Atrium Townhome & Garden (2016) by Robitaille Curtis

Atrium Townhome & Garden (2016) by Robitaille Curtis located in Montreal, Canada | The Hardt


Atrium Townhome & Garden (2016) by Robitaille Curtis located in Montreal, Canada. Built in 1978, this townhouse needed a major update. Guests (young family) wanted to personalize the house with a unique, playful, modern, and friendly design. In addition, their pets, including a Great Dane, required that the kitchen and living room could be closed (despite a narrow open floor), and that the materials were sturdy. On the ground, floor the plan was opened allowing a visual and physical connection to the garden. The atrium has been enlarged. A large 2-story library, as well as Douglas Fir slats, are spreading and animating the vertical volume. The polished concrete floors, sliding doors and metal mesh curtains meet the functional needs. While at the top floor, a trapeze mesh square, such as the sun’s cirque, crosses the atrium, eliminating the need for a railing and providing a unique playing surface for children and adults.

This townhome has a 32 ‘atrium with a skylight running the full width of the house. Our design embraces this feature and heightens the experience of its dynamic interior volume. A fireplace is integrated as a central focal point. Atop the mantle is a great bookcase that provides one eye upward through the atrium.  At the main living level, the kitchen has been relocated to the front of the room and has been designed and built in a contemporary style. A detailed millwork ‘cube’ is a primary organizing element of the ground floor plan. It is a nicely proportioned object that moves through the space as it separates the living room from the atrium and kitchen. The ‘cube’ contains two concealed glass doors that allow the living room to be closed off. It also conceals a coat closet at the entrance of the home and hides a discreet powder room. At the ground floor level and up the vertical wall, vertical grain Douglas fir slats provide screened views through the home and eliminate the need for guardrails. Douglas fir, concrete floors, and white lacquered millwork combine to create crisp, clean, and warm material palette.



At the third floor level, a net ‘floor’ has been installed at the top of the room to become a dramatic play surface adjacent to the kid’s bedrooms. The use of a net in this location precludes the need for guardrails and opens the floor to unimpeded views to the third floor. Riggers from Cirque du Soleil provided and installed the trapeze net. In the garden has a seating area adjacent to the kitchen. Carefully placed hornbeams create an aerial hedge offering privacy while adjacent buildings while focusing attention towards the rear of the garden. At the garden’s terminus, views are borrowed from a mature grove of hemlocks and spruce trees, enhancing the sense of lushness in this small city garden. Additionally, a small, shallow, fountain built into a concrete bench serves as a focal point.


Photography and Graphic Images by Robitaille Curtis


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