Optimizing Form & Function: Meet Single Point Access Blocks, an old-new tool in sustainable place making

Discussions around urban morphology are not as robust in the Passive House community as they could be. Building form plays a significant role in the ease or difficulty of achieving Passive House performance, and so urban form – and how building codes work within them – plays an outsized role in optimization. One way to optimize buildings is to increase the amount of floor area in the same thermal envelope. Point Access Blocks (single stair buildings) –the basic urban building block in most other countries – are one such method to achieve this. Larch Lab’s Michael Eliason will discuss his report for the City of Vancouver on Point Access Blocks, which touches on how these issues are also interwoven with embodied carbon, climate adaptation, family-sized units, re-compaction, and improved quality of life.

Michael Eliason is the founder of Larch Lab, an architecture and urbanism ‘think and do’ tank focusing on research and policy; decarbonized, climate-adaptive, low-energy urban buildings; and sustainable urbanism. Michael is also a writer, and an award-winning architect specializing in mass timber, social housing, baugruppen (urban cohousing), and ecodistricts. His career has been dedicated to advancing innovation and broadening the discourse on sustainable development, passivhaus, non-market housing, and decarbonized construction. His professional experience includes extensive public work in both the Pacific Northwest, and Germany.