Architecture grads designed and built a house together in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood
Peter Tan and Christine Ho Ping Kong (both BArch 1996) live in Toronto in a house they built together. In addition, they’ve built their own architecture firm, Studio Junction. They met while studying at U of T, are married and have two children.
Peter “I remember the first time I noticed Christine. That was in a third-year housing studio in 1993. The following year we went to Florence together to study. We started going on excursions to different towns, and it was in Luca [near Venice] that we had our fi rst memorable date – but we didn’t call it that. When we finished school, we worked for a year and then went travelling through Asia for nine or 10 months. We spent every hour together. When we came back, I remember calling everyone Christine regardless of whether they were male or female. So many times during those months, it was the first word out of my mouth.”
Christine “It’s much more of a strain on a relationship to build a house with somebody than to travel with somebody. You have a very big goal and limited resources, so there’s a lot to overcome. Our house represents a lot of our thoughts and ideas on architecture and how we would like to live. The ground floor is open concept, and the whole house is based around a centre courtyard. We have a common design aesthetic, and working together is very natural. There’s no downtime and it’s not totally seamless; it requires a lot of communication. But because we’re in the same business, we understand each other.”