In a City of Shrinking Balconies, Could We Please Have Some That Bloom?

With our city now so laughably unaffordable, thousands of Vancouverites are stuck imagining wonderful homes instead of living in them. Spaced is a record of our minds wandering the world of architecture and design, up and away from the unrewarding realities of shoebox condos, dark basement suites, sweet f~ck all on Craigslist and three levels of government that couldn’t give a damn.

(via) With the sheer volume of new condominium projects that have sprung up Vancouver in recent years, one would hope they’d be distinguishable from one another. Instead, what we’ve witnessed rise is a skyline of same-same spires and demi-spires – all safety deposit shoeboxes in the sky – with very little in the way of striking differentiation. This is also increasingly true in our residential neighbourhoods as well, where land assemblies and big lot tear-downs have resulted – with few exceptions – in mid-rise housing complexes that look relatively the same. Sadly, the ubiquity became contagious.

I’m ok with that, just so long as the new projects are affordable rentals that people like myself would have a chance to afford (ha ha ha, who am I kidding?). But would it kill developers to ask their architects to get a little playful sometimes? They wouldn’t have to stray too far from their current model of boring residents to tears. Perhaps they could start with the balconies, which – I don’t know if you’ve noticed – have alarmingly shrivelled in size lately. If they’re going to make them so tiny, they could at least make them interesting. For some inspiration, they might spy this recent project by Manuel Herz in Central Zurich…

The building is home to five residences, all of which boast dynamic frontages made especially different by horizontal and vertical louvers that bloom out to create little balconies. Dubbed Ballet Mécanique, the 2017 structure is located near Le Corbusier’s stunning Heidi Weber Privatmuseum and references the brightly coloured metal panels that make up its facade. Take a closer look by watching the short video above and by clicking through the gallery below. Now imagine it 50 storeys high across half a city block.

  • – all images by Yuri Palmin –

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