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Community-inspired housing in Canada

A new book published by the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction examines three progressive and influential projects by Montreal-based architects L’OEUF. Their approach to sustainable design enables social inclusion and ensures an enduring positive impact on the local community. The book tracks progress on the redevelopment of Benny Farm, the first ever Global Holcim Awards Bronze winner from 2006, a follow-up project at Rosemont, and plans for the forthcoming Bois Ellen Cooperative Residence.

The 128-page book summarizes the most important points about these outstanding projects that exemplify L’OEUF’s engagement in the field of sustainable construction. The described social housing projects include major innovations with respect to building envelope, energy efficiency, thermal comfort, and interior air quality that are rarely seen in this depth at this scale in the context of affordable housing.

Community-inspired housing in Canada explains the practitioner’s view of the challenges and processes used to achieve the final outcome. The architects share insight into the complexities of new green technologies, subsidy programs, working with co-ops and government agencies, managing the challenges of building affordable green social housing, “future proofing”, provoking changes to legislation and in the construction industry, and breaking away from standard procedures.

The redevelopment of Benny Farm was the world’s first government-subsidized, large-scale, community-driven neighborhood renewal project: it combines affordability, green building technologies, rehabilitation, and new construction. This groundbreaking model unites all levels of social organization to exploit the economies of on-site energy production and shared infrastructure. The scale, diversity, and scope of the proposed environmental measures made Benny Farm the most advanced attempt of its kind in Canada when it was conducted.

Benny Farm and its follow-up project Rosemont respond to the full range of sustainability challenges: social, technical, environmental and economic. The two projects made an important first step in Montreal toward a change in attitudes and wider adoption of sustainable design and planning. Rosemont was built to include the necessary provisions for additional environmental, infrastructural, and risk-management measures, which could ultimately approach the net-zero concept. The buildings are prepped for “deep greening” over time and exemplify the essential mechanism of greening and densification of urban contexts.

About the Holcim Foundation and Holcim

The Swiss-based Holcim Foundation promotes and illustrates the strength of diverse strategies of achieving greater sustainability of the built environment. As part of its approach, the Foundation publishes booklets on outstanding examples of applied sustainable construction. The initiatives of the Holcim Foundation include the USD 2 million Holcim Awards – the most significant international competition for sustainable design.

Since it was established in 2003, the Foundation has been supported by Holcim in more than 70 countries worldwide and is independent of commercial interests. Holcim is one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement and aggregates (crushed stone, gravel and sand) as well as further activities such as ready-mix concrete and asphalt, including services. 

Benny Farm and Rosemont: Community-inspired housing in Canada

128 pages, including 80 photos, drawings and plans
14.8 cm x 21.0 cm, Paperback
Language: English
ISBN: 978-3-7266-0098-3

The book can be downloaded as PDF or flip-book at no charge, or ordered for USD 15 per copy including surface postage at the Holcim Foundation’s Online Shop.

Media contact

Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction
Phone +41 58 858 82 92,
Hagenholzstrasse 85, CH-8050 Zurich, Switzerland

Last Updated: January 29, 2015
Montreal, QC, Canada
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