Kiwanis Affordable Housing Breaks Ground in North Vancouver

Kiwanis Ground Breaking, 6 people holding gold shovels in a dirt pile.
Left to right, Francis Caouette – Kiwanis Housing, Greg Voute Architect AIBC – Project Architect, Erik van der Putten Architect AIBC, Bowinn Ma MLA North Vancouver – Lonsdale, Gary Penway – Kiwanis Housing, Patrick McLaughlin – Kiwanis Housing

RLA Architecture Inc. is excited to announce that after just over two years of design, planning and approvals, construction on the Kiwanis Lynn Woods & Lynn Manor renovation has started.

Designed for the Kiwanis North Shore Housing Society with BC Housing as a key funding partner, the project seeks to significantly expand the inventory of affordable seniors housing on Vancouver’s North Shore.  The 106 unit 6-storey wood frame building will comprise of a mixture of low-income, low to moderate income and middle income seniors units ranging from $375, $890 and $1,500 per month respectively.  The renovation to Lynn Woods Tower will be restricted to the ground floor, with new offices, rental units and guest suites for visitors.

Kiwanis Media Launch three people standing at a podium with cameras facing them
Announcing 106 new affordable seniors housing units in North Vancouver

Being affordable doesn’t mean cheap!  Working closely with Kiwanis and their requirements, RLA worked hard to design (what we hope) will be a fantastic double height entry with warm wood beams and a light filled amenity space opening onto the common gardens and exterior games space.  The interior amenity space will perform multiple functions in the seniors building, from a place to gather, read and make crafts to a space to eat and dance.

In pursuit of affordability for seniors, RLA ingrained greater value through unit standardization and a unique approach to the exterior.  The District of North Vancouver’s design guidelines suggested upper levels of buildings over 4-storeys to be stepped back.  However, doing so in a 6-storey wood-frame building creates significant challenges, with offset structural and sheer walls and major mechanical misalignments.  To avoid this, RLA employed a strategy to step only the facade, and not the structure itself, eliminating these engineering challenges while also retaining housing density that would have otherwise been lost to a stepping façade and reduced building areas.

Another significant challenge for non-profit housing societies is finding land.  Located at 2555 Whiteley Court, RLA designed Lynn Woods to utilize Kiwanis’s own land, transforming their land from tower parking lot to affordable housing units with underground parking.  Built to the south of the tower, the project is nestled between the tower and Kirkstone Park, which posed challenges of its own.  The project has been shaped to protect numerous massive existing trees, including shaping the building’s corner to retain a 32m (102ft) Cedar tree, which will continue to tower above its surroundings, including the future 75ft  high 6-storey wood-frame building.

To find out more about the project, click the links below for articles by the North Shore News and BC Housing.

BC Housing:

North Shore News:

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