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Burns Block

B. Jauca, B. Kaminski, L.Porter, M.Sutter, L.Wan



The backdrop to Burns Block

Burns Block Principle Designer: Bruce Carscadden Architects Year Completed: 2011 Location: 18 West Hastings, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Originally built for Burns & Co. Meat Packing and later converted into a single resident occupancy (SRO) hotel, the historic Burns Block demonstrates an innovative approach to high-density living by means of micro lofts. Thirty compact units are cleverly arranged into this six-storey building, located at Hastings and Carrall. Our analysis presents a comprehensive investigation and exploration of various topics related to strategies for compact living, including but not limited to: • Typical lifestyle encouraged by living space • Overview of social implications on the neighbor hood • Comparison to another Vancouver apartment • Size comparison to other global living spaces • Public, private, and communal realms • Unit footprint and configuration • Domestic condition of site • Spatial occupation based on activities • Livability analysis by means of examining the street

Microloft Lifestyle

Lifestyle encouraged by compact living

Microloft Resident Living in Burns Block encourages a certain lifestyle, not required

single couple

Lives Alone

Eats Out Often


age 25


Is Young

And Tidy

Trims Down Belongings

A Contentious Space Addressing social concerns

site operated as a single room occupancy (SRO), rooms rent for $375/month

shut down by fire officials

bought by Reliance Properties

microloft built by august, units rent for $850/month




“combines heritage restoration with the creation of much-needed non-subsidized rental housing in the area.” -ITC Construction Group “a tactic to force out existing residents rather than providing the social services that the neighborhood needs.” -Newt Stremple, Tiny House Talk

“a socio-economic equalizer at least in regard to size.” -Adele Weder, Globe and Mail “longer term tenants–the only profitable ones–are unlikely.” -Digitalmonkblog, City Hall Watch “a refreshing, 30 rental suite renovation that represents the collective aspirations for generating viable rental units and addressing the widening vacuum for affordable housing within the City.” -Bruce Carscadden, Architect Website

Vancouver Comparison

Comparing a compact to an average apartment

Vancouver Apartment Comparison

Walls Livable Space Furniture Storage

Burns Block (300 sq.ft.)

Kerrisdale Apartment (700 sq.ft.)

Microloft Comparisons Examination of global living units

Vancouver New York

Tokyo (25 sq ft) (90 sq ft) (230 sq ft)

Defining Spaces The realms of Burns Block

Defining Spaces

The realms of Burns Block

Typical Floor Plan (Proposed) Commons (Communal)

Main Floor Plan Residential (Private)

Basement Floor Plan

Storage Locker/Gym (Communal)

Commercial (Quasi-Public)



Lobby (Communal)





Unit Footprints A division of space

Unit Footprints A division of space



Living Radius

Threshold from public to private

Personal Living Space

Public Living Space

Transformative Space Spatial versatility throughout the day







“The city is your living room. The city is your dining room. You don’t need to use your own resources to recreate all that when you can just step out your door and enjoy a park, a beach, a restaurant, a café” - Jon Stovell

Street Livability An analysis of West Hastings

Art and Leisure Dining Commercial Open Spaces Office Space Social Residential/ Activities

Front Page 1. bruce carscadden ARCHITECT. “18 West Hastings Microlofts.” Photograph. 2011.


1. City of Vancouver - Archives. “Exterior of the Burns Block - 18 West Hastings Street.” Photograph. 1927. null/8/0/808056/2019255e-8c09-408a-afa4-f94a695f216d-A25180.jpg

A Contentious Space

1. Digitalmonkblog. “Burns Block - Anything but Affordable?” CityHallWatch: 21 Dec 2011. Accessed 28 Feb 2014. 2. Griswold, Kent. “Canada’s Smallest Rental,” Tiny House Blog. 29 Dec 2011. Accessed 28 Feb 2014. 3. Tremple, Newt. “Micro Loft Tiny Apartments in Vancouver Rent for $850 a Month, Under 300 Square Feet.” Tiny House Talk. Accessed 28 Feb 2014. http://tinyhousetalk. com/micro-loft-tiny-apartments-in-vancouver-rent-for-850-a-month-under-300-square-feet/ 4. Weder, Adele. “Living in 226 square feet on Vancouver’s east side,” The Globe and Mail. 6 Sep 2013. Accessed 27 Feb 2014.

Living Radius

1. Knowles, Martin. “Burns Block Kitchen Unit.” Photograph. 2013. 2. Lam, Richard. “Burns Block Living Unit, Tenant in photo: Andrea Wong.” Photograph. 2011. 3. Revamped Fitness - Google Plus. “Revamped Fitness - About - Google +.” Photograph. fYmO2MskpQw/s0/IMG_4638.JPG 4. Unknown. “Old Spaghetti Factory.” Photograph. 5. Vancouver Sun. “Acme Coffee.” Photograph.

Street Livability

1. Collection of Images gathered from Google Map – Street View of West Hastings, between Abbott and Carrall streets. +St/@49.28165,-123.105213,3a,90y,132h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s-GPSmDlvN-oSdEjhNhRnOA!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x5486717a1a13595d:0xcd13cac2c4c5b1b4!6m1!1e1? hl=en

All architectural drawings used courtesy of bruce carscadden ARCHITECT

*studio 302 project III group research  
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