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Housing is a hot topic in Vancouver. There are not enough homes, and they are too expensive, seems to be the general theme. Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim announced plans last year to build more homes — and faster.
Michael Leckie, principal architect at Leckie Studio Architecture + Design, says “gentle densification” is one way to tackle this housing crisis. By this, he means providing more homes that fall between single-family dwellings and mid-rise apartment buildings — namely laneway homes, duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes and townhomes.
Leckie Studio has just released a modern, prefabricated home-design concept called TripTych, which, in December, was awarded the 2023 Canadian Architect Award of Merit. TripTych encourages “gentle densification,” and they intend to break ground in March, says Leckie: “The pilot project will be configured as a 2,400-square-foot single-family home, with the embedded adaptability to be divided into multiple suites in the future — either by the current owners or by future potential owners.”
Ability to switch it up
Home design needs to be flexible and adaptable to the inhabitant’s changing needs, says Leckie. With TripTych, people can choose to have a single 2,400-square-foot house or up to three 800-square-foot houses on the site (three two-story row houses), with space for a laneway home. What makes it unique as a housing solution is that the TripTych home can be reconfigured into more or less units as a family’s needs change without having to tear down the structure.
“TripTych increases the land yield of standard single-family lots by up to 400 per cent with no need to demolish the original structure,” he says.
So what is a prefab home anyway?
It basically means the walls, floor and roof are pre-manufactured elsewhere and shipped flat-packed to the site, where certified builders assemble and finish the home. The “interior fit-out is conceived using a series of plug-in modules,” says Leckie, adding that this brings down the cost and makes it faster in terms of construction.
“Our goal is to be able to deliver the base/core model for $400 per square foot.” Leckie estimates it will take about six months to have the home assembled and finished on-site.
Sustainable building is all about reducing waste
Sustainable housing is all about building homes that are energy efficient, with a high degree of performance, that can also be adjusted over time to suit the changing needs of those who live there — not torn down and replaced with brand new builds, he says.
Why the name TripTych?
This refers to the idea that the principal dwelling or house on a single-family lot can be divided into three discreet suites (two-story row houses), says Leckie.
“We recently beta launched the concept in an effort to acquire market and initial customer feedback. We’ll use this feedback to further refine the offering and brand as we begin construction on our Vancouver pilot project in spring 2024.”
Modern design with options for finishing
For TripTych, Leckie Studio has chosen materials that will “age gracefully,” says Leckie.
“To some people, the interiors may feel raw or unfinished. However, there are multiple options for finishing. We are striving to create a home that is truly modern — not simply in the esthetic sense, but in a more deeply philosophical sense.”
Sinking into your local community
Leckie says they’ve been inspired by how people live in older cities worldwide. Seeming “rooted to something greater than themselves and are invested in the place,” he says. This is what they want to give people with TripTych: the ability for people to sink into a community and stay there for a long time despite their changing housing needs.
Plans for TripTych
“Cities across North America are implementing new zoning bylaws to encourage a broader range of housing choices in low-density neighbourhoods,” says Leckie. “The future of sustainable urban development is ground-oriented housing as the foundation for an urban landscape of diverse and inclusive communities. Our plan is to launch the initial TripTych pilot program in Vancouver and then expand to cities throughout Canada and the US.”
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