Friday, April 24, 2015

1970s Garden Homes by Minto

During the 1970s Minto built a series of townhouse enclaves with "garden homes" that do not have garages; parking is provided in communal parking lots. The houses are laid out in picturesque clusters throughout the complexes, sometimes centred on communal green spaces. Staggering of houses and different designs in a given row create a real sense of visual interest in these areas as opposed to long rows of similar houses.
By not having garages appended to the front of the houses, large main floor windows on the fronts of the houses allow for a visual connection to the neighbourhood from inside. Many of the designs have a kitchen at the front of the house overlooking the front yard.
Below is a sampling of some of the garden home neighbourhoods Minto built during the 1970s:
Stonehenge (Pineview)
Below is an air photo (courtesy of Google Maps) showing a portion of the Stonehenge neighbourhood. A few of the clusters form courtyards around a landscaped green space.
A mixture of brick, siding and pebble dash give variety to the rows of houses and distinguish individual units (courtesy of Google Maps).


Lassiter Court (Beaconwood)

An interesting aspect of some Minto complexes is that they have clusters of houses as pictured below (image courtesy of Google Maps). At the core of the cluster are four units entered from the side with four other units each attached at the corners. The site plan above shows that there are a few such clusters in Lassiter Court - even some attached to a larger row of houses.

A unique feature of some of the Minto garden home designs from this time is the inclusion of a main-floor bedroom:
Bethamy Woods (Beacon Hill South)

Some of the units built from the plan above have the window of the main-floor bedroom turned to the side - perhaps for more privacy. The result is a blank fa├žade facing the street (image courtesy of Google Maps), something that is a trademark of some older Minto designs (See Trademarks of Design: The Minto blank wall)

Dorset Heights (Beacon Hill South)
Minto built smaller versions of their garden homes in Dorset Heights. Of interest is the 4 bedroom design as the second floor is quite a bit larger than the first floor. The mansard roof does a great job of downplaying the overhanging second floor on the front and back of the houses. 
A similar 3 bedroom Minto-built design from a nearby rental community on Elmridge Drive won a 1969 Canadian Housing Design Council Award. The main floor is similar to the plan above, but the bathroom location on the second floor is different:


On the South side of Woodfield Drive in the Tanglewood area is a garden home complex where Minto built unique high-ranch designs pictured below (courtesy of Google Maps). I am not sure what the name of this complex is... 
Below are the floor plans. They are the technical drawings, so the quality is not great, but they show the general layouts with two bedrooms on the upper level and two on the lower level.

During the 1970s Campeau also built garden homes but had their own take on the design. Sometimes the Campeau garden home complexes are right next to those built by Minto. My next post will be on the Campeau garden homes.
I need a little help from my readers! There is a cluster of townhouses on the south side of Benlea Drive in the Tanglewood area that I do not have any information on. I have a feeling that they were built by Minto. There are a mixture of units - some with garages, others with carports and some without garages. Below is a image of part of the complex (courtesy of Google Maps). If anyone has information on the houses and/or the floor plans, please let me know! Thanks.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

I am back in action!

It has been a long and grueling few months of battling cancer and having a stem-cell transplant, but I am on the mend and I feel great! A special thank you for all of the thoughts, prayers and encouraging messages!
It is time to start blogging again and I have more great postings coming up, so stay tuned.

Also, I wanted to share something fun. While I was healing I  decided to build my own interpretation of the Eichler X-100 House of Steel, built in 1956 in San Mateo California, and designed by my favourite architect A. Quincy Jones.

Mid-Century Modern aficionados may be familiar with the house, but if you would like more info, a great resource is: Eichler X-100. A few years ago I also did a post comparing this plan to one of Campeau's designs in Ottawa: California Modern in Ottawa.  

Here are some images of the house and below is my Lego version:


More posts to stay tuned!