The “Abrams Block” (a.k.a. Tremont House and Kings Hotel) building, was built in 1887 just after Vancouver’s 1886 great fire and is a Class “B” listed heritage building. It has the distinction of being one of the oldest existing buildings as well as being Vancouver’s first brick clad hotel. This unique project located in Gastown incorporates two buildings on site. One two-storey building fronts Carrall Street and another smaller three storey building fronts the lane at the back of the property line. The two buildings will be rehabilitated/restored with ground level retail and live/work rental units on the upper levels.
The new storefront facade at ground level respects and incorporates contextual design elements such as decorative steel columns, a transom, complete with upper glazing, brick plasters and 18” sills below large storefront glazing. These historic elements veil a simple and minimal aesthetic of modern detailing.
Merrick Architecture’s ability to thoroughly investigate and assess the existing condition of the buildings, salvage as many heritage elements as possible, and develop / design live work suites (some complete with lofts) within the existing building parameters illustrated a creative solution of adaptive re-use while implementing new building code requirements to accommodate exiting, fire and life safety, and seismic upgrades requirements. Due to the poor condition of the existing building, new wood windows and new skylights were installed as well as the careful reconstruction of existing brick walls and window openings.