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Originally built as the Louvre Saloon in 1896, directly adjacent to the Bijou Family Theatre, this mixed use heritage building has played host to all walks of life, from cigar sellers to druggists, stage performers to missionaries. It sits at the border between Vancouver’s rapidly gentrifying Gastown and the Downtown Eastside, one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Canada. The city’s entire DNA is represented here and the design accounts for its history, as well as a complex, contemporary mix of cultures and needs. The focus on small space & not penthouse living promotes a re-stitching of a broken streetscape and encourages the intermingling of people. It includes 37 micro-housing units, amenity and retail space, and encourages tenants to interact with each other and the neighbourhood. The 6th storey has a rooftop deck looking out over the North Shore Mountains and provides a shared dining room to socialize in. *The design process included urban modeller GeoSim, which generated virtual streetscape walkthroughs for stakeholders to review design options. This was essential to winning approvals on the sensitive site—including the addition of two full storeys—with the City of Vancouver Planning Department, Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee and Urban Design Panel. 


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Peter Atkinson