20B @ Hoskins Square Housing

20B @ Hoskins Square

  • Brampton, ON
  • Housing
  • 1,100 sq.ft
  • 2015

To economize and reduce project costs, “off-the-shelf” products were maximized. Varnished plywood floors serve as both the finished floor and structural membrane resulting in a savings of 80% over hardwood floors. Plywood and 2”x3” lumber were adapted to construct both stair guards.

For the design team, “Environmental Consciousness” extended well beyond the LEED standards and extended to include community awareness. Habitat and the design team insisted that the project & site would continue to participate in the community and enhance the urban condition. While Providing an update on a cost-effective housing initiative. The house may be super-insulated, but the site aimed to be more porous-both physically + socially. The site plan will remove the asphalt and replace it with pavers and vegetation that will help absorb rain and creek runoff. Socially, the project strengthens its community connection by formalizing the path through the site, facilitating access to public transportation, while the new gardens provide a place for community gatherings.

Despite their minimal budget and limited resources, the Habitat team was open to applying creativity and innovative design solutions to develop a house that was functional, cost-effective, and engaging. The final design will result will have the capacity to improve and shape the lives of both the new residents and the surrounding community.

The project is situated in a corner lot amid a residential development in central Brampton. Although hidden away, it played an important role as an informal shortcut for residents as well as a spillway for the adjacent Etobicoke Creek. The project was challenged to develop a plan which could safely address a potential flood but also integrate into an established community.

Flooding [Part I]: Since the site is situated in a flood plain, special design considerations were necessary to keep the future occupants safe and acquire regulatory approval. Size and location limitations were placed on the design by the municipal authority, resulting in one of the smallest footprints of any Habitat for Humanity house to date (8mx8m) and the location of the building to the north of the site where the chance of flooding would be least likely.

The hardscaped nature of the site had contributed to localized flooding. The new site design reversed that impact by replacing the asphalt with porous paver and vegetation to reduce the impact of rain and stormwater.

Community Connection [Part I-physical: Over the past 25 years the site had become an important thoroughfare for residents to access the public transit on Dixie Road, a major artery in the City. While there was pedestrian activity it was not regular enough to prevent the treed area, by the creek, from becoming a hangout for local youth. The proposed plan developed an integrated pathway and garden that will serve a dual purpose by promoting a formal connection to the transit corridor (promoting public transit) and drawing regular activity through the site, making it less attractive for loitering.

Community Connection [Part II-visual]: The exterior of the house seeks to express itself as a contemporary building yet remain respectful of the vernacular of the neighborhood. A visual analysis helped identify key features of the neighborhood which were reconstituted to develop a façade that is modern, yet contextual.