April 2024


In our April issue

Our April issue looks at how architects are tackling housing on complex sites.

We start in Winnipeg, where 5468796 Architecture has transformed a long-abandoned heritage pumphouse into a vibrant mixed-use development. “A breakthrough was achieved when 5468796’s team (at that time including designer Kenneth Borton) realized that an office floor could be hung from an intact gantry crane, locating a new level above and to one side of the machine room,” writes Trevor Boddy. “This created a visually stunning working perch that could be leased to a commercial tenant, tipping the building’s pro forma into viability.”

In Montreal, we visit two projects. First, MSDL Architectes’ Corbusian-inspired Laurent & Clark adds two elegant towers to a site adjacent the Quartier des Spectacles. “More than its striking façades, what distinguishes Laurent & Clark is how its massing intricately responds to the constraints of a complex site,” writes Claire Lubell.

Odile Hénault then tours Laponte Magne et associés’ Îlot Rosemont, a mixed-use social housing development that sets a new benchmark for transit-oriented densification in Montreal. “Municipal leadership should be applauded for leading the way, by demonstrating how its own properties can be developed in ways that embrace complex programs and sites, as well as promoting affordable housing,” writes Hénault.

To complete our tour of la belle province, Marco Marini interviews Suresh Perera about PERCH architecture’s recently completed modular mass timber apartment building in remote Chibougamau, Quebec. Back in Montreal, Peter Sealy reports on Design for the Global Majority, an exhibition that surveys 50 years of research by McGill University’s Minimum Cost Housing Group.

Spring has increasingly meant increased forest fire activity across Canada. Douglas MacLeod examines why those fires are more dangerous than ever—and how architects and homeowners can design and maintain their properties to be “fire smart.”

We round out the issue with reports on a pre-fabricated mass timber approach to transitional housing, an editorial on the effort to reform egress requirements for small multi-unit residential buildings, and a letter to the editor on why the CMHC’s new housing design catalogue isn’t a universal fix for affordability.

-Elsa Lam, editor