Adaptable Density

Adaptable Density proposes a model for urban neighbourhood intensification as an alternative to high-rise condominiums that can be rapidly constructed, is more liveable, has a lower carbon footprint, and is better integrated with existing neighborhoods. Through a gradual process, density can be increased at a variety of scales as is appropriate to each context, by constructing multi-unit buildings on lots that are currently dominated by single-family homes. Building blocks that are easily replicable are a key factor in boosting density and expanding housing supply.

Beginning with an existing community of single-family detached dwellings, one these dwellings is replaced with a building of up to 6 storeys that has the same footprint, but densifies the lot by providing up to 10 living units. Outdoor space is carved into the building’s massing through shared communal terraces and private balconies, and the program can support retail or amenity at grade level in addition to the units on upper floors. Three “building blocks” make up this typology: the living units block, the circulation block, and the outdoor space block. The living units are designed to prioritize liveability; every unit has 3 exterior walls with ample windows for maximum daylight and natural ventilation.

A variety of sizes support a diverse range of occupants, with the units stacked in the block for efficiency of construction. This block can be modified in width and length to adapt to a variety of property sizes. Intended to serve up to 4 units per floor, the circulation block contains an elevator, along with a single exit stair alternative approach to building codes with accompanying supplementary increases in fire safety measures. The outdoor space block acts as a link between the living units and circulation blocks, providing communal outdoor space and creating a “front” door entry condition to the units.

As each building block functions as an independent component, they can be inserted individually or collectively into existing neighbourhoods to increase density. Combinations of these 3 building blocks form buildings in different configurations, adapting to larger or smaller sites, corner lots or mid-block lots, and varying heights to respond to context. The streamlined design of each building block enables construction on virtually any land parcel, offering more accessible opportunities for small-scale developers. This offers quicker time-to-market, opportunities for modular construction, and reduced construction costs without underground parking, making them adaptable and replicable. A focus on communal spaces adds to social cohesion and addresses issues of social isolation while accommodating varying types of family units. Sustainable approaches ensure a lighter environmental footprint, contributing to long-term viability.

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