As more and more people live in apartment buildings, the role of the balcony needs more scrutiny.
Many Ottawa builders, including luxury brands like Charlesfort, aim for the smallest sellable bit of concrete. Others, like Brocolinni, aim to provide exactly the “average” Ottawa balcony size. Alas, we see no sign of the inventiveness and livability of their latest Montreal buildings, where large and usable balconies are prominent.
In a number of US cities, and occasionally in Toronto, I see careful balcony crafting by developers, who provide lower floor units with balconies that are terraces, and gradually decreasing balcony sizes as the floors go up and the utility of balconies declines due to cold and wind.
The larger balcony spaces offers an additional amenity to lower floor units that may have lesser views. I notice Domicile beefs up the ceiling heights and balcony sizes of lower floor units.
You have to look hard in Ottawa to find larger balcony spaces, but they are findable. Claridge on LeBreton Flats offers numerous variations in balcony size from the cigarette butt size to room for gathering around a table.
Ground floor walk-off balconies are also getting better, and useful.
Where the weather is really nice year round very big balconies are fun, but in Ottawa these balconies might darken the interiors:
Then there is the Bosco Verticale, written about extensively elsewhere on this blog:
I have seen balconies with giant venetian blinds on them to control sun and shading. And sliding trellises. And even double glass balcony railings, so with the push of a button one of the lower railings rises up on a track to sit atop the remaining glass railing, to completely enclose the balcony.
Back in Ottawa, I notice a pair of condos out near Hurdman, one of which permits folding acrylic panels on the balconies. Judging by the proliferation of these, residents feel extending the sitting out season is worth the cost. The second tower has … none.
The balcony enclosures shown above are not four season as they are not heatable; air must circulate to let the balcony cement dry. But when that early spring sun comes out, the glazing blocks the wind and makes stepping out joyous.