How do we create homes that are built for change?

Project Summary

The Schoolhouse is located in Strathcona, Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood. It was built in 1940 as a school and meeting facility by the Chinese Catholic Mission. Rather than demolishing the building, we chose the adaptation path, connecting the building’s social history to the neighbourhood’s evolving character. We created transformable spaces to support the modern family’s changing lifestyles over time. To confront climate change, we experimented with sustainable design principles and implemented sustainable construction practices and materials.

Project Description

Neighbourhood Change

  • Building originally constructed in 1940 as school and meeting facility for growing Chinese community by Chinese Catholic Mission
  • Approx 50% of building material retained and reused
  • Connect and honor the building’s history while looking forward to its next reincarnation as modern residential dwellings; architecturally, Georgia Street façade links to heritage restoration and Princess Street façade signals the modern intervention
  • Cultivate a sense of community through shared spaces like rooftop deck and edible gardens
  • Support Strathcona’s vibrant arts community through spaces designed for artist studios

Lifestyle Change

  • AccordionSpace: spaces that expand and contract as family’s needs change; e.g. parents’ extended stay, new baby’s birth, startup business, with sliding walls and moveable cabinets
  • LooseFitSpace: leave some spaces loosely prescribed so they can be adapted by residents
  • UniversalSpace: configurations and fixtures that are designed for aging in place; e.g. wider hallways, no-barrier showers, and easy-to-grip handles and fixtures

Climate Change

  • BuiltGreen Platinum Certification
  • Geothermal: ground source heat pumps and 8 boreholes @ 250ft deep for radiant floor heating
  • Solar: evacuated tube solar collectors for domestic hot water heating
  • Airtight drywall approach to control air leakage
  • Energy Star windows and appliances
  • Spray foam insulation in basement walls
  • Master off switch for electrical loads
  • Edible garden landscaping