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“I’ve put all the elements my clients have asked for over the last year into a house they are too scared to build,” Burlington architect Darren Sanger-Smith said of the 4,200-square-foot dream dwelling he has designed for the National Home Show, which continues through Sunday at Toronto’s Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place.

When I visited the wood-framed house last week in the company of its co-creator – credit for the design also goes to Michael Upshall, of ProBuilt Design + Build – I found nothing scary about it. In fact, the pitched-roof, two-level building struck me as pretty conventional, except for a couple of things.

One is all that glass.

Rendering of the"FutureDeamHome" created for the National Home Show by architect Darren Sanger-Smith and Michael Upshall, ProBuilt Design + Build.

Even people who admire (in theory) modernist architecture’s transparent boxes might be daunted by the high degree of exposure to the outside Mr. Sanger-Smith has built into this project. The master-bedroom wing overlooks the back garden through a glazed opening 16 feet wide and eight feet high. The rear wall of the dining room, similarly, is mostly glass, and so is the two-storey flat-topped pavilion, around at the front, that shelters the usual suburban great room and the stairway.

But this demonstration house is meant, the architect said, “to bring the landscape in” – not to keep the busy, dense city at bay. If transported from the Enercare Centre into the real world, the structure would be sited, ideally, on “a couple of acres in north Burlington,” with “views on every side.” Besides the extensive glazing, a couple of other things make this house somewhat offbeat. Take, for example, the unusual sequence of second-floor spaces. It begins inside with a passageway nine feet wide – the architect calls it the “art gallery” – continues with a covered bridge between the house and the two-car garage and terminates in a “man cave” overlooking the vehicles below.

"FutureDeamHome," under construction at the National Home Show.

This is upmarket suburban housing: Mr. Sanger-Smith estimates that translating the temporary dream home roughed in at Exhibition Place into a liveable house would cost in the neighbourhood of $1-million.

The result would be stuffed, of course, with the latest electronic gadgets – the smartest thermostats, the most pervasive command-and-control equipment and so on. In its current version, Mr. Upshall has featured an audio system with invisible soundboards, instead of speakers, inserted into the walls. This arrangement is supposed to provide sound that seems to come from everywhere and nowhere. I regard such non-directional sound as disagreeable, like an hallucination or Christmas music in an enclosed shopping mall. But the installation at least has the virtue of simplifying the problem of where to put the speakers.

"FutureDeamHome," interior.

Indeed, “simplicity” is the trait most wanted by customers of his residential art, Mr. Sanger-Smith told me, and simplicity – to an almost yawn-inducing degree – is what he has achieved in this place. “It’s what everyone is looking for now,” the architect said. “A clean-lined look, open concept, functionality.”

Absent are fluted columns, faux-Versailles flourishes, or other instances of the romancing that makes so much of Lake Ontario’s shoreline architecture a drag. Even the pitched roofs on Mr. Sanger-Smith’s house have an air of modernist austerity about them. Sightlines are long, clear and straight. The floor plan is laid out on a regular, rectilinear grid, with no curves or unrespectable angles.

The kitchen of the"FutureDreamHome".

Advertised as the Home Show’s “FutureDeamHome,” this prototype is less a forecast of things to come than an advertisement for the middle-brow status quo in construction, design and outfitting. I don’t see how the situation could be otherwise. The workers co-ordinated by Mr. Upshall had to assemble the prefabricated pieces of the building in just seven days, which required plans that were as routine as possible. Ditto for the furnishings. The setting is a trade exposition intended to sell products and services, after all, not a museum show celebrating advanced contemporary design.

Still, one can hope that, now and then, a big, popular commercial fair such as the National Home Show might promote the most serious and interesting residential designs that architects and builders are dreaming up these days.

"FutureDeamHome," interior.

I would like Toronto to have a concentrated opportunity to check out, for example, the technical angles and artistic initiatives involved in the superefficient so-called “passive house,” now enjoying a vogue in European architectural circles. Proponents of this scheme argue that a more sophisticated use of “dumb,” old-fashioned building materials in residential construction could largely eliminate the need for expensive, high-tech heating systems, smart thermostats and such. I don’t know if the advocates are right. But a home show is the kind of place where all the pros and cons could be set out, and the fair-going public could be treated to top ideas about the future of housing.