Coming upon this the cube house (that I visited couple of weeks ago) in Toronto is bound to launch some question marks into the air. In the middle of a pretty industrial area, surrounded on many sides by busy roads and freeway bridges (though one side of this triangular property does face old-style connected houses), with nary a front yard or even mailbox… is this really a house? Does someone even live there?
Yes, and yes. And, while it looks in rough shape for its mere 26 years of age, and despite its very odd and rough location, it’s quite cool.
Built back in 1996 and inspired by Piet Blom’s complex of Cubic Houses in Rotterdam, it is only one of the gaggle of them originally planned buildings that was built. As an aside, today its Rotterdam counterparts are super well known and popular and have become a tourist attraction in their own right. But for what’s likely a myriad of reasons it, unfortunately, never took off here. While the base is a bit inelegant, with awkward siding and windows below the cube, it still manages to create a nicely sheltered private balcony, leaves more of the site as open space, and creates an intriguing skyline.
But oh my, the interiors! The pure cubistic form of the exterior belies the space within, as each 42’ cube is split into three floors. And with each cube balancing on its point the space inside is decidedly sculptural, accentuated by the light from the corner windows. This explodes to the extreme on the top floor in each cube, where the ceilings soar upwards to a luminous point. It is not unlike how it would be living in the upper gallery Liebeskind’s addition to the Royal Ontario Museum! (Though this house predates the ROM addition by some years…)
I really dig it, especially those dramatic upper floors. There’s been a redevelopment proposal recently entered into the city for the property, and I really hope that the house will be moved and preserved rather than simply torn down.
The Cube House by Ben Kutner and Jeff Brown.