Rocscience is in the (Half) House

Published on: Jun 12, 2020 Updated on: Jul 20, 2022 2 minutes read

It’s not everyone that works in an architectural oddity. But since Rocscience’s expansion into the Toronto Half House last year, employees of the company get to be a part of history while benefiting from a hard-to-believe feat of engineering. Perhaps that’s not so surprising, though, given Roscience’s standing as one of the top developers of geotechnical engineering software in the world.

Touted by Narcity as one of the 16 coolest things to do in Toronto, visiting the Toronto Half House is a real treat, not to mention a great photo opportunity. Originally built in the 1890s as one of a string of six row houses on what was then Drummer Street, 54 ½ St. Patrick Street held ground as the five properties around it were gradually acquired and demolished during the middle of the 20thcentury to make room for the development of Village by the Grange. Against all odds, the then owners of the house (the Valkos) refused to sell and continued to live in the house as its connecting neighbor to the north was carefully, almost surgically, torn down.

Left standing since then as a testament to redevelopment holdout, the Half House continues to catch the eye of not just passers-by. Among its many mentions is one in Atlas Obscura, a website billing itself as “the definitive guide to the world’s hidden wonders.” It even rates an entry in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! under the categories “Extreme Nature + Places” and “Weird News.”

For us at Rocscience, though, it’s the inside of the house we’re proud of as it takes on its latest historical incarnation as the “Half Office.” Totally rewired and remodeled, the house’s small yet light and airy rooms make for the perfect working environment, with just the right amount of intimacy needed to bring about collaboration while retaining one’s personal space. The added touch of history is of course perfect since it reminds us that we are always part of something bigger than ourselves.

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