1661 Napier Street
Vancouver, BC V5L 4X4
Queensborough, a centre that was renewed just a few years ago, combining their existing building with new ones, was very impressive. It’s a clever design with a lot of repurposing of old materials. It’s hard to tell where new begins and old ends. When you walk in the main door (double set of doors — no big wind blowing in every time someone enters!), you have a view down a corridor to a cosy seating alcove with a gas fireplace. Manager Renee Chadwick took us on a tour, and since she had been there for the whole renewal of their site, she had lots of valuable and relevant insights and advice for us. For example, she said they were really glad that they had, early on in their process, hired a “spatial” design architect (http://urban-arts.ca, Jennifer Marshall) to help them figure out what they needed. Their building philosophy was that the new centre would be for “all ages and all abilities”.
They have historical “Life on the River” murals, all painted by one artist, on several room dividers located throughout the entire site. Keeping an historical theme, the artwork ties all the parts of the building together, and unifies its look and feel. There are two splendid commercial kitchens for cooking classes, for food-preparation projects, and for groups renting space for parties or wedding receptions.
One major difference in this centre was the conscious decision not to build a dedicated seniors centre. Seniors are thus encouraged to integrate with other site programming and this approach has been really successful.