Bricolage

Multi-Family Residential Development
Location / Edmonton
Project Type / Architectural Competition
Size / 38,000 sf

Renderings / Plus Visual

Bricolage is a French term roughly meaning ‘do-it-yourself’, and in artistic terms it refers to construction or creation from a diverse range of ‘available things’. The project title reflects both the architectural approach to the project as a hybrid work of architecture, as well as the opportunities for occupants to have agency in the configuration of the dwelling units and the community garden which the defines the space of the central courtyard

The project proposes a stacked rowhouse typology, providing ground-oriented dwelling units accessed from the street, the lane, as well as a common courtyard which is raised one full floor above natural grade. The three-and-a-half storey project provides 48 dwelling units on the site – an equal mix of studio, one bedroom, two bedroom, and three bedroom units – with an Net Floor Area Ratio of 1.25. A full level of underground parking – accessed from the lane – provides a sheltered space for vehicle parking, bike storage, and utilities. The studio units can be internally connected to adjacent units above or below, affording opportunities for multi-generational living. The ground floor studio units are ideal for aging parents, and the entry transition can be fitted with a ramp for accessibility and are set up to meet universal design standards required for aging-in-place.

The unit layouts (with he exception of the studio units) are designed to have vertical spatial separation between living and sleeping spaces, and all are accessed directly from the public realm. Stacking the dwelling units vertically creates the opportunity for a landscaped courtyard which serves as a community amenity space, while also facilitating daylighting and passive ventilation for all units. All suites have covered exterior terraces adjacent to the living spaces, and glazed openings are situated with intention to align with the requirements of the functional program, while also creating a highly energy efficient building envelope. Transitions between public and private spaces are designed for privacy and security, while also taking into account snow management during winter months. The perforated brick landscape wall that brackets the north end of the courtyard creates a protective barrier against the strong Edmonton winds, while also maintaining a low form of massing on the site. The distributed massing, combined with a large side yard setback, reduces shading on the neighbouring property to the north.

The architectural approach is derived from both the form and materiality of ‘available things’ in the surrounding context. The pitched roof forms are a response to the post-war character of the detached single- family residential neighbourhood, and the scale of the massing has been articulated to correspond to the size of the neighbourhood homes. The clay brick cladding is a contextual material which is used quite successfully in the nearby Kingsway Mall. The standing-seam metal roofing is a robust material that will withstand the Edmonton winters. The program organization, building form, massing, and materiality all respond to the City of Edmonton’s Winter Design Guidelines while also addressing the specific opportunities and constraints of the site.The integration of solar voltaic roof panels on the south-facing roof pitches creates a renewable energy program that is suitable for the climate in Edmonton year-round. The green courtyard space is envisioned to be a productive landscape, with community garden plots and fruit trees – a mix of hardscape and softscape. A small pavilion sits at the north end of the courtyard – providing elevator and stair access to the parking area below, as well as a communal kitchen and gathering space.