Ya’el Santopinto is an architect and associate at ERA Architects, where she leads ERA’s affordable housing retrofit practice. She is also the director of research and partnerships with the Tower Renewal Partnership, a non-profit sister organization to ERA that advocates for supportive policy frameworks around the preservation of Canada’s affordable apartment housing supply. Ya’el is the project architect on the inspiring Passive House retrofit of the Ken Soble apartment tower in Hamilton, Ontario—the largest EnerPHit outside of Europe.
Mary James and Ilka Cassidy spoke with Ya’el about urban policies and the shape of cities, tower renewal, and the preservation of vital rental housing. Today about 800,000 Canadian households live in aging tower structures, which were built starting in the 1960s to accommodate post-war families. Tower renewals transform more than the buildings, as they breathe new life into the tight-knit communities that have sprung up in them, Ya’el points out. Taking a Passive House envelope-first approach to such retrofits creates a win-win-win for residents’ comfort, carbon savings, and for landlords. Listen in for more about ERA’s retrofits-only practice, its collaborative systems approach, and the primary research conducted by its sister organization, the Tower Renewal Partnership.
The publication, Tower Renewal: A Field Guide to Retrofits in Occupied Buildings, can be found here: http://towerrenewal.com/research-reports/tower-renewal-a-field-guide-to-retrofits-in-occupied-buildings/