Calgary, AB, CA



It can be argued that over the last number of decades, housing at an urban scale has divested itself from creativity or ‘out of the box thinking’ in favour of the gentrifying forces and economics of speculative development. As such, a large void or blind spot has been created within the urban fabric of our cities; namely within the way live communally in multi-family housing. With VILLAGE, we set out to address this blind spot and perhaps dispel the myth that where we live can’t be every bit as exciting and engaging as where we work, learn, and recreate.

One of the core challenges of this project was to achieve our client’s desired density of 78 units within an active neighbourhood concerned with protecting its historic character, property values, and sense of community. To address these concerns we produced numerous massing models that explored ‘modulating density’ in such a fashion that, while achieving the prerequisite of 78 units, produced ‘topographical forms’ that provided flexibility in how we allocated the programmatic mix of unit types, decreased the scale of the building at a prominent intersection, and democratized both light and view.

Next, we wished to invert the current norm as it pertains to multi-family housing, of restricting the town homes to being within the podium of the building. We achieved this by elevating the town homes to the upper-layer of the building to replicate the formal and programmatic diversity, human-scale and the sense of community typically associated with single-family homes. Combined with the topographical massing, this ‘contextual stitching’ creates a whimsical, village-like atmosphere that encourages social interaction amongst the building’s inhabitants, provides a diversity of housing types (townhouse, loft, studio, condo) and creates a variegated roof-scape. The resulting form borrows from the traditional vernacular of the surrounding community, albeit in a contemporary guise.

Within an urban fabric monopolized by speculative development, VILLAGE reintroduces human-scale, diversity, social interaction, and a sense of community to a typology long relegated to the realm of ambiguity, banality, and sameness.

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Status: Unbuilt
Location: Calgary, AB, CA