Typical of most of our projects we mine the potential of the banal. We dissect the design brief, by-law and building code requirements, site restrictions, budget, etc. to find hidden potential that can begin to inform our design.
With bv20 we discovered multiple challenges and opportunities such as 20 feet of elevation change from the north west to the south east corner of the site, restrictive setbacks and height limits, stringent landscape and amenity space requirements and a ‘community-centric’ ARP (Area Redevelopment Plan) that advocated for vibrant social spaces and ‘knowing your neighbor’.
We began developing massing models that took advantage of the site’s steep slope by placing the parkade at grade, which pushes the rear units of the building up resulting in a terracing effect that helps to democratize light and view for most of the units. We shifted the density between the north and south property lines to accommodate differing height restrictions, creating essentially three ‘bar buildings’ that could be programed with different housing types. Offsetting and sloping these three bars provides for a generous exterior amenityscape.
Together these formal moves allowed us to provide a diversity of housing types (towhhome, loft and flat), increase access to light and view for each unit, and perhaps most critically, turned what could’ve been a consortium of mono-functional flat roofs into a polyvalent roofscape or amenityscape. This amenityscape, while satisfying the stringent landscape and amenity space requirements, introduces urban horticulture in the form of private gardens, vegetative roofs, apiaries, etc. at a scale previously unknown to inner-city living in Calgary. It also forms a place that encourages spontaneous interaction amongst the buildings inhabitants, a place to walk the dog or get a breath of fresh air.