Modern Vancouver House

Traditional design processes are additive. Typical criteria include a site, program, density (F.S.R. – Floor Space Ratio) and site coverage thresholds. The program is arranged and disbursed as blocks and then stacked to the maximum allowable density. The final form, locations of windows, doors and balconies etc. are a direct result of this generic additive process. Therefore, it is no surprise that the final result, of this additive process, is a typical generic house with slight additive variations.

This project adopts a subtractive process, a complete inversion of the traditional way of thinking about typical additive residential design. We begin with developing the maximum buildable envelope first, in terms of F.S.R., site coverage and setbacks. At this point, we are not concerned with what the final design result is, we simply want to express what the maximum land use bylaw will allow. The resulting form, or as we call it “the maximum build envelope”, is a pure expression of the land use bylaw. We then use this as a starting point to begin the process of subtracting area and subsequently volume. This action allows us to begin sculpting the form to meet program and F.S.R. requirements. Ultimately the process results in a unique architectural form, expressive of both interior and exterior elements.

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