A Schoolhouse Reinvention

Built in the 1930’s, this four-storey schoolhouse in Ottawa’s Hintonburg neighbourhood has served various functions over the years. The site was purchased and rezoned in 2013 for mixed-use development, the first phase of which was the adaptive re-use of the school building for upscale loft apartments. A gymnasium addition was demolished and the building’s exterior envelope was modernized for energy performance and code compliance, while preserving the original schoolhouse aesthetic.

The 1930’s school as found in 2012

At the ground level, the original main entrance at the centre of the front elevation was re-invented as the garage entrance, flanked by individual lobbies which provide direct access to each of the nine units above (three per floor) via stairwells and semi-private elevators. The ground level was expanded toward the street to provide additional space within the ground-level enclosed parking garage and offering spacious terraces for the first floor suites. New upper level balconies have been carefully integrated into the symmetrical schoolhouse facade.

The innovative floor layout has no corridors; since each of the nine lofts extends from front to back of the building, the interiors are spacious and light-filled thanks to the tall windows on both sides of the building. At roof level, a new recessed storey provides access to three private terraces and one large common terrace on the opposite side.

Inside, the redevelopment was approached as nine custom homes, taking advantage of the “blank canvas” that was afforded by the renovation. As such, each purchaser was able to customize their plan to their unique lifestyle.

While the building has a completely new use and functional layout, its schoolhouse character was successfully preserved as a legacy to the street and to the greater community. This redevelopment has given a new life to the charming school building in a transitional urban neighbourhood. 

Site Plan

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