The seeds for Grow were planted with intention. Before it even began sketching its marvelous residential building — which offers a variety of housing types in order to nurture a diverse demographic, from one-bed- room flats to two-storey townhomes — Calgary architecture firm MODA discussed with the client inventive approaches to social, cultural and environmental sustainability. These three goals coalesced in ingenious ways throughout the project, a result of both the firm’s clear vision and its enthusiasm for responding to the challenges and possibilities presented by the site.
In order to steer clear of generic tower typologies, the firm mined potential cost-saving measures that would allow it to reinvest in the creation of a more imaginative architecture. The plot’s incline provided one such opportunity: in response to a six-metre elevation change from the southwest to northeast corners, MODA decided to tuck the parking behind a row of ground-floor units and into the slope, reducing the amount of costly excavation required. This move simultaneously allowed it to push the rear units upward, producing a terracing effect that democratizes light and views within the units.
By stitching the different roof levels together, the firm innovated a sloping, barrier-free “socialscape” that redefines what amenity space can be. Almost three-quarters of the western red cedar roof is turned over to a working urban farm, one that reduces tenants’ monthly grocery bills by 30 to 50 per cent, counteracts heat island effect, welcomes critters and sequesters the annual carbon emissions of approximately 10 vehicles. Finally, its entirety is a vibrant gathering space for a variety of tenants, from families to students to empty-nesters. It’s that kind of diversity, the firm explains, that is critical in developing “place” and the beginnings of community.
Team Dustin Couzens and Ben Klumper (MODA); Rod Olson (YYC Growers)
In its entirety, Grow is a vibrant gathering space for a variety of tenants, from families to students to empty-nesters.