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The contemporary look — the latest trend in residential construction — has spread from the urban core and is growing increasingly popular in the suburbs and communities outside major Ontario cities, such as Toronto, say industry experts.
“The past couple of decades of residential construction have been dominated by neo-traditional designs, but we’re in the midst of a major shift to modern or contemporary homes,” says David Stewart, an Urban Designer and Principal of Williams & Stewart Associates Ltd. in Richmond Hill, Ont. “We’re seeing more and more builders who are using contemporary designs to gain a competitive edge and buyers who are looking for homes that really make a statement and are modern and unique.”
The contemporary trend in residential architecture features:
- Smooth-faced brick and stone instead of the tumbled, rough and “rusticated” surface of brick and stone in neo-traditional and heritage-style buildings;
- Bold monochrome colours in shades of black, grey, brown, red and buff are replacing multi-chromatic colours;
- Linear masonry shapes;
- Greater use of mixed masonry products to create varied elevations which give more interest to exterior appearance; and
- Stone, brick and panel accents.
While brick, block and stone have been the most trusted building materials for hundreds of years because of their durability, masonry manufacturers are taking the lead in developing innovative new products to stay ahead of shifting architectural design tastes and trends.
“Our manufacturers are constantly refining their products to meet evolving demands for new colours, textures,sizes and shapes,” said Judy Pryma, President of MasonryWorx, a tradeassociation for Ontario masonry industry professionals. “Brick, block and stone may stand the test of time for hundreds of years, but they are also extremely versatile and can adapt to any building style.”
At the same time as more residential buyers opt for contemporary-style homes, municipal and provincial government policies are encouraging developers to build higher density housing to make the most of residentially zoned property. As a result, communities are seeing a shift to more creative townhome designs, low-rise apartments and mixed-use buildings with retail at ground level and residential space above.
As with single-family residential construction, masonry products continue to be the exterior cladding of choice for multi-family residential units, Stewart said.
“Municipalities want high-quality and durable new communities, and brick, block and stone are definitely the preferred solution,” he said.
An overwhelming 90% of consumers who participated in a recent province-wide study by MasonryWorx said they would prefer to buy homes made of masonry products over other exterior finishes, such as wood, vinyl siding or stucco. The majority of respondents said they favour masonry because it’s durable, attractive, easy to maintain and adds greater long-term value to their investment than other building materials.
MasonryWorx is an association of industry professionals working in brick, block and stone masonry. Our members include product manufacturers, suppliers and skilled professionals from across Ontario who create high-quality homes, buildings and structures that last for generations, increase in value, are environmentally friendly and beautify neighbourhoods. We are committed to providing consumers, members of the construction industry and all levels of government with accurate information about the uses and benefits of brick, block and stone products.