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Age-in-Place Laneway Housing Project

The Age-in-Place Laneway Housing Project is led by Professor John Brown, of the Architecture Program in the Faculty of Environmental Design. It involves a primary collaboration with the Cummings School of Medicine’s O’Brien Institute for Public Health and W21C, a health systems research and innovation initiative based in the University of Calgary and the Calgary Zone of Alberta Health Services. It also engages researchers from across the University in the areas of healthy aging, and bio-medical engineering. The project is embedded within the University of Calgary’s Human Dynamics in a Changing World Research Theme.

Prototype I - Spring 2015






The first prototype laneway model was designed and built in the EVDS Design Research Innovation (DRI Lab) in collaboration with an M.Arch senior design research studio. It was designed as a permanent, site-built, conventional wood frame structure. Following construction, the prototype was subjected to rigorous user testing by cohorts of older individuals and health care professionals to evaluate architectural functionality, medical effectiveness, and market appropriateness. Prototype I was awarded a 2015 Mayor’s Urban Design Award in Housing innovation.

Design Team:
John Brown, Justine Andrus, Scott Douglas, Junette Huynh, Sophia Juan, Kristen Moody, Kaylee Lam, Travis McFarlane, Adam Missiuna, Rene Pahlavan, Trevor Steckly
Research Team:
Dr. Peter Sargious, Dr. David Hogan

Prototype II - Spring 2016

The second prototype laneway model was designed and built in the DRI Lab in collaboration with a second M.Arch senior design research studio. It incorporated the feedback from the evidence-based testing of Prototype I and introduced prefabrication and mass customization strategies into the project. An expanded program of user testing of Prototype II with larger cohorts of older individuals and health care professionals guides the development of Prototype III.

Design Team:
John Brown, April Battenfelder, Lynn Burrell, Melissa Cowan, Elizabeth Daniels, Christopher Herman, Jayms Lyon, Paul Miller, Lea Nicklaus, Jaime Perkins, Gillian Piche, Lisa Skomorowski
Research Team:
Dr. Peter Sargious, Dr. David Hogan, Katelyn Wiley, David Borkenhagen

Prototype III – Fall 2016 / Spring 2017

It is planned that the third prototype will be constructed in Fall 2016 as a full working residence. It will be deployed into the community in Spring 2017. Data will be gathered during 2 five month in-situ trials from the senior residents of the unit, their families, health care team, neighbors, and community in order to evaluate the architectural functionality, medical effectiveness, market appropriateness, and neighborhood impact of an age-in-place laneway housing option. The results will be used to evaluate the potential feasibility and impact of this innovative residential option for Calgary seniors and to develop best practice aging-in-place design strategies based on in-situ real world testing and evidence-based research findings.

The Age-in-Place Laneway Housing Project is part of John Brown’s broader research agenda to create the next generation of aging-in-place housing. Using residential design strategies that combine mass customization and design democratization with digital monitoring/ sensing and next generation home-based medical support, Prof. Brown is creating residential units ranging from single family homes to multi-family condominiums that can easily adapt to meet changing levels of physical and cognitive ability, chronic disease, and critical illness while still maintaining their domestic character and supporting the essential agency and independence of the resident.

Current funding for the project has been generously provided by the following:

Alberta Real Estate Foundation
Calgary Foundation
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
DIRTT Environmental Solutions

Recent Press
CBC Radio (Oct. 17, 2016)
Calgary Herald (Oct. 17, 2016)
Calgary Sun (Oct. 17, 2016)
Metro (Oct. 16, 2016)
CREB NOW (Jun. 9, 2016)
CBC News (May 16, 2016)
Global News (May 16, 2016)
Calgary Herald (May 16, 2016)
Calgary Herald (May 13, 2016)
Globe and Mail (March 4, 2016)
UToday (April 29, 2015)