Grow Residence / Modern Office of Design + Architecture

Grow Residence / Modern Office of Design + Architecture

Grow Residence / Modern Office of Design + Architecture - Image 2 of 25

Text description provided by the architects. Calgary, Canada, 2024-06-26 – GROW is a 20-unit, multi-residential housing project that cultivates a diverse inner-city community (Bankview, Calgary AB) through the provision of varying unit sizes, using the binding social element of a barrier-free, 0.6 acre rooftop urban farm. This amenity-scape, while satisfying stringent landscape and amenity space requirements, introduces urban horticulture in the form of private gardens, vegetative roofs, apiaries, etc. at a scale not previously experienced in inner-city living in Calgary. It also creates a place to walk the dog or to get a breath of fresh air, encouraging spontaneous interactions amongst residents in an engaging and active context.

Grow Residence / Modern Office of Design + Architecture - Image 10 of 25

To further support social interactions across intergenerational demographic backgrounds, GROW’s units suit a range of ages and family sizes, including small (450 sf) studios, medium-sized (600 sf) condos, 1.5 storey lofts, and large (850-1,000 sf) two-storey townhomes. This arrangement potentially places a retired couple next to a young family with children, or a single student next to a young professional, building resilience and social connections through proximity.

Grow Residence / Modern Office of Design + Architecture - Image 20 of 25
Grow Residence / Modern Office of Design + Architecture - Image 9 of 25
Grow Residence / Modern Office of Design + Architecture - Image 7 of 25

GROW presents a reinterpretation of the ‘privatization’ of multi-residential living in which the only opportunities for social interaction typically occur in circulation areas or at the mailbox. Using both unit diversity and urban farming as a passive, non-forced approach to multi-residential housing, the building’s residents fall within the entire demographic spectrum and can participate in all facets of farming, including spring planting, daily maintenance and care, harvesting, and engaging with the broader community of Calgary through the weekly preparation and sale of harvest baskets.

Grow Residence / Modern Office of Design + Architecture - Image 3 of 25
Grow Residence / Modern Office of Design + Architecture - Image 4 of 25

This granular approach to place-making is critical to building resilient communities as we navigate increasing social division, and the severe health impacts of social isolation. Trust is built through activities such as farming and the shared ambition to cultivate and care for a resource that benefits the community. In GROW’s emphasis on activated social spaces, differences in age and demographics become less pronounced.

Grow Residence / Modern Office of Design + Architecture - Image 11 of 25
Grow Residence / Modern Office of Design + Architecture - Image 16 of 25

While this approach to ‘social-engineering’ isn’t entirely radical, it is unusual in Calgary, where private/speculative development drives housing provision, and cost cutting takes precedence over community growth. If GROW’s approach to ‘social-engineering’ were to become more prevalent in our inner-city communities, and we were to focus on building social capital in tandem with real estate capital, we could create more equitable and inclusive inner-city urban spaces; schools, community centres, and grocery stores that serve multiple purposes by design.

Grow Residence / Modern Office of Design + Architecture - Image 13 of 25

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *