September 2023

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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 3 | 61 Civic 66 P H OTO G R A P H Y BY W I L S O N COS TA + R EN D ER I N G/CO U RT E S Y A BA A RC H I T EC T S I N C . CIVIC 66 by ROBIN BRUNET W ith the restoration of one historic building and the preservation of another, plus a new 11-storey building that pushes the creative boundaries of precast construction, the Civic 66 project in Kitchener is an outstanding addition to that city's mixed-use residential portfolio and provides a much-needed transition between its residential neighbourhood and downtown core. Civic 66 houses 170 units with ample underground and surface parking. Amenities include terraces, a pet spa, bike storage, a gym-qual- ity fitness room and yoga studio, and communal areas for co-working and hosting events. Visually it is a showcase for how pre- cast construction can be used to create an architecturally elaborate structure. Taking elements from the heritage-des- ignated two-storey office building on the same property, the lobbies feature board-formed concrete walls, and cir- cular cast-in-place concrete decorative elements are replicated on the four- storey podium. A central courtyard creates a place for community gather- ing, and patio off the building's ground floor restaurant space. Killam Apartment REIT and ABA Architects Inc. also ensured that the new building would be energy efficient, hence, solar panels and geothermal heating contribute to a 63.5 percent energy use reduction and an 86 percent C02 emission reduction compared to the NECB 2017 reference model. Carrie Curtis, VP, Ontario and Alberta at Killam, says, "We began focusing on the project five years ago, with an empty corner parking lot that was ideal for development, and when we discovered the office building and two-storey residential home had heritage status, we were determined to incorporate them into the overall development process." Curtis adds that her organiza- tion didn't hesitate to retain ABA and Melloul-Blamey Construction for the job. "We had already established a long-term work relationship with the two parties," she says. "They under- stand what we're trying to achieve, and they share our commitment to reviewing every project we complete with the intention of improving on our successes moving forward." Ashleigh Crofts, ABA's project archi- tect and urban designer, started the design in March of 2018. "After con- sidering several iterations, we chose a nuanced extruded rectangle of 11-sto- reys as the most appropriate option for the site," she says. "We broke the massing down with precast banding, contrasting colours, a recessed ground level, insets on the fifth level, and float- ing volumes, among other elements. "We paid homage to the orna- ment and texture of the historic office building with a modern interpretation

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