In-Vert Apartments

In-Vert Apartments proposes the modification and greening of existing low rise walk-up apartment buildings, integrating private outdoor spaces (like mini-backyards) to make long-term apartment living more sustainable for families.

To reduce urban sprawl, governments are advocating for inner city intensification, resulting in a proliferation of high-rise condo towers in Toronto and other Canadian cities. An alternative to the often-incongruous scale of this housing model is densification within the city’s developed neighbourhoods. However, challenges include integrating larger structures into this existing fabric, and ensuring the social sustainability of communal living over the long term. Despite the desire of many families for a single-family home with a backyard, the high real estate prices in many Canadian cities make ownership unattainable for many. Consequently, new forms of multi-family living could be made more desirable with the addition of access to private outdoor spaces.

The objective of In-vert Apartments is to increase neighbourhood density through the upward expansion of existing low rise apartment buildings, while also providing access to outdoor living. As an approach to renovation rather than demolition, the shell of older structures is maintained and sections of the building are carved out to create openings for inverted outdoor spaces. Located entirely within the existing building footprint, these spaces are larger and more sheltered than conventional attached balconies.

A two-storey volume is added to the top of the building, set back from front and sides to create space for roof gardens and to reinforce the three-storey scale of the neighbourhood. A vertical slice in the centre of the building serves as a more prominent and visually dynamic main entrance, while the continuous vertical glazing permits natural light to flow into the interior. Additionally, the new architectural interventions are lined with planes of wood to add warmth and to create a juxtaposition of old and new.

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