Architecture critic John Bentley Mays writes in the Globe and Mail about Toronto sunlight: "The low winter sunshine here is harsh, unforgiving; and though natural light is softer and higher in summer, the glare might still be punishing." Big windows facing south can be a big problem.
Architect Paul Raff dealt with it in a very interesting way: He designed a brise soleil of slender aluminum slats that work as light shelves and stretched it across the front of a new Toronto house. We have shown a few houses and buildings under the heading "Nice Shades"- because it makes a lot of sense to moderate and modulate light before it gets into a building. They also can become a significant design element.
The architect tells Dezeen:
The aluminium light shelves are horizontal slats that have a high coefficient of reflectivity. Their highly polished top surface bounce sunlight deep into the space. It imbues the interior with a glow, and a dynamic pattern of shadows and reflections that shift across the space over the course of the hours and seasons.
Paul Raff has been on TreeHugger (and I interviewed him here) before with his thoughtful houses with many green features, including high performance envelope, carefully thought out ventilation strategies and efficient windows.
But for all their efficiencies, design comes first and it shows in the gorgeous detailing and woodwork; I want this home office, and concur with John Bentley Mays' conclusion:
Counterpoint House is contemporary residential architecture in one of its most subtle registers. Mr. Raff’s play with solids and voids, with openings and shuttings, and his shifts of tone and atmosphere, are deft, assured, never noisy.
See more at Paul Raff Studio