Frank, A Modern Townhouse Development

Article by Michelle Heslop. Photos by Jody Beck.

It’s no secret that urban sprawl causes lengthy commutes, loss of green space, increased infrastructure costs and even reduced physical activity and community health. Alternatively, infill development in urban settings utilizes vacant or under-used parcels of land within mature urban areas and refocuses growth on a neighbourhood’s urban core, drawing people and business back into the heart of the community. For forward-thinking co-owners of ARYZE Development and ConstructionRyan Goodman and Matthew Jardine, their goal was to build an infill development in James Bay that would be unique to the Victoria market and created Frank, a modern townhouse development.

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Taking inspiration from both the townhouse community in North False Creek in Vancouver (where Jardine grew up) and the brownstone model in New York, ARYZE built six, three-story townhomes, each with a shared wall and a garage or courtyard on the lower level. Goodman notes that “the townhouse model has been very successful in other urban locations but has not been deployed in large numbers in Victoria where condos are typically favoured.”

ARYZE wanted the architecture to be modernist in approach and turned to Low Hammond Rowe Architects to come up with a design in response to the landscape and surrounding area. Frank’s building envelope is a combination of natural materials including vertical cedar, architectural paneling and glass. “We wanted to provide a highly functional home that was better, not bigger. We envisioned homes flooded in natural light built with quality materials and finishes; a condo alternative with multiple floors,” states Goodman.

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With a modern homeowner in mind, ARYZE’s design intention was to create homes with a simple streamlined aesthetic that would be consistent across all units. Open plan main floor living spaces were created with the aim of being functional without sacrificing style. Eco-friendly birch cabinets in white paired with rift oak shelving keep the kitchen natural and breezy. White quartz countertops are durable and create cohesion with the backsplash.

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Trending in modern kitchens, white KitchenAid appliances maintain the sleek feel of the kitchen and the adjacent tempered glass wall on the staircase keeps the space open and airy.

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A gorgeous floating staircase with treads milled from old growth cedar paired with the wall of glass adds visual interest while large skylights produce a column of natural light.

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Hard-wearing white oak floors provide a natural warmth to the gallery white walls and will only improve with age. Downstairs a cozy media room or office completes the home.

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For Frank’s distinctive identity, ARYZE credit Caleb Beyers and Hanahlie Beise at Caste Projects for creating the development’s identity and marketing strategy. Beyers states that “after studying the design plans, and giving some thought to the demographics, architectural style and neighbourhood, we came up with with a lighthearted name, ‘Frank.’ The name emerged as a result of the architecture’s essence: open, sincere, or undisguised in manner or appearance. Frank also has the added bonus of being a proper name which enabled us to play with the multiple meanings without being too precious about it.”

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Caste Project’s approach was to elicit a reaction and generate conversation as opposed to traditional real estate marketing that is generally more passive and less imaginative. “Every time we have the opportunity to put something in front of the public, it’s worth the effort to make it surprising or challenging in some way,” says Beyers. The reactions to their 60-inch, “30 Stories Coming Soon” sign were mixed, but it generated conversation, everyone seemed to have an opinion or were at least curious. The sign was eventually replaced with “30 short stories” which was somewhat less alarming and neighbours seemed to enjoy the engagement.

But before you get too excited, we should report that all Frank units are sold. Goodman reports that “we kept the homes simple and let the architecture speak for itself. This helped us deliver homes at a price point that I think proved to be very good value in the market.” However, ARYZE Development and Construction is growing at an exponential rate and is excited to introduce a few new projects this year: a new energy efficient building system, a modular self-sustaining remote housing project, a number of new homes coming up this summer including 222 and 226 Dallas Road. “We’ve been working really hard, strengthening our team and refining our approach; the best is yet to come.”