Governor General's Medals in Architecture - 2024 Recipient - Garden Laneway House | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Governor General's Medals in Architecture - 2024 Recipient - Garden Laneway House

Garden Laneway House
Toronto,
ON
Award Category: 
Governor General’s Medals in Architecture

Williamson Williamson Inc.

Owner/ Client: Suzanne and Jeff Wilkinson
Interior area /  exterior area, in square metres: 214
Exact construction contract value / building cost of the project: $1.25 million
Date of Occupancy: May 1, 2022 

The Garden Laneway House is a primary home set between garages that face a service lane. It is a lyrical collection of modern lines, authentic materials, and intentional views. Unlike most of the laneway suites built in Toronto that add amenity and area to a main house, this laneway house was designed to be a primary residence for a family of five. Clad in a rotated brick facade, it brings beauty to the laneway and creates facades animated with light. With an interior filled with natural light and canopy views, it reimagines the possibilities for small-scale urban densification. 

Abridged Project Credits:
(see Architecture Canada publication out in Fall 2024 for more details)

Architecture - Williamson Williamson
Interior Design Collaboration - Suzanne Wilkinson Interiors Inc.
Construction - Jeff Wilkinson, Wilkinson Construction Services Inc.
Structural Engineer - Atkins + Van Groll, faet lab
Mechanical Engineer - McCallum HVAC Design Inc.

Jury Comment(s): 

Nestled between garages and an alley, the site context of this laneway suite had little to offer, but the whimsical and quiet architecture of the Garden Laneway House makes it a true gem. In an often-overlooked typology, the jury was delighted by the effectiveness and efficiency of the space layout, complemented by the strategies implemented by the design team to achieve the project’s spatial qualities such as the views and natural lighting. This project is exemplary in its approach to small-scale urban densification. The jury was also impressed with the overall quality of its construction and details, particularly the beautiful brick facade providing a playful texture contrasting with the banality of the laneway.

2024 Jury

Click for full version: 
Laneway Front Entry

PHOTO - Scott Norsworthy

Charred wood carport

PHOTO - Scott Norsworthy

Skylights and large windows line the living spaces

PHOTO - Scott Norsworthy

Light play on the balustrade and wall

PHOTO - Scott Norsworthy

Kitchen looking west

PHOTO - Scott Norsworthy

South elevation facing the street

PHOTO - Scott Norsworthy

Evening view of the north laneway facade

PHOTO - Scott Norsworthy