Foto © Nic Lehoux
Foto © Nic Lehoux
Foto © Nic Lehoux
Foto © Nic Lehoux
Foto © Nic Lehoux


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4387 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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1 - 5 pisos


The task for this project was to create a paradigm shift for dense urban living culture, and to position the project through design innovation with regards to livability, flexibility and spatial qualities. While being highly value driven, the project attempts to merge typical opposites into a new paradigm where excellent and culturally engaged design and development interest become mutually beneficial. As such we were retained both as architects, strategic project planners and development consultants.



One of Vancouver’s greatest assets is its cultural and ethnic diversity (the highest in the world). The city is growing at a rapid pace, mostly through immigration. As such buyers come from many different cultures, with different lifestyles associated. This condition, together with other changes in the city’s socio, economic and cultural life, requires innovative new housing models.


For the dense and sustainable metropolis, it is imperative to develop housing models that offer a viable alternative to urban sprawl and curb commuting, and allow for a multitude of live and live work scenarios while catalyzing entrepreneurial activities, cultural and social inventiveness. Yet, the current housing market is still primarily driven by standardized solutions, packaged in ever more elaborate marketing schemes. Risk aversiveness and seemingly endless repetition of highly standardized layouts provide pre-established and confining ideas about living.



In response the following approach and solutions were developed:

A. Method: We designed a project that offers choice for many different lifestyles, offering a range of units and give each unit many possibilities for occupation. Basically we decided to design a project that is strategic incomplete in itself, highly adaptable and therefore welcomes the individuality and creativity of future occupants.

B. Design Features: Insideout: Based on scenario studies we developed stackable homes from the inside-out. They are a compact ‘sky-house’ with private patios, linking indoor and outdoors seamlessly; each home has two stories with an open double story area, and they range in size range from 800 to 2000 sf.

C. Porosity: Secondly, we generated the absolute maximum volume/envelope permissible with all possible relaxations. From this we began a process of subtraction, perforating the volume with striations or “slots” that create continuous open spaces from front to back and create private live around patios that seamlessly link interior and exterior spaces. The slots address a significant dilemma that most housing units face today: Very narrow deep units, with inflexible layouts that are poorly lit and ventilated. Instead, natural daylight is abundant and natural cross-ventilation is ensured for all homes.

D. Community: The stacked houses are arranged around a common courtyard to provide spaces of encounter and socialization, and the discovery of space through sequential unfolding of movement.

E. Sustainability: First, the building was conceived of and presented to the city as live work, entirely new for this neighbourhood, thus dramatically reducing the necessity to commute for the tenants. Secondly the building deploys user operable systems to control seasonal solar gain in the summer (block) and winter (allow), effectively eliminating the need for AC systems, while maintaining a very natural and comfortable environment. And third, the units are so bright that virtually no artificial light is needed during daytime. Passive solar technology, in the form of sliding screens with inset aluminum grating are used to regulate seasonal heat gain and to control privacy issues.

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