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LOCATION: Alliston, Ontario


DESIGN LEADERSHIP: Michael Poitras, Principal-in-Charge of Design



  • No of storeys: 2 + finished basement
  • Total area: 139.35 m2 (1500 ft2)


  • Brick
  • Prefinished silver metal panels
  • Horizontal tonge & groove cedar siding
  • Wood windows & doors
  • Rubber flooring
  • Carpet
  • Drywall walls & ceilings

General Program:

  • Boardroom
  • Drafting + computer work stations
  • Materials research centre
  • Specifications library
  • Kitchen
  • Photo gallery
  • Files & storage
  • Print room

Cost: Withheld

Completion: 2010

71 Victoria Street West

In converting this small, two-storey, 120-year-old brick storefront building on the main street of Alliston, Ontario, into an architect’s studio, two qualities – “open space” and “flexibility” – were deemed vital for its success. Demolition revealed highly textured brick demising walls on the long sides of the studio, which were immediately deemed precious as interior finishes. With that, a contemporary design language was blended with the historic building, complementing the newly revealed textured brick demising walls.

The stepped and folded drywall ceilings, which are found throughout the studio, were inspired by typical work habits, where rejected paper sketches oftentimes become folded paper airplanes. Fully choreographed with the built-in desks below, the stepped ceilings have also become an in-house design tool, whereby staff can debate ceiling height when they are in the process of designing a building’s interior.

Interior window surrounds, like the ceilings, were also given an equally dramatic set of folded forms that render dramatic light play without having to adjust any of the building’s existing exterior window openings.

To gain a unified appearance on the main street and to conceal some necessary brick repairs, the front elevation was painted a dark grey, a colour popular during the Victorian era. This new dark façade, in combination with wood windows and front door, give the building’s exterior a strikingly bold quality, while respecting all of the existing brick details of this historic main street building.

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