Academy Road Residence

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Residential Architecture
Cohlmeyer Architecture

Built on a 24-foot-wide property, with a required seven-foot side yard on the south side and a three-foot side yard on the north, the house has a slender profile of 14 feet.

This 1985 residential project was sited on a property thought to be too narrow to accommodate construction. The house, only 14 feet wide, reflects the efficiency and character of a boat, and retains spaciousness with its open concept and split-level design.

Despite the complexities of working within a narrow space, the high ceilings, specific window placements, and open multi-levels create a feeling of unrestricted flow while keeping spatial definition for each of the living areas.

One end of the house can be seen from the other. On the upper level, a ladder leads to a loft with a round window evocative of a porthole. A slim coloured-stucco chimney identifies the main entrance.

The house is designed with careful attention to detail and has a sense of spatial richness. It is an ingenious solution for an unusually narrow site and has become a Winnipeg landmark.


Negotiating the right to build

  • In 1910 the land surveyor platted this lot for residential construction.

  • In 1980 the by-laws stated the lot was too narrow for residential construction.

  • The architect found that the current by-law could be superceded if no neighbouring landowner had ever held claim to the land.

  • After viewing more than one hundred land titles the architect established the right to build.

First, second and third floor sections.

First, second and third floor sections.

The south side of the house is exposed to intense, year-round sun. Windows are strategically placed to let natural light radiate through the interior without allowing excessive heat gain. A roof deck over the garage provides an outdoor retreat, accessible from two levels of the house.


Plan drawings and axonometric projection.

Landscape Architect, Cynthia Cohlmeyer
Structural Engineer, Crosier, Kilgour & Partners
Contractor, Winnipeg Building and Decorating

Large and Complex