A swirling zinc roof brought A-House to life in Toronto

Enter The Dragon

A swirling zinc roof brought A-House to life in Toronto

The roof was outfitted with 20,000 tiles from RHEINZINK across 3,500 square feet. (Greg van Riel Photography/ Courtesy RHEINZINK)

While most architects of modern residential spaces focus on a ground-level of the design as a starting point—a door or window, perhaps—the team behind the newly unveiled “A-House” in Toronto’s Lawrence Park neighborhood worked top-to-bottom and started with the zinc roof.

Inspired by Napoleon’s metal-clad roofs in Paris and across Europe, Farhad Kazmian, founder of ABOND, tapped architecture firm BORTOLOTTO, fabricator and installer Alpro Sheet Metal Ltd., and zinc supplier RHEINZINK America, Inc., to help build out his personal home.

The finished dwelling balances many design styles in great harmony. The timber base and A-frame style massing lend a level of modernism that the metal roof only enhances. The massive triangular picture window also floods the interiors of the home with light.

a zinc roof curved with dramatic slope
The roof has a life expectancy of 80 years. (Greg van Riel Photography/Courtesy RHEINZINK)

“A-House arrays its program around the front courtyard and plunge pool, empowering a swooping curve to define massing,” said Kazmian. “Subsequently, the front face of the house is split in plan, providing a strong sense of depth to the front elevation, reminiscent of the styles traditional to the site.”

RHEINZINK’s dragon skin–like surface adds plenty of function to the dramatic form. The biggest challenge for the design team was to create a balanced curve that could direct snow or water off the home in the most efficient method. To achieve this, a custom snow guard was designed to complement the standard gutter system. The color was also perfectly matched to the zinc roof.

Fabricators at Alpro installed 20,000 tiles across the 3,500-square-foot roof at the end of 2019, just in time for the winter months ahead. Interior finishes were completed at the beginning of this year and the home was completed in September.

“The house pulls inspiration from materials that were found in the typologies of old within Lawrence Park,” said Kazmian. “The house is comprised of wood construction, with moments of articulated heavy timber. To face the building, rift-cut ipe wood is reinterpreted from linear elements to a solid surface, expressing texture of the wood itself. The roof is skinned with zinc tiles perfectly suited to follow the curvaceous shape of structure and built to last.”

a home from above with a twisting, curving zinc roof
The home has custom-made snow guards meant to match the zinc color perfectly. (Greg van Riel Photography/Courtesy RHEINZINK)

The zinc alloy was cured with prePATINA graphite-grey, which will naturally help accelerate the patina process to render the rooftop in an even, and currently growing, patina across the home. That said, RHEINZINK’s material is also corrosion-resistant and, according to the company, has a lifespan of 80 years. The product also took home an AN Best of Products Award for outdoor surfaces this year.

“The prePATINA graphite-grey has a greenish hue due to the zinc alloy’s copper content that works beautifully with the wood siding on this home,” said Richard Strickland, regional sales manager at RHEINZINK. “The Type 2 alloy is an excellent choice for a darker natural zinc color, especially on roofs. The zinc roof tile will constantly evolve in its depth, complexity, and rich appearance and continue adding texture and character throughout the home’s lifespan.”