Roar One

ARCHITECT Lwpac Lang Wilson Practice In Architecture Culture Inc. And Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden Associated Architects

LOCATION Vancouver, British Columbia

The ambition for the ROAR_one project was to create a qualitative paradigm shift for dense urban living and live-work culture. The project is positioned through design innovation with regards to livability, flexibility, choice, sustainability, compactness and strategic spatial qualities.

Situated in Vancouver in the dynamic context of an emerging metropolis on the Pacific Rim, the project addresses the global reality of significant population increases. The world’s urban population will double from three to six billion by 2050 (U. N. estimate). Until then, Metro Vancouver will add another 1.5 million+ residents. At the same time, environmental concerns will continue to increase. For the dense and sustainable metropolis, it seems therefore imperative to develop housing models that address or counter urban sprawl, curb unnecessary commuting, catalyze entrepreneurial activities, address the issue of affordability and facilitate cultural and social inventiveness. One of Canada’s greatest assets is its cultural and ethnic diversity. Tenants come from diverse cultures, with different lifestyles associated. Yet today, typical commercially developed condominiums are highly standardized and prescriptive with regards to living culture in their layouts, and are no longer adequate responses to the changing and multifaceted demographics, or to the processes of change in our society.

By making the project strategically incomplete, the individuality and creativity of future tenants is welcomed. The building is defined as a qualitative spatial infrastructure for living and working, which was accomplished through research-driven scenario planning, and which resulted in significant potential arrays of programmatic and spatial adaptations for occupation. Based on the scenario studies, the units are designed from the inside out. All homes have two storeys with a double-height area, a patio linking interior and exterior space seamlessly, and they essentially operate as compact houses in the sky. Units range from 800 to 2,000 square feet.

The absolute maximum volume/envelope permissible with all possible relaxations was generated and negotiated. From this, a process of subtraction was undertaken, perforating the volume with striations or “slots” that create continuous open spaces from front to back. These void spaces, excluded from density calculations, allow for a substantial reorganization of the unit layouts and address a typical dilemma. Natural daylight and natural cross-ventilation is now abundant and flexible unit types are ensured. Combining both approaches, the resulting double-storey stacked patio houses are highly adaptable, yet, through the superimposition of multiple scenarios, remain compact. Through porosity and its subsequent impact on livability, relaxations from the City could be negotiated that allowed increased density and affordability.

Primary attention was given to strategic translations that would limit environmental impact at its root cause. In particular, considerations were paid to livability, possibilities for work, privacy issues, social and cultural vitality, community, diversity of units, flexibility and adaptability, energy issues such as solar gain and direct gain systems, daylight and ventilation, landscaping and rainwater collection, and the elimination of unnecessary materials. Aluminum grating sliding screens and extensive bamboo planting is used to regulate seasonal heat gain and to control privacy.

Despite its significant architectural features, the project has been built at $195 per square foot, less than the typical construction cost for comparable developments. This was made possible through the adaptation of commercial construction techniques, extensive value engineering, and most importantly, by refocusing the project.

Steve Christer: ROAR is located between two streets. Housing units are arranged on the street faades and are separated by a semi-public court containing the vertical circulation. The green colour of the court gives a welcome feel even though the planting is immature and the building finishes raw. Flats are separated by interstitial walkways, and each has generous private external space emphasizing the open nature of this highly urban scheme. The sheer glazed skin of the faades are shielded and articulated by moveable panels, but the project on a whole has a remarkable solidity and permanence that transcends its lightweight build.CA

CLIENT ROAR VENTURES

ARCHITECT TEAM OLIVER LANG, CYNTHIA WILSON, ALAYNE KAETHLER, DON CHAN, SHAUN MCINTYRE, MARCELLO MEJIA, ROBERTO BOTTAZZI, PIA HABEKOST, DARIO OECHSLI, TAK MING CHAN, FEI CAI, TED FEENSTRA, BRUCE HADEN, ROLAND KUPFER, DERYK WHITEHEAD

STRUCTURAL FAST + EPP STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS

MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL STANTEC (FORMERLY KEEN ENGINEERING)

BUILDING ENVELOPE MARCEAU EVANS JOHNSON ARCHITECTS

LANDSCAPE ECKFORD AND ASSOCIATES

COST CONSULTANT BTY GROUP

GEOTECHNICAL GEOPACIFIC

ACOUSTICS BKL ENGINEERING

INTERIORS LWPAC LANG WILSON PRACTICE IN ARCHITECTURE CULTURE

CONTRACTOR HAEBLER GROUP

AREA 21,000 FT2

BUDGET $4.15 M

COMPLETION FEBRUARY 2006

X