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West Avenue Residences

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Project Details

West Avenue Residences - This is an interesting  heritage school building in Central Hamilton Ontario which is being converted into 27 affordable apartment units.  The exterior fabric of the building was in an advanced state of disrepair.  Mortar was missing, water damage prevalent, caulking missing, the slate roof was falling apart.

We removed a 1950 entrance and steel exit stair and uncovered the original 1885 School entrance.  We replaced the simple 1950s lobby with a steel pergola to soften the transition between the converted 1950 gymnasium structure and the heavy masonry detailing of the Victorian entrance.  We kept the detailing in the pergola and gymnasium modification simple so as to not detract from the ornate Victorian detailing.

We had to replace the original 1885 irreparable wood windows with aluminum windows.  The aluminum windows although more "modern" and less detailed than the old wood windows is the element that pulls the contrasting Victorian and utilitarian styles, of the whole building together 

In the old gymnasium space we designed 6 loft type units.   2 floors with exposed steel joists and 2 storey window and living spaces.  The residential units in the 1885 portion have 13 foot ceilings and massive windows allowing incredible natural light.

We maintained the original Main floor Corridor with its large 48"x 8 foot high classroom doors and wood floors and repaired original woodwork and trim on the walls.

The greatest challenge in this building is the heritage designation.  Trying to adapt and reuse an old building with modern heating and cooling technologies and insulation requirements that meets the budget for an affordable residential building is tough in this extremely restrictive building regulation.

This building is also candidate for a LEED gold certification.

Some Highlights of the certification are:

Passive Heating and Cooling by exposing original interior masonry walls
Rain water collection cistern for toilet flushing.
Low energy light fixtures and appliances.
Reuse of over 75% of the existing building walls.
Reusing existing interior wood floors and trim
Recycled wood and building materials
Reflective Roofing

Year completed - 2010

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