Evolving Vancouver’s Rental Market: Part 2

For many, the days of choosing a home with a picket fence is over. And in the process, our perception of renting has been steadily evolving. Our communities’ needs are changing and we need to find apt living solutions. With purpose-built rental projects, we have the opportunity to create attainable places to live and be, that are also thriving.  


Purpose-built rental brings new possibilities to the forefront. When we’re no longer creating homes that need to adhere to real estate market demands or have to work within outdated rental typologies, there is more freedom to experiment. We push beyond the norm, with how interior spaces are programmed, the use of colour, and finishing choices. 

By treating design as an essential feature of rental projects, we start to bring vibrancy to everyday living. Intentional design elements can transform the built environment from generic to one-of-a-kind.

Preliminary design concepts by Insight Design Group, Fraser & 19th
Preliminary design concepts by Insight Design Group, Fraser & 19th
Preliminary design concepts by Insight Design Group, Fraser & 19th
Preliminary design concepts by Insight Design Group, Fraser & 19th
Preliminary design concepts by Insight Design Group, Fraser & 19th

But it doesn’t stop with aesthetics. The way people move and gather within the building is interesting to us as well. Exterior circulation is one way to foster neighbourhood connection and public lobbies are another we’re curious about. Imagine the overlapping conversations between residents as they move through various social crossings. We can remap the way we move through our hallways and lobbies to bring more energy and life to common spaces.

Preliminary integrated lobby concept by Ste. Marie, Kingsway & Prince Albert


When we start to look at rental projects from a functional perspective, we can introduce floorplan layouts that expand our living spaces. Is there a desire for compact private living with expansive common areas? What about shared patios with neighbours? How many roommates can be in a single unit without losing equitable living space? This is the conversation we need to have, by challenging the status quo we can create impactful and thoughtful spaces.

Treehouse Dining Hall (photo by Art Gray), Los Angeles

Common areas or shared amenities shouldn’t be box-ticking exercises. There’s more to share than just gyms. With the current climate temporarily disrupting the office model, does working-from-home twice a week have to mean working at your dining table? What if you had a designated co-working space available to you? The opportunity to enrich a renter’s life with well-thought-out shared spaces is one rife with potential.


We always say that it’s the mix that brings the magic.

A curated retail program that brings a consumer experience that’s relevant to the neighbourhood can improve the overall quality of life. It’s not just convenience, but a rooted sense of place.

Imagine taking cooking classes from one of your favourite restaurants, which just happens to be downstairs? Maybe a pottery class at an art studio on the corner? Imagine the ease of having a local grocery in the lobby. Rental housing can deliver both residential and commercial spaces that facilitate meaningful connections amongst its residents.

Preliminary rendering for Yamamoto Architecture, Kingsway & Prince Albert

In addition, thoughtful retail can be a powerful social catalyst within the building. With open lobby spaces that become gathering places for the community, there is an opportunity for retailers to be more integrated with residents and contribute to the social fabric of the neighbourhood. 

These are just some of the opportunities we are imagining as we begin to create purpose-built rentals for the city.