City of Vancouver report on Point Access Blocks

Larch Lab prepared a report on Point Access Blocks (single stair buildings) for Vancouver, B.C. – to help unlock more livable, affordable, low carbon, small lot development.

We recently wrapped up a report on the subject of Point Access Blocks, a type of building that utilizes only one means of vertical egress, for the City of Vancouver. The aim is to highlight some of the barriers to livable, decarbonized, and more affordable missing middle and mid-rise housing.

Point Access Blocks, or Punkth√§user as they’re called in German, are a housing typology that exists throughout the world, in buildings up to eight or ten stories. However, they are largely illegal in nearly all of North America – even for Type I buildings. Seattle is one of the few jurisdictions where they are legal, up to six stories.

We believe they offer more flexible, livable, compact, and climate resilient housing options than the way multifamily housing is designed and built in the U.S. today.

The report touches on the qualitative aspects of point access blocks, and how they can lead to more climate resilient housing than double loaded corridors. They are also incredibly compact, which makes them ideal for cost-optimized Passivhaus buildings. We’ve also included a few case studies ranging in size from three stories to seven, as well as an analysis of the really incredible Vienna House by PUBLIC: Architecture + Communication, currently in planning.

We are looking forward to the robust discussions about housing, livability, and qualities of urbanity that are severely lacking in North American multifamily buildings. If you’re interested in discussing this issue, or other issues around decarbonized and family-friendly housing, please contact us.

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