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Globe and Mail: Morton Katz projects in King City
Dave Le Blanc | January 11, 2018

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Two groovy houses, two glaringly different outcomes

From Issue No. 265 | January 11, 2018

Sundial House, King City, Ont. Front elevation.

The King City, Ont., home of Amadio and Maria Scodeller. 


To paraphrase, you know what they say about the best laid plans of architourists and architects, right?

I wanted to tell the tale of the "Sundial House" in King City, an hour north of Toronto. Designed in 1968 for the co-owner of a concrete forming and masonry company, the 8,000 square foot, circular, poured-concrete home had once been an architectural showpiece. It still is, in a way, but it has also suffered from some insensitive renovations and most of its handpicked furniture and art is long gone.

An old photo of King City's 'Sundial House'.

An old photo of King City’s ‘Sundial House.’ 


When I visited in late October, I'd watched architect Morton Katz, now 83, walk through, slowly, and shake his head in dismay many times. While I'm paraphrasing, quiet observations such as "These rooms have been widened, so the sundial effect has been diminished," and "This dining table isn't what we picked out," or "What's this pipe doing here?" were common. 


With bedrooms designed to catch the morning sun, other rooms able to trace the sun's daily path and a living room sunset show each evening, I could sense what this home once was, but I'd left wanting more.

While Mr. Katz and I agreed that such is the (possible) lifecycle of a private home, there was enough dejection hanging in the cool autumn air that Mr. Katz promised to visit the Ontario Archives, where most of his work is now stored, to borrow some photographs of the building in its prime.

Sundial House, King City, Ont. Morris Katz in front of Sundial House, Oct., 2017.

Architect Morton Katz photographed in front of Sundial House in October, 2017

But I did get more: As hands were shaking and I'd snapped a photograph of the white-bearded architect – who bears some resemblance to Donald Sutherland – in front of the home's front door, he suggested we knock on that of the neighbouring home. "I designed that one too," he said, "and they've kept it exactly as it was."

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