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A home on a narrow lot in the city's east end

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Linear House, Toronto, a two-level, 1,600-square-foot residence by Toronto architects Titka Safarzadeh and Saied Mahboubi. The house is located in the East York neighbourhood where pre-war homes on narrow lots predominate. Because of the relative affordability of the aging housing stock, tear-downs and infill architecture have become more common.

Tom Arban

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The house started out as a speculative development by Toronto architects Titka Safarzadeh and Saied Mahboubi. But as often happens when interesting modern homes go up in rapidly gentrifying districts, the building was sold while still under construction.

Tom Arban

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Because Linear House (as the project is called) was not designed for a specific client, it lends itself to a reading as a kind of case study about housing on tight lots. It’s an experiment in building compactly and well in a part of the city where urban geography makes doing so a challenge.

Tom Arban

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Part of the challenge of building on a narrow lot involves light – scooping up enough of it, distributing it evenly throughout the interior, making sure the centre of the house is properly illuminated. Ms. Safarzadeh and Mr. Mahboubi have dealt with the problem of brightening the house’s middle portion by turning the central stair into a glass-framed light well topped by a large skylight.

Tom Arban

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Wide horizontal openings and a two-storey vertical window on the stucco and dark brick front façade serve to banish darkness from the interior of this building.

Tom Arban

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In the living room, starting at the large streetside windows, strong lines lead the eye smoothly back to the central glass-enclosed stairwell, as well as upward, through the double-height opening, to the skylight overhead. This area of the house is only about 4.3 metres wide, but the sense of it is expansive because nothing blocks the long views that its walls create.

Tom Arban

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The tower of glass, with the stairwell suspended in it, is the primary architectural focus of the building. It’s the first thing the visitor sees upon stepping into the structure through the main entrance, which has been pulled smartly around to the side to emphasize the middle-oriented character of the design.

Tom Arban

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The kitchen/dining area still has about it a feel that is distinctly more intimate than the light-filled, dramatic living room.

Tom Arban

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Tom Arban

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Tom Arban

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