Strathcona's Union Street EcoHeritage modern housing project wins National Urban Design award

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      A modern housing project in Strathcona that combines low-energy design and heritage revitalization has been awarded the top prize in the Urban Architecture category of the National Urban Design awards. 

      The Union Street EcoHeritage project was completed in July 2013 by Shape Architecture Inc. It was created to help address the multiple issues that plague Vancouver's housing market, including rising house prices, a growing population, and limited available land, while maintaining the Victorian and Edwardian structures that Strathcona is known for. 

      The LEED platinum-certified project sees two properties in the East Vancouver neighbourhood modified with carefully crafted additions. The additions offer an alternative approach to the systems of densification that are currently in place, while maintaining the stylisitic appeal of the heritage bulidings.

      A collaboration between grassroots developers, architects, and engineers, the Union Street EcoHeritage project was chosen for the Urban Architecture award by a three-person jury that included architects Carl A. Knipfel and Franc D'Ambrosio, as well as municipal project manager and landscape architect Joanne Moran.
      "This project achieves an elegant solution that is both simple and profoundly important in creating a precedent for infill densification. This is exactly the kind of surgical infill that can double or triple density while keeping the existing urban fabric stable and its character intact. This is an example that can inform countless other projects around the country," said the jury in a press release.
      Projects in other Canadian cities including Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, and Saskatoon were awarded in diffrent categories. The winning projects range from urban infill to public spaces and installations. 

      The National Urban Design awards are presented by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), the Canadian Institute of Planners, and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. The intention behind the awards is to create more public and private awareness of the important role that urban design plays in Canadian cities. 
      The awards will be presented during RAIC's Festival of Architecture in Nanaimo between June 8 and 11. 
      Click through the images above to see how the project came together.