Innes Residence: Canada

Innes Residence: Canada

Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Year Completed: August 2016

Square Footage: 2280 sq ft


Photographer: Bill Timmerman


Long dark and brutally cold days dominate the northern hemisphere’s winter climate of Edmonton Canada.

On those days our client longed for the bright desert skies of southern Arizona. So when the Canadian couple decided to downsize but remain in their neighborhood, they reached out to us with a specific challenge, bring the Tucson sun to Edmonton.

In that suburban landscape, tall evergreens are a beautiful sight, but an obstacle to light. The mature context of foliage and houses surrounding their infill lot was something that demanded careful study.

We knew the house would need to reach above the tree shadow line, to scoop the precious early energy, down into the morning interiors.

Through a careful negotiation of solid and void, an articulated mass was developed.

The centroid of that mass is designed as a CONNECTOR between the ground and the sky, delivering a constant glowing atmosphere throughout the day to living spaces below. It also circulates people between zones, the bedrooms and garage on the west, and the basement and living spaces on the east, linking the street to the private yard.

Tucson and Edmonton are opposites on the thermometer, but equals in extreme climates. This understanding of extreme heat was our insight to extreme cold.

We learned that in Edmonton, the winter winds arrive from the northwest. As a strategy, the house turns its back to the west with only minimal necessary punctures.

Instead, the building orients its openings to the south and east, maximizing light and warmth while the central spine’s clerestory window bounces balancing sunlight off its western wall, simulating a west opening.

In the kitchen, corner windows keep an eye on approaching storms, allowing views of the neighborhood cedars while editing out neighbor’s houses.

Happy clients now read the Edmonton Journal beneath the desert sun.

innes street elev.jpg