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Montreal Gazette - Narrow Houses: Yes, smaller can be better

Published: 15 Oct 2011

A row of skinny, stucco-clad houses on an out-of-the-way street in Point St. Charles seems an unlikely example of cutting-edge architectural principles. The nondescript two- and three-storey homes on St. Madeleine St. date back to the mid-1800s. Built to house the workers at nearby factories, they are barely 20 feet wide.

A row of skinny, stucco-clad houses on an out-of-the-way street in Point St. Charles seems an unlikely example of cutting-edge architectural principles. The nondescript two- and three-storey homes on St. Madeleine St. date back to the mid-1800s. Built to house the workers at nearby factories, they are barely 20 feet wide. One, a red-painted house at 507 St. Madeleine St., is just 13 feet across.

As urban planners, architects and developers confront urban sprawl, rising real estate and energy prices, and rapidly changing demographics, these narrow, old working-class Montreal houses offer a glimpse of what sustainable living will look like in the future, says McGill University architecture professor Avi Friedman.

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