Written by Sam White on January 4, 2024

Sustainability, innovation, and design solutions that help people get the most out of their space.

“We remain dedicated to transforming lives through thoughtful design and compassionate action.”

– Jake Fry, Founder Smallworks Studios and Laneway Housing Inc.

At the core of every Smallworks home lies their design philosophy. It is passionately rooted in the process of creating livable, flexible spaces adapted to the unique needs and lifestyle of the people who live there. Their incredibly diverse client demographic requires flexible, adaptable plans designed to meet the needs of a variety of unique individuals. The homes they design become an opportunity for expression, meeting the owners current living needs while keeping in mind that those needs may change over time.

It is in this approach that Smallworks aligns firmly with World Housing’s core belief in creating sustainable communities with homes that fit the cultural, environmental and geographic needs of the families who live in them. At World Housing we embrace this human-centric design philosophy as we expand our work globally, gifting homes to families in dire need around the world.

As Smallworks continues its advocacy for housing innovation here in North America, they also look to expand their social impact globally by donating to World Housing.

“With every home we build to support the housing needs of families in our community, we pledge to contribute to safe, sustainable housing for families in need worldwide. This initiative allows us to extend our impact beyond our local community, offering families globally the security and opportunity to build meaningful futures.”

– Jake Fry

Jake started Smallworks in late 2005 and became a strong advocate for the introduction of laneway housing. He established Smallworks Studios and Laneway Housing Inc. and worked with the City of Vancouver to help develop zoning by-laws based on his experience and interaction with literally hundreds of potential small home clients. Jake not only wanted to build small but to build sustainable. He brings together a team of dedicated people and develops homes which blend innovative techniques and incorporate modern building science and Flat Pac with hand-built finishes and millwork.

“My desire in starting Smallworks was to build simple, elegant modern homes which, with basic maintenance, would look as good a generation after they were built as when they were new.” In 2012, Jake was one of two founding directors of SmallHousing BC, a non profit society. In 2014 Jake was named Ernst & Young’s (EY) Entrepreneur of the Year in Manufacturing.

Today, Jake focuses on finding new ways to broaden the range of housing types in BC to create affordable options for single-family home ownership. These concerns underscore the importance of Jake's work at Smallworks. Whether it’s family, staff, or simply the people that make our communities so vibrant that we want to keep close, Smallworks is committed to the approach of gentle density. Gentle density is the sensitive approach to keep our communities strong and flourishing. 

For more information about Smallworks link here.

We thank them for their support, and look forward to Jake’s leadership and innovative thinking to help World Housing develop new approaches to building homes and communities for vulnerable families around the world.

“We are proud to partner with Smallworks — they brings a wealth of knowledge about sustainable community building, and we welcome Jake as a World Housing Ambassador and advisor who shares our belief that ‘everyone deserves a home.”

– Richard Bell, President, World Housing Board of Directors.

When Communities Thrive, People Thrive.
Homes Are Just The Beginning.