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Wolf House

LAST UPDATE: December 4 2019

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courtesy of The Spaces

courtesy of The Spaces

BUILDING INFORMATION
Name & Location
Wolf House
51 Roxborough Drive
Rosedale-Moore Park, Toronto

First Owner:
Lawrence and Mary Wolf

First Occupant:
Lawrence and Mary Wolf, advertisers and multimedia moguls

OTHER IDENTIFICATION
Awards:

1977: Architectural Record Awards

  • House of the Year

2007: Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Notes:

Lawrence and Mary Wolf commissioned this house after having seen Barton Myers' home at 19 Berryman Street in Toronto. Built on steel stilts, the home faces a Rosedale ravine. Exposed ducts, structural steel and electrical pathways are on clear display in Barton Myers' atypical celebration of the 'guts' of his buildings. This construction was largely an experiment in using industrial materials in a long-lasting and attractive way. This is considered a North American architectural landmark! Updates and renovations were done in 1995, 2008 and 2010 for both the interior and exterior of the building. Being on stilts, there was room beneath the house - a large glass box was slid underneath in 1983 to act as a living room at the garden level.

The Wolf Residence is a three-storey modern infill house located on 51 Roxborough Drive, in the Rosedale neighbourhood of Toronto. The 3000 square foot home was built in 1974 and sits on a small sloped topography lot on the edge of a wooded ravine. The site opens up on two sides to the Park Drive Reservation Lands and Roxborough Parkette.

The Wolf Residence's cultural heritage value lies in it being an example of a Industrial Modernism home influenced by the "truth to materials" era of the 20th century. This style of architecture was against the concealment of building materials, it placed an emphasis on showcasing and glorifying materials to portray the true essence of the building. With a lack of ornamentation and a focus on the function to create interesting details, the buildings in this style each told their own story of simplicity. Built by Architect Barton Myers, the homes Industrial and technological design created a very ergonomic design with interchangeable modular units for a growing family and ever-changing stylistic society. Rosedale at the time of construction was a 'posh residential area of the city'. It was a very conservative area within Rosedale and mainly consisted of large traditional houses on small lots. A modern home on this corner lot was considered an anomaly within the neighborhood at the time, but has turned into a respected architectural icon for within the community. In 1998 the second and third floors of the home were redesigned and renovated to suit the homeowners new style and needs, this was made easier because of the functionality and simplicity of the house layout.

The home has some principle character defining elements such as its flexible living spaces, two storey volume that floats above the site on steel columns, carport and exterior courtyard separating the living spaces of the home from front to back. Its exposed standard structural, mechanical and electrical components such as the steel deck, steel joists, mechanical ducts, and wiring are all finely finished and define the house for its very rational, visible and comprehensible character. The exposed focus on component like building materials and their function together make up the key character defining elements of the home.

Status:
Completed

Year Completed:
1974

Map:
Loading Map

Companies:
The following companies are associated with this building

BUILDING DATA
Type:
Detached house

Current use:
Residential

Former use:
Residential

Heritage:
Designated under Part V, Ontario Heritage Act

Heritage Conservation District:
North Rosedale Heritage Conservation District

Main Style:

Sources:

Sources

  1. Inventory of Heritage Properties
    Author - City of Toronto
    More information

  2. 3 Steel Houses
    Author - Barton Myers
    Date - 2005
    Notes - Available through the Toronto Public Library
    More information

  3. Home of the Week: Groundbreaking design stands the test of time
    Author - Carolyn Ireland, The Globe and Mail
    Date - 11 October 2012
    Notes - A great introduction to the Wolf House.
    More information

  4. Inside the Wolf House, Designed by Barton Myers
    Author - Colin Faulkner, Globe and Mail
    Date - 11 October 2012
    Notes - Some fantastic images of Wolf House.
    More information

  5. House of the week: the Wolf House in Toronto by architect Barton Myers
    Author - Tomo Taka, The Spaces
    Date - 2 June 2015
    Notes - Some fantastic images and a brief history of Wolf House and its creator, Barton Myers.
    More information

  6. Barton Myers Wolf Residence
    Author - Allison Jang, Kobi Logendrarajah, Tan Tan, Teresa Tran, Victor Tulceanu
    Date - December 2012
    Notes - A case study by first-year students at University of Waterloo´s architecture school. Most notable are the archival images, including some preliminary sketches by Myers himself.
    More information

  7. The Wolf House
    Author - Michael Hill, Dolce Magazine
    Date - 28 May 2013
    Page - Dolce Magazine
    Notes - A fairly in-depth exploration of Wolf House.
    More information

  8. 669. Barton Myers /// Lawrence and Mary Wolf House /// Rosedale, Toronto, Canada /// 1974
    Author - OfHouses
    Date - 5 May 2019
    More information

  9. Barton Myers residence
    Author - Ted Yarwood; City of Toronto Archives
    Date - 16 September 1986
    Page - Fonds 385, Series 1578, File 37
    Notes - Photographs.
    More information

  10. Rosedale exteriors
    Author - Ted Yarwood; City of Toronto Archives
    Date - 14 June 1987
    Page - Fonds 385, Series 1578, File 47
    Notes - Photographs.
    More information

  11. Gallery: Iconic contemporary home in Toronto -- $5.195M
    Author - Henry Kalles Real Estate; Ottawa Citizen
    Date - 14 April 2014
    More information

  12. Barton Myers: Works of Architecture and Urbanism
    Author - Art, Design, & Architecture Museum, University of California Santa Barbara
    Date - 9 December 2014
    Notes - Exhibition shown at UCSB´s AD&A Museum.
    More information

  13. Wolf House
    Author - OBJEKT International, Archello
    More information

  14. Prix du XXe siècle — 2007 Recipient
    Author - Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
    More information

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