT THE PROJECT:
Located within a forested community known for its maple tree forest, tranquil properties, and traditional homes, the residence was designed to reference the neighbourhood typology of a ‘house with two wings’ into a form that established more intimately scaled spaces. Simultaneously, the design sought to reinterpret traditional building materials and architectural language through minimal detailing and interior spaces more directly linked to the landscape. The resulting design is organized into two volumes, with a third elevated volume stacked perpendicularly to form a central, double-height nucleus connected to exterior courtyard spaces on either side. Grounding the design within a familiar architectural language, these minimal volumes use traditional gabled forms clad in natural, tactile materials that provide a timeless character and evoke the surrounding landscape. Wood siding and brick are commonplace for the neighbourhood, yet here the textured clay brick grounds the house to the site and references the vivid maple tree foliage in the fall, while dark walnut wood battens recall traditional window shutters. The h-shape configuration allows the home to fit comfortably within the neighbouring context while offering each wing a unique relationship to the site via a sheltered lanai at grade and an upper-level cantilevered terrace facing south.
00;00;02;24 - 00;00;32;01
We looked at references of Eastern European architecture that felt familiar to them in terms of their context. Right? So, they grew up in small villages in southern Poland, where a lot of the typical houses there are just built out of clay brick, and the clay brick is exposed. All the mortar is exposed. So, it's all load bearing. One could look at that and say, well, that's really utilitarian and reflective of the structure of the house and, you know, where's the cladding? But to me I find that really interesting. I'm like, Oh, that is the cladding. And how do we kind of represent that in a new way?
00;00;33;00 - 00;01;01;25
This is my guest, Mateusz Nowacki. I'll share more about him shortly. In this episode from the Design Vault, we’ll highlight his project, The H-House. The H-House is a residential home. The name is derived from the shape of the home, in plan, with the two story central spine and flanking single story legs clad in brick. The building uses standing seam metal, a variegated red brick and large modern black windows.
00;01;02;17 - 00;01;51;10
Hi, I'm Doug Pat and this is Design Vault. Today we're talking to Mateusz Nowacki, architect of the H-House in Manotick, Ontario. Mateusz is the founder of Everyday Studio. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from Carlton University and is Master of Architecture from the University of Toronto. He's been practicing architecture in Toronto for over eight years and is a licensed OAA member.
Everyday Studio’s work has been recognized in various architectural media, including Dezeen, Dwell, Ottawa Magazine and GOHB Housing Design. So, Mateusz, tell us a little bit about your firm, Everyday Studio. Where are you located? What's the size? What kind of work do you do?
00;01;51;17 - 00;03;02;00
Yeah, so I founded Everyday Studio in 2019 after doing a few years of freelance work, small projects here and there. I got a kind of first larger residential project of around 3500 square feet. It felt like a good time to kind of describe the notion of a studio that looks at the practice of researching and thinking about different housing prototypes and using that first project as a case study for that.
And it was sort of a kind of deviation of the thesis that I worked on in 2015 that looked at housing prototypes as well. And so, the purpose of the studio was really to be a kind of collaborative space to work with clients or contractors or trades or researchers to kind of understand the possibilities that housing can take in alternative forms than the typical vernacular.
And those studies can be polemical or literal. So, in some cases they might just be research based or text based. In some cases, they might be full houses. So, the kind of idea being that this collaborative space is meant to bridge that gap between what's on paper and what's actually built. So, we're located in Toronto, my studio right now. So, it's usually just me, but sometimes I take on some seasonal stuff and we can kind of range from a 1 to 3-person office.
00;03;02;08 - 00;03;08;21
Okay. So, tell me a little bit about how you got this current project. The H-House, and how you get work in general.
00;03;08;29 - 00;03;55;29
Yeah. So as any startup office does, work comes from just networking and passing on of a name. So, one project turns into another project and into another project. So, this one came from a client that was interested in the property in Manotick, and started off as a conversation with that client. And I think he had seen some of the past projects that I had done in that area as well.
