On a walk through a residential neighborhood in Toronto’s east-end recently, we began to notice a recurring theme. Extending beyond each charming masonry-clad residence were an endless series of corrugated weaving, curving and swerving aluminum downspouts and gutters. These gutters, at times, hug tightly to follow the varied geometry of these buildings, offset from soffits, eaves, fascias and various other decorative elements. In other scenarios, they span daringly between varied rooflines, dormers and arched openings to navigate a path for water from the top of the roof to the ground below.
While mostly in awe of their geometric vim and verve, we also see this as a great opportunity to reflect upon our own consideration for drainage in the design process. Had drainage been more holistically considered in these examples we observed, perhaps the complex acrobatics that these downspouts and gutters had to perform could have been simplified. At the same time, we are on the fence about muting the opportunity for exuberant encounters such as these, because we find these smaller scale moves quite delightful and flexible, when compared to the more eternal nature of the buildings they serve. If anything, we hope this is more of a love letter to the gutter and downspout!