VANCOUVER – Vancouver is looking to test new avenues for providing affordable housing.

The city and its partners are currently working on an affordable rental housing pilot project to help BC Housing evaluate innovative building materials and designs to tackle affordability, inclusion and climate change.

The project called Vienna House is in the first design phase. It is proposed as a six-story building with approximately 100 units at the intersection of Victoria Drive and Stainsbury Avenue in East Vancouver. The project is a partnership between BC Housing, the City of Vancouver, through the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency, and More Than a Roof Housing Society.

“There is a lot to be done to respond to our housing crisis and the climate crisis,” said Housing Secretary David Eby in a statement. “The Viennese house is part of what we do. With this project, BC Housing can respond to the housing crisis with 100 units and the climate crisis with high energy efficiency and test different approaches for prefabrication, modeling of building information and integrated design. Our goal remains to build affordable, healthy and sustainable houses quickly and efficiently, and the Viennese house will be part of the solution. “

The Wiener Haus will use innovative materials and processes to achieve high energy efficiency with reduced greenhouse gas emissions. This includes experimenting with prefabricated components made from renewable raw materials and an integrated design process in which all partners come together at regular intervals to solve project challenges and increase efficiency.

An application for rededication is expected to be submitted this summer.

If approved, the project would attempt to meet passive house standards and be ready for its tenants by the end of 2023. At that point, ownership and management would be transferred to the More Than a Roof Housing Society.

The Urban Innovation Research Group at the University of British Columbia’s Sustainability Initiative would study the Vienna House from start to finish to collect data on best practices for building and policy development.

The Vienna House project is also the hallmark of a collaboration between the City of Vancouver and the City of Vienna, Austria to explore new materials and approaches for building affordable housing. A similar project called Vancouver House is being built in Austria while the Vienna House is running.