Haeccity Studio Architecture’s ideas for creating affordable housing in Metro Vancouver has garnered them the top prize for the Urbanarium Missing Middle Competition. The Urbanarium is a registered non-profit society founded by a group of Vancouver architects, planners, and committed urbanites.
“Urbanarium ran this competition to have a meaningful discussion on how middle density intergenerational housing could contribute to affordable housing in the future,” says Richard Henriquez, board chair of the Urbanarium and founding principal of Henriquez Partners Architects. The jury included technical advisors and senior planning officials from Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, and Surrey.
Haeccity, a Vancouver based practice that focuses on medium-scale housing, believe that it is no longer viable to rely on density alone to address the current affordability crisis. They are exploring ways to side step the speculation and sudden increases to land cost that come with rezoning.
“Our Micro-op concept,” explains Travis Hanks, Haeccity principal, “abandons the standard tool sets of developers, such as land assembly and stratification, in favour of owner-driven development, one housing lot at a time. Higher buildable area and incentives would only be available to projects that follow a shared ownership model. Pooling capital allows average households to clear the land-cost hurdle and qualify for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation financing.”
Haeccity proposes incremental but ambitious change that will both respect and reinvigorate existing neighbourhoods.
“Underlying Haeccity’s creative solution is a strong belief that increasing the quality of human experience is central to success. Haeccity is making a substantive contribution to the important work of addressing Metro Vancouver’s urbanism and housing issues,” comments Bruce Haden, board member of the Urbanarium and principal of Human Studio Architecture + Urban Design.