Koo's Corner


560 -- 598 Hawks Ave

Vancouver, BC


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Completion Date
Site/ building area:
Building: 567 m2
Certifications & Awards
Project Team
  • Developer: Chesterman Property Group Inc.
  • Architect: Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden Architects
  • Structural Engineer: Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd
  • Envelope Specialist: SEL Engineering
  • Landscape: Wave Design and Claire Kennedy
  • Contractor: Timberland Homes
  • Green Building Consultant: reSource Rethinking Building Inc.



Key Sustainability Features

  • Infill development - compact high density 
  • Heat recovery ventilators (HVRs) and greywater heat recovery, solar hot water system
  • Building reuse and repurpose
  • Pedestrian-oriented design 
  • Reduced outdoor water use

This six-unit strata townhouse infill development features adaptive reuse of an auto service building, Koo's Auto Service, which was built in the 1940s. Part infill, part addition, this project achieved a Floor Space Ratio (FSR) of 0.95 by renovating the existing garage building to accommodate two loft-style housing units, and building an additional four units on the former parking lot.

Koo's Corner blends into the existing heritage neighbourhood through pedestrian oriented design, sympathetic massing, colour, and roof forms that reference the surrounding houses. This design approach helped to maintain liveability on a tight lot in this high density development. By maintaining the building and name of the former auto garage the project retains the visual history of the area.





The building covers 63% of the site. To derive maximum use from the very little open space at ground level, parking was limited to one parking space per unit. The smallest unit does not have a parking space. A post occupancy survey conducted by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported that residents found the location and proximity to transit convenient enough that they rely less on their car. Outdoor space for each unit is provided through small ground level rear lawns which are supplemented by useable front porches on the second floor level and roof decks.

The green attributes of the project include the development's compact, high density. Units are modestly sized, ranging from 66 m2 - 110 m2 (720 to 1,170 sq. ft.), but feel more spacious as high ceilings, bay windows and skylights introduce plentiful daylight.

To reduce energy use, energy efficient appliances and heat recovery ventilators (HRV's) were installed in three of the homes. These appliances provide fresh air and capture heat from exhaust air to preheat fresh air coming in. The potential for overheating is reduced through use of double pane, low-e, argon filled glazing, minimal southern exposure and stack ventilation based on a high operable window combined with a mechanical or electrical fan. A greywater heat recovery unit (GFX device) was installed in one of the units as a pilot project. This device saves energy by capturing heat from the shower drain to preheat incoming water. Three of the homes with south facing roof slopes are "solar-ready"; that is they have the wiring and the plumbing to facilitate the installation of solar hot water units. After completion two of the three owners installed the panels at their cost which suggests that the solar ready preparation was worthwhile.

Reclaimed materials are used throughout the project, including in floors, kitchen cabinets, and some framing lumber. The wood used for the fences are made from recycled telephone and hydro poles. To reduce outdoor water use rain barrels collect water for gardening and landscaping requires minimal watering. A permeable Grasspave system replaced asphalt in most driveways to facilitate water infiltration and to treat stormwater run-off. To encourage waste reduction at Koo's Corner a shared composting facility was created.


Tours: Not available


Original Selling Price: $185,000 to $280,000

Density: 0.95 FSR


This Post Was imported from the 'Greater Vancouver Green Guide', it's part of the 'Green Guide Portal' to the Green Building Brain