Interestingly enough, like in that rural area of Manotick outside of Ottawa, I did I think two other kind of full houses which started to breathe a little bit of attention and got this client’s attention. So, it started off as a conversation, which turned into a kind of concept design for the project and the initial sort of idea was to create a house that's better connected with the site and with nature than some of its neighbors. And I can kind of touch upon that in a little bit. But it started off from there.
00;03;56;05 - 00;04;05;00
I mean, I think that's a great place to start. So, give me a little bit about the history of the place, the location, the town, the neighborhood, the buildings.
00;04;05;09 - 00;05;17;11
Yeah, to that point, I think that's such an incredible and important part of the story of this project. So much of where we drive inspiration from is context. You know, where is this thing located and why is that important. In the case of this area, so, the town is called Manotick. It used to be flagged with a number of agricultural fields.
It was a really kind of agrarian farming village some 75 to 100 years ago. And it hasn't developed much since that. Manotick itself is a small little town, you know, with single family homes surrounded by kind of two rivers and the kind of external area of that, the sort of periphery is surrounded by still some farming fields and some kind of larger sort of developments for larger scale homes.
So, where this property is located, it's in a neighborhood that was developed called Rideau Forest. So, it's filled with these two-acre wooded lots. So, it's quite a heavily forested area. But interestingly enough, like there are still traces of the agrarian history of the site. So, when you kind of meander through some of the still available properties there, you can see some of the old kind of stone walls which divvied up different fields for different species of crop and things like that. So, it has this really inherent tied to farming and to that kind of nature of the site, even though it's evolved now to be this neighborhood of two acre properties in really large houses.
00;05;17;17 - 00;05;21;28
Is it typical to have an architect in that neighborhood?
00;05;21;28 - 00;06;17;09
I would say no. Most of the houses that are built in that neighborhood – they come from two kind of forms. They come from either the client looking to have a sort of full-fledged design build project where they contact their custom home builder, per se, or they come ready with a plan that they've found or purchased or something like that. So, although the houses are quite custom in nature, they follow a kind of similar and typical pattern. Whether these large houses with these kind of large wings and adaptations. And what happens is they get quite visually noisy, they have quite deep floor plates, and the amount of carving that has to sculpt the roof geometry becomes very intangible from a visual perspective. And the way that we wanted to approach this project was sort of an antithesis to that was how do we marry the former context in kind of a gray and sort of idea of this site and its history with the understanding of what the site is today and the kind of neighborhood context.
00;06;17;18 - 00;06;41;06
It sounds to me like – I mean it's pretty challenging to get sophisticated clients and then in a neighborhood like that, to end up with a client that's really interested in making great architecture, right? And listening to an architect and working through these challenges. So that must have been a nice experience because it doesn't sound like you knew them per se, right? They found you through relationships that you had with other people.
00;06;41;06 - 00;08;00;24
Well, well, wait Doug, there's more.
So, we definitely started the conversation, the cons design with this client and to kind of emphasize the story a bit further, he also contacted my father, who has a construction company in Manotick in Ottawa. So, he has basically a custom home building company. He's one of these custom home builders in this area. So, he wanted to kind of work with us together at one point or another in the project, the client kind of backed away, you know, had alternative plans and sort of wanted to go in a different direction, I think ended up moving to a different country.
And so, we had this relatively well-developed design that was at a good point, a good conceptual point, and we had already invested a lot in how to create this marriage between site history and current context of neighborhood and things like that. And so, because my father was attached to the project, he kind of inherited its journey and was like, you know, I still want to move forward with this project, whether it becomes the project that we just build as a sort of passion project and sell, or whether it becomes something that is tied to our living, then he’s game.
So, he inherited the journey of the project. And so, from then on, we started to really look at incorporating nuances of my father, my mother's kind of Eastern European history into the project and see how the context of Eastern Europe and the area that they had lived in could start to influence materiality and tectonics of the project as well. So, it had this kind of new layer that was thrust upon it afterwards.
00;08;01;04 - 00;08;04;01
So, am I getting this right? This was ultimately for your mom and dad?
00;08;04;06 - 00;08;05;10
Yeah. So, they live there now.
