Canadian Architect

Feature

Emerging Talent: Angela Tsementzis Architect

July 14, 2016
by Pamela Young

Angela Tsementzis

Angela Tsementzis

“There were a number of constrictions on the site that turned into pretty fabulous opportunities,” Angela Tsementzis says of Concrete House, her first stand-alone new construction. In response to setback and parking requirements for the Toronto ravine lot, she conceived the house as three stacked, sliding volumes. The largest—containing the main living spaces—cantilevers 4.5 metres into the treetops.

Tsementzis, 42, studied at the University of Waterloo and worked with superkül before founding her eponymous firm in Toronto in 2010. First came a commission to dismantle a post-and-beam barn, build new foundations on the same footprint, and reassemble the original materials into a year-round dwelling and workplace. That led to an opportunity to restore and sensitively renovate an Arthur Erickson house.

The cantilevered structure of Concrete House responds to the zoning constraints of its ravine-side site in Toronto. Photo by Bob Gundu

The cantilevered structure of Concrete House responds to the zoning constraints of its ravine-side site in Toronto. Photo by Bob Gundu

Concrete House reflects Tsementzis’s interest in the innovative use of building systems—cast concrete in this instance, which is normally used on fast-track industrial projects as a means of completing structure and cladding with a single material. Tsementzis, however, has a phenomenologist’s interest in how sensory perception affects our appreciation of spaces; in Concrete House, board-forming imparts a fine, wood-grained texture to the residence’s surfaces, inside and out.

For now, Tsementzis remains a sole practitioner, with a clearly defined sense of how her firm should expand: “Maintaining quality and detail in the design work while the practice grows is my absolute ideal.”