Emerging Talent: Marianne Amodio Architecture Studio

Marianne Amodio
Marianne Amodio

“Architecture isn’t just for the elite,” Marianne Amodio says. “It can live in the mid-range zone.” In affordability-challenged Vancouver, these are fighting words, and her weapon of choice is “incremental increases in density.”

When she founded Marianne Amodio Architecture Studio in 2010, after working for firms including Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden (now DIALOG) in Vancouver and David Penner Architect in Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba grad designed retail outlets and restaurants whose immense wit and colour belied their modest size. Now, her four-person studio focuses on housing: “multi-family residential buildings, micro co-housing, and custom multi-family homes” in particular.

multi-generational MAD (house) accommodates three families. Photo by Janis Nicolay
Located in Vancouver, the multi-generational MAD (house) accommodates three families. Photo by Janis Nicolay

Three sets of adults from the same family live together in MAD(house), a 268-square-metre Amodio-designed Vancouver residence that deftly combines shared open spaces and private suites. Her practice received the Architectural Institute of British Columbia’s Emerging Firm Award this spring, and is currently working on a modern infill addition to a century-old house to create five living units in total. Also in the works is the studio’s largest project to date: adding a floor to a 19-unit apartment building and transforming it into a 27-unit dwelling.

The firm’s founder describes her MAD(house) clients as “’yes’ people,”; their love of Spanish tile finds joyful expression in their shared home. Amodio, who is 45, believes there is a sweet spot at the intersection of exuberance and control. “I don’t think we have to take ourselves so seriously,” she says, “but we have to be serious about not being serious.”