The Zen Barn by Christopher Simmonds Architect is a house located in a historic area of Ottawa. It has achieved LEED Platinum status for homes while maximizing a casual, modern style. The second floor cantilevered over the first floor to shelter it from the sun, while a recessed courtyard allows for large windows to the south for passive solar heating. All this work is invisible, with a light, effortless and quiet effect until the final house.
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“The linear composition of this contemporary house is interrupted by the vertical volumes of the skylights, stairs and courtyard,” said the architect. “The resulting interpenetration of views, light and space along the south side of the house creates strong indoor-outdoor connections. The orientation of the building allows for passive solar exposure on the east, west and south sides during the winter months.
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White lacquer and stained ash cabinetry create a sense of ease and flow through the interconnecting kitchen, living room and dining room. The interior is bright, clean like a warm and inviting family space. There are three levels to the home for a total of 2,300 square feet. However, the home retains a welcoming sense of intimacy through the use of warm woods in the kitchen, dining room and living room.
The long, lean exterior is clad in reclaimed white oak barn boards and lets in plenty of natural light. Paired with sharp corners and glass balconies, the Zen Barn is what relaxing yet formal living spaces can be. The house features a rain shower, floating vanities and an open staircase that allows light to flow from all angles around the central axis of the house.
The Zen Barn has an EnerGuide rating of 82, which is 10 points higher than what is required by the Ontario Building Code.
+ Architecture by Christopher Simmonds
Photograph by Peter Fritz