83A Marlborough Avenue

The residence located at 83A Marlborough Avenue in suburban Toronto was designed by Drew Mandel. When Mandel first showed his wife the lost, with a total size of 13’ x 115’, she was shocked. The site seems impossible to accommodate a couch, not to mention a house. The hardest part of this project was to design a house which provided a well living environment for the residents, and to design a building that has the ability to hold an evolving lifestyle over time. Due to the tight space between the building itself and the neighbouring houses, windows are prohibited on east and west side walls. Hence, principal rooms, such as living rooms and bedrooms, are placed around the central core which is holds a light-well, kitchen and washrooms. The central core is topped with a large skylight window which allows light to penetrate through most parts of the building. Principal rooms are connected to the exterior with large rectangular glazing and pivot windows and doors. The idea of using pivoting windows is to provide an easier way to bring in large pieces of furniture. The front entrance is setback with a garden wall separates the parking space from the walk-out garden. This allows natural light to enter the study room while keeping the floor area within the flooring requirement dictated by the zoning. Other careful space organizations includes, spaces under the stairs are used as kitchen storage, a fireplace hearth acts as seating in the living room, the bench in the master bedroom is actually a heat duct clad in stone. Common wood finishes, such as a wood ceiling and a hardwood floor helps to define space and orient movement, as well as act as a warm counterpoint to the cool concrete, glass, tiles, and white walls. Completed in 2002, Drew Mandel has transformed this former setting for a one-car garage to a fully accommodated 3-storey geometric house. Mandel showed a broad example of how the use of wise materials and organizations of interior spaces can result in a satisfying living environment.

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  1. Mandell, Drew. “Mandell House – A study in densification, natural light and space economy”. Case Studies. SAB Mag. 13 September 2006. 15 October 2010. <http://www.sabmagazine.com/blog/2006/09/13/mandell-house/&gt;
  2. Ashenburg, Katherine. “Light box”. OCR Scanning & HTML conversion. Toronto Life. February 2002. 15 October 2010. <http://www.customhousenumbers.com/83a_feature_article.htm/&gt;
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