Monday, November 16, 2015

Design File: 1970s condo design - The Barclay

Readers of my blog will know that 1970s is one of my favourite periods in architecture, and I love to highlight exactly why whenever possible.
During the 1970s Ottawa went through its first condominium building boom with a series concrete towers built across the city. These buildings are typically very straightforward in design, with few design frills, and almost seem utilitarian in style. Yet, upon closer inspection, many of these buildings have strikingly modern lines that create a rhythm of solids and voids, and it is common for the balconies to take on a sculptural quality. Most of these buildings have rectangular footprints, but some were built as squares or even in Y-formation.
Inside the units are typically rectangular in shape, but are notable for their size, especially the large living spaces - one of the advantages of concrete construction is that it allows for large spans without needing a support post. During this era condominium kitchens were typically small and closed off from the main living spaces, yet still allowed room for a small table and chairs. Bathrooms with simple and having a soaking tub and shower stall in an ensuite bathroom was rare - in some cases ensuite bathrooms just had a toilet and sink. Walk-in-closets were uncommon, but walk-through closets to the master ensuite were sometimes a part of the design. Bedrooms were almost always located together, down a separate hallway from the living spaces. This layout mimicked the bungalow designs of the time, perhaps as a way to make condominium living more attractive.
In comparison, many condominium tower units built today are much smaller. A typical 2 bedroom unit in the 1970s was 1,000 square feet or larger, whereas today 2 bedroom units can be as small as 600 square feet. Kitchens are now open to the main living spaces, so much so that in smaller units the kitchen may just be a counter along a wall in the main living space. In the 1970s a condominium bedroom always had a window, but today a "bedroom" may be located deep in the unit with sliding doors to allow natural light in to the room. Additionally, bedrooms may be split up and doors often open right off of living spaces. Today, bathrooms are typically more luxurious, but valuable living space may be sacrificed to make way for multiple bathrooms even in small units. 
Below are the plans for The Barclay building at 370 Dominion Avenue in Westboro, built in 1975. The building exemplifies most of what I have just written about 1970s era condominium design, so it is a great example to share.
Of note are the long expanses of wall-to-wall windows and the exceptionally large balconies. The building was built to be luxurious for the time with large 2 and 3 bedroom units and with the inclusion of full ensuite bathrooms. An indoor pool, exercise room and sauna also indicate that this was designed as a luxurious building. 
A special thank you to a reader who suggested that I do a posting on the building!

The two bedroom units are approximately 1,040 square feet and the three bedrooms are approximately 1,250 square feet.

Units 2 and 7

Units 4 and 5

Units 3 and 6

Units 1 and 8

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Amberwood Village - Stittsville

Another blog post by request!
Located south of Hazeldean Road east of Stittsville Main Street is a very special "adult-lifestyle" neighbourhood begun in the late 1970s. The original phases of Amberwood Village consist of a series of houses built in clusters along the edges of the Amberwood Golf Course.
The development was originally built by a company called Jaric Developments Ltd. The architect of this original portion of the area was W.G.Mohaupt - who also designed the "courtyard singles" in Hunt Club (see my old post Favourite Plans South and scroll down to see these designs) - and also used to design houses for Minto.
The clusters of attached houses are grouped on dead-end lanes and units are attached is a variety of arrangements. Some designs have an attached garage, while others have detached garages clustered together with others. The result is a very interesting streetscape with a lot of open space between units.
Image courtesy of Google Maps.

Some phases of the development have detached houses intermixed with the attached units.
Below is an early version of the master plan for the whole area. The cluster houses are shown on the left side of this plan, and it looks as though they were supposed to be surrounded by detached houses. Eventually these areas were built with clusters of bungalow townhouses. "Block B" shown above was built in the lower left portion of this plan - an area also earmarked for detached houses. The right side of the plan (the south side) was built pretty-much as planned with detached houses.


The wide variety of designs could be attached in various different arrangements or be built fully detached. Below are all of the designs that I have on file.
The exteriors have a great contemporary look with wood facades and prominent roof lines. Inside, the designs have open concept living spaces with large windows, sun rooms, and a handful even have sunken rooms. Some designs have full basements while others (the older units I believe) have crawl spaces and main floor storage/utility rooms.

Below is an example of the different arrangements possible depending on the location of the garage.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Guildwood Estates/Urbandale Acres

A short while ago a reader asked me for some information on the Guildwood Estates/Urbandale Acres area. I do not know too much about the area, but I will share what I do know and the plans for houses that I do have. If any of my readers knows more about this area, I would love to hear from you!
The area is located south of Kilborn Avenue and north of Heron/Walkley Road. At each end are greenbelts. A hydro corridor runs parallel to Kipling Street on the east side and I have always understood this as the division line between Guildwood Estates (to the west) and Urbandale Acres...although if anyone knows otherwise, please let me know.
The southwestern part of the area was built in the 1960s by a few builders including Capital Quality Homes, Economy Builders and Knight Homes. The streets include: Lorraine, Florida, Arizona, Connecticut, Michigan, Jefferson, Featherson, Conrad and Ryder.
I only have a few plans by these builders and they are shown below. If you have any other plans for the area, please let me know as I would love to share them.
Some of the largest homes in the west end of the area were built by Garand during the 1970s. These streets include: Briar Hill, Wyndale, Camborne, Featherston, Amberdale, Haddington, Fairmeadow, Ferncroft, Heron, Kilborn and Garand.
Below are some of the plans built by Garand:


In the central-northern portion of the neighbourhood is a pocket of houses built by Teron (on McMaster, Aster and parts of Virginia). It appears that some of these designs are similar to those that the builder constructed in Graham Park - below are the designs from that neighbourhood:

Houses built by Simpson between 1968-1972 are located on parts of Virginia, Yale, Bowman and Juno.
Most of their designs are centre-hall plans and it is sometimes hard to distinguish exact plans from the exterior, so below are some of their designs from the time that may have been built in Guildwood Estates:

The following images were included in the Simpson brochure, but without an indication of which design they represented.

Campeau also built in part of the area during the 1960s and early 1970s in what they called "Playfair Park South". Their houses can be found on the following streets: Illinois, Bowman, Quinton, Juno, Virginia, Jefferson, Louisiana, Kilborn, Palm, Featherston, Sharel and Kipling.
Below are some of the Campeau designs in the neighbourhood:
The Lexington, Inglewood and Duvernay (shown below) are all variations on the same design.