Location: Simcoe, ON
Year of Completion: 2016
Construction Budget: $3,800,000
Architect of Record: Invizij Architects
This project created much-needed affordable housing in downtown Simcoe, Ontario. The former St. James United Church education centre, first built in 1957, had been used as church offices, a small chapel, Sunday School classrooms, and innumerable community activities involving the gymnasium. The renovation maintained many of the original mid-century modern elements: the chapel space, oak doors, and much of the original floor and wood ceilings along with stained glass. New elements played off the original colour palette, including glazed spandrel panels, apartment millwork, and flooring.
The redevelopment’s 40 apartments are within the original building envelope, with 15 different layouts given the need to accommodate existing conditions. A 2,000 ft2 addition was constructed for a community kitchen and new mechanical rooms. Outdoor tenant amenity space was designed to include extensive raised-bed vegetable gardens constructed in partnership with various community groups and service clubs. Tenants in the complex typically produce over 4,000 meals worth of vegetables that they donate to the local Simcoe foodbank.