The Mill Creek Flex Homes’ project purpose was to develop sustainable residential infill within the inner city. This three-unit, 2-storey row housing fits into the City of Edmonton’s vision of higher urban density in the “core,” while complementing the existing neighbourhood’s built form. The development’s location and proximity to local amenities increases the desirability and livability of the project.
The building design creates open, functional public and private interior spaces on a small footprint. It is designed and constructed to showcase a contemporary, modern straw bale building in an urban setting. Collaborative design solutions using straw bale technology were developed for the challenges of the Alberta climate.
Cement-lime stucco and vertical cedar siding create a contemporary exterior that embraces traditional building materials and techniques. Organic, textured straw bale walls, exposed structural wood and concrete, as well as extensive glazing, form the basis of a design that includes simple yet functional finishes and emphasizes locally-produced materials.
The project incorporates many “green” technologies and ideas, including passive solar design, roof-top patios, zero and low volatile organic compound (VOC) finishes, and a breathable exterior envelope contribute to a healthier interior environment.
Winner of an 2009 Edmonton Urban Design Award of Merit in Urban Architecture, the jury described the project as a good example of urban infill, “very sensitive architecture and the most sustainable project submitted,” and the “project provides an alarming signal to architects”.
Mill Creek Flex Homes provides pleasing, meaningful and sustainable alternatives to single-family homes while enhancing the existing character of Edmonton’s mature neighbourhoods.
Review by Mayor (then Ward 10 Councillor) Don Iveson – “Needless to say I was excited by this project…The reason is these kinds of projects can fit reasonably into almost any neighbourhood, and may in fact be prove more appealing, affordable and suited to many families. Given recent concern about school closures in mature areas, encouraging this type of development is part of the transition to moderately higher densities that can better support all manner of amenities including schools,” in Medium Density Supreme
(Top image photo credit – Justin Benko)