Omar Gandhi has created his own dream home while paying homage to the city around it. Embracing a skinny but deep 242-square-metre lot, he has inserted his house into the fabric of North Halifax, the common-bond brick pattern of its podium a reference to older buildings in the area, its upper cedar veil already patinated by the elements.
The entrance to both the home and Gandhi’s studio (he practises in Halifax and Toronto) is through the rear, where buff brick paves a courtyard bookended by a garage. Down a set of full-width stairs, one descends into the sunken office, a pill-shaped storage wall separating it from the residential zone. Up a flight of stairs, one enters the linear kitchen and dining area, which are entirely swathed in white oak panelling; whitewashed millwork stretches the length of the space to incorporate a fireplace and copious storage. Most transcendent is the light well that vertically carves out the opposite end of the home; from his third-storey bedroom, Gandhi’s son can see all the way down into the living area. The skylights in the upper bathrooms, meanwhile, capture and disperse the phenomena of the East Coast climate — the pinging of rain and shifting light patterns — throughout the interior.
In the beginning, Gandhi set out to conjure up an inviting residence that would double as an anchor for his firm. But as his practice grew, picking up such high-profile commissions as the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (as part of a team that also includes KPMB) and Peggy’s Cove, it outgrew the in-home atelier. So Gandhi has decided to re-focus the place on works for the local community, such as a homeless shelter. In more ways than one, then, this is a home that exalts its surroundings, bringing the fabric of the city into the soul of the house.
Team Omar Gandhi with Jordan Rice (Omar Gandhi Architect); Andrea Doncaster (Andrea Doncaster Engineering); Devin Harper (Hewn + Barter); Mike Burns (MRB Contracting)
In more ways than one, OG House exalts its surroundings, bringing the fabric of the city into the soul of the house.