Pocket Suites Affordable Housing

Pocket Suites Affordable Housing
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Cohlmeyer Architecture with Paul McNeill

Pocket Suites mirror the character of neighbouring homes. They have similar heights and footprints on the lot and use similar materials. Large windows in the central living spaces permit views of the facing streets or lanes.

Winnipeg’s Pocket Suites provide people on limited incomes with modern, compact and private apartments that fit comfortably into existing neighbourhoods.  

In contrast to the corridors and stairs of traditional apartment buildings, inventive geometry ensures each of the eight 220-square-foot units, built on infill sites near public transit and public amenities, has an individual entrance and generous windows. 

Challenges successfully met include incorporating kitchens and bathrooms into minimal space, working within a limited construction budget, and obtaining permits for non-traditional housing.

A unique solution for affordable housing, the Pocket Suites model has been applied to similar residential needs in Saskatchewan and Ontario.


Openings in the cedar and steel create a play of light and shadow on the second floor decks.

Pocket Suites elevations.

A decorative wooden fascia covers a downspout that takes water away from entries.

A decorative wooden fascia covers a downspout that takes water away from entries.

Second-floor decks hang from the roof structure so that entries below are free of obstructions and open to view.


The floor plans illustrate how the units fit together. An accessible unit is provided on the main level of each building.

City Planner, Paul McNeill
Landscape Architecture, Cynthia Cohlmeyer
Structural Engineer, Hanuschak Consultants
Mechanical and Electrical Engineer, M2 Engineering
Contractor, J&J Penner Construction

CMHC Housing Awards 2008, Best Practices in Affordable Housing
Manitoba Planning Excellence Award, 2007, Outstanding Achievement in Community Planning
Manitoba Award of Merit in Innovation, 2007, Manitoba Awards of Excellence in Consulting Engineering
Award for Planning Excellence in Housing, 2007, The Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), Awarded to ND LEA with S.A.M. Management & Cohlmeyer Architecture Limited

Technically Excellent