Following a public hearing on the evening of July 28, the City of Vancouver’s mayor and council unanimously approved an application by Public: Architecture + Communication to rezone the property designated for the proposed Vienna House community.
This rezoning means we can move forward with the height and density as described in the project’s proposal. BC Housing and partners are excited to be one step closer to bringing 123 much-needed affordable homes to the city. The team will also continue to work closely with the community as this project moves forward.
More Than a Roof Housing Society CEO Lee-Anne Michayluk briefly spoke at the hearing about the society’s commitment to social sustainability in its communities around the province. BC Housing awarded the Society the contract to manage and operate the building in 2020.
Project architect John Wall outlined the Vienna House design and form, and spent a few minutes explaining the proposed central courtyard. He described the building’s approach to ventilation and cooling, which includes both “active” mechanical ventilation and air tempering, and “passive” strategies such as operable windows, exterior shading, and cross-flow ventilation.
The central courtyard also aims to increase opportunities for social interaction; it would be planted with trees, shrubs, and climbing vines.
In approving the application, several councilors expressed enthusiasm for the project, and expressed hope that the building could be a model for other projects across the city, region, and province.
“I am very excited about this project,” Councillor Christine Boyle said during the hearing. “I walk and jog by that site and look forward to people being able to call it home.”
Councillor Adriane Carr said she appreciated that Vienna House is targeting Passive House certification and that the designers expressly included a commitment to climate resilience. She said she appreciated the importance of thoughtful social spaces.
Councillor Lisa Dominato said that she was “thrilled to support this project.” She cited her time living in Europe, and appreciated how much the courtyard added livability. “The design of the building is going to support social connectedness, the social benefits are very positive.”
Councillor Sarah Kirby-Young said that she hopes the city will see more projects like Vienna House coming forward, and praised what she called the care, thought, and design that has gone into the proposal. “I hope we see more driven by a similar philosophy,” she said.
The City of Vancouver’s Urban Design Panel will review the Vienna House proposal on August 3. The Urban Design Panel advises city council and staff about development proposals or policies, including major development applications, rezoning applications, and other projects of public interest.
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