Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Governor General's Medals in Architecture — 2010 Recipient

Ravine Guest House
Award Category: 
Governor General’s Medals in Architecture

Shim-Sutcliffe Architects Inc.

Lead design architect(s): 

Brigitte Shim, FRAIC
Howard Sutcliffe, MRAIC

The pavilion stands amidst a lush landscape abutting a Toronto ravine. This small glowing lantern, a quiet retreat and a pool house, blurs the distinction between inside and outside: a large fireplace is central to both interior and exterior living areas, wood flooring continues seamlessly from inside to outside terrace, and large glass and wood doors open fully to the outdoors. A minimal hanging steel structure suspends the continuous clerestory which enfolds both interior and exterior living spaces beneath it. The ceiling plane appears to hover and a deliberate ambiguity between interior and exterior is achieved as interwoven elements create interlocked spaces. 

Jury Comment(s): 

"The Ravine Guest House is an extremely sophisticated volume blending interior and exterior space.  The use of a reduced material palette is enhanced by the clarity of the structural solution making the clerestory seem to float above the seemingly continuous space."

"This retreat, a few minutes from downtown in a Toronto ravine, a carefully preserved natural haven, is a very sophisticated construction that boldly plays with the laws of gravity and tends to blur the line between inside and outside, where beautiful trees and the reflection off a water pool reinforce the meditative quality of this project.  The materials fit a tense and precise architectonic story that has a great clarity, proving that simplicity is the fruit of a patient and sensitive search for the truth.  In a way, it’s the perfect example of a manifesto for architectural beauty."

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photo: Raimund Koch

photo: Raimund Koch

photo: James Dow

photo: Raimund Koch

photo: James Dow