PHAEDRUS stacks tapering volumes for private residence in toronto

PHAEDRUS stacks tapering volumes for private residence in toronto

angled windows and oblique walls shape PHAEDRUS’ residential project in toronto, the tesseract house. the studio’s self-initiated design-develop-build project is located in the city’s lakeside streetcar suburb stands out from the surrounding architecture, proposing a new, more contemporary aesthetic for the residential style.

all images © ryan fung, courtesy of PHAEDRUS studio



the architects placed the ground floor’s elongated footprint on a plinth, further emphasizing the delineation between floors. from this, the house is articulated in a play of pushing and pulling the masses, creating carves, angled surfaces and oblique volumes. the architectural moves are informed by the house’s surroundings, allowing an intuitive understanding of interior-exterior spaces.



the steel-clad volumes of the long elevations traverse the project, interlocking with the cedar aperture surfaces. the material combination and geometric logic of the house balances privacy and connectivity. the project softens bold statements, anchoring them back into a singular form. modest to a passerby, restraint loosens towards the back with greater insight into interiors and views through the house.



upon entering the house through the opaque front volume, the interiors open up through the naturally-lit staircase. from this central node, a series of apertures defines the internal from the external space, repeating the sequence of expansion and contraction through to the rear yard. from this same point, a carve bisects the volume of the second floor providing daylight making the linear organization practical, further dissolving the sense of indoors-outdoors and connecting the ground to the second floor.



the ground floor is organized as a gradient of private to public spaces, with the living room retreating behind the formal dining room that faces the street. at this threshold, the dining aperture sharply folds out and in. softened by natural light, the room stands  close to an oblique window, whose articulation creates a moment of intimacy.



the tesseract house expands towards the outside, contracts, then expands again to a single space or a series of spaces, repeating the sequence. staying true to PHAEDRUS studio’s body of work, the geometry and depth of experience from which the house derives its name are not simply provocative, but nuanced, simple, complex, and reveals itself over time.



project info:


architecture: PHAEDRUS

photography: ryan fung

collaborator: jeff geldart



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: cristina gomez | designboom

  • Finally, someone is making shipping container homes that do not have the smell of traveling across the Pacific for a decade.


    Jimmy Xi says:

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