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Noble | m | 4s | Truman

Mountain Man

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These are pretty typical for a major developer going for a modern look, nothing groundbreaking though. I'd like to see which Vancouver townhomes are done better, this is pretty typical to what I've seen in that city.
 

CCF

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I respectfully disagree. There are tons of crap townhouses in Vancouver and they cost twice the price of these. Yeah, there are some really nice ones - if you don’t mind paying upwards of $2M for the same size unit.
I'm talking specifically about the interface between the townhouse and the street (and nothing else) - getting it right is a matter of appropriate grade separation, setback, and material choices. Creating a front patio that is too permeable or falls within this off semi-public realm pretty much guarantees that it won't be used by its occupants. You see it all over the Beltline.

This tweet from Brent Toderian provides a good example of what I'm getting at
https://twitter.com/BrentToderian/status/998702024832172033
 

Cowtown

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I'm talking specifically about the interface between the townhouse and the street (and nothing else) - getting it right is a matter of appropriate grade separation, setback, and material choices. Creating a front patio that is too permeable or falls within this off semi-public realm pretty much guarantees that it won't be used by its occupants. You see it all over the Beltline.

This tweet from Brent Toderian provides a good example of what I'm getting at
https://twitter.com/BrentToderian/status/998702024832172033
I totally agree on the part about the patios. I never see people using those patios, and the space would be better used on the dwelling or back yard. As for Vancouver, they have thousands of townhomes with small patios in front, and I'm pretty sure modern townhome designs don't vary much from city to city, as there are town-homes like the ones in Toderian's examples here in Calgary, with the only difference being that the Vancouver examples have more foliage via hedges. You do the same thing at place like Park Point, Aura.Arc towers, Stella/Nova. Even Live on the Park. all of those places are grade separated with planters out front that could support hedges or shrubs. The materials aren't as high quality, but as mentioned already, the units aren't going for a couple million a piece. Here's an example of a townhome more affordable in Vancouver, this is right off of Toderian's feed as an example of 'a few of the best/most interesting townhouse/rowhouses'
 

CCF

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I totally agree on the part about the patios. I never see people using those patios, and the space would be better used on the dwelling or back yard. As for Vancouver, they have thousands of townhomes with small patios in front, and I'm pretty sure modern townhome designs don't vary much from city to city, as there are town-homes like the ones in Toderian's examples here in Calgary, with the only difference being that the Vancouver examples have more foliage via hedges. You do the same thing at place like Park Point, Aura.Arc towers, Stella/Nova. Even Live on the Park. all of those places are grade separated with planters out front that could support hedges or shrubs. The materials aren't as high quality, but as mentioned already, the units aren't going for a couple million a piece. Here's an example of a townhome more affordable in Vancouver, this is right off of Toderian's feed as an example of 'a few of the best/most interesting townhouse/rowhouses'
Aura and Arch as well as Stella + Nova exemplify some of the problems I'm speaking to. They do have grade separation but it's not enough, moreover the clear glazing on the patio provides no privacy, you can literally see right into their living spaces - they fall into being 'too permeable' and so what happens is that people don't use these spaces, and they shutter the blinds because they feel like they are living in a fishbowl. It's a tricky balance in that you want to maintain visual interest from the street for pedestrians, but you also want a design that doesn't put the occupants life on display.

My reference is material choices is again just with respect to patio design - these absolute clear glazing is what I would say is too permeable. Now something like that could be mitigated by some really great planting that partially obscures the view. So any cost between good and bad design is really negligible.

This may all seem nitpicky, but getting the design correct is absolutely important if you are intending to create functional spaces for occupants. I think a number of projects in the bridges redevelopment have gotten it right. I also think the Fifteen15 has been successful in achieving functional patio design that maintains interest from the street. The Guardian got the grade separation correct. Avenue has some very attractive townhouses that gets the mix between grade separation and permeability correct - so I will correct myself and say there has been some good progress made on this, but for every one of those 'good' there's one or more projects like 1215 that just completely miss the mark.
 

Surrealplaces

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I'm not really a fan of the front patios on Townhomes in general. The ones shown by Toderian are more private, but in all my times to Vancouver I've ever seen anyone use them...or in any other city for that matter. In fact how often do you see people use their front yards that have 20 foot setbacks and hedges? Never. People don't use them, private or not. Most townhomes and lowrise apartment blocks in Europe are designed to come to the street and have a rooftop court or backyard court (sometimes a shared courtyard), and people seem to use them.

I like the section of Noble where the townhomes come right to the sidewalk and their outdoor space is on the rooftop courtyard. They could also have done the courtyard in the back and it would have probably gotten use, but have instead built a common area. either way, I bet those rooftop courtyards get 100 times for use than a front patio, in Calgary or Vancouver.
 

Mountain Man

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Aura and Arch as well as Stella + Nova exemplify some of the problems I'm speaking to. They do have grade separation but it's not enough, moreover the clear glazing on the patio provides no privacy, you can literally see right into their living spaces - they fall into being 'too permeable' and so what happens is that people don't use these spaces, and they shutter the blinds because they feel like they are living in a fishbowl. It's a tricky balance in that you want to maintain visual interest from the street for pedestrians, but you also want a design that doesn't put the occupants life on display.
Agree with this completely, those patios never have people on them, except for the odd person having a smoke.

I'm not really a fan of the front patios on Townhomes in general. The ones shown by Toderian are more private, but in all my times to Vancouver I've ever seen anyone use them...or in any other city for that matter. In fact how often do you see people use their front yards that have 20 foot setbacks and hedges? Never. People don't use them, private or not. Most townhomes and lowrise apartment blocks in Europe are designed to come to the street and have a rooftop court or backyard court (sometimes a shared courtyard), and people seem to use them.
This is also a good point, I would extend this further to balconies on apartments and condos, you rarely ever see anyone on them either.
 

Beltline_B

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Agree with this completely, those patios never have people on them, except for the odd person having a smoke.
Yup, that’s all I’ve ever seen them used for. They aren’t really big enough to do anything else. Developers would be much better having nothing at all in the front and adding more space to the back.
 

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