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Urbanarium’s Missing Middle tackles affordable housing in Vancouver with design competition

BTY participates as sponsor, jury member and technical adviser as part of the 2018 Missing Middle Competition.

BTY was honoured to support the “The Missing Middle Competition” organized by the Urbanarium.

The open design competition to address Metro Vancouver’s affordability and social health challenges attracted 34 submissions from around the world.  The competition involved designing housing options for four sites, one each in Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Burnaby and Surrey.

The 2018 Missing Middle competition entries were assessed by nine Jury members and three Technical Advisers.

Jury Members:

  • Shelley Craig, Partner, Urban Arts Architecture
  • Bryn Davidson, Principal, Lanefab
  • Dr Gary Hack, Former Dean and Paley Professor, Graduate School of Design, University of Pennsylvania
  • Richard Henriquez, Partner, Henriquez Partners Architects
  • Daniella Ferguson, MODUS Planning, Design & Engagement Inc.
  • Karen Marler, Principal, HCMA Architecture + Design
  • Sandra Moore, Partner, Birmingham & Wood Architects
  • Joe Rekab, Chair & Managing Partner, BTY Group
  • Bruce HadenPrincipal, Human Studio, Architecture and Urban Design

Technical Advisers:

  • Don Luymes, Community Planning Manager, City of Surrey
  • Brady Fleguel, Partner, Burgess Cawley Sullivan and Associates Ltd.
  • Connor Falls, Regional Director, BTY Group

Urbanarium concluded the competition by announcing the winners during an awards ceremony held at Surrey City Hall on March 7, 2018.

The $10,000 Grand Prize went to Haeccity Studio Architecture of Vancouver. The Happy Middle team took the $5,000 second prize, and two submissions tied for the $1,500 third prize (Goodale Architects and Planners of Pasadena, California and Alt Forma of Vancouver).

Density and design not enough

Urbanarium Competition Committee Co-Chairs, Catherine Alkenbrack and Bruce Haden, hosted this year’s concluding event, which also featured comments on the competition from several jury members.

In praising the quality and innovative thinking behind the submissions, Haden, also cautioned that design and density are not enough to address affordability alone. “A broad-based strategy to reduce the input cost of land is critical,” he said, noting that five simple policy changes would allow expansion of Missing Middle housing.

  • Rezoning more broadly, not in pockets;
  • Reducing parking requirements;
  • Making larger building envelopes by reducing required setbacks and increasing allowable height slightly;
  • Reintroducing mixed-use in single-family zones by allowing small commercial and live-work spaces; and
  • Encouraging different forms of social organization, such as co-housing and shared multi-generational living.

The affordability crisis contrasts a construction boom in large single-family houses and high-rise condo towers with a challenge to availability of mid-range forms of development – the Missing Middle – that offer affordable housing choices in existing single-family neighbourhoods and along transit arteries, according to Richard Henriquez, Urbanarium Board Chair.

Submissions show high level of financial information

The competition challenged the participants to create realistic solutions that could actually be built.

The high level of financial information in the submissions was very impressive, including innovative alternatives such as family trusts for land, commercial spaces for revenue generation, and intergenerational ownership,” noted BTY’s Managing Partner, Joe Rekab.

Director Connor Falls led the technical and proforma reviews of the submissions, pricing out all the designs submitted to assess how realistic they would be to build.

Exhibition of winning submissions

An exhibition of the winning submission panels will run from March 14 to April 12, 2018 at the Architectural Institute of British Columbia (AIBC) Gallery at 440 Cambie Street in Vancouver. A reception at the Gallery launching the exhibition will take place on March 21. The reception is open to the public and free with registration on Eventbrite.

To view photos from the event, please click here.

About Urbanarium

The Vancouver Urbanarium is a non-profit society that informs, educates and engages the citizens of Metro Vancouver to help guide decision-making to protect the city’s future well-being.

Founded by a group of committed urbanites in Vancouver, including architects, planners and other citizens, Urbanarium is a volunteer-run organization that functions as a catalyst for creating events, tools, and projects, and seeks to become a place where people can get reliable information without political or ideological bias.

 

 

 


About BTY


Since our inception 40 years ago, BTY has grown into a global organization that specializes in supporting developers and owners plan, build and maintain major property and infrastructure projects around the world.