21st Cen­tury Vic­to­rian

Con­cept com­ple­ments re­al­ity in this her­itage home con­ver­sion by Lee and Macgil­livray Ar­chi­tec­ture Stu­dio

Designlines - - Contents - By Jeremy Freed Pho­tos by Tom Ar­ban

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. 

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