MOUNTAIN LIFE - Coast Mountains | Summer 2018

SUMMER 2018 MLCM 109 MOUNTAIN HOME words :: Feet Banks “What is Squamish ready for?” The question came up right from the get- go when friends Mark Abma and James King approached architect Chris Hunter about joining forces to try something new on the back half of a tiny historic lot in Squamish’s downtown core. “What is Squamish ready for?” Chris reiterates. “Where are we gonna go? And what do we want to stand behind?” While answering those important questions, the soon-to-be partners kept landing on one concept – balance. “Squamish is getting the ‘bedroom community’ label,” explains Abma, a pro skier, entrepreneur and Sea to Sky resident for 20 years. “But people can live and work and play here. That is the kind of community you want to encourage.” With local housing prices at a peak, Abma, Hunter and King, now aligned as the Elevation Collective, turned their attention to commercial properties and found opportunity in an unlikely spot – Cleveland Avenue, the heart of historic downtown. “We found a lot with a building they think was built in the '40s,” Abma explains, adding that the collective valued the existing building and tenants and thought the contrast between old and new was an important part of the bigger conversation about infill development. “There was some unused space at the rear… but the lot was only 25 feet wide, which creates multiple construction challenges. Chris had experience on small lots in Vancouver and he’d done a 90-foot building on that size lot, so we knew it was feasible.” Hunter also had a clear vision that naturally aligned with King and Abma’s desire for sustainability, efficiency and community. “A lot of modern design is very open,” Hunter says, “but we drew on precedents from Japanese and European architecture. Dealing with small spaces and making more with less can often be more practical and enjoyable to live in. Japan has an amazing blend of tradition and technology; they’re so respectful of the past but can merge the future in so gracefully.” Elevation Collective designed around that old-new contrast and came up with a tall and narrow four-level duplex set behind the existing historic building with a ground level extension of the commercial units on Cleveland. Designed to promote connection to nature but still create space for privacy, the new building, dubbed “Loggers Lofts,” aims for that balance of localized work and play that many consider the Holy Grail of the Squamish lifestyle. “It’s a six-room configuration, two rooms per level with stairs and bathrooms in the middle,” Hunter explains. “So you could have offices on the lower floor, bedrooms in the middle and living space up top. It could be a company moving in that needs flexible room configurations or it could be a rec-tech brand looking to create extra bedrooms as seasonal housing for employees or team athletes.” The east-west units are designed with floor- to-ceiling windows, no balconies and rooftop patios with adjacent green roof space. Efficiency and sustainability are foremost on everyone’s SQU A MISH 3.0? INNOVATION, HISTORY, COMMUNITY AND BALANCE…ON A 25-FOOT LOT Hunter also had a clear vision that naturally aligned with King and Abma’s desire for sustainability, efficiency and community. RENDERINGS COURTESY ELEVATION COLLECTIVE