Barton Myers' Steel House


photos from Barton Myers site by Russ Widstrand

30 years ago, Barton Myers' house in Toronto became a magnet for every architecture student in the city; its use of industrial materials, exposed block and steel, and industrial fittings was unheard of. Barton then moved to California, where he clearly has done very well, for he has built another house for himself that is as groundbreaking as his first, shown in the summer issue of Innovative Home.

It is built in an area prone to wildfires, so it is built out of steel, with rooftop reflecting ponds that keep it cool and can supply thirty thousand gallons of water. Fire shutters pull down over every glass opening, sealing it up tight.


100% of the walls to the south open up, they are giant glass garage doors. It is all designed to be heated passively, with deep overhangs to let in the winter sun but provide shade in the summer.


Exposed concrete floors, exposed steel structure, Barton Myers' palette of materials has not changed in 30 years; he is still building "elegant warehouses". It has evolved, but still shows how in the hands of a master, simple, off-the-shelf industrial products and materials can look as elegant and refined as the most expensive finishes. ::Barton Myers


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