Durham Modular Supportive Housing

Montgomery Sisam Architects Inc.

The Durham Modular Supportive Housing project provides much-needed housing and social service supports to those experiencing homelessness in the rural community of Beaverton. The new facilities transform a vacant site into a place of hope and dignity, communicating that everyone in society should and can have access to an engaging place to call home. Modular construction is utilized to achieve design excellence while meeting strict budget, schedule, and operational parameters. The complex is comprised of a three-storey residence containing 47 studio apartments, lounges, and administrative areas, and a two-storey community hub accommodating dining, meeting, and social support rooms. Both are connected via a glazed link which serves as the main entrance lobby and which opens onto a landscaped courtyard, providing a calming space for resident respite. Modular construction allowed the development to be fast-tracked with superior quality control and a smaller carbon footprint. The modules were manufactured and tested in a controlled, indoor environment and do not use any fossil fuels, as the building is heated and cooled by an all-electric system fed by 300 photovoltaic panels incorporated into the design of the roof. The buildings respond to the scale and character of the site and their surroundings. The residence is subdued in form while the more playful community hub asserts itself as the frontispiece, stepping down in scale to transition to the adjacent residential neighbourhood. The material palette includes wood siding and metal roofing, which resonates with both the vernacular of the residential neighbourhood and the project’s natural setting.