Active House 2

Etobicoke, Ontario

Following on the success of superkül’s Active House 1 in Thorold, Ontario, the Centennial Park Residence in suburban Toronto—otherwise known as Active House 2—improves upon the energy performance of its predecessor, claiming the designation of the first certified Active House in the world. Working again with Great Gulf, one of Canada’s largest home builders, we designed a spacious two-storey three-bedroom family home in Etobicoke, utilizing sustainable design strategies that minimize energy consumption and maximize occupant comfort.

While adhering to strict suburban community guidelines, Active House 2 nonetheless boasts a clean Modernist aesthetic rendered in dark brick and light grey stucco. A conventional bay window is abstracted into a striking sculptural form that projects from the front façade, a gesture that is repeated at the rear of the house. An interpretation of the front porch is achieved through a recessed entryway, offering overhead protection from the elements, a condition also reflected at the rear of the house where the second-storey master suite cantilevers over the wooden deck below. Though not immediately apparent from the street, the roof slopes gently front to back to ensure that water is safely channeled into eavestroughs and to the ground.

The house occupies a modest footprint, but enjoys a greater feeling of expansiveness from the amount of natural daylight filtering in through the generous and strategically placed windows and skylights. This strategy also increases the potential for cross-breezes which naturally ventilate the house while decreasing reliance on air conditioning.

An open-plan configuration with double-height spaces connects all areas of the house without sacrificing privacy, removing visual barriers while creating a greater sense of engagement between family members. Consequently, the home feels far more spacious than its 2,900 square feet. Light and nature are brought further into the house through the provision of a small C-shaped courtyard, with views from all three sides outside to the surrounding flora and fauna.

Specific energy-saving and environmentally conscious features such as interior and exterior LED lighting systems, triple-glazing, low-flow water fixtures, low-VOC finishes and energy-performance monitoring systems complement the primary design strategy of maximizing opportunities for natural daylight and ventilation, ultimately achieving a greater sense of health and well-being for the occupants.

photo: Shai Gil Fotography