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5688 Willow St/5699 Baillie St, Oakridge, Vancouver

NEIGHBOURHOOD CONTEXT ‘RESPONSIVE MASSING’: Located between a single-family neighbourhood developed in the sixties and a fast-growing rapid transit hub, this multi-residential project demanded a new form of transit-oriented density that is sensitive to these two contrasting urban conditions. Aperture responds to its “single-family-transitioning-to-urban” context with a campus-like massing that combines housing typologies to respond to its context. A full-city block, its massing steps-down in scale from two, 6-storey multi-family blocks on the busy arterial, down to standalone single-family villas, sensitive to the single-family neighborhood to the north.

The building blocks are bisected with water gardens and bamboo courtyards that animate volumes with reflective light. The shallow massing results in bright, light-filled residences. Stratigraphic architectural themes echo the area’s mid-century modern architectural vocabulary. Cantilever decks and strong horizontal lines create a sense of lightness and lower the massing profile.

RESPONSIVE ‘APERTURE’S: Façade openings are programmed to provide passive shading and act like an Aperture: opening and closing in response to the unique solar exposure of each façade. Apertures are deeper on the south elevation to provide increased sun shading, and more shallow and open to the North, to allow for additional light. These, together with other LEED Gold sustainability initiatives resulted in a project with 57% fewer CO2 emissions than the average US building of the same type and size. (1)

WOOD-GLASS SKIN: Each aperture is framed with natural wood-in-glass; a building skin that is the first of its kind. A wood veneer encapsulated between two glass layers, the system allows the wood to be preserved in its natural form without staining or colour treatment; the richness of the natural wood grain is enhanced through refracted light. The wood-glass spandrel is insulated, improving the thermal performance. Encapsulated UV glass protects wood from weather exposure, eliminating the need for wood maintenance.

DEMOGRAPHIC CONTEXT: The project responds to a larger vision of expanding the public transit system and creating walkable, synergistic density around station sites. As a result of focus group research, the residential unit mix was designed to fill the specific needs of two distinct and ever-converging demographics requiring multi-family homes: young, first-time buyers and down-sizing empty nesters that wished to age-in place in their community.

Two 7,000 SQ FT fully-shared roof spaces on each 6-storey block provide outdoor community space for growing families, each space including BBQs, urban agriculture and children’s play places.

For the empty nesters, the focus is on mobility and aging in place. These units are slightly larger with fully accessible bathrooms and door widths that facilitate wheelchair access. The lane villa units include power, and shaft spaces with floor knock out panels to accommodate small elevators.

(1) 57% fewer CO2 emissions than the average US building of the same type and size. Report courtesy of the sustainability consultant.

TYPE Multi-Residential

SIZE 98,000 sq ft (9,108 SM)



STATUS Complete

DEVELOPER Buffalo Investment Canada

Rezoning, Architectural

Acoustic Consultant: Brown Strachan
Building Envelope: Spratt Emanual
Construction: Urban One Builders
Concrete: Butler Brothers
Costing Consultant: BTY Group
Code Consultant: LMDG Building Code Consultant
Electrical/Mechanical Engineer: Integral Engineering
Geotechnical Engineer: GeoPacific Consultants
Interior Design: I3 Design
Landscape Architect: Phillips Fervaag Smallenberg
Structural Engineer: Fast & Epp Structural Engineer
Sustainability Consultant: Integral Engineering
Traffic Consultant: Bunt & Associates Engineering
Photography: Michael Elkan Photography

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International Property Award - Best Architecture for Multi-Res for the Americas >
Dezeen Longlist >
American Architecture Prize - Honorable Mention >