18 West Hastings

British Columbia

Completed in August, 2011, the Micro-Lofts at 18 West Hastings represents a shared commitment to eco-density between Carscadden Stokes McDonald Architects, the Client, Reliance Properties, and the City of Vancouver. Located in the historic Burn’s Block Building, which has enjoyed the dubious distinction of one of Vancouver’s worst Single Resident Occupancy (SRO) buildings, the project is a refreshing, 30 rental suite renovation that represents the collective aspirations for generating viable rental units and addressing the widening vacuum for affordable housing within the City. 

Design becomes a paramount commodity in an exercise of inches.

The design for the apartments explores the dichotomies of small dwelling units and highly livable spaces. Identifying these challenges, we began by focusing on identifying critical livability issues such as light, efficiency, privacy, security and dignity, and looked to small Japanese spaces for their focus on effective use of space without having to sacrifice beauty and aesthetic. Using creative and careful product selection and innovative thinking about layouts and floor plans, a customizable and changeable design was generated. Each apartment reflects the needs of the resident and the requirements of the day – the bedroom becomes a dining room becomes a living room and so on. Design becomes a paramount commodity in an exercise of inches - even the washroom entry door doubles as the shower door depending on the position and latching.

Microloft Unit 606_700.jpg
18 west detail.JPG


The 18 West Hastings Burns Block Micro-Lofts could only make sense in the context of Vancouver's unique real estate market: a necessary reaction to the pressure of globalization's New Capitalism bearing down on the postage stamp-sized territory that this modest city occupies. In the face of gargantuan, small, stealth, and strategic are the only reasonable responses. 


Developed in consultation with the City of Vancouver, which made allowances for dwellings smaller than the Vancouver Building Bylaw minimum of 320 square feet, the Micro-Lofts are a pioneering experiment in the small-scale, high-quality urban living. Together with laneway housing and other densification strategies, they have the capacity to confront Vancouver's housing strategic crisis.


"As a result of a major heritage renovation undertaken by Reliance Properties and ITC Construction Group, today 18 West Hastings is a chic, award-winning renovated rental building in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside that has gained much recognition for its contemporary ‘micro-loft’ concept."

Reliance Properties