00;08;05;12 - 00;08;06;12
Oh, that's so cool.
00;08;06;12 - 00;08;07;12
Yeah, they live there now.
00;08;07;12 - 00;08;08;11
00;08;08;11 - 00;08;23;02
It was an interesting kind of story of starting off with someone else, you know, and then kind of transferring it over, but not wanting to abandon it because so much was invested in in the first place. And then, you know, starting to layer on this new level of thinking to the project as it became more about them and less about the previous clients.
00;08;23;02 - 00;08;25;05
So, you get along with your mom and dad?
00;08;25;05 - 00;08;29;06
I do. I mean, yeah, Eastern European stubbornness aside, you know, I do for sure. Yeah.
00;08;30;14 - 00;08;31;19
Do you have brothers and sisters?
00;08;31;28 - 00;08;34;29
I have one brother. He works for the company as well. He's like, Yeah.
00;08;35;02 - 00;08;38;29
So, your interest in architecture was early on, right? Your dad was a builder?
00;08;39;04 - 00;09;42;03
Yeah, for as long as I can remember, since I was ye tall – for the listener, I’m pointing very low to the ground. Yeah. I've been on construction sites with my dad. I fully attribute my interest in architecture to him and to kind of him putting me in a context of watching things materialize and happen. And so, I think as a child, I was just inherently interested in – what are we actually building? You know? Like, it's great that we're building it, but what does it look like? What does it form? What kind of space does it create afterwards? And so, I married that with another interest of mine, which was really kind of urban thinking. Though this project is in a rural context, I think my suburban upbringing really planted the seed in me to want to think about a kind of different way of thinking about architecture and living and urban qualities of sites and things like that.
And so, when you look at it through that scope, this project was sort of the evolution of those things of me being kind of surrounded in this type of, you know, suburban, rural kind of context as a child, being able to come back and work on a project with my dad was a sort of full circle moment.
00;09;42;06 - 00;09;51;23
Yeah, it's an amazing experience. That's wonderful. You seem like a very intuitive, very curious guy. So, let's go through quickly what were the client's programmatic requirements?
00;09;52;02 - 00;11;14;12
So, a kind of synthesis of space, really trying to tighten the space a lot so that there was no wasted space in terms of program. So, I mean, at its core of programs, there's a living room and a kitchen in the dining. There's no accessory spaces, there's not a secondary living or sitting room or a secondary nook for eating.
It's just a simple kitchen, dining, living space associated with that typical mudroom powder room, a small home office, a main bedroom, and then a series of bedrooms with individual on-suites upstairs, as well as a library kind of gallery space. But the idea was to kind of be able to synthesize all these into a very tight knit floorplan.
So, when you look at the plan of the project, it's actually only a bar, the kind of adaptations that come off of the ends, house a garage, kind of veranda, lanai space off of the back, another garage on the other side. We kind of broke them into two. And then the main bedroom is actually the only programed interior floor space that comes off.
So, the house is quite tight. It's all housed into kind of one bar, and that tightness allows for the program to kind of work its way around each other. So, there's this constant sort of voyeurism as people move through the house. They're seeing each other from multiple levels and multiple rooms, and it invites cross ventilation, which is really important to the way I approach projects. There's a certain depth to the floor plate, which allows you to cross ventilate the space and creates really good environments for living, quality of light wise and ventilation wise.
00;11;14;19 - 00;11;27;19
Yeah, there's a lot to unpack there. I mean, I’m going to keep going and maybe we’ll come back to it. So, tell me a little bit about the site, the topographic features. Is it flat? Is there any change in elevation and how did that affect your plan?
00;11;27;25 - 00;12;03;29
It's a relatively flat site. It's not a site that has really strong topography to it. It does drop off a little bit at the back. But we didn't see the design from the get go as something that could start to play with elevation because it would feel forced if we would do that, you know, if we were starting to carve out spaces out of the topography to create walkouts or things like that, we really looked at the site as something that we said, okay, this is a planar condition. It's quite nicely treed around. So really, let's emphasize the connection to the sort of natural vegetation on the site and create the sense of living within this forest condition, which is, you know, why the house is heavily glazed towards the kind of more rare private conditions.
