Kitsilano Block: Community integration shows how a site informs a new building

“What really jumped out at us in that area is really a real beach area.”

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No neighborhood in Vancouver exemplifies the western beach lifestyle more than Kitsilano. Although the area today has a more upscale mix of shops, restaurants, and services than it did, say, when it was the center of counter-culture in the 1960s and ’70s, it still retains its laid-back beach vibe. And just as terroir plays an essential role in creating a great wine or growing a particular food, so the site informs new architecture – when the developer appreciates the site.

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“First of all, what drove us to the site, … (was) we saw it as a really great opportunity for one of our brands, whether it’s food or medicine, in that corner (McDonald and West Fourth Avenue),” notes Ray Bourbonnais, CEO of Hathstauk Holdings Ltd, the development and property management arm of the HY Louie Group in Vancouver, and owners of IGA and Fresh St. Market, London Drugs, and others.

The retail vision expanded as the team spent more time on the site, Bourbonis says, and became fascinated with the site for various reasons, which inspired the site’s sympathetic design for a stunning four-story Kitsilano Block apartment and commercial building.

Kitsilano Block from Hathstauwk Holdings features stylish interiors designed by CHIL Interior Design, in two signature color palettes.
Kitsilano Block from Hathstauwk Holdings offers stylish interiors designed by CHIL Interior Design, in two signature color palettes. photo from supplier

“It’s obviously Kitsilano,” he said. “It’s iconic. Kitsilano Block, which is where the name came from, is just a belief in the distinctive nature of the neighborhood. When we sat down with MCM (Musson Cattell Mackey Architects) and explored things, and sat down with Magnum (marketing), what really jumped out to us in that area is really a beach area. From that, we came up with a sense of high-end boutique hotels in Santa Monica and Malibu; that whole beach lifestyle; that whole experience of beach living on the West Coast.”

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To this end, the structure has been imagined to maximize the indoor and outdoor living experience, which in turn increases the sense of spaciousness in the interior spaces. The three floors of the 59 condominiums – above the ground floor commercial space – are graded or terraced to allow for large outdoor spaces and light-flooded interiors, which culminate in spacious rooftop patios with sweeping ocean and mountain views for the penthouses.

“Here again, (it) really plays into the look of a West Coast boutique hotel,” Bourbonnais explains. “The modular move was trying to maximize the outside space and the views.”

The beach-beach-hotel theme is reflected in the elegant interiors by CHIL Interior Design, who created two palettes aptly named, Stone and Sand. The combination of open shelving and sleek paneled cabinets in the kitchen provides visual interest in an open-plan living space. Quartz is generously used for islands, countertops and backsplashes for a sleek, seamless look. Some islands, in the two-bedroom suites, have a built-in dining area. The appliances are Miele, which includes a refrigerator, built-in dishwasher, and built-in microwave, all of which maintain the room’s clean look.
The boutique hotel’s aesthetics are carried into the bathrooms with oversized ceramic tiles on the walls and floors, vanity-lit floating tubs, under-stand sinks, frameless glass showers, and built-in medicine cabinets with open shelves.

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Although most suites are two-bedroom, there are also a selection of one-bedroom and studios that feature a creative feature that maximizes space and functionality. Movable wall systems magically transform spaces from studios to one-bedrooms and back to open concept spaces.

Hathstawk Holdings' Kitsilano complex will feature 59 housing units.
About the Westcoast Homes project at Kitsilano Block Hathstauk Holdings. Credit: Supplied photo from supplier

“We’ve tried to use innovative features that enhance life in the spaces,” says Bourbonnais. “During the day you can open up the walls, and you have a nice open space. At night, you can attach it, and you’ve created your own bedroom or two. You take smaller square footage, but you make it more functional and livable with wall systems.”

In keeping with the functionality-enhancing approach, the smaller units, with linear kitchens, also feature an integrated dining space that can accommodate two people.

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An integral part of Hathstauwk’s good-neighborly philosophy is to create a building that complements and fits into the neighborhood, as the company will maintain its presence within the commercial retail space.

“For us, it is very important to be integrated and to be part of the community, to be part of the neighborhood,” explains Bourbonnais. “This was very important to us as we went through and thought about the design and integration into the neighborhood and how the building and architecture fit into the community… This is how we’ve run our business for generations. We become part of the community.”

Kitsilano . block

Project Title: 2765 West Fourth Avenue, Vancouver

Project Scope: A collection of 59 studio, one and two bedroom apartments in the heart of Vancouver’s popular Kitsilano Beach area. The building has been designed to take advantage of the scenic views that the site offers. The interiors incorporate creative features to maximize the functionality of the living spaces while evoking the aesthetic of a boutique beach hotel.

Developers: Hathstawk Holdings Ltd

Architects: Mawson Cattell Maki Partnership

the prices: Starting from 800,000 USD

Sales Center: 2765 West Fourth Avenue, Vancouver

Sales center working hours: From noon to 5 pm daily, except on Fridays

Sales phone: 5856-427-236

website: kitsilanoblock.com

Occupancy date: Scheduled completion in 2024

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