Block x Block: Edition 3

Urban design initiative that encourages residents to reimagine the future of Victoria and identify opportunities to transform underutilized parcels of land while challenging the status quo.

While Block x Block may be fictional, the goal is to inspire local residents to rethink public and private spaces, as each edition begins with a call for crowdsourced ideas.

With a few simple rules that are outlined on the Advocacy page, public requests can range in scale from small city lots to entire urban streetscapes. Following the selection process, Aryze collaborates with a different design team for each new Block x Block edition to reflect on the unique characteristics of each project and bring a diverse set of perspectives and skills.

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Architectural Programming Wish List


Bold architectural design


Symbolic connection between downtown and midtown


Added density & car-lite lifestyle


Mitigate consequences of gas station land use

Policy Context






2670 Block of Douglas St

Current Land Use:

Commercial (Gas Station)

Policy Context:

General Employment



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Post Petrotopia 2030

There Goes/ Here Comes the Neighbourhood

The proposed design is a new Powerhouse Community—a fully decentralized energy generating neighbourhood committed to a carbon-free present where gas stations become distant memories fossilized in time. 

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The heart of the site—an existing Petro-Canada petrol station—is transformed into a ground source geoexchange loop, fueled by a solar array which will heat, cool, and power every home inside the community—for free.

Design Team

Diamond Schmitt Architects

Diamond Schmitt is a global architecture firm that designs transformative, purpose-driven, and highly sustainable buildings across sectors.

Delivering innovative architecture that empowers people, communities, and organizations to harness change for the greater public good, Diamond Schmitt employs a collaborative research process to create bold designs renowned for their exceptional performance and meticulous craftsmanship.

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Learn more about the team

Why They Love Victoria

Victoria’s appeal is its ease: mature yet evolving, bustling with activity and relaxed, its city culture mixed with everyday neighbourliness, urban yet at one with its natural setting. All of these are balanced in a way that makes Victoria a one-of-a-kind place.

Homes of the Future

Imagine flipping the switch to your solar powered ambience, as you step into your green living room and you are greeted with the quiet luxuries of a home that has anticipated your every natural comfort.

The ceilings feature clerestory glazing for star gazing, the kitchen taps flow with filtered rainwater and radiant heat warms your timber floor boards. In the interior every physical enhancement serves as an expression of sustainability and a way of reconnecting you with nature, while a large generous balcony gives you room to breathe some fresh island air.

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The architects were inspired to give the power to the people who want to be a part of a carbon-free community.

This Powerhouse Community can begin to phase out the neighbourhood’s remaining car dealerships—expanding the community outward and densifying a more democratic neighbourhood into a paradise of green landscapes and homeownership. Amenities include pumped storage water reservoirs, a bicycle hub and electric vehicle infrastructure that is proposed to support existing pedestrian powered vehicles for close travel, as well as fully autonomous electric vehicles for longer travel—charged up with energy from our favourite star–the sun. This neighbourhood is going places.

Let’s give the power to the people

More power, more people, less carbon, better living.

The world is changing, and this net zero carbon and net zero energy building can become a catalytic converter for the neighbourhood. The future is now.

Check out other editions of the Block x Block—one-of-a-kind urbanism initiative that demonstrates the importance of citizens participating in city building, becoming the visionaries and advocates we need for the cities of the future.