Vienna House is a collaboration of multiple partners, each contributing expertise, insights, and resources along the path to its completion.
BC Housing is developing Vienna House and providing primary funding. The provincial agency develops, manages and administers a wide range of subsidized housing options. It coordinates with the Minister responsible for Housing to address critical gaps across the housing continuum, which range from emergency shelter and rent assistance in the private market, to affordable home ownership. BC Housing is in the unique position of being able to share the lessons learned from the Vienna House directly with the province’s residential construction industry. The agency works with about 800 housing providers and helps more than 110,000 households in communities across British Columbia. The BC Housing Research Centre team is leading the research, information sharing and outreach activities related to the project.
The Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA), on behalf of the City of Vancouver, provided the land for Vienna House and has coordinated the on-site construction of the pre-fabricated property. VAHA liaises with investment, development, and community partners to develop high quality and affordable rental housing on City-owned land for individuals and families on low to moderate incomes. The agency is working to deliver 2,500 new affordable homes by 2021, and Vienna House will play a key role in helping the City reach that goal.
More Than a Roof Housing Society, a charitable non-profit organization, is co-developing Vienna House with BC Housing, and will own and operate the building upon completion. More Than a Roof develops inclusive communities that offer affordable housing for families, seniors, and individuals with low to moderate incomes, those suffering with mental health issues, and people working to recover from addiction. The society provides housing to more than 1,700 tenants across 12 housing communities throughout Metro Vancouver, Victoria, and Prince George, including supported independent and apartment living units in Metro Vancouver’s North Shore region, for individuals who are struggling with mental health.
BC housing is providing majority funding for the Vienna House project, with contributions from the following agencies and associations:
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is providing funding for Vienna House under its National Housing Strategy Demonstrations Initiative. The initiative highlights innovative solutions aiming to improve the performance, viability and effectiveness of affordable housing by providing a platform to create and disseminate real-world data and information on affordable housing, demonstrate innovative solutions that aim to improve the performance, viability and effectiveness of affordable housing solutions, and foster a culture of innovation in the affordable housing sector that will better meet the housing needs of Canadians
Natural Resources Canada is providing support under its Green Construction Through Wood program. The program encourages the greater use of wood in construction projects and supports Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy. The program brings awareness to and increases capacity for innovative tall wood buildings, timber bridges, and low-rise wood buildings.
Forestry Innovation Investment is providing support under its Wood First program, which focuses on advancing wood use and innovative wood construction technologies in British Columbia, and establishing the province as a showcase for wood products in construction, interior design, and daily living.
Wood WORKS! British Columbia is providing technical and communications support to the Vienna House project. Wood WORKS! is a program of the Canadian Wood Council, with a mandate to increase the use of wood in non-residential, mid-rise and tall building markets in Canada. The program seeks to build proficiency in both structural and architectural wood use through education, training and direct technical support.
Working in close collaboration with other partners, the UBC Sustainability Initiative is leading knowledge capture, research, and dissemination on the Vienna House project. The initiative is documenting and analyzing the project’s planning, design, and construction phases to understand how best to develop affordable, low-carbon, and climate resilient housing. The objective of the research is to understand how the adoption of design and construction strategies, such as integrated design, building information modelling, mass-timber and pre-fabrication or modular construction, can influence the social, environmental and economic performance of the project. Researchers are also identifying key challenges, benefits and lessons learned, which can be adapted to future housing projects and policies.
FPInnovations is a private not-for-profit organization that creates solutions in support of the Canadian forest sector’s global competitiveness. It performs state-of-the-art research, develops advanced technologies, and delivers innovative solutions to complex problems for every area of the sector’s value chain, from forest operations to consumer and industrial products. Its R&D laboratories are located in Montréal, Quebec City, and Vancouver, and it has technology transfer offices across Canada.
Scius Advisory is providing research management services for Vienna House. Scius is a Vancouver-based research and advisory firm that brings transformative solutions for a rapidly changing world. The company exists to drive paradigm shifts in building and transportation—the two most impactful sectors when addressing climate adaptation and mitigation. It also works to position Canada at the leading edge of technical, environmental, and social innovation.
