A City Home Grows Without Gobbling Up its Garden

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By Dwell and Luke Hopping
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An 1885 house in Montreal dips a little into its backyard for spare space.

The Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood is populated with charming but dated homes like the Hotel-de-Ville residence. To add extra room, architecture firm Microclimat Architecture plotted a T-shaped extension in the backyard. The architects' advance was blocked by a poplar tree, around which they designed a skinny glass volume topped with a cantilevered mezzanine. 

Determined not to destroy the home's limited connection to nature, Microclimat extended the addition only as far as a mature poplar tree in the rear garden. The cantilevered mezzanine is wedged between its trunk and boughs. 

Determined not to destroy the home's limited connection to nature, Microclimat extended the addition only as far as a mature poplar tree in the rear garden. The cantilevered mezzanine is wedged between its trunk and boughs. 

 

The expansion creates a narrow intermediary space between the yard and existing home. This sliver contains a light steel staircase and two new sun rooms for reading.

The expansion creates a narrow intermediary space between the yard and existing home. This sliver contains a light steel staircase and two new sun rooms for reading.



The mezzanine houses the new master bedroom, which juts out into the embrace of the poplar tree. 

The mezzanine houses the new master bedroom, which juts out into the embrace of the poplar tree. 


A new terrace, accessible from the private quarters, reshuffles outdoor space lost during construction onto the roof. 

A new terrace, accessible from the private quarters, reshuffles outdoor space lost during construction onto the roof.