Written by Kyla Tanner
June 10, 2019
On May 31, I had the opportunity to join the Cahdco team for my first construction site visit. Our team of nine set out with our matching hard hats for a tour from the site general contractor, Morley Hoppner, with input from Cahdco staff who have been working on the project as well as CSV Architects, who joined us for the tour. We learned about numerous considerations that have been taken into account over the life cycle of the project, including energy efficient heat pumps, an accessible garbage foyer, and other features to achieve LEED© Gold certification.
The existing KDS Apartments has been in operation for more than 50 years, providing affordable housing for seniors in a neighbourhood with a high percentage of people aged 85 years and older. Despite the growing number of seniors and need for affordable housing, there has not been another suited development constructed in the area since KDS opened its existing 70-unit building. In order to address this housing gap, KDS set out to expand its facility.
The extension includes 58 units for seniors, bringing the total number of units at the site to 128. There will be additional seniors’ health support services on the lower ground-floor with the goal of facilitating aging in place and independent living in an established downtown neighbourhood. Each of the units are visitable, 17 per cent are barrier-free, and 28 per cent of units are adaptable to meet mobility needs for those whose needs may change while living at KDS Apartments.
Cahdco was hired as the Development Consultant for this project in 2015, beginning with feasibility studies to aid KDS in the process of designing and building their extension. The Cahdco staff that have been working on the project were familiar with its details, but for those who have only been partially involved, it was exciting to see a project that began as a goal to provide more housing reach a stage of near completion.
The site is close to the Rideau Canal and Dow’s Lake, providing many of the units’ with green views. The majority of the units are one-bedroom apartments, with two studio units, all of which include a kitchen, living space, and some storage. A consideration taken for the rooms are heat pumps that allow for easy tenant control of room temperature, while remaining energy efficient.
We were also able to see the new foyer that connects the two buildings, which had to consider a steep grade change. The elevator stops at half levels in the entry to accommodate for this. Upon completion, it will have a glass wall and mural adorning the welcoming space for tenants and visitors. Behind the foyer, designs include a fully accessible “garbage foyer” for all tenants to easily dispose of their recycling and waste.
The life cycle to complete a housing project can take many years, from an initial idea to tenant occupancy. I am quickly learning that there are a multitude of steps throughout the process with some considerations unique to each development. Something that stood out to me during our tour was the amount of thought that went into the building to enhance the tenants’ quality of life. Beyond the accessibility and adaptability of the rooms to accommodate different needs, thought went into how tenants could easily dispose of their garbage, which rooms will be warmer or cooler at different times of the day due to the direction of the sun, and best placement of amenity space for all to enjoy. It was a great experience to see so many people’s hard work coming to fruition, which will only be enhanced when tenants begin to move in this summer.
June 10, 2019