Vancouver Native Housing Society, Broadway+Fraser

Kwayatsut design sketch.

Sustainability Consultant: Blue Camas

Vancouver Native Housing Society, Broadway Youth Resource Centre, B.C. Housing / City of Vancouver, Neale Staniszkis Doll Adams Architects, MMM Group, Fast + Epp Structural Engineers, Perry and Associates, Horizon Engineering, exp Services, C.E.S. Engineering, Darwin Construction, Recollective, E3Ecogroup, Blue Camas

Kwayatsut is a Coast Salish word meaning “seeking one’s power”, or “spirit quest”.  The Kwayatsut building is a 8112 sq. m. mixed use building, currently under construction. The project is a partnership between BC Housing, the City of Vancouver, the Broadway Youth Resource Centre and the Vancouver Native Housing Society. This initiative represents a commitment to build on the City’s network of social and supportive housing projects. The property at Broadway and Fraser is one of the twelve City of Vancouver owned sites, which are being developed under the Provincial Homelessness Initiative (PHI) in an effort to address homelessness in the City of Vancouver.

The project consists of three major components: subsidized rental housing and support services, a new Broadway Youth Resource Centre and a commercial / retail area.

Site Context

The site is located at the northwest corner of Broadway and Fraser Streets in Vancouver. Immediately adjacent to the site on the west is a two storey commercial building and a one-storey strip mall. To the north across the lane are three-storey residential buildings. To the E

ast across Fraser Street is a series of small two storey commercial buildings. Across Broadway are similar low-scale commercial buildings. Other neighbouring uses include a public

Kwayatsut was completed in 2016

park at Fraser and 8th Avenue, and the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House at