00;12;03;29 - 00;12;11;01
Yep. Not everybody is that lucky. Sometimes it's a little easier when you don't have a ton of topographic issues to deal with.
00;12;11;09 - 00;12;16;07
It's certainly easier. You tend to seek out the challenges in other places… At least, I do.
00;12;16;07 - 00;12;29;28
It's almost nicer, I find as an architect, to have a challenge because then it makes you really work at design, right? What about project restrictions? So, like zoning, building codes…was there anything that was challenged in regard to that?
00;12;30;09 - 00;13;58;13
So, from a zoning perspective, not really, because in this area like that, the zoning is quite lenient for a neighborhood like this. Within the frame that we were building, the size that we were building, we didn't have to deal largely with zoning issues or setback issues or anything like that. From a challenge perspective, I think the biggest one is one that surrounds the way in which I approach all my projects, which is buildability.
With that I mean, I try to find a way to create really interesting and engaging architecture using really conventional methodologies. So, this is a stick frame house that limits its use of steel, and yet we see cantilevers and floor protrusions and things like that. It's like, how do we get there if you're not building a full house out of steel?
And largely like my kind of interest in that was trying to make engaging and good architecture available to both clients and contractors at a better price in a way that feels more approachable from a building standpoint. And because with this house – my father being the contractor working on it – I knew inherently how he likes to build things and what his limitations are as a builder.
I use that as a framework within which to start thinking about the design, thinking about the tectonics, thinking about really strategically, where we're using more costly steel, where we were using larger expanses of glass, but also where we were tightening them up. And so, though the house looks like it's tectonically a lot more maybe complex than it looks, if you peel all of it back to the bones, it's no different than all the neighbors, which are just typical conventional stick-built houses with wood trusses.
00;13;58;21 - 00;14;03;00
Right. So, a lot of thought went into, I would imagine, how much this thing was going to cost.
00;14;03;11 - 00;14;50;19
Certainly how much it was going to cost, and just the approach to how it was going to be built. So, I remember, you know, when we were working through the construction documents on the project, having weekly conversations with the contractor and with trades that were involved from the early onset of how do we want to actually make this thing materialize, how do we want to build this thing? Like, you know, how is this beam going to sit? What kind of posts is it going to sit on? And almost working through it with a really solid understanding of structural engineering without going right to the consultant and asking him what to do. Like, we had this really intimate relationship with how this thing was going to be built and in a way that sort of harkened back to the agrarian structures that it's influenced by was the individual who owns that property is going to come in and look at the timber he has and build it himself. And we're sort of creating a modern interpretation of that approach in some degree.
00;14;51;01 - 00;15;02;15
So, a big question would be, in particular, if I was working with my folks, the style choice. So how did you guys end up doing a modern building? Was that something they wanted right away?
00;15;02;23 - 00;16;37;27
Yeah, it started off as a contemporary project with the first client that we were working with, and they were interested in a sort of a contemporary expression of a sort of farmhouse condition, right, using sort of materials that were natural and kind of warm tone to work with the site really well. And so, we kind of kept in that vein, but certainly started to work more specifically once my father was on board with kind of continuing the journey of the project.
So, from a style perspective, the houses certainly a deviation from them like they used to kind of live in a house that was quite ornamented and detailed and things like that was a beautiful house. Right? But I think them seeing me continue to work on projects and the kind of projects I was working on, it really started to kind of have an effect on them and me coming on home at Christmas and talking about how important natural light is and that kind of stuff.
It really had an impact. So, they saw that as something that they could kind of work with themselves in terms of how to approach the house. And then on top of that, we looked at references of Eastern European architecture that felt familiar to them in terms of their context, right? So, they grew up in small villages in southern Poland where a lot of the typical houses there are just built out of like clay brick, and the clay brick is exposed, all the mortar is exposed.
