Location: Kitchener, ON
Client: Indwell & St. Peters Lutheran Church, Kitchener
Construction Budget: $11,000,000
Architect of Record: Invizij Architects Inc.
Project Team: Emma Cubitt, Nidhi Nanda
This project is an exciting partnership with St. Peters Lutheran Church in downtown Kitchener and Indwell. The church had a large Sunday School wing built in the 1960s that today was too large for their needs. Rather than sell their building and relocate, the church decided to partner with Indwell to create housing on the south portion of the church and renovate the north portion, including the large sanctuary, to meet the current church’s needs. The church recently celebrated 160 years in the community and sees this transition as one of many, and an important one for acting our their mandate to ‘love your neighbour as yourself.’
The renovated wing will include more than 40 single, affordable housing apartments on the ground, second and third floors, along with Indwell’s new offices for their K-W regional hub and other supports spaces for tenants. The need for affordable housing became real for the downtown congregation when they discovered a family of three living in an air vent behind their building. “Three people experiencing homelessness were living directly behind our altar as we worshipped in comfort,” says Pastor Mark Ehlebracht.
St. Peter’s and Indwell will operate their programs independently, but envision shared spaces including a community kitchen, programming and social facilities, and an enhanced outdoor courtyard at the heart of the project. The entire redevelopment will make use of the existing building envelope, with a small addition under the bridge at the main entry to the church and a new elevator shaft near the courtyard. Projects like this show how new housing can be created within the existing resources of our community, creating real wins for everyone.