North Kingsway Residence


The goal of the project was to convert a post-war house into a contemporary home and to provide a much needed addition. In doing so, one of the main challenges was to take what was a very awkward existing facade to the streets edge, and without major renovation work, strengthen the relationship aesthetically to the more contemporary addition.

As well, we sought to preserve as much of the existing building structure as possible, and thus although much of the revised external facade treatments appear visually quite different from the existing building state, the structure beyond actually changed very little; existing openings were re-used, and the bare bones of the heavy masonry were retained. In essence we simply tried to retain whatever we could in order to restrain the construction budget whilst trying to deliver a product that our client desired in the most sustainable manor possible.


By insulating the house on the outside all of the thermal mass could be utilized to both moderate indoor temperatures and humidity and facilitate a nighttime ventilation strategy that greatly reduces cooling requirements. Space heating is delivered through a retrofit staple-up radiant heat application to all floors within the existing building, whilst the rear addition makes use of new in-floor radiant heating throughout. The application of a new external cladding system to all existing facades offers the opportunity to re-insulate all external walls above grade, thus helping to stabilize heating and cooling strategies within the buildings envelope. Along with the re-insulation of the existing basement floor slab and the strapping out and re-insulation of all external basement walls heat losses are now minimized.

The main living areas to the rear addition maximize passive heat gains through the introduction of larger expanses of glazing to the south facade, whilst at the same time enhancing the overall connectivity between internal and external spaces. The second storey has been designed in such as way as to cantilever past the ground floor along both the south and west facades, this in turn creates a brise-soleil, and a means of controlling over-exposure to the sun; eliminating fears of overheating.

Sustainability Features

  • Program and Spatial Optimization
  • Passive Solar Heating
  • Natural Ventilation and Passive Cooling
  • Natural Daylighting
  • High Performance Envelope Design
  • Reclaimed and Recycled Materials
  • Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and Non-toxic Materials and Finishes
  • Radiant Heating
  • Heat Recovery Ventilation
  • Low Energy Lighting & Appliances
  • Water Conserving Appliances & Fixtures

Slow Home Studio – Design Minute

Altius Project Team Architecture

  • Graham Smith

Project Partners

  • Builder: David Aaron Associates - Toronto
  • Engineering: CUCCO engineering + design - Toronto
  • Mechanical: Canadian HVAC Design - Richmond Hill