An “Egg”ceptional Historical Look Manufactures A Brighter Future For One Vancouver School

1220 – 1298 East Hastings Street and 560 Raymur Avenue
With the number of public engagement events scheduled each month, it makes sense that college students, people with young children, and those tired after a hard day of work have difficulty participating. That is largely because each project, no matter how simple or close in proximity to one another, usually has to have its own separate open house. Even Darren and I have a hard time keep track of everything, despite all of our experiences over these last two years.

So we were grateful these two projects under the Downtown Eastside Area Plan were scheduled on the same day, at the same time, and, most importantly, in the same venue. This was clearly the smart choice, as nothing about them is particularly controversial, and they are crafted by the same design team. That is an important factor, as one site will host all the non-market housing required by both applications.

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Which is commendable of the developer. as they will provide these homes at the Hastings Street location, rather than near the rail line at the Raymur site. The former is actually compromised of three separate structures, with two strata buildings book-ending the one which will contain the non-market housing. Though they all share a parking garage, each has their own door, own amenity space, and other services.

This sawtooth effect, along with the materials and colours used, really embraces the historical vibancy of Hastings Street. The small retail spaces also mean that maybe one day Yolks will return here. Hopefully that could bring some fun to the side of the building that faces Clark Street, but even a splash of colour would do. Apparently the architects are divided on that issue, so your input could really make a difference.

 

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Yet I do not think many of the night’s 30-some attendees mentioned that proposal at all; rather, the main focus was the area around the Raymur building. I have seen many things at these events, but never before had I heard someone boast of their strong connection to the neighbourhood as their child was conceived nearby. Perhaps this was somewhat appropriate, as all of the homes in this project will have two or more bedrooms.

This is kind of hard to tell at first glance, since the design offers a light industrial manufacturing space at the ground level, the materials are very dark, and it lacks a children’s play area. There are a few other issues with the outdoor amenity space as the corner entryway will probably suffer from privacy and shading problems. Similarly, the unfortunately named “Trainspotting” deck might not get a lot of use given it is only accessible through the dog-run.

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Once again, none of these issues concerned those who came out, as they were more worried about the wider neighbourhood. These extra family homes will help ensure Admiral Seymour Elementary continues to fight off the threat of closure, but also means improvements to the Keefer Street Pedestrian Overpass should be considered in the future. Several people suggested more park space should be added too, but it is unlikely to happen in their desired location.

After all, while the nearby overpasses may provide shelter from the rain, given our Port of Vancouver’s growing international importance, the rail lines that service them are not going away. I sympathize with those residents, but simply put the developer, and even the city itself, cannot overrule Transport Canada. Nonetheless, Vancouver’s planning department is listening, and will act on public feedback, so if you have any comments make sure to send them in here for the 1220 – 1298 East Hastings Street project and here for 560 Raymur Avenue.

Applicant Team Information:

Developer –  Onni Group
Architects – Yamamoto Architecture Inc.
Landscape Architects – Enns Gauthier Landscape Architects

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