June 2019

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J UNE 2019 | 39 Drysdale Row PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEREK LEPPER/COURTESY VANMAR DEVELOPMENTS Drysdale Row by NATALIE BRUCKNER K elowna residents spoke and VanMar Developments listened, and the result? Drysdale Row in Kelowna – a 11 building, 69-unit town- house project that not only responds well to the local context, but a com- munity that is already contributing very positively to the ever-growing Glenmore community. "We wanted to design a project that was consistent with the Council's vision, policies, and direction for this site and this part of the City," says Matthew Carter, who worked closely alongside Jeff Marin and the rest of the VanMar Developments team to develop this beautiful new neighbourhood. "There was a distinct lack of three- bedroom family units on the market, so we reached out to the community to find out more and we received strong support from City Council. Kelowna was facing a lack of three-bedroom family oriented townhouses, so there was generally a good feeling towards what we were doing. It was a pretty smooth design and approval pro- cess. The units sold out within three weeks of being put on the market," says Carter. In fact, 32 Drysdale Row homes were sold in the first day! Hardly surprising when you see this beautifully modern, contemporary development designed by Raymond Letkeman (now retired) of Raymond Letkeman Architects Inc. (now RLA Architects Inc.). "Working closely with Letkeman, we considered the immediate con- text and looked around Kelowna to see what families were looking for and let that all manifest itself into the design rationale, which Letkeman executed perfectly," says Carter. The site itself was fairly flat, so from a grade perspective it was pretty straightforward build, but due to the number of buildings, it was essential to schedule deliveries on time to ensure a smooth process. This was a slightly challenging task during the winter of 2017, when Kelowna experienced a rather unusual winter with lots of wet, heavy snowfall, says Mike Denbok at VanMar Constructors. "The biggest challenge, however, was we were building in what was pos- sibly one of the biggest building booms that Kelowna had seen, and so there was a labour shortage and all the trades were feeling the pinch," says Denbok. A primary objective for the build- ing siting was to promote a friendly and inviting neighbourhood within the existing community context, with many opportunities for neighbour engagement with the individual front- ing doors to all of the substantial street perimeters and pedestrian entry mews and amenity area within the develop- ment itself. A garden terrace in front of each townhouse provides subtle delineation between the public and private realms, avoiding the need for fences or gates. The individual homes are clearly defined within the row home typology through the expressive use of mate- rials, colours, detailing, and building forms. The architecture is a fresh con- temporary expression for this Kelowna community, but rooted in the more traditional built form of the existing community context. HardiePlank in soft natural tones was used for the cladding to give the townhomes a welcoming and homely feel, and reflect the areas natural landscape forms, while the strate- gic placement of high-energy-efficient windows allow natural light to enter into all three floors. "Ray Letkeman Architects did a great job in designing a fresh and mod- ern looking townhouse, which you don't currently see much of in the Kelowna market. It sets a standard, not just for architectural design, but quality," says Denbok. Architectural cohesiveness has been achieved by using key external architectural pro- portion, expressions, and themes that all respond to the Kelowna lifestyle and environment. Inside, each three-storey, 1,500-square-feet townhouse fea- tures three bedrooms plus a den, a large great room and high-end qual- ity finishes including quartz counters, wide-plank flooring, porcelain tile, and stainless steel appliances. Carter adds that thanks to the design with its show- case large windows and high ceilings, there is a sense of openness and space. Each home also has a balcony that is accessed from the principal living space and this helps soften the look of the driveway and garage door below. The project is targeting LEED cer- tification as well as the EnerGuide Modelling Program and underwent a technically rigorous third party verifi- cation process conducted by Andriana Beauchemin with EcoAmmo. "Market demand is growing for certified health- ier homes with lower operational costs. Builder's like VanMar are doing their part to meet demand, while reducing the environmental impacts associated with construction in the process," says Beauchemin. As a LEED project, the homes are equipped with energy efficient heat- ing and cooling systems for optimal air quality. "To achieve LEED we incorpo- rated programmable thermostats and extra insulation as well as LED light fixtures," says Denbok. All units also have parking for at least two cars, and there is plenty of visitor parking around the site. A key focal point of the design is the inclusion of the 4,000-square- foot community green space located adjacent to the entrance at Celano Crescent. This space is attractively land- scaped and includes children's play equipment and picnic tables and benches, making it a perfect locale for families and friends to gather. "This is my first townhouse development, and its neat to see the response," says Denbok, to which Carter adds, "We think the design we have developed responds well to the local context – the decision to spend time at the front end, coming up with a strong architectural design that contributes to what we felt our pro- spective customers were looking for, resulted in a very successful project," says Carter. A LOCATION 170 Drysdale Blvd., Kelowna, B.C. DEVELOPER VanMar Developments Drysdale Ltd. DEVELOPMENT MANAGER MGC Projects DESIGN BUILD CONTRACTOR VanMar Constructors Inc. ARCHITECT Raymond Letkeman Architects Inc. (now RLA Architects Inc.) STRUCTURAL CONSULTANT Weiler Smith Bowers MECHANICAL/ ELECTRICAL CONSULTANT Williams Engineering LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Outland Design TOTAL SIZE 103,500 square feet TOTAL COST $19 million

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