21st Century Victorian
Concept complements reality in this heritage home conversion by Lee and Macgillivray Architecture Studio
LAMAS mixes academic theory and practical expertise to create a contemporary living space in a historic Annex house BY JEREMY FREED
IT WAS ONCE A STATELY VICTORIAN FAMILY
HOME full of fireplaces and crown moulding, but the years had not been kind. Chopped into odd little apartments with poky rooms, hardware store light fixtures and acres of dark carpet, it had suffered an untold number of sketchy renovations and amateur plumbing jobs. It’s an all-too-common “before” picture in Toronto, which, combined with the limitations of budgets, permits and timelines, threatened to derail the new owner’s dream of a compelling modern space. Fortunately, Lee and Macgillivray Architecture Studio (LAMAS) proved uniquely suited to the task of bringing high architectural concepts gracefully down to earth for the renovation of this triplex. With a strong mix of academic theory and practical expertise, the firm created a bright, beautiful and functional living space in a historic Annex house.
“We do pursue things that you could talk about in an academic setting, but then we also take ideas from the research end and try to infuse them into practice,” says James Macgillivray, who met his wife and business partner, Vivian Lee, at Harvard’s school of design. Following stints at several New York City firms and teaching positions at the University of Michigan, the duo returned to Toronto in
2014. In addition to teaching at the University of Toronto’s Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, Lee and Macgillivray recently completed a modern farmhouse in Quebec, and a craft brewery in Leslieville is currently in the works.