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Westmoreland: A Vessel of Memories

LATE NIGHT DESIGN MEETING - CLINET’S HOUSE [BEFORE CONSTRCUTION] [Towards the end of the meeting, the client points to a specific spot on the kitchen floor.] THE CLEINT: Can you use a specific tile at that spot so we can always remember it? That’s where I proposed to her. [Curious gaze on the architect’s face] THE ARCHITECT: That’s where you proposed!? THE CLIENT: Yes! That’s where we proposed! And it was in the middle of the chaos of the move-in day! [The clients look at each others eyes, and pause.] THE CLIENT: We would like to remember the exact coordinates of where our journey started! [The architect is dazzled] THE ARCHITECT: What do you mean change the tile?? I am going to design your house based on this beautiful story! And as such a spacious interior light-well is proposed in the middle of the house. It spans all the way to the roof on the 3rd floor, casting natural light onto this sacred space, where a young couple started their journey. We call this the light-chimney. The skin of the light-chimney is made of a perforated geometry. The sun rays penetrate into the adjacent spaces through the perforations creating a dramatic effect. The blocks of the geometry are made of wood. Each wooden block represents a memory of the family. The clients have two young kids with whom they enjoy travelling. We have obtained some couple hundreds family photos. Each photos represents a memory from across the globe. The photos are processed to their basic colour temperatures. The colour temperatures are then CNC’ed onto the wooden blocks. Each wooden block becomes an abstract representation of a memory. The wooden block get placed into the geometry of the lightwell’s skin. The result is a sculptural wooden chimney with undulating contours that span above your head all the way to a large skylight on the roof. A visitor of the house will enjoy the whimsical sculpture, especially one of this scale, yet they will not realize that each curvature bears a specific memory. The memory at the beach in Istanbul, or the Seoul’s tower sunset are proprietorial to the inhabitants of the house. The light-chimney also serves as a hollow in the middle of the house. It’s an empty. It’s a silence. It’s an opportunity for other spaces -and the user- just to be. And be able to connect to the peace of the chimney, and to take in the lightness and the flow of the fresh air. The vertical and the horizontal circulation of the house is made possible through the light-chimney. Glass bridges connect the two sides of the house, while a staircase connects adjacent floors. The light-chimney is in a away framing the movement of the occupants of the house. It is providing an opportunity that the life in this house to be made more visible and appreciated via the hollow that is juxtaposed with it. I lose track of whether it is poetry, sculpture, or installation! But I do know that the architecture is narrating a story in the most theatrical way: where the footprint of the light-well serves as the stage, where the verticality of the light-well draws attention to the center of the house, while organically drawing natural light into the heart of the house, where the natural light is broken into sun rays, and where the sun rays dance to the moving sun, where the footsteps reverberate as the protagonists (the young lovers) move through the stage. I have choregraphed my clients’ lived experience in the form of a three-dimensional narrative. Architecture allows me to celebrate memories, to create spaces that would allow the user to feel authentic. It allows me to narrate a story that is worth re-telling!

Type: Single Family House
Location: Toronto
Area: 2,400 Sq.Ft.
Budget: $ 740,000
Client: Undisclosed
Collaborators: NA

32 Sousa Mendes Street,
Toronto, Ontario,
Canada, M6P 0B2

info@artaarchitects.com
+1 416 838 5599

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