Great things can happen when you have the opportunity to combine 2 conventional apartments into 1 well-conceived practical and highly livable space. This is what occurred in Ottawa Loft, an urban condo dwelling in a pre-war building in Ottawa’s downtown core.
Designing for flexibility in this new live-work environment was key. It would need to accommodate life changes and evolving work, as well as social and seasonal requirements. As well, it would need to maximize light (in a north-facing unit) and create abundant storage where none had formerly existed.
We chose to turn convention on its head by exposing the “everydayness” of the home’s “service areas” (bathroom, storage, closets). Whereas such service areas conventionally segregate “public” and “private” realms, 4-D’s are recast as the “private” and the “erotic,” challenging our culture’s preoccupation with privacy. A bathing area’s
plumbing wall, for instance, made of glass laminated with sheer, red silk, reveals the body of a bather within, while also silhouetting the “body” of the building, characterized by pipes, waste stacks, and electrical conduit, displaying all of these as ornament through the coloured glass.
Floor-to-ceiling glass screens that are suspended from an eighty-foot-long track along a window wall also display and conceal. The linen-laminated screens create tactility and slide to permit daytime light or nighttime privacy. The rolling storage cabinets, clad in similar glass, illuminating like lanterns, permitting the visual suggestion of their private contents.
By effecting all of this translucency and illumination, the newly invented living space is naturally brighter and thus, more practical and livable.