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Vancouver, British Columbia

2007 / Complete / Residential / New Build / House / 1200 ft2

This lane infill project is located in an established residential neighbourhood in Vancouver. Laneway housing was first introduced during the City’s early years, when “carriage houses” were built to house workers and extended families. Today the concept of laneway housing revolves around notions of sustainability. In an effort to create greater density, lower the environmental footprint and foster new and affordable housing types, the City has broadened its zoning initiatives to permit laneway housing in a growing number of communities with conventional lot sizes.

This project represents the City’s first lane infill proposed for a typical 33’ x 122’ lot. Issues revolving around the juxtaposition of dualities between old versus new, street versus lane, public versus private all served as forces to shape the architecture of the project. While maintaining a comfortable residential scale and proportion, the modern form and materiality of the infill house purposely departs from the traditional detailing of the existing pre 1940s home and surrounding context, adding diversity and an immediate animation to the lane.

The tall volume defining the primary living space of the infill is oriented on the lane side, while lower sloped ceilings define the private zones of the house. The main entry stair and circulation zones buffer any potential awkward views between the two houses on the site. Careful dimensioning and positioning of windows further reduces the perception of the increased density, proximity and issues of overlook onto adjacent properties. Interior sliding panels offer the flexibility necessary for the house to become a one bedroom apartment, or a large open multipurpose space, suitable for studio or office use. Photovoltaic roof panels provide heat for the radiant in-floor system.