Cormode & Dickson

Infill Design- Affordability with Style

There is a BIG difference between affordable housing and housing that is affordable.

Affordable housing is the government-subsidized kind. On the other hand, housing that is affordable describes the ways that the design and construction methods can reduce the cost of owning a house. Designing and building affordably isn’t a niche anymore. Many are talking about it…these discussions are happening out of necessity. 

There are several proven methods designers and builders can use to create housing that is affordable. 

  • Leverage Land: Land is a big cost when building an infill house. Maximize the use of your infill land with basement and garage/garden rental suites. All of these are allowed in Edmonton’s land use bylaw. 
  • Rethink Your Home: more and more of us work from home. Respond to these vanishing boundaries by offering up spaces that can double or triple in functionality.
  • Tweaking layouts and dimensions for flexibility and efficiency can increase usable space. Areas that have multiple uses can replace space dedicated to circulation. Studios and one-bedroom units can be planned without entry halls or hallways. Spaces should be flexible—furniture, rather than walls, can be used to differentiate and separate. Kitchens and bathrooms can align to a single “wet” wall where plumbing is concentrated. Doors and walls can be reserved for separating spaces that require privacy, such as bathrooms and bedrooms. When possible, the number of interior corners can be reduced to simplify and expedite interior framing.
  • Design & Build Simply: use time-tested methods to build houses less expensively. For example, design a layout that connects the front door to the back, so it can self-ventilate, and a porch to have additional outdoor square footage. But be wary of short-sighted cost-cutting: downgrading finishes and appliances doesn’t save much money and may reduce durability and environmental quality.
  • Deploy Technology: Use technology to flip, move, and stow the house’s transformable furniture…think Murphy beds and foldable dining room tables, desks, and storage areas. 
  • Simplify exterior facades while still creating variation through visual shifts, colors, and a mixture of higher- and lower-cost materials. A welcoming entrance or an angled exterior wall creates visual interest without substantially increasing facade complexity and cost. Materials not typically associated with residential construction (such as corrugated metals) can have cost savings. 
  • Create long-term savings by investing in environmental performance with high-performance envelopes, HVAC, and plumbing systems that reduce long-term operating costs. Reduced operating costs will offset the higher capital expense over time. 
  • Build Modularly: think about a design that allows for modules built off-site then assembled and hoisted into place on site.

Urban Sky’s team is a dedicated, multi-disciplinary group of professionals offering a range of skills and experience for your sustainable and affordable urban infill living. We can help you to effectively navigate the opportunities along your urban infill journey.

Our featured image is in corporate partnership with Cormode & Dickson! Check them out: https://cormode.com/

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