06/02/2012 11:40 EDT | Updated 06/04/2012 05:06 EDT

House Of The Week: 'Weathering Steel' House A Study In Modernist Ambition (PHOTOS)

Chestnut Park

Believe it or not, the facade of the house pictured above isn’t wood or some kind of wood-painted aluminum siding. It’s steel.

That’s the basic idea behind the Weathering Steel House, an award-winning piece of architecture that sits atop a cliff overlooking a ravine in Toronto’s ritzy Bridle Path neighbourhood.

When Shim-Sutcliffe Architects began construction on the custom-made property about 12 years ago, even the home’s future owners grew worried that they may have bought a huge tin can in which to live.

''We really had to trust the architects at this stage,” Yvonne Domerchie-Fleck, who with her husband was the home’s first owner, told the New York Times.

But construction wasn’t even finished before the steel began to weather into a mild, brown colour.

What might have stood out really abruptly when it was first installed doesn’t now,” architect Brigitte Shim told the Globe and Mail.

Shim says she designed the house to make the most of Toronto’s long, cold winters.

''It's seen as a dormant season,'' Shim said, ''but it's very rich.''

To that end, the house is designed to allow large amounts of natural light to filter in, even in the dark winter months. When summer comes, large glass doors open to the property’s pond, allowing nature indoors. The five-bedroom, six-bath property is designed to afford views of the ravine even from its foyer.

Even without a stark, steel exterior, the house stands out from its neighbours, and got enough attention in the world of architecture that it drew the interest of rocker David Bowie, who requested a tour of the property.

Owner David Fleck was reportedly thrilled. “He’s one of my heroes,” he told the Globe and Mail.

The British billionaire rocker was hardly the only one impressed: The property won a Governor General’s Medal in Architecture in 2004, among other accolades.

Yours for $6.95 million from Chestnut Park Realty, if you want it.

Photo gallery 87 Highland Crescent, Toronto See Gallery