Saturday, May 28, 2011

Please stay tuned!

I am diligently working on my latest post that will look at how we went from houses like this:
 To houses like this:
Stay tuned!

Friday, May 13, 2011

MCMC - Mid-Century Modern Condos

Do you love MCM design, but are looking for a condominium apartment to call home? Ottawa has a good selection of MCM buildings where your Eames chair will feel at home.

While some may find the plain exteriors of many MCM condos too severe, they usually have very spacious units inside - especially compare to the tiny condos built today. The simplicity of some of the plans may seem boring, but upon closer inspection, the well-proportioned rooms and abundance of natural light is quite appealing.

MCM condo apartments were built in the later half of the period, as the first ever high-rise condo building in Canada was built in 1967. The Horizon House is located in Ottawa, and was built by Minto in Parkwood Hills. There were buildings built earlier in the mid-century, but they are rental apartment buildings. This particular posting will focus only on condo buildings.

Horizon House - located at Meadowlands Drive and Chesterton Drive in Parkwood Hills.

Built in the mid 1970s, the Queen Elizabeth Towers at 500 and 530 Laurier Avenue West have a very imposing facade of concrete in the bruatlist style. At 500 Laurier some floors have balconies (see jutting out in the photo below), while others do not. The building behind, 530 Laurier, has inset balconies on the floors without jutting balconies.

One of the units without a balcony at 500 Laurier. The tradeoff is the wall-to-wall windows the entire width of the unit.

This is a unit at 530 Laurier showing the inset balcony.

20 Driveway in the Golden Triangle is unassuming from the outside, but inside the units are surprisingly large, and they have canal views.

 The almost 26 foot long living room has proportions unseen in most new condos today.

MCM condo kitchens were usually quite small and closed off from the rest of the unit.

Some of the MCM condo buildings were built with communal laundry facilities. While it is possible to install in-unit laundry hookups in some buildings, others are not equipt with infrastructure that can handle the additional water/drainage needed.

Also in the Golden Triangle is Ann Manor, which has some interesting units. The design of this building has expanses of windowless walls and a series of bump-outs. The arrangement allows many units to have views in 3 directions.

Luxury in the 300 Driveway. At only 4 units per floor, this building constructed by Teron, has very large units - and every one is a corner unit.

400 Laurier in Sandy Hill is even more exclusive as it only has 2 suites per floor. The 2 units have no adjoining walls, as they are separated by the elevator shafts, stairs and hallway.

The Highlands complex on St. Laurent Boulevard, near Montreal Road, is notable for its 2-story condo units.

The Chateau Royale complex on Prince of Wales near Meadowlands Drive, has 2 triangular buildings - which creates some interestingly shaped suites.

Ambleside Drive near Woodroffe Avenue and Richmond Road, has a cluster of MCM buildings. Some are rentals, while others are condos. Minto built 2 uniquely shaped towers in the 1970s.

Many of the units in the buildings have sunken living rooms as seen in these 3 plans.

Here is a very spacious condo plan with 3 bedrooms and a study.
Further west, in the building at 415 Greenview, there is an almost identical unit.

Monday, May 2, 2011

MCM townhouses and semi-detached

A reader recently asked me to share some good examples of MCM townhouses and semi-detached houses in Ottawa. Some of the examples I will show are located close to downtown, so this post will also do double duty as part of my series on MCM houses near downtown.
Many of the townhouses built in Ottawa during the mid-century period are actually quite traditional. But, in the mid 1970s and early 1980s, a series of townhouse complexes were built in central Ottawa that had a certain ‘look’. Although they are on the extreme tail-end of the MCM period, I find them to be architecturally akin to MCM design. Some may argue that they lean more towards the contemporary style, but I still think that they can be included in this blog.
This row is located on Booth Street at Albert. I particularly like how each house is painted a different colour.

Cathcart Mews in Lowertown has an interesting grouping of townhouses and stacked townhouses. c. 1980
Springfield Mews in Lindeanlea was built by the same builder (HAB-COM) and has a similar aesthetic, although the colour scheme is more uniform.
Belvedere Gate, located in New Edinburgh, is a complex where MCM townhouses are interspersed with older houses (c. 1975). Below are the plans for a surprisingly large 4 bedroom townhouse:

Only six of these stunning townhouses were built in New Edinburgh by Macval in 1971. The plans are as fabulous as the exteriors: 

The Carlington area has some examples of MCM townhouses with a simplified aesthetic. Above and below are two examples.

A great example of some ingenious MCM townhouse designs are in Hunt Club. This complex is a part of “Hunt Club Estates” built by Tartan c. 1976, and has some very uniquely designed back-to-back townhouses. Below are the plans:

In Arlington Woods, the Woodlea complex, built by Campeau c. 1974, has townhouses that feature an interestingly modern play of rooflines - as seen in the view below.
Bell’s Corners also has some interesting complexes of townhouses with a unique architectural aesthetic. Above is just one example.

Carmichael Court in the Beaverbrook area of Kanata is the location of these townhouses. c. 1970.

Ottawa also has some great examples of MCM semi-detached houses. Minto was one of the most prolific builders of MCM semi-detached houses, particularly in Parkwood Hills and Beacon Hill.

 Campeau-built semi-detached bungalows in Carlington.

Crestview/Meadowlands. The entrance to each house is on the side, under the carports.
In Faircrest Heights there are a few groupings of semi-detached houses built by the builder Chalmers. At first glance, this house looks like a sprawling bungalow, but it is in fact 2 houses. The garages for both units are to the right side (1 per unit).
This semi was also built by Chalmers in Windsor Park Village.

These are my absolute favourite MCM semi-detached houses in Ottawa. They were built by Minto in Parkwood Hills and Crystal Beach. The flat roof, carport and large windows make for a very sleek MCM facade.
Even though I have many floor plans for semi-detached houses built by Minto, sadly, I do not have the plans for this design - but I would love to get my hands on them!