An early-1960s contemporary of the Dellio house in the previous post, the Shoichet residence at 21 Park Lane Circle is a warmer and more relaxed interpretation of the period’s cooly formal architectural directions.
To increase the house’s presence on its wide, flat site, architect James A. Murray elongated the horizontal lines by orienting the garage sideways, toward the north side of the property, and by extending a screening wall to the south. The front elevation was then broken up into an animated series of advancing and retreating planes. Buff-coloured brick with accents of bright white and muted aqua-green soften the angular geometry.
Inside, walls and fireplaces of the same buff brick help to unify the interior and exterior, and counterpoint the deep-toned walnut paneling and millwork. The original furniture was also primarily of walnut, with pale yellow and beige upholstery on cream-coloured carpeting. Natural light flooding through floor-to-ceiling windows completed the warm, welcoming ambience. The clipped putting-green landscaping has mellowed with time; today, it resembles a forest clearing surrounded by mature birches, maples and evergreens.
James A. Murray (1919-2008) was a significant force in Canada’s postwar architectural scene. He influenced architectural design, practice and education across Canada for decades as the founding editor of Canadian Architect magazine, as a frequent juror of awards and competitions, and as a professor of architecture at the University of Toronto. In addition to his writing and teaching, Murray also maintained an active architectural and planning practice, designing numerous private homes, apartment buildings, schools, churches, industrial buildings and innovative housing developments. Key projects include the Anglo Canadian Insurance Building at 76 St. Clair Avenue West (demolished), the Spaulding house at 111 Park Road, Rosedale (also demolished), the Donway United Church at 230 The Donway West and his own pioneering 1947 house at 6 Heathbridge Park. Murray also collaborated with architect Henry Fliess on many larger projects, including the South Hills Village rowhouses (Massey Silver Medal, 1958), the original Sherway Gardens shopping centre and The Towne mixed-use complex at 77-79 St. Clair Avenue East (Canadian Housing Design Council award, 1969).