The Switch/bloc Project: Redefining Urban Living in Calgary


Architecture: Modern Office of Design + Architecture (MODA)
Interior Design: Modern Office of Design + Architecture (MODA)
Landscape Architecture: Modern Office of Design + Architecture (MODA)

Energy Modelling: EMBE Consulting Engineers
Envelope/Sustainability Engineering: Williams Engineering
Civil Engineering: Richview Engineering
Structural Engineering: Wolsey Structural Engineering

Mechanical/Electrical Engineering: TLJ Engineering Consultants
Builder: PLOT
Architectural Photography: Robert Lemermeyer Photography
Owner/Client: Andrei Mike Shaikh (PLOT)

Introduction to Switch/bloc

The Switch/bloc project by Modern Office of Design + Architecture (MODA) is revolutionizing urban residential architecture in Calgary, Canada. With a focus on challenging conventional designs and maximizing space efficiency, MODA has crafted a multi-residential housing typology that caters to modern family needs. This project introduces a unique approach to unit distribution, ensuring both privacy and community interaction in a compact urban setting.

Innovative Unit Distribution

One of the standout features of the Switch/bloc project is its innovative unit distribution. Unlike typical multi-residential buildings with double-loaded corridors, MODA has designed units that stretch the entire length of the building and span two floors. This switchback arrangement drastically reduces the need for internal public corridors, creating a more spacious and efficient layout. The design separates public and private spaces within each unit, with kitchens, living rooms, and dining areas at the front, and bedrooms, bathrooms, and home offices at the back.

Balancing Privacy and Public Interaction

The architectural strategy of Switch/bloc thoughtfully balances privacy and public interaction. The west façade of the building is extroverted, featuring balconies, living rooms, and dining areas that engage with the streetscape, fostering a sense of community. In contrast, the east façade is introverted, housing private spaces that ensure tranquility and privacy for residents. This division is not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing, with the building’s form following its function in a modernist style.

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Adaptation to Natural Light

MODA’s design of Switch/bloc is highly responsive to natural light, enhancing the living experience for residents. The west façade, which accommodates public spaces, benefits from the greatest intensity and duration of sunlight throughout the day, creating bright and inviting communal areas. On the other hand, the east façade, designated for private spaces, receives gentle morning light, maintaining a serene and restful atmosphere in bedrooms and home offices. This strategic allocation of programmatic elements based on diurnal patterns exemplifies MODA’s thoughtful design approach.

Catering to Families

Switch/bloc stands out in the multi-residential market by addressing the needs of families, a segment often overlooked in urban housing projects. The creative interlocking and stacking of units provide diverse unit types and sizes, accommodating various family structures. The thoughtful design ensures that families can enjoy both private and communal spaces, fostering a balanced lifestyle. By offering a more inclusive housing solution, Switch/bloc sets a new standard for family-friendly urban living.


The Switch/bloc project by MODA is a testament to innovative architectural design in urban residential housing. By rethinking unit distribution, balancing privacy and public interaction, and optimizing natural light, MODA has created a housing typology that caters to modern family needs. This project not only enhances the living experience for its residents but also contributes to the urban fabric of Calgary, setting a new benchmark for multi-residential architecture. For more information, visit MODA’s Switch/bloc page.

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