Templar Flats wins for wood-frame construction
Downtown Hamilton site is first six-storey wood-frame building in the province

NEWS Dec 13, 2016 by Molly Hayes Hamilton Spectator
Templar Flats on King William at Hughson. – Gary Yokoyama,The Hamilton Spectator

 

Hamilton’s Templar Flats has been recognized as the first six-storey wood-frame building in the province.

The unique infill housing and restaurants project on King William Street, between James and Hughson, is a hybrid of history and modernity — sandwiching a hip new structure between two restored heritage buildings.

Building Dreams Contracting have the amazing opportunity of working on the framing and carpentry for the Templar Flats Berkeley North project and managed to win the Ontario award for the first 6 story wood framed building. We worked on the entire renovation of the Berkeley North Restaurant.

At street level it houses four new restaurant spaces, with an additional 25 rental apartments upstairs. By providing high-density housing and revitalizing existing infrastructure, the project “exemplifies urban development ideals,” says Sarah Hicks, spokesperson for the Canadian Wood Council.

For this, the Templar Flats took home the “multi-unit wood design award” at the Council’s 2016 Ontario Wood WORKS! awards, which aims to recognize those who are advancing the use of wood in all types of construction.

The Ontario building code changed last year, allowing developers to expand wood-frame projects from four to six storeys. Engineered wood products are stronger today and can handle more weight — which allows builders to go higher.

Now, the flats will be used as a case study for developers embarking on future six-storey wood-frame construction projects.

“The Templar Flats team took a relatively small, irregularly shaped empty lot and in a short time frame built a beautiful new six-storey hybrid building, with minimal disruption to the surrounding neighbourhood,” Hicks says.

“At the same time they also took on the job of restoring and adapting the two adjacent heritage buildings, and tied the three buildings together to create a vibrant and new mixed-use occupancy that reflects the charming and inviting character of the neighbourhood.”

Developer Steve Kulakowsky, a partner in Core Urban, says the lightness of wood is what made it the perfect choice for a heritage restoration project like the Templar Flats.

Helen’s Light still shines “We wanted to minimize the stress we put on those old foundations,” he said, noting that it’s a combination of materials.

“All of the vertical structure is either masonry or steel. And then any horizontal structure, like the floor, is made out of wood,” Kulakowsky says.

He says the award is great, but the “really cool part” is being the first six-storey wood-frame building in Ontario.

He says, “We really wanted Templar to be an example of what can be done with infill, so it’s rewarding to be recognized for that, because we spent so much effort on the overall design of the building, and what’s going to happen on the main floor. We really tried to emphasize that all challenges with heritage buildings can be overcome … and at the same time, emphasize that new buildings don’t have to be boring.”