Following a new policy change that allows housing units in Toronto’s back lanes, LGA Architectural Partners builds a crisp, light-filled example.

A strip of clerestory windows brings in lots of natural light to the living room, while their high sills encourage privacy from the lane.

Thanks to a policy change in the summer of 2018, Toronto is encouraging residents to build small abodes along back lanes that were previously dominated by garages, making room for people rather than cars. These laneway houses are self-contained and typically sit on the same lot as a detached house, semi-detached house, or townhouse.

The College Laneway House occupies a small footprint, just 1450-square-feet, where a dilapidated fishing lodge once stood. Its pitched roof blends in with adjacent buildings.

The College Laneway House by LGA Architectural Partners occupies a small footprint—just 1,450 square feet—where a dilapidated fishing lodge once stood. Its pitched roof blends in with adjacent buildings.

Photo: Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc

“Toronto’s laneway by-law has the potential to improve the livability of our city while transforming lanes into neighborhood spaces,” says architect Brock James of LGA Architectural Partners. 

The firm proves this theory with the recently completed College Laneway House. “College Laneway House addresses many of the typical challenges the upcoming wave of laneway houses will face,” says James. “It provides compact, yet spacious-feeling rooms; framed views and landscape elements that provide privacy; and windows and skylights that bring light in at all times of day.”

A strip of clerestory windows brings in lots of natural light to the living room, while their high sills encourage privacy from the lane.

A strip of clerestory windows brings in lots of natural light to the living room, while their high sills encourage privacy from the lane.

Photo: Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc

In order to maximize space, the architects utilized a split-level design that includes the living areas on the main level, two upstairs bedrooms, and a walk-out basement beneath the dining room. The wood siding was salvaged and restored from the previous building on-site, in order to bring warmth to the gray, seamed metal and reference the neighborhood's past.

In order to maximize space, the architects utilized a split-level design that includes the living areas on the main level, two upstairs bedrooms, and a walk-out basement beneath the dining room. The wood siding was salvaged and restored from the previous building on-site, in order to bring warmth to the gray, seamed metal and reference the neighborhood’s past.

Photo: Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc

See the full story on Dwell.com: A Compact Laneway House in Toronto Takes Back Underused Space

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