In response to both the global climate crisis and the regional housing affordability crisis, BC Housing, British Columbia’s housing authority, is proposing an innovative near zero-emissions rental apartment community in East Vancouver.
Vienna House is a partnership between BC Housing, the City of Vancouver through the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency, and the More Than a Roof Housing Society. The University of British Columbia’s Sustainability Initiative is documenting every aspect of the project. (Learn more.) And the City of Vienna, Austria, is participating, via a knowledge-sharing collaboration that will see a similar affordable housing project rising in that city, starting in 2022. (Learn more.) Each party is bringing its own expertise, experience, and resources to the project.
In December 2021, PUBLIC Architecture + Communication submitted a rezoning application to the City of Vancouver. That application kicks off a formal public process that will eventually involve the city engaging with the community and citizen-led advisory committees on the proposed project.
The centrepiece of the application is a 69-page booklet that outlines how the building would look, feel, and operate, the mix of apartment sizes and configuration of living spaces, context of the neighbourhood, landscaping, and much more. (For a summary, see our blog, “A First Look at Vienna House.”)
If approved, Vienna House will showcase innovative materials and processes designed to deliver high energy performance with low greenhouse gas emissions. These include:
- Prefabricated wall, floor, and ceiling components constructed off-site from renewable materials.
- Building information modelling that will create a “digital twin” of the proposed building, which will in turn allow the project team to optimize all components and systems.
- An integrated design process that brings all the partners together at regular intervals to maximize efficiencies and collaboratively solve project challenges as they emerge.
All of these approaches, working together, will hopefully make Vienna House a potential template for other affordable housing projects across Vancouver, the province, and beyond.
What and Where?
BC Housing and its partners are proposing Vienna House as a seven storey, 123-unit dedicated affordable housing rental building, in Vancouver’s Kensington – Cedar Cottage neighbourhood, at 2009-2037 Stainsbury Avenue.
The proposed building is five-sided, with homes clustered around a central courtyard, with one of the two long sides of the building angled slightly inwards. The SkyTrain Expo Line elevated guideway runs along the eastern edge of the property.
Pending approvals, Vienna House is aiming to welcome its first tenants in late 2023.
Who would live there?
The community will consist of 123 units, including 56 family units all mixed between shelter, low-income, and average market rental units. More Than a Roof Housing Society will ultimately own and operate Vienna House.
For regular updates on the project, visit News & Updates.
About this website
BC Housing is producing this website to share information and research about the proposed Vienna House affordable housing project with researchers, practitioners, and the building design and development industries.
We invite anyone interested in sharing their thoughts on the Vienna House proposal to do so through the project page on the City of Vancouver’s Shape Your City website.
Note: The Vienna House Multi-Unit Affordable Housing Demonstrations Initiative received funding from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) under the National Housing Strategy Demonstrations Initiative. The views expressed on this website are the personal views of the author, and CMHC accepts no responsibility for them.