Urban Ivy Apartments

University Project
Ramsay, Calgary, AB


The ground and ceiling planes of the Naked House by Shigeru Ban inform an organic system of growth throughout the Ramsay neighbourhood of Calgary, AB. Through experimentation with neighbourhood permeability a new aggregation of dwelling units for the 21st century emerges. Erupting in, around and through the existing fabric of Ramsay planar, ribbons operating perpendicular to each other make connections, drive permeability and create dwellings.




Project 1 explored soft systems operating in, through and around the Ramsay neighbourhood. The goal was to identify one of these soft systems, discover its inputs and effects, then test how the neighbourhood changes when the system is modified artificially, or allowed to respond to other stimuli. In this exploration, the idea of neighbourhood permeability was defined as the ability for a motorist to transform into a pedestrian.


Three strategies to test the system were identified; increasing permeability along the 11 St SE corridor, denying permeability inside the residential neighbourhood adjacent to 11 St SE, and restricting all permeability on or adjacent to 11 St SE. From this prospective scenarios explored what this neighbourhood may become.



The Unit

Project 2 used a precedent house to explore non-traditional dwelling units. The precedent used here was the Naked House, by Shigeru Ban. The expression of the house was defined by its open, flexible interior, strong floor & ceiling planes, and the implied grid of spaces created with the movable tatami rooms. Modifying this to explore a new dwelling for Ramsay the planes were twisted 90 degrees and grid made explicit. By doing this new floor and ceiling planar ‘ribbons’ could be created, which when folded defined new spaces in which someone could live. This created both opportunities and challenges, but addresses the smaller unit footprint, flexible space, storage, permeability and connectivity with the neighbourhood important for the 21st century.




The Aggregation

Project 3 was focused on aggregating the unit designed in Project 2 into a 3000 sq.m multi-family building in the Ramsay neighbourhood. The systems used to create the unit however does not lend itself to reasonable aggregations, and instead the system was allowed to deploy within the selected area of the neighbourhood. The intersection of 19 Ave SE and 11 St SE directly adjacent to the Ramsay Design Centre was selected, and area travel connections analyzed. These connections were modified to improve connectivity and permeability, and the planar ribbons then allowed to fill in the newly created space above, below and around the street and existing building. Expanding like a vine it slowly begins to remake the neighbourhood.