Ottawa-based architectural practice, PLOTNONPLOT Residential + Commercial Architects, is behind the design for this tiny house known as The Narrows. The design was derived from the name of the road on which it is located — Opeongo, which originates from the Algonquian opeauwingauk meaning “sandy narrows.”
Narrows, or channels, through the home were created in order to maximize and frame the cascading views to the Ottawa River below as well as the treelines.
PLOTNONPLOT’s exploratory design process is reflected in this small bungalow, which is less than 1,000 square feet in size, and placed in the forested escarpment on Canadian Shield.
The tiny house evolved into a project centered on maintaining the privacy of essential functions, while dedicating most of the floor space to the L-shaped circulation of the house.
These two main axes of the tiny house are bounded by glass and form the exterior courtyard. They were placed to deepen the carved narrows and their views, improving the forested experience of the residents and visitors from the street.
A balance was achieved in the outward appearance of the home, where the same openings function in reverse. They artfully frame the domestic and natural activities, allowing the forest’s tree lines to be showcased through elegant openings, while also offering a glimpse of the glazed internal courtyard as one approaches the house. At night, warm light radiates outward, due to deliberate material and lighting strategies, using warm wood to evoke the forest surroundings and inviting observers from the street.
Focus was placed on minimizing impact on the environment and sensitivity to the streetscape. This includes siting the home further back on the lot to decrease tree removal and to maintain the established forest and character of the street, reducing programmatic requirements to essential day-to-day functions and right-sizing the home to the family and incorporating passive solar heat strategies employed to reduce dependence on energy consumption.
Additionally, they include employing an efficient, air-entrained slab-on-grade and minimizing excavation and disruption to the site and salvaging wood and stone from the site to reuse as materials for landscaping and slope stabilization.