Attainable Homes Calgary Corporation (AHCC) has engage some of Calgary's leading contemporary architectural firms - NORR, Sturgess, Nyhoff and Hindle to designing affordable and attractive homes for Calgarians.
In the established neighbourhood of Glenbrook, AHCC teamed up with Truman Homes and NORR architects to build Glenbrook Park, a 60-unit apartment and townhome condo project. Yes this is the same developer, Truman Homes who is currently responsible for the funky Kensington Legion project in West Hillhurst. NORR one of Calgary’s largest architectural firms, it is a leader in residential design with projects like Savoy in West Hillhurst, Ezera at Riley Park in Hillhurst and Aura I and II in the Beltline.
Glenbrook Park’s unique exterior combines deep red, tan, white and dark grey vinyl siding in horizontal and vertical profiles, with bold white balconies that combined with cultured stone accents and a flat roof create a contemporary design. “The biggest difference between this project and other infill condos is there is no underground parking which saved about $30,000 per unit, significantly enhancing the affordability,” says NORR’s Vice President, Business Development, Bruce McKenzie.
Architect Kevin Harrison at Sturgess Architecture, Calgary's leading boutique architectural firm, designed AHCC's Mount Pleasant project. The building is composed of 31-units arranged in two linear blocks, consisting of a two-storey townhouse base with two floors of apartment above with an internal courtyard.
At street level, the townhouses front doors opening to the sidewalk creates a compatible street edge with existing homes. The courtyard facilitates increased sunlight and views from both the street and alley units and creates a greater sense of community via the shared space.
In addition, by recessing south facing patios and extruding north facing patios, residents have with natural shading for the former and sunlight for the later in the summer months, as well as create more visual interest.
AHCC’s Varsity 4818 is a 26-unit townhouse development in Varsity designed by Nyhoff Architects, who have a reputation for creating quirky designs. Their projects include the King Edward School transformation into an “Arts Hub and Incubator” and the redevelopment of the St. Louis Hotel in East Village.
For Varsity, Nyhoff had created a very contemporary design that allows the rectangular shapes of the white balconies, dark windows and entrance with just a hint of lime green play off each other to create a bold contemporary statement that could fit into East Village. Nobody would suspect this to be an affordable housing complex.
In Bowness, AHCC’s newest project is on a site originally slated to be used for the Sarcee Trail expansion. Architect Jesse Hindle (yes, the same architect Brookfield Residential used for their Altadore 36 and Henry in Parkdale condo projects) took inspiration from the distinctive jagged rooftop of nearby Sunnyside Greenhouses to create 50 fun and funky new homes.
Hindle explains “the architecture of the project is inspired by the form, rhythm and materials of the neighbouring nursery greenhouses to create a buffer between the busy commercial/industrial activity to the east and the residential neighbourhood to the west. The townhouse's sheet metal facades introduce a colour scheme for each home (composed of burgundy, orange and red panels) that link the buildings to the site's landscape and the continuous flow of CP Rail cars that give the site its unique character.”
Attainable Homes 101
Attainable Homes (a wholly owned subsidiary of The City of Calgary) partners with builders and developers to obtain homes at a discount and then passes on the savings onto the homebuyers, the caveat being when you sell your home AHCC gets part of the appreciation. For example, if the home is sold in 1 to 2 years, the owner keeps 25% of any appreciation; after 2 to 3 years, the appreciation is split 50/50 and after 3+ years the homebuyer keeps 75%.
To date AHCC has sold over 500 homes that have enhanced and diversified the housing stock in 19 Calgary communities.
“I think we’ve been successful in engaging a variety of architects who have brought creative approaches to finding ways to make interesting building that can be priced at a point that makes the homes affordable to hard-working Calgarians” states Jamie Findlay, Development Manager, AHCC.
An edited version of this blog was published in Condo Living Magazine's July Issue.