BNKC Newsletter – October 2019

Welcome to the October edition of the BNKC newsletter. As expected, the fall season is off to a busy start, with many new initiatives on the go. We have compiled a selection of highlights to share.

Two More Projects Are Recognized for Heritage Restoration and Neighborhood Renewal

Image: The Walper Hotel (Photo by Michael Muraz), East City Condos (Rendering by Brick Visual)

The firm continues to receive recognition for our feature projects through various awards. The first is for The Walper Hotel in Kitchener, which was nominated for the Peter Stokes Restoration Award from the Architecture Conservancy of Ontario. The ACO awards recognize the efforts of professionals in their work to preserve community heritage, including advocacy, restoration, adaptive reuse, landscape heritage, and craftsmanship. In particular, this program recognizes those responsible for the ‘exemplary restoration of significant heritage structures, undertaken in accordance with the accepted policies and practices of heritage conservation in Ontario’.

The project involved an extensive exterior and interior restoration, renovation, and aesthetic upgrades. Much of the renovations included major upgrades to meet health, and code & life safety compliance.

The project’s support is echoed in press coverage this past spring in The Globe and Mail.

 Image: Cover of Globe & Mail Article

The publication describes how the City of Kitchener’s downtown core lacked the amenities to support its growing tech sector, quality accommodation in particular. Thanks to the transformational vision of Perimeter Development and the attentive, inclusive, multi-staged approach to heritage conservation of bnkc architects, Kitchener-Waterloo now has its first boutique hotel. It is a hot spot that satisfies the wants/needs of a diverse crowd ranging from local hipsters looking for a Friday night place to happen, to an extended executive business community.Image: Global News Coverage of East City Condos

The second recent shout-out came in the form of an announcement that the St. Joseph’s Hospital Redevelopment in Peterborough was chosen as a finalist for the Brownie Awards ‘Renew’ category, which celebrates projects or programs that stimulate neighbourhood-scale investment; incorporate the adaptive reuse of heritage and other structures to encourage integrated, multi-phased redevelopment and promote comprehensive neighbourhood transformation by re-envisioning the public realm through the improvement of its functionality, liveability and character.

The project will renew an existing site and rejuvenate the community around it. As a hospital, the property served the community, but as a medical facility it eventually fell out of date, deteriorated and was shut down. The redevelopment of the site into residences with commercial spaces will not only continue to serve the existing surrounding community with amenities and services but will also enhance its vibrancy.

The client is working closely with the City of Peterborough on the redevelopment. The City identified the need for additional housing (both affordable and luxury) and increased density. The redevelopment closely aligns with these civic needs.

An Introduction to East City Condos
Image: East City Condos (Rendering by Brick Visual)

The firm has recently begun work developing a condominium building within the St. Joseph’s Community in Peterborough, ON. The site at 195 Hunter St. E. is located in the north-east corner of the campus, fronting onto Armour Road and Hunter Street.

Situated between the Otonabee River and Trent Canal, while steps from the picturesque Lift Lock 21 and extensive walking trails of nearby parklands, East City Condos is a contemporary contextual response to an established residential neighborhood of single-family homes.

In an updated interpretation of the hospital legacy of masonry architecture, East City employs a high wall-to-window ratio, and thus, the project realizes a much higher thermal performance value than fully glazed condos.

With a generous landscaped courtyard entrance, front yard townhouse gardens, rooftop terraces, balconies, and Juliette’s that serve to bring the outdoors indoors, East City Condos is a place of life well-lived within a community, providing a unique living environment and lifestyle for the residents of Peterborough.

The Art of Adaptive Re-use
Image: Original building located at the St. Joseph’s Hospital Site

Image: East City Condos (Rendering by Brick Visual)

Sitting un-used, the former St. Joseph’s hospital in Peterborough was purchased by our client in 2009.  To give the beautiful brick buildings new life, the owner set about converting the complex into mid and luxury apartments in several phases. With the support of the City of Peterborough approximately 18,140 square meters of space was or is in the process of being converted into approximately 235 residential units, including commercial spaces.

After the site acquisition, the hospital grounds were sub divided into six properties to facilitate development and allow for rental and condo development opportunities. A nursing school and 1950-expansion were the first portions of the complex to be converted into rental residential units. 69 residential rental units opened in April 2016. bnkc architects is currently working on the design of 27 rental units in the 1922-addition, expected to be complete in 2020. The firm is also working on the design for a 9-storey mixed-use residential condominium that is currently being marketed: East City Condos.

The approach taken to the adaptive re-use of this asset by the client was one of extreme care and consideration. Care needs to be taken in understanding the context in which the redevelopment is positioned. Situated in the heart of the Peterborough community, the Hospital site, for most of its history provided a centre for the community with activities extending well beyond the provision of just healthcare. So, preserving the history and fabric of the buildings was paramount, while addressing the larger needs of the community to provide alternate forms of housing.

For the existing buildings, the strategy taken was to, whereever possible, retain as much of the existing infrastructure (walls, stairs, finishes, etc..) as possible. Work within the envelope that previously existed celebrates the qualities of the previous spaces, including 10 foot ceilings and wide corridors. The result being that every unit is somewhat unique, but retains aspects of the memory of its former use.

Taking ques from the existing fabric was of prime importance when considering the new multi-residential condominium.The use of masonry, consideration of pucnhed windows and generous floor to ceiling heights were enhanced, while incorporating a playfulness in the articulation of these elements to signal that these suites are unique and have a different intended use.