Batay-Csorba Architects’ Renovation In Toronto’s Historic Baby Point Neighbourhood An Homage To English Grandeur
A commonality among the world’s great major cities are the individual neighbourhoods that magically weave together to provide the city’s texture and character. SoHo or Tribeca in New York, St. James’s in London, or the Left Bank in Paris — all are distinctive, yet reflective of the greater city itself.
In Toronto, Canada’s largest city and the fourth largest in North America, such a neighbourhood is Baby Point on the city’s west side. Here are tall, mature trees, expansive single-home lots, winding streets and a distinctive English feel. And that is where Batay-Csorba Architects has recently completed a stunning transformation of Baby Point Residence, a 5,200-square-foot manor house in the truest tradition of a stately English home, owing to the city’s British roots.
Baby Point’s distinctive name comes from prominent French-Canadian merchant James Baby who purchased 1,500 acres of land for his estate in the 1820s. His heirs continued to occupy the land until the government acquired it and then sold it to developer Robert Home Smith in 1912.
Smith marketed the area as “a bit of England far from England,” with many of the initial homes built in the English Cottage or Tudor Revival style. Smith’s development also ensured the natural topography of the land was maintained to create picturesque settings for each home. This distinctive old-world charm and traditional feel continues to this day, making Baby Point one of the most desired residential neighbourhoods in Toronto. Prices range from the $900,000s for one- bedroom condominiums to $1.5 million for detached homes and close to $4 million for some of the grandest estate homes.
For the Baby Point Residence project, architects Batay-Csorba undertook a renovation and addition, consisting of structural renewal, re-organization of living flow and opening up of the existing layout, and the addition of a kitchen and master bedroom suite. And for a traditional home such as this, it could not have been in more experienced, capable and loving hands than Batay-Csorba Architects.
The company is dedicated to the construction of real spaces that engage people and place, believing that architecture plays a fundamental role in shaping how we experience the world. Batay-Csorba strives to create projects that engage their context, users and the public realm, and Baby Point Residence is a perfect example.
Most of the house’s original exterior of stucco and stones from the nearby Humber River were kept intact. Batay-Csorba opened views to the back ravine and opened all the floors to allow in more natural light and easier living flow. All the windows were thickened and clad in wood to allow for comfy banquette seating. The result is a home that pays homage to its traditional English design, while modernizing its fixtures, finishes and lifestyle flow to provide the ultimate in luxury urban living.
Baby Point Residence by Batay-Csorba reflects the architects’ commitment to creating transformative spatial experiences through their expertise and exploration of site, materiality and movement.