The building design that could crack the code on climate adaptation

By Cloe Logan
The National Observer
June 24, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

In most of Canada [and the United States], low- and mid-rise apartment buildings are designed like hotels and dormitories: long hallways with units on either side, capped off with staircases at the ends. …But architects and urban planners stress that buildings can be fire safe with just one staircase: a change that would allow more density and livability, while bringing a host of climate-related benefits. The province of British Columbia is currently exploring the possibility of updating its building code to make them legal. …Ditch the second staircase, and receive a host of benefits, explained Michael Eliason, founder of Seattle-based architecture think tank Larch Labs. You can build more housing on smaller lots, and the units typically have more light and can accommodate more bedrooms with less square footage. The skinnier single-stair buildings also contribute to climate action and adaptation. 

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