Lanefab Design and Build is sick of common 1920s colonist architecture

Oct 15 2021, 10:33 pm

Made in Vancouver is a collaboration between Vancity and Daily Hive. Together, we’re turning the spotlight onto local businesses, organizations, and individuals who are helping to create a healthy local economy.

Based in Mount Pleasant, Lanefab designs and builds custom homes and laneway houses, including Passive Houses and duplexes.

Vancity has been supporting people in our communities since 1946. As part of our Made in Vancouver series spotlighting local businesses, we talked to designer Bryn Davidson, a co-owner of Lanefab, about his distaste for current Vancouver housing aesthetics and what Lanefab is doing differently. Learn more about what Vancity is doing in your community at

When asked what the most challenging thing about creating art in Vancouver is, Bryn Davidson told Daily Hive Urbanized that it would have to be “dealing with Vancouver zoning and design guidelines which fetishize English cottage aesthetics, and 1920s colonist architecture.”

Instead, his design and building firm Lanefab takes inspiration from mid-century modern homes, west coast modernism, traditional Japanese architecture, and compact Passive Houses from around the world. 

We’re also increasingly interested in shining a light on the history of racial and class exclusion that is baked into the zoning and city plans of most North American cities,” said Davidson.


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Since 2009, Davidson and his business partner Mat Turner have been designing and building custom homes and laneway houses across the mainland. The duo has completed over a hundred homes so far, all of them built greener than the building code.

Davidson started his design practice immediately out of grad school, designing homes for friends and family in Alaska, where he had lived before moving to Vancouver in 2001.

After the global financial crisis of 2008, Davidson met up with Turner to create a new company that branded itself around the proposed laneway house policy in Vancouver that was being discussed at the time.

In late 2009, the new laneway policy was passed and over 65,000 lots in the city of Vancouver became eligible for the new type of housing.


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Davidson told Daily Hive Urbanized that both Turner and himself consider themselves to be more “artist adjacent” than “true artists”, but does want to do what he can to help shape the city.

“We love Vancouver, though it can be very reserved, and the high property values make every intervention somewhat fraught with drama. I’m looking forward to travelling again so I can draw more inspiration from other places in the world.”


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When Lanefab isn’t creating custom homes, the company focuses on community projects including the design and construction of a “Tiny Townhouse” emergency shelter for the unhoused, work on the St. George Rainway project, a charity playhouse for the PNE, and prototypes for new housing options in Vancouver’s single-family neighbourhoods under the guise of the Dynamic Cities Project

Because that wasn’t enough, the firm has also created several art installations, including a piece for the inaugural L.A.M.P. design exhibition and competition.



Those interested in reaching out to Lanefab or learning more can do so through their website, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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