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A modern, minimalist chapel interior with light-colored wooden pews and a central wooden lectern, illuminated by natural light from large, vertical windows.

Picture by: ArchDaily

The Science—and Nature—of Sanctuaries

The image features the definition of the word "sanctuary," alongside an architectural depiction of a modern building with surrounding greenery.

Brechin United Church Redevelopment, Nanaimo

Sanctuary. The concept means different things to different people, and all those meanings play important roles in healthy, sustainable communities. It could be a place for community gathering; it could be your home. In this case study of the Brechin United Church Redevelopment in Nanaimo, BC, both those meanings informed our work with the client, BC Housing. One of several projects slated for construction by 2020, this redevelopment stems from a united commitment to providing much-needed affordable rental housing in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.

The story

The United Church of Canada partnered with BC’s provincial government (which will contribute $12.4 million in funding) to redevelop numerous properties. We’re honoured to participate in three such initiatives, and we applaud their commitment to affordable housing as well as community engagement and environmental stewardship. All three projects focus on the necessity to do more with less in these times of dwindling resources and land availability. Designed to maximize the amount of affordable housing, the Brechin United Church redevelopment will feature:

  • Church space
  • 75 rental units (100% will be rented at BC Housing’s affordable rates)
  • Studio and 1-bedroom units; more than 20% are family-friendly
  • 2- and 3-bedroom units
  • Below-grade parking

Challenges …

Multipurpose spaces, such as those incorporating both community and residential areas, present unique challenges throughout their planning and design stages. We needed to balance acoustic optimization with structural requirements, as well control flanking noise, i.e. sound that goes over, under, or around—rather than through separating elements such as walls and ceiling.

… And Solutions

Our team developed a separating floor system that utilizes a concrete topping supported on a resilient layer. We thrive on innovative solutions in meeting clients’ needs … If you’d like to know more about this new process, or how we can help perfect your sanctuary, please get in touch.

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