Capital Modern

The section applies to modern styled homes in Larch Park.  It is important, however, that it is not read isolation as many aspects of environmental design are addressed in the Architecture and Sustainability sections and urban design matters addressed in the Area Specific guidelines.

Edmonton has a strong tradition of contemporary architecture extending back to the 1930’s.  The Art Gallery of Alberta dubbed this tradition “Capital Modern”.

For a number of reasons, Capital Modern homes belong in Larch Park. One of the most compelling, given the spectacular location, is their ability to successfully blend indoor and outdoor spaces.

Characteristics of Capital Modern

Capital Modern is an inherently flexible style. Its key principals include responding to the existing site. For example, a house might be configured around a feature tree, resulting in a unique spatial expression. Always, the scale and character of the home fits the surrounding landscape.

Capital Modern homes are filled with light. Large windows, clearstorey glazing and expressive roof forms are often used to maximize interior day-lighting. Some homes take the concept further and feature outdoor rooms, created by walls extending into the yard.

Open plans, clean lines, simple forms: the architecture favours balanced compositions and the thoughtful juxtaposition of shapes and materials. Quality detailing stands out in these homes.

Capital Modern has a successful track record when it comes to minimizing the impact of the built environment on the natural environment. The architecture lends itself to the expressive use of alternate technologies, such as solar panels and green roofs.

As developers, we encourage Capital Modern homes in Larch Park. We are confident it is a style of architecture that fits our time and this special place.


Capital Modern Guidelines

Capital Modern homes will be reviewed for: simple expressive massing, balanced form and high quality detailing.

Horizontal element at top of first level.Horizontal element at top of first level.Professional Design

Capital Modern homes shall be designed by an Intern or Registered Architect.


Massing shall be simple, balanced and well composed.

  • Uninterrupted planes shall be no greater than two storeys in height and approximately 5.0m in plan.
  • A strong horizontal element is required at the top of the first storey level.
  • Integration of landscape elements such as planters, garden walls and porches with the massing of the house is strongly encouraged.
  • Incongruous forms are not permitted.

Left: Front porch acts as outdoor living space. Right: Very simple form with contrasting textures and materials.Left: Front porch acts as outdoor living space. Right: Very simple form with contrasting textures and materials.Porches and Front Patios

Modern homes are well suited to front exterior living spaces.  While these may take the form of a porch, these guidelines will also permit unroofed or trellised patios defined with low walls or strong landscape elements.

Left: Large openning with creative composition of smaller windows. Middle: Exterior shading device cuts cooling costs. Right: Exterior shading device cuts cooling costs.Left: Large openning with creative composition of smaller windows. Middle: Exterior shading device cuts cooling costs. Right: Exterior shading device cuts cooling costs.Windows

  • Windows should be sized and situated to frame exterior views, provide solar gain and/or improve interior daylighting.
  • Large windows comprised of balanced compositions of smaller windows are encouraged.
  • Clear-storey windows bring natural light high into a room without compromising wall space  and can lighten the visual appearance of a flat or low slope roof.
  • Modern home designs may be well suited to exterior shading systems which can greatly reduce summer heat gain.

Siding Colours and Materials

The following exterior finishes are permitted for capital modern homes:

Siding materials

An element of natural stained wood is strongly encouraged to add warmth. texture and visual interest.

Exposed concrete may be permitted if it is detailed and finished in a high quality manner and is integral to the overall design of the home.

Elevations shall generally contain no less than two and no more than four primary materials.  Material changes may occur only at inside corners or along horizontal lines.

Roof Colours and Materials

The following roof materials are permitted for capital modern homes:

  • premium laminated/profiled asphalt or fiberglass shingles: black, red, blue or green
  • wood shingles
  • standing seam metal with a colour appropriate to the main body of the house
  • green/planted roofs

Note where a green or living roof is provided on 50% or more of the home, the landscape requirements for tree / shrub quantities will be reduced by 25%.


Click here to return to architectural guidelines applicable to all houses regardless of style.

Return to General Architectural Guidelines
See also Craftsman Style

“Edmonton has been home to significant architectural invention for a city its size…a near-total shunning of self-promotion means the world knows little of it.”

Trevor Boddy, 2007

Larch Guidelines Version 3.0