When work began on the Powell Street project, the 100-year old building was derelict with a “do not occupy“ notice from the City of Vancouver, meaning that the building was condemned. It had suffered years of neglect and water damage. The work consisted of an entire renovation to the building which was a former Bank of Japan and a significant historic building in Vancouver’s Japantown. Attention was paid to retain and rebuild many heritage features that had not been completely destroyed.
It was a complex project completed on a shoestring budget with sweat equity as it was constructed as a design-build by Kirsten Reite and her husband, Lance Burger, a contractor and owner of Bon Constructors Inc. It was an amazing learning experience on how to apply economy of scale, make difficult design decisions, be creative and apply sustainable design and construction practices.
Great detail was put into choosing materials and systems that were low impact to the environment was well as for their cost, longevity, and practicality.
The upgrades consisted of life safety and a moderate amount of structural, seismic, and building envelope work. The final project services as a studio shared by KRA and Bon Constructors Inc., on the main floor and a loft on level two for Kirsten and Lance.