So it's all load bearing. One could look at that and say, well, that's really utilitarian and reflective of the structure of the house and, you know, where's the cladding? But to me, I find that really interesting. I'm like, Oh, that is the cladding. And how do we kind of represent that in a new way? Hence where we landed with the materiality of this project, which is a kind of smoked darker tone sort of clay brick that ages really well and it has this kind of grace and it's a timeless quality. So, we looked at those precedents as a reference in terms of where the style of the house itself lands.
00;16;37;27 - 00;16;47;06
So, your choice of brick masonry, really, you knew from the beginning that you were going to be using masonry there at some point, right?
00;16;47;16 - 00;17;53;28
It was set out at a conceptual level, yes. Though the tone or the color or things like that were sort of up in the air. Then when my father and mother had, during the project, they kind of seemed interested in carrying on that idea. Specifically, I remember for my mother when I said, you know, we're thinking about this kind of clay colored brick and something that looks really natural.
She loved that idea. She really never understood why more houses in a kind of contemporary context didn't do that, at least in the context where they live. And to some degree because the house, you know, in its design, in its formal and massing quality, it can appear really stark compared to its neighbors. The materiality choices of it are meant to sensitize that approach.
So, this notion of really conventional brick is meant to appear familiar to kind of an onlooker or to the person that lives at that home. It has this really timeless quality to it. It's like I can understand that house because it's made of brick. It's made of a conventional thing that I know that's been around for ages and has its conventional color. That's the color that brick usually looks like. When you ask a child to draw a brick, they're going to draw a red brick, maybe with three cores, if the child is advanced enough. Right? There's this familiarity which helps make the architecture more digestible.
00;17;54;08 - 00;17;59;22
So, set up the building materials in general for us because the palette isn't just brick.
00;17;59;22 - 00;18;09;04
Yeah. So, the kind of two wings that ground the house at the base are a Smoked Tudor Velour modular brick. So, it has this kind of rusty sort of clay color.
00;18;09;10 - 00;18;15;10
And those colors, I would use the word variegated. Right? So, we see a series of different colors in that red clay.
00;18;15;11 - 00;18;40;01
Yeah. The specification of the brick itself has a variation in it. It's up to a good bricklayer to make sure they patronize it quite well. But a lot of that is just coming from like the brick looks like it's been smoked at its edges and some are more smoked than others, which is where you start to get that kind of differentiation. And we like that a lot because the house has these really monolithic large brick volumes. And so, the kind of variation, the slight variation in the tone really help to kind of break that monotony apart a little bit.
00;18;40;08 - 00;18;43;07
Was it hard to find a mason?
00;18;43;07 - 00;18;44;05
A good mason? Yes. It’s always hard to find a good mason.
00;18;44;06 - 00;18;45;25
It is! It's crazy!
00;18;45;25 - 00;19;18;20
Yeah. And so this is why, you know, as a studio, we think it's important to kind of collaborate with trades early on because they can help kind of understand or they can help kind of propose ideas about how to get the masonry right at these angles or at the cantilevers that we’re proposing, things like that. And then the other materials were using a black standing seam metal above. So conceptually the volume that hovers above these two things floats. So, metal felt more appropriate. And then we're using a composite wood system in between the windows. So that's meant to kind of be a homage to sort of old wooden shutters that kind of peel away from the window itself.
00;19;18;24 - 00;19;20;15
Where did you find that?
00;19;20;15 - 00;19;35;08
It’s a product – I think it's based in the States. I can't recall. It's meant to be a veneer, but it's made out of wood fibers that are infused with like fiberglass and resin. So from a durability perspective. There's no maintenance. And it retains its color over time really well.
00;19;35;12 - 00;19;41;03
And you're using steel lintels over these large openings that you're then using this wood infill between the windows.
00;19;41;09 - 00;19;45;05
Correct. With the main one being the cantilever at the front entry of the home.
00;19;45;14 - 00;19;47;25
So how did you pull that off?
00;19;47;25 - 00;20;06;05
So, you know, we're looking at brick as a simple material and it's execution that appears very traditional in the way that we're applying it. But we found moments where we could start to kind of give it a more contemporary execution, and the main one being the cantilever at the front entry, which is just upheld by steel beams that are cantilevering out and transferring their way back to kind of point loads in the house.
