Canadian Consulting Engineer

News

Vancouver’s Water Street adaptation wins Heritage Canada award

The adaptive reuse of Water Street in Vancouver's Gastown district won one of four awards for building projects from Heritage Canada / The National Trust on October 3. The awards are called the Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Awards for...


Water Street revitalization in Gastown district, Vancouver.  Photo courtesy Acton Ostry Architects.
Water Street revitalization in Gastown district, Vancouver. Photo courtesy Acton Ostry Architects.

The adaptive reuse of Water Street in Vancouver’s Gastown district won one of four awards for building projects from Heritage Canada / The National Trust on October 3. The awards are called the Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Awards for Building Heritage.

The rehabilitation of Water Street involved five adjacent heritage buildings constructed between 1886 and 1930. They each had a distinct history: the Alhambra Hotel (1886) is one of the oldest intact structures in Vancouver; the Garage Building (1930), was one of Vancouver’s earliest purpose-built automobile garage and service stations; the Cordage Building (1911), was an early mixed use structure; and the Grand Hotel (1889) and Terminus Hotel (1901), provided short and long-term lodging for seasonal workers in the fishing and logging industries.

The project involved joining the five buildings and an exhaustive restoration and rehabilitation of their storefronts. At the same time, “unabashedly contemporary” additions were made, either along the street edge or set back from it.

The awards citing, concludes: “This massive project addresses the pressures of Vancouver’s overheated real estate market in an exemplary way, respecting the low-rise architecture of the streets while integrating infill construction in a creative and unobtrusive manner that respects the unique qualities of Gastown, a designated national historic site.”

For all five buildings in the Water Street project, architects were Acton Ostry. Structural engineers were Glotman Simpson. Working on different buildings were Integral Group (mechanical); Rocky Point (mechanical); SML (electrical); Nemetz (electrical); Donald Luxton (heritage); Gage Babcock (code); and BC Building Science (building envelope).

The other three projects that won heritage awards are: the Macdonald Institute in Guelph, Ontario (Stevens Burgess Architects and the University of Guelph); the Don Jail Bridgepoint Active Healthcare project in Toronto (E.R.A. Architects), and the Salt Building in Vancouver (Acton Ostry Architects and the City of Vancouver).