Breathing new life into Vancouver’s Sante Fe Apartment Complex
CEI Architecture is pleased to be bringing new life to one of Vancouver’s treasured residential buildings.
The building, currently known as the Sante Fe but originally called The Van Arsdel, is a three-storey, 14-unit apartment complex, in Vancouver’s Fairview neighbourhood. It was built over 85 years ago by Townley, Matheson and Partners, a distinguished local architectural firm that has produced many of the City’s notable buildings, including City Hall.
The building’s juliet balconies, recessed windows, decorative plasters, and symmetrical facade are reflective of the Period Revival style that was popular at the time, and contribute to the building’s unique charm. The objective for CEI on the project was to add new residential capacity on the site, while preserving its architectural legacy.
Working with developer Aqulini, CEI’s design maintains the south and east concrete facades of the original 1928 heritage building and adds an 11-storey tower in behind. Maintaining the facades preserves the unique aesthetic detailing of the original structure while the new tower provides 37 one-bedroom suites.
“One of our firm’s design principles is to create buildings that are reflective of their time,” Partner-in-Charge Nick Bevanda says. “We find that re-creating historical imagery, as a solution to contemporary living, stifles innovation. There’s no value in recreating something from 100 years ago.”
As such, the design for the 2975 Oak Street Tower was deliberately kept simple and streamlined. “In some ways, it acts as a backdrop to the façade, emphasizing the dichotomy between the two structures,” says Bevanda.
The new apartment building emerges above the heritage structure—a contemporary design of glass, aluminum and steel. The design orients the residential units to face north and south, taking advantage of the views in each direction. Each floor contains four units and those in the lower three-storey portion will be two-bedroom, addressing the city’s aim that one-quarter of all units in secured market rental developments be suitable for families.
Construction on the complex has started and once complete, the new Sante Fe will bridge the gap between Vancouver’s historic past with it’s bright future.