The Mixing Middle Competition presented by the Vancouver Urbanarium Society has awarded its first-place prize to SALA alumni and faculty Nicole Sylvia, Roy Cloutier, and Lőrinc Vass. The competition explores mixed-use functionality for Missing Middle housing in four cities across Metro Vancouver: Coquitlam, North Vancouver, Surrey, and Vancouver. Conceived amid the COVID 19 pandemic, the adaptations to working from home and staying in neighbourhoods made evident the many ways that residential zoning might be adapted to support and enhance these changes. The competition set out to explore new possibilities in gentle densification that would enhance community vitality while showing the public and policymakers what may be considered possible within our neighbourhoods.

The winning project, Lots in Common, proposes a fundamental re-mixing of the nature of the home and public space in the face of interlocking housing, ecological, and social crises. Building from co-operative housing precedents, the project reframes domesticity by interweaving collective spaces. Best said in the statement, “the project acts as a sponge, not an island—connecting into larger systems of ecology, mobility, livelihood, social exchange, and more.” Nicole, Roy, and Lőrinc dissect under-utilized zones of space such as laneways and front yards and transform them into a shared network of collective activities. These acts of sharing and solitary help reframe urban space by providing mixed-use activities for Missing Middle housing.

The outcome of the competition has brought forth possible policy impacts to the four cities across Metro Vancouver. Within the publication, the ideas presented in the Mixing Middle competition provide innovative solutions for low-density single-family zones through a Policy Impact Proposal. These solutions include allowing a comprehensive range of uses in residential zones that prioritizes essential services and provides inclusionary urban policies. The publication’s release also highlights several SALA students, faculty, and alumni. A complete list of winners is found below:

1. Nicole Sylvia, Roy Cloutier, Lőrinc Vass of Vancouver

2. Cedric Jacques Yu and River Hughes of Vancouver 

2. Anne Lissett, Catherine He, Claire Schumacher, Stephanie Coleridge, Bonnie Vahabi of Vancouver

3. Taylor Castañón-Rumebe and Vince Castañón-Rumebe of Burnaby

Honourable Mentions

Summer Xia Liu and Jerry Kuo of Vancouver

Inge Roecker, Robyn Gray Thomson, Yang Yang, Andrea Hoff, Jessica Chen of Vancouver

Haley Zhou, Felix Cheong, Rachel Cohen-Murison, Eveline Lam of Toronto

Jessica Little and Michael Knauer of Burnaby

Planner’s Prize

Cedric Jacques Yu and River Hughes of Vancouver

Anne Lissett, Catherine He, Claire Schumacher, Stephanie Coleridge, Bonnie Vahabi of Vancouver