JURY COMMENT - A simple and elegant renovation/addition that combines beautiful design with impressive energy performance. The straightforward approaches taken to daylight and natural ventilation are indicative of how the many green strategies are deftly interwoven into the architecture. Located in a neighbourhood of modest, late 19th century worker housing, this project demonstrates the potential for this typology to provide a sustainable, ground oriented and cost effective alternative to the high-rise condominium.

This 128 year-old house has been significantly upgraded to extend its life by at least a further 100 years. By incorporating and working within the existing urban fabric, this project investigates strategies to create ‘new’ dwellings for homeowners without increasing building footprints.
The approach to sustainability was to incorporate as many passive design strategies [natural ventilation, daylighting, thermal mass, green roofs], and to complement them with more efficient essential systems [in-floor radiant heating, high-velocity cooling, low-flow plumbing fixtures, high-efficiency lighting], and to rough-in for additional systems in order to keep first costs low.
Complementary to this plan was the decision not to increase the footprint of the house and to maintain the existing exterior walls while adding high-performance insulation where previously there had been none, and durable exterior cladding materials. Open planning and other design strategies were employed to increase the apparent size of the interior space, and emphasize views to the outdoors.
The design was developed around a central light and air shaft [an open-riser stair topped with an operable skylight], which, when coupled with strategically placed operable windows, creates a stack effect while drawing natural light into the centre of the house to optimize daylighting. Large windows at the rear of the house are screened by a brise soleil, allowing natural light to penetrate in the winter and warm the tile floor through thermal mass, while blocking the summer sun. At just 135m2, Through House supports the idea that people do not need more space, rather they need better designed space.


  • Architect DUBBELDAM Architecture + Design
  • General Contractor DDF European Design
  • Landscape Design DUBBELDAM Architecture + Design
  • Softscape Holbrook & Associates
  • Structural Engineer Blackwell Structural Engineers
  • Photos 10 Frame Handles
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