Canvas House’s wavy brick façade stands out in its suburban Toronto context

Canvas House by Partisans brings a wavy brick façade to its sleepy Toronto suburban neighbourhood

Canvas House exterior detail
(Image credit: Doublespace)

Just by laying eyes on Canvas House, it is clear there's something special going on in this part of the sleepy Forest Hill neighbourhood of Toronto. The home's wavy brick façade brings a subtle, sculptural quality to the residential street – while inside, minimalist architecture interiors make for a perfect, elegant backdrop for the owners' extensive art collection. The house's creators, local architecture studio Partisans, drew on the massing of the surrounding Georgian houses to carve a square-ish dwelling featuring a distinctive, undulating skin. 

Canvas House hero exterior

(Image credit: Doublespace)

Canvas House: behind the façade

The monochromatic, off-white patterns on Canvas House's façades create a playful juxtaposition to the period character and symmetry in the surrounding homes. The architects write: 'The rhythmic façade responds to function by swelling outward to form an overhang above the door and receding to allow light around the second-floor skylight. The movement within the masonry is unscripted yet arranged like the motions of a theatre drape, which is an ode to the client's background in theatre production.'

Canvas House brickwork detail

(Image credit: Doublespace)

The design pushes modern masonry techniques to the limit, coming together to form randomised patterns made of a repeating unit of five bricks. The whole was inspired by painter Larry Poons' early works.

Canvas House exterior side view with rippling textured façade

(Image credit: Doublespace)

Inside, the building fabric becomes smoother, a white envelope bathed in light and shadow play throughout the day. Gentle curves in the volumes and features – such as the staircase, door handles and fireplace – bring subtle dynamism to the interior. 

Canvas House exterior at dusk

(Image credit: Doublespace)

Elsewhere, clean white walls make for a gallery like feel where paintings can be hang and take centre stage. It all 'results in a calm, airy, contemplative interior, an apt home for a captivating contemporary art collection', the architects write.

Canvas House living space with fireplace

(Image credit: Doublespace)

Canvas House interior of staircase

(Image credit: Doublespace)

Canvas House interior with lounge chair

(Image credit: Doublespace)

Canvas House interior of top of stairs landing

(Image credit: Doublespace)

Canvas House interior with sofa

(Image credit: Doublespace)

partisans.com 

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).