GBL Architects has received unanimous approval from the City of Vancouver Council for their new housing development for the international non-profit organization and global volunteer organization Soroptimist International of Vancouver.
The housing project at 546 West 13th Avenue in Vancouver, British Columbia, is the first development project in Canada developed, designed, and delivered by an entirely female team, demonstrating women’s leadership in a male-dominated sector. 546 West 13th will help address women’s housing needs by providing affordable “Housing for Women By Women,” fulfilling the team’s goal of women at their best helping women be their best.
Non-profit organization Soroptimist International of Vancouver and Vancouver-based developer Purpose Driven Development have partnered on this innovative redevelopment project to bring 135 affordable rental homes to workforce women, senior women, and women-led families.
GBL Architect’s evocative and responsive design for the housing project balances social and environmental responsibility to fill gaps in the housing market to support women and women-led families in various living situations. The building design integrates an efficient envelope with a dynamic, fluid balcony expression that sets the building apart from its neighbouring rectilinear towers. The organic, curvilinear, and airy design aligns with Soroptimist’s aesthetic and values intrinsic to a building for and by women.
Landscaped terraces and planting at grade enhance the building’s appearance while contributing to engaging amenity spaces at multiple levels. Gardens, fostered by residents, will integrate spiritual, healing gardens planted with native species significant to women in various cultural traditions. The indoor and outdoor amenity spaces are designed to foster a strong sense of community among residents through a mix of flexible, communal areas and smaller contemplative spaces.
This infill development on a quiet residential street amongst a mix of low and mid-rise residential buildings expands the existing affordable housing and adds a network of amenities catered to the residents and a broader community. The site is adjacent to transit and shopping, supporting residents in a walkable and accessible neighbourhood.
546 West 13th Avenue is designed to support a diverse community of residents. The project will create housing options to fulfill the community’s needs by supporting women and their families in achieving financial independence and housing security. The mix of housing types includes fully accessible homes, large homes designed for family needs, efficient homes for professional women and seniors, and flexible living spaces for a wide range of tenants. Insightful design considerations tailor homes to their intended residents. Homes designed for families balance smaller bedrooms for children with larger living and dining spaces for families to gather and congregate.