The Cambie Rowhouse Project

Cambie Model
and Planning

A demonstration project, agreed to by the city of Vancouver, this project at Cambie Street and 33rd Avenue, is for 3 separate houses plus suites over each of their garages and is scheduled to be completed in 2010.  This innovative project is set to introduce Fee-Simple Rowhousing to Vancouver.  The idea of the Fee Simple Rowhouse for Vancouver was championed by Art Cowie in 2002.   In Art’s words:

“I assembled my very able architectural design team consisting of Thomas Frauenberger and Otto Lejeune (lejeune + frauenberger) and together we prepared an application for submission to the director of planning, Larry Beasley. This was accepted and we proceeded with more detailed plans for review by the planning department.”

Click here for Art’s Article

Project information - Fee-Simple, Party Walls and Separate Metering...

1. Lot division: The lots are full length without deviations or jogs.

This was done so as to contain each property clearly and to allow access from the front and rear for parking, etc.

2. No common areas: There are no areas (parkade, hallway, elevator, etc.) that are held in common other than the party walls that straddle the properties lengthwise.

3. Party walls:  We would have liked these to be as thin as possible to maximize the indoor dimensions of each home, both main houses and garage suites. However, the City of Vancouver legal department required that we have at least one inch between properties as the provincial party wall legislation was not in place yet. What this meant then was that we had to have 2 separate fire walls between row houses, and seismic analysis required a connection so as to avoid independent movement of the walls, thus, ironically, the walls had to be connected with structural steel to hold them apart in the event of an earthquake. What could have been an 8" reinforced concrete wall ended up being 2 - 6 inch block walls with a one inch "air" gap between them (both options would have to be furred out on each side for services).
A major consequence of not having a structural party wall was additional structural considerations for each building; each building had to be treated as an individual structure and not part of a larger building, so this meant more concrete shear walls and structural steel in each of the dwellings.

4. Garage suites: We designed these to have a blank wall without windows facing the main house. This gives privacy to both in terms of the use of the garden space between the buildings. An operable skylight brings ample light into the stairwells as well as provides ventilation.

5. Addressing: Each main house and each garage suite has its own street address and not a "unit" number like in a strata.

6. City Services/Utilities: Each main house and each garage suite has its own electrical meter and an independent water/sewer connection.

Although there are savings by not having to build common areas, there was extra cost associated with the elaborate party wall construction and structural consequences of such and independent servicing


The project was constructed by MYK Construction.  Click here for their website.


lejeune + frauenberger design.

(604) 809-0657

4887 Cambie Street is on the market...

See the listing on by clicking here...