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Toronto, Ontario

Cube House

This unusual structure may be on its way to becoming a cultural landmark in Toronto. 

This unusual structure is well known to motorists who drive past it going to and from the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto. The project was built by architect Ben Kutner and his partner Jeff Brown in 1996. It has been occupied as a private residence and used as a billboard at various stages of its existence.

The Cube House design was inspired by similar cube homes built in Rotterdam and Helmond in the 1970s. Piet Blom was the architect of those original structures. He thought of them as  “trees” with living space branching out from a trunk-like base. Groups of such homes became “forests”. 

Cube House has been at the centre of legal wrangles about land ownership and the eventual fate of the building is uncertain. Kutner and Brown built the single structure with the hopes of incorporating it into a larger residential community they called “unitri.” However, they did not own the land they built on and the actual landowner did not agree with their plan. In the end, the landowner was deemed to be the legal owner of the building, rather than Kutner and Brown.

In 2016, the land was put on the market and is expected to be bought by a developer. If that happens, the structure will likely be torn down to make way for a larger residential building. Though you’ll find it on the side of an elevated highway, it’s close to the popular Corktown district and newly developed neighbourhood, the Canary District (which had been the location of the athlete’s village for the 2015 Pan Am Games).