Policy & Technical Support
As part of its Climate Emergency Action Plan, in 2020 the City of Vancouver determined that by 2025, new and replacement heating and hot water systems must produce zero carbon emissions. Further, new buildings and construction projects must reduce their embodied emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. The City has also committed to ensuring that housing in Vancouver supports residents of all incomes. The City’s Planning, Urban Design & Sustainability team is providing policy and technical support to Vienna House. The team will also act as the liaison between the project team and the City of Vienna, sharing Canadian best practices in green building, wood technology, and affordable housing policy developments with counterparts in the City of Vienna.
The City of Vienna, Austria, is a world leader in innovative high-performance social housing solutions. The city is participating in a unique collaboration with the City of Vancouver. Each city’s green building program leaders will compare notes on solutions and approaches, and each will consult on and support a building named after its counterpart. In other words, while Vienna House rises here in Vancouver, a similar project, called Vancouver House, will come together in Vienna starting in mid-2022.
Design, Engineering, and Construction
A design firm based in Vancouver, PUBLIC Architecture + Communication began as a highly collaborative experiment in connecting the processes, techniques, and thinking of different design disciplines—architecture, interior, communication, and urban design—by seating them around the same table. The firm builds culture and shapes identity, creating spatial experiences—beyond buildings—capable of spurring transformation, engagement and renewal. PUBLIC works with others passionate about building collective knowledge and memory who understand that a small intervention woven throughout a city can have as far-reaching an impact on a community as a mega-project.
Structural Engineering: Wicke Herfst Maver Consulting Inc.
Mechanical Engineering: Integral Consulting Group
Electrical Engineering: Integral Consulting Group
Passive House Lead: Integral Consulting Group
Civil Engineering: Core Group Civil Consultants
Landscape Architecture: Matthew Thomson Design
Building Code Compliance: GHL Consultants
Building Envelope: Morrison Hershfield
Acoustical Design: BKL Consultants
Passive House Certification: Steven Winter Associates
Elevator: GUNN Consultants
Vancouver-based firm Kindred Construction is serving as the Construction Manager for the Vienna House project. The company will perform pre-construction services and design assistance, looking into construction methodologies, sequencing, logistics, and constructability reviews to ensure an optimized building process. Kindred Construction will prepare live, iterative schedules as well as cost estimates for the construction of the project. Processes developed by them and partners will help inform future best practices and policy development for the construction industry in British Columbia. The company brings its experience in low-rise wood-frame projects and an expansive local trade network to ensure a smooth construction process. (Alongside Vienna House, Kindred Construction is starting work on several other affordable housing projects around Vancouver.)
Virtual Construction and Technology
Summit BIM, an owner’s BIM consultant, is providing project-specific BIM leadership and guidance to BC Housing from project inception through completion and handover. Summit BIM is creating the BIM Requirements that define the end deliverable as well as auditing the models to ensure compliance. Summit BIM works hand-in-hand with project teams to enhance building value through the creation of consistent building information and data for downstream uses. Based in Vancouver, the company has extensive experience in managing the BIM process for different industry sectors, including education, healthcare, government, and energy. It is consulting on the project in collaboration with BIM One.
BIM One is a Canada-wide firm specializing in project management and implementation of technologies related to information modelling. The company offers consulting services and tailor-made technological solutions to optimize project construction and management. The company is supporting the Vienna House project in collaboration with Summit BIM.
CPA Development Consultants will represent More Than a Roof Housing Society—the ultimate owner and operator of Vienna House—in discussions with the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency, BC Housing, and the design team. On behalf of More Than A Roof, CPA will work to ensure that the project’s programming and sustainability goals are met within the constraints of its budget.
Bright Future Studio is working under the supervision of SCIUS Advisory to support knowledge mobilization and transfer on behalf of BC Housing. The company is working to ensure that all stakeholders that might benefit from the lessons being learned at Vienna House are made aware of the project, and the associated research and lessons learned, so they might apply them on other affordable housing projects elsewhere in the city, region, and province.