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Kits 3.2 – Retention & Addition


With the City of Vancouver’s grip on pre-1940’s character homes, homeowners face a long road of city process and an interpretation of a retention policy that has gotten out of hand. Strict interpretation of the Heritage Action Plan (HAP) has proven to render under sized pre-1940’s homes in higher density zones to be non-desirable. This is due to the fact that developing them to achieve the higher density of the zone requires that one retains the existing pre-1940 structure.

This project explores the limits of our city planner’s creativity and challenges their vision of a forward thinking city. To retain the character of a neighbourhood is laudable in concept, but there are many ways to achieve this and literal interpretation of retention, retention of actual material and form, is not always the best solution. Unfortunately city planners currently are under the impression that literal retention is the best, and often, only option.

The retention of the dominate character of this 1909 home; the gable peak with its tall, central window is our interpretation of reasonable retention. The existing entry porch acts purely for function in this case and presents an opportunity to integrate a contemporary form, elegance and durability as a new massing, while maintaining its original functional intent.

The rear of the building presents an opportunity to add much needed density, which will also better relate to the tall apartment buildings surrounding it. Our proposed building form of the rear addition is modern to pay tribute to an addition done in 1976 which was very modern in contrast to the original home’s architecture.

This development will provide three stratified units, providing a diversified housing solution for a range of demographic needs. A 2 bedroom garden unit is suitable for age-in place down-sizers, a modest 3 bedroom rear modern unit is perfect for the young starter family, and a larger 3 bedroom front unit is fitting for the established family with young children looking for stable long term home to settle into.

Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC

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