In one of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods, a compact grid full of Victorian single family dwellings, isolated infill projects have begun to sprout up. While most adhere to the character language of the surrounding houses, SHAPE took a different approach to infill, deploying a ‘contemporary vernacular’ based equally on the lifestyle of its inhabitants and ecological imperatives. Taking cues from nearby porches, solar hot water heaters arrayed at the requisite angle create a form similar to a traditional porch roof. In sympathy to the street’s prevalent gables, wraparound skylights articulate the same form, enhancing the upstairs living space without the intrusion of dormers.
Though the house itself is modest in scale, it also acts at the scale of the neighbourhood, seeding domestic life amidst the characteristic garages and sheds fronting the laneway. Situated within the space of the rear yard, the infill house offers the possibility of double frontage: it fronts the intermediate courtyard with a large entrance porch while fronting the lane with an audaciously large main floor window. The carefully crafted relationship between the house and its site encourages the evolution of the lane as a secondary public thoroughfare, catalyzing neighbourhood regeneration.