Vancouver Firehall No. 5 & YWCA Housing
Located in Vancouver’s Killarney neighborhood, Vancouver Firehall No. 5 has served the Champlain Heights and East Fraser Lands communities since 1952. As the building reached the end of its service life both programmatically and seismically, the replacement of the hall was overdue and provides the community with an innovative, colocation facility which is the first of its kind in Canada, ready to serve the needs of residents safely and effectively.
The 36,000 sq. ft of housing within the project is in partnership with the YWCA and provides strategic key colocation opportunities with City civic buildings. There are 31 suites provided along with amenity rooms and communal rooftop outdoor spaces with urban agriculture opportunities, picnic tables and a play area that work in conjunction with a completely separate entrance, providing the housing occupants with their own identity and security.
“The first facility of its kind in Canada, the combination of affordable housing with protective services works to address densification through a City driven project.”Kimberly Johnston - Principal & Lead Designer
A programmatic challenge
Architecturally combining two extremely different user groups on a small site and providing each of them with their own identity was one of the largest challenges that faced the design team. Issues around security, privacy, shared facilities and combined services were some of the complications which were addressed during the design. Additionally, protective services facilities need to be designed to post-disaster standards, and as a result the entire building must be able to withstand seismic forces 1.5 times those required for a regular structure.
Bright colours and natural lighting feature heavily throughout the building, and are integrated to work to improve the wellbeing of fire crews.