There were two 1892 heritage homes located side by side on the 50' by 132' lot. To make the project financially viable, developers Dick Hellios and Karli Gillespie increased the densification to seven units: two in each heritage unit; one adjacent and behind each heritage unit; and one laneway unit on the south end.
This densification was not accomplished by demolishing and rebuilding from scratch, but rather by upgrading the heritage homes to reflect contemporary social and economic realities. New construction is highly energy efficient with an aesthetic that is derived from, but not imitative of the existing structures. This balances the energy inefficiencies of the heritage homes, while still preserving their cultural and ecological value for the community and surrounding neighbourhood.
A central complex housing green technologies such as solar hot water and heat pumps provide heat, water and services to each unit. The mechanical systems will allow easy connection to future district energy systems. An electric car-share program is proposed to reduce the transportation footprint of residents. Garden recycling and composting will reduce waste production of the seven units to less than that of the two heritage homes (text: Vancouver Heritage Foundation).
Project design was by Shape Architecture of Vancouver, BC. The project was designed for sustainability: the five new units are being built to EnerGuide 90+ and the two heritage units to very high levels of efficiency.
Josh Klein, project supervisor, Natural Balance Home Builders, explains:
"The lot width is only 50' wide, yet each Heritage building measures over 21', not including roof overhangs. To excavate for the new foundations and sunken utility room, we carefully slid each building to the south end to provide sufficient space for the backhoe to operate."
"Once the site was excavated to the two depths, we slid the buildings back to their original location, lifted them to a height where we could build the new insulated foundations underneath. Nickle Bros. did a great job with the moving and cribbing."