The thirty-four residences of St. George’s Yard are sited in Wellington Village on the former St. George’s Elementary School Yard. The project combines four single-family homes; eighteen semi-detached homes and twelve three-door town homes, in a tastefully intensified redevelopment of the surplus land.
The redevelopment is contained within the southern portion of the block bordered by Wellington Street West, Piccadilly Avenue, Mayfair Avenue and Bassett Lane in Ottawa’s Wellington Village.
St. George’s Elementary School was built on this site in 1939, and deemed surplus in 2004. At the time that the land was sold for redevelopment, the 3,000 sq.m. school building was already slated for demolition. The school’s parking lot had for many years also serviced the adjacent Church during weekend services, so it was logical to include it in the preserved portion of the site.
At the south end of the same block, St. George’s Church had maintained a recreational yard which included tennis courts and a patch of lawn. This small area would ideally suit a higher-density low-rise infill, and was treated uniquely within the redevelopment.
St. George’s Yard consists of three distinct streetscapes, as well as two private lanes that lead to six carriage homes removed from the street. Attention was paid to how each streetscape worked within the context of the existing neighbourhood. Traditional designs line Mayfair and Piccadilly Avenue, while contrasting modern units with rooftop terraces face Bassett Lane and the Byron Linear Park.
While the City of Ottawa’s official plan encourages the notion of intensification, this redevelopment strived to reach a balance of scale and density that best suited the neighbourhood, especially when considering that much of the land was previously vacant.
While the character of Wellington Village is fairly distinct, the existing homes in the area vary from one to the next. In this redevelopment project, assorted entry details, variation in cladding, glazing and roof massing all contribute to the individuality of each home. Stone, brick, stucco and cedar shakes create interest and identity for each residence.
Semi-detached homes were massed to feel as though they were one larger single family home with two distinct and private entries, causing less disruption to the streetscape while still achieving the overall goal of urban infill. Private rear lane entries service twenty-six of the thirty four homes, thus allowing an opportunity for a stronger connection to the street while eliminating dominant garage doors.
Less noticeable but still noteworthy are the fine points that extend to the rear elevations and interior carriage homes. Attention to detail wraps each home ensuring the strong and welcoming impressions they achieve at street level are not overlooked from differing perspectives.
The project took shape through an intensive process of community consultation and municipal approvals including several Bylaw amendments, and was completed in 2010. ◼
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