5468796 Architecture arranges 18 homes around a raised plaza

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Community courtyard conceals a car park for Winnipeg housing by 5468796 Architecture

The townhouses that make up this residential development in Winnipeg, Canada, are arranged around a communal car park that has been concealed beneath an elevated courtyard (+ slideshow).

YouCUBE by 5468796

The youCUBE scheme was developed by local firm 5468796 Architecture for a 19- by 80-metre site on the city's Waterfront Drive that sits within a neglected industrial neighbourhood alongside the Red River.

Working with a developer that specialises in building custom homes, the team designed a modular system of standard units that combine to form properties of different sizes.

YouCUBE by 5468796

Entrances to the units are arranged along either side of a shared plaza that is raised above the adjacent street, providing privacy as well as meeting spaces for neighbours to socialise outdoors.

YouCUBE by 5468796

"The project challenges conventional multi-family housing design with a modular and more affordable configuration of individual dwellings that goes beyond the brief to include extensive outdoor space and inspired architectural interiors," said the architects in a statement.

YouCUBE by 5468796

The elevated area also creates shelter for a car park that runs along one edge, and extends across basement levels for the properties along the other edge.

YouCUBE by 5468796

The buildings are arranged in a staggered formation, creating a meandering pathway between them. The various units are differentiated by shifting heights, as well as by the positioning of windows and openings.

YouCUBE by 5468796

Each of the available unit sizes has two possible interior configurations. Some of the houses have their main living areas on the ground floor, while in others these rooms are located higher up to make the most of the light and views.

YouCUBE by 5468796

The interiors in every house are separated vertically into open-plan floors and mezzanine levels by a continuous, connected series of surfaces and staircases.

YouCUBE by 5468796

This feature is described by 5468796 Architecture as a "wrap" that only ever touches two walls at a time and creates a complex arrangement of spaces and internal views.

YouCUBE by 5468796

"The wrap reacts with the walls of the cube by folding back onto itself, or continuing upward to form window openings," said the studio.

YouCUBE by 5468796

Vertical voids extend from the top of the buildings to the ground floor, enabling light to permeate throughout the different levels. These openings also allow the upper storeys to overlook the living rooms below.

YouCUBE by 5468796

Roof terraces on each property provide views towards the river and the city. The exterior surfaces are rendered in white stucco, contrasting with the older neighbouring buildings.

YouCUBE by 5468796

Materials were chosen to reference typical residential construction, with cast concrete used for the basement levels and wooden frameworks applied throughout the upper storeys.

YouCUBE by 5468796

Photography is by James Brittain Photography.

YouCUBE by 5468796
Exploded axonometric diagram
YouCUBE by 5468796
YouCUBE program development
YouCUBE by 5468796
Unit plans – click for larger image
YouCUBE by 5468796
Site plan and ground floor plan – click for larger image
YouCUBE by 5468796
First floor plan – click for larger image
YouCUBE by 5468796
Second floor plan – click for larger image
YouCUBE by 5468796
Third floor plan – click for larger image