00;20;06;05 - 00;20;07;23
So they're tied back into the walls.
00;20;08;00 - 00;20;20;19
Yeah, correct. And that cantilever holds a terrace on the upper floor, so a dormer above the entry that opens out onto a south facing terrace that you can use. And even in the kind of cooler spring months, because the sun engages that terrace quite nicely.
00;20;20;25 - 00;20;23;23
Right. And that's a clear glass guardrail up there.
00;20;23;23 - 00;20;24;08
Just a butt joint across.
00;20;24;08 - 00;20;25;07
00;20;25;07 - 00;21;03;01
No frames. Yeah. So that it just kind of appears really minimal and visually to kind of carry on the notion of this house being an antithesis, that's exemplified in this entry now. You know, just talking about it, so many of the houses in the context, you know, the entries are these large columnar conditions, you know, with very ornamented roofs and things like that meant to kind of evoke this kind of grandiosity.
And here I think we're trying to evoke a grandeur, but we're doing so in a more nuanced way, layered elements, a kind of a structural acrobatic of this cantilever, the brick kind of enveloping you, your eye moving vertically towards that dormer. It's creating that grandeur, but doing so in using kind of tectonic architectural elements.
00;21;03;11 - 00;21;08;20
So, did using bricks of any particular design challenges for you or for your clients?
00;21;09;01 - 00;21;42;17
From a design challenge perspective, I think you sort of touched on it before, but it was how to allow the house to bridge the gap between the history of the site, the approachability of this kind of architecture in this kind of neighborhood and this sort of nostalgia of materiality for the client's past. Right? When we looked at those three conditions, Brick felt like a very natural material to kind of start to solidify that.
So that was the challenge of how do you build something like this in this kind of neighborhood? And brick really started to provide an answer for that in terms of how to bridge those gaps and how to create an architecture that feels timeless.
00;21;42;25 - 00;21;50;11
You've got these traditional gable forms and yet you have these modern flat roof forms. What are the neighbors think? Have you heard from any of them?
00;21;50;21 - 00;21;52;20
From when I'm around the house and I've been there.
00;21;52;20 - 00;21;53;10
00;21;53;10 - 00;21;59;23
A lot of cars roll by very slowly, I suppose. Although, I haven't heard many words being spoken, right?
00;21;59;29 - 00;22;00;21
Do your folks hear anything?
00;22;00;21 - 00;22;18;25
You know, I'm sure they only hear the good things. No one's going to say their real opinions. But to me, architecture is not about pleasing everyone. It's a subjective, you know, discourse, right? So it's about creating something that feels specific to the client, but also feels like it's mindful of its context and of where it came from in a really intelligent way.
00;22;19;04 - 00;22;27;21
That's well put. Besides the cantilevers with the masonry, with the brick, were there any other unique construction details that you came across as you were building this thing?
00;22;28;02 - 00;24;22;01
Yeah. So I mean, you can see in one of the photos we're looking at here in the studio, the interior, we use the bricks in the interior as well on the main kind of fireplace wall. So, the interior planning is kind of regimented by these volumes. So, as I mentioned before, the kitchen dining and living spaces are sort of one holistic space and they're separated by these equal 16 foot wide, almost like objects, one being the kind of back bar of the kitchen clad in a kind of white oak, one being the sort of kitchen island, 16 foot long cloud, and of course the main one being the fireplace clad in the brick, and then the third one being a kind of double height staircase, which has these sort of steel slatted risers that link the two levels together.
So, the main rooting element was the brick on the interior. And so, from a kind of challenge perspective, we had to just understand how to reinforce that brick on a conventional concrete foundation system with two steel beams trying to look at how to do that in the most conventional and cheapest way that we can make it work from a size of a beam perspective. But in execution, we found when you lay brick inside, you have to sequence that really specifically with all the other materials that are going in the house of the all the other trades that are coming in the house. You know, when is the right time to install the brick?
