Location: Hamilton, ON
Client: James North Baptist Church
Year of Completion: 2020
Construction Budget: $8,000,000 ($16,300,000 total project)
Architect of Record: Invizij Architects
It was a shared vision of what makes a ‘home’ that brought James North Baptist Church together with local non-profit housing provider, Indwell, to redevelop an underutilized urban site in Hamilton, Ontario. This mixed-use redevelopment includes space for the growing congregation with 3 storeys of affordable housing above. The contemporary church focuses on neighbourly hospitality and sports ministries, and the building provides forty-five affordable apartments for households facing displacement in this quickly gentrifying area.
The building is one of Canada’s largest mixed-use projects designed to achieve Passive House International certification.
The project allowed a growing, urban Christian congregation to realize their intention to build a new church that responds to the local challenge of the economic gentrification and social dislocation of aging and lower-income residents, while also minimizing their long-term environmental impacts through sustainable design. The building’s siting and Passive House certification goal inspired strategic decisions to minimize energy needs and maximize GHG reductions in order to meet 2050 emission targets.
The building is designed to maximize openness, welcoming the community through its entrance, windows, and amenity glazing treatments, while providing expansive spaces for children, youth, and adults to gather for a wide variety of activities. The building houses a full-sized gymnasium and is one of few fully-accessible community buildings. In addition, integrating affordable housing helps reduce the associated stigma. Site parking is limited to twenty spaces and significant public and private bike storage is provided; these strategies, along with adjacency to a bus stop, help promote active transportation.
The project’s intention is to promote health, wellness, and belonging. In the church and gathering areas, natural wood finishes and ample daylight create a biophilic environment promoting calm and positive emotions. Food is central to human gatherings, and the church’s kitchen and hospitality area enable easy and regular gatherings of neighbours which may spill directly out onto a patio forecourt. Sports and physical activity are central to the church’s ministry model, so the full-size gymnasium is designed to host a wide variety of sports and may be booked for use by community members. Indwell’s supportive housing approach helps ensure tenants can achieve their best potential to participate in the broader community, regardless of income, age, or abilities.