Mineral Springs

Dundas, Ontario

Built on 16 acres of land in the Niagara Escarpment – a working countryside and UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve – this 1,000-square-foot addition to a century-old farmhouse makes a strong connection to its bucolic natural environment. Accompanying the new-build program, a modest refurbishment of the existing farmhouse ties it materially into the extension; making a case for preservation, renovation, addition and integration.

Designed as supplementary living space for a family of four, the single-storey addition is initially perceived as a separate building but is subtly connected to the existing farmhouse by a transparent glazed link. The offset establishes a dialogue between the old and new structures, and two intimate courtyards are created as a result, providing framed views through the new building to the Escarpment beyond and of the flora and fauna native to the region.

A striking linear form, the extension is clad in Corten steel panels and ipe wood siding, providing a rich counterpoint to the verdant landscape and echoing the deep red brick of the farmhouse. Ten-foot-high glazed openings comprise much of the robust façade. Framed in white oak on the interior and sapele on the exterior, the doors and windows are strategically placed: as apertures carved into the enclosure, they offer framed views out towards a garden, pond, forest and rolling hills that extend far beyond the property’s 17 acres.

Ultimately, this residential renovation and addition retains the fabric and integrity of the original farmhouse while allowing the striking beauty of a contemporary new form to emerge. The connection between the two is both literal and metaphorical, establishing a dialogue on this particular property and in the larger context of the Niagara Escarpment landscape.

photo: Shai Gil