And we had to perform a few acrobatics with there because there's a kind of linear expression of the fireplace that's clad in a kind of thin steel plate reveal. So, we had to kind of cantilever the brick around that as well and kind of find a meaningful way to transfer it down. And then to express the tectonics of the build – and thankfully, the good work of the trades – we have uplighting that shines up on the brick in the kind of evening moments which really help to kind of show its tactility and it's rough surfacing. This brick specifically has a really natural finish to it. It's not polished or anything like that. We really like to use materials that look like they're supposed to look what they are. Bricks should look like brick. It should feel natural, it should feel rough, it shouldn't feel metallic or shiny or things like that. And so updating it felt like a celebration of selection of the brick, too.
00;24;22;01 - 00;24;32;15
So, who did all the drawing? I love to ask that question because I love to draw, and this must have been really a wonderful experience for you because you're working with people that you really know well.
00;24;32;26 - 00;25;13;12
It was primarily me. Like, I was doing the drawing from kind of early concept design to the CD's – construction documents – and to the landscape design as well. We didn't touch upon that one either, but because of the H form of the house, it forms two courtyards, one at the front and one of the back of the house. You know, conventional front and back.
And then the orientation of the pool is actually perpendicular to the orientation of the house, which kind of pulls the eye out towards the backyard and then towards a kind of pool house which is not pictured on these images we're looking at. So that sort of tertiary structure, that pool house there, kind of completes the series of objects that encapsulate that rear design of the site. We looked at an execution of that as well when I was drawing this thing up.
00;25;13;21 - 00;25;20;04
Did you create three dimensional renderings for your folks? So, this is 3D modeled and then what software did you use?
00;25;20;15 - 00;25;22;00
A number of different software.
00;25;22;04 - 00;25;24;12
Like Revit, ArchiCAD?
00;25;24;12 - 00;25;31;19
Sketch paper to start. You know, trace. A lot of rolls of trace paper. And then software wise, yeah, I mean, it starts in CAD and then it moves to Revit and then--
00;25;32;00 - 00;25;33;13
Revit was the main software?
00;25;33;13 - 00;25;36;24
Yeah. And then some studies in Rhino and SketchUp, and some rendering--.
00;25;36;24 - 00;25;40;13
So, you know your way around that whole suite of products.
00;25;40;13 - 00;25;45;04
Like most things, architects know a little bit about a lot of stuff. So, I know a little bit about every program.
00;25;45;04 - 00;25;47;08
That’s so well-put. It’s so true. I'm not an.
00;25;47;08 - 00;25;48;03
But I’m not an expert at any of them.
00;25;48;03 - 00;26;02;19
So, tell me, sustainability is something we talk a lot about and you talked a little bit about that. Could you expand on this notion, the idea that you used Brick because I guess partially because it is a sustainable material.
00;26;03;02 - 00;27;37;14
Sustainability from the perspective of the material choice? Yes. That's exactly why. Like, we like that on this project, brick is long-lasting. It is a material that requires zero to no maintenance and only improves over time. The patina that it develops over time is a likable factor of the project. Thinking about, let's say in Toronto, downtown Toronto, a lot of the older buildings that were built in the late 1800s or early 1900s were built from brick that was made at Toronto factories. And it usually is just the clay brick, right? And the exterior walls are all masonry load bearing walls and the interior structure is usually heavy timber. A lot of those went down in a large fire like most projects in the Chicago, right? But the ones that are still there, which there are quite a bit of them, they're looked at as precedents of really good, timeless architecture.
And you think about why that is a big influence. That is the long lasting quality of brick. You lay it and it feels organically and naturally sustainable without having to look at other projects as a precedent, given that the manufacturing process of the brick and also have a pretty low carbon footprint. And if you're sourcing it from a plant that's close to the site itself, that all kind of engages in that sort of sustainable approach of the brick.
And then outside of that, as a piece of architecture, we talked about the tightness of the project, the tightness of the envelope, all to create forced air ventilation that feels really well rounded because the air doesn't have to move all through the house. The HVAC design of the project is really, really tight in terms of how, you know, air movement gets kind of forced into all these spaces.
And of course, in the summer months you can all but turn off all of your heating and cooling systems because the house is so naturally ventilated. So, it creates really cool environments in the hotter summer months as well.
00;27;37;27 - 00;27;51;08
So, give me one thing that you guys learned. It doesn't have to be about brick, but something that you learned through this process of designing a house, having two different clients, and then getting to the finish line.
00;27;51;19 - 00;28;28;21
Working with a family member can be challenging, but can also be very rewarding. It can be challenging in the sense that a family member like my father, who has years and years of experience of building houses already, right? So they're really ingrained in how they've been doing things and here comes this young’in that's trying to look at a new way of thinking about this.
So that butting of heads and that friction can be very challenging. So, it's important to kind of keep your eye on the ultimate goal that you're trying to achieve together from the outset and not lose sight of that and let cool heads prevail, essentially. Right? I think that was a big lesson learned and so much so that, you know, my father and I are still continuing to work on some projects together.
00;28;28;21 - 00;28;29;16
You're still talking?
00;28;29;16 - 00;29;24;28
Yeah, still talking and still doing this stuff together, which is fantastic. At the end of the day, we love and I particularly am really thankful that I get to leave this kind of legacy behind with him, you know, of doing a project together with him. It's really a great kind of thing to leave behind, you know, a physical thing.
And outside of that, we talked about it before, but getting trades involved early. You know, we had some hiccups, of course, on site, as every project does. But we did learn on this project that getting trades involved early in the process was helpful in terms of how we were able to execute exactly what we wanted because we could have those conversations and planting the seed in whoever is, you know, working on whatever the product may be that they're installing or are working on. They also feel like the project is partly theirs.
Getting good trades is a challenge from any project’s perspective, but I find when you get them excited about it, they feel like they can bring their best work, you know, in terms of trying to suffice. The challenge of presenting them and make them feel proud that they're part of the process. And I think that's a really important one.
00;29;24;28 - 00;29;49;12
Yeah, it's interesting to personalize that. I always ask the clients to bring in our contractors in schematic design, right at the end of schematic design, so we can get a preliminary price on the job. But I like how you describe this as more of a kind of relationship with these people that then grows and they get excited about the job. They're in early, they get to look at the drawings and then they have something to say about the project.
00;29;49;18 - 00;30;59;03
Yeah, it's a kind of evolution of the typical kind of architecture delivery methods. So, you've got your design bid build, which really can create a divide between the architect and the contractor and the client to some degree. Then you've got the design build model which tries to integrate the contractor or an architect to some degree and create a more holistic approach.
And so, this is kind of an evolution of that. It's a design build with integrated input from trades and from the clients so that everyone feels like the project belongs to each and every individual that's working on it. There's forms of that called integrated process delivery that can be really timely right? But because we're just looking at house design and house construction, we can still be really intimate and fast tracked about the process as well.
So, this project, from initial design to final conception and kind of move in was two and a half years. I've worked at offices on custom bespoke residential architecture where projects of a similar scale, but with much more rigor and structural acrobatics and things like that were 5 to 6 year process. Right? That's part of what I think is interesting to us as a studio is how do we deliver these projects in a timely manner as well and not abuse the sort of amount of time that these things take.
00;30;59;14 - 00;31;07;05
Yeah, particularly important with your parents.
Yeah, indeed, indeed.
Well, Mateusz, thank you very much for being here.
00;31;07;05 - 00;31;08;10
Yeah, thanks so much for having me.
00;31;08;10 - 00;31;10;14
And tell everybody how they can find you.
00;31;10;17 - 00;31;24;22
We're somewhat engaged on social media. So, our website is www.everyday-studio.ca. At Instagram where everydaystudio_ that would probably cover most of the social media, but yeah, we try to keep up to date as much as we can.
00;31;24;23 - 00;31;27;12
Okay, well, Mateusz Nowacki, thank you very much.
00;31;27;12 - 00;31;28;05
Yeah, thanks, Doug.
You May Also Be Interested In
We Can Help With Your Next Project
Discover the latest + greatest in design trends, industry news & pro tips from pros.
For all of your project needs, you’ll find everything you need at a Supply Center.
Let Us Know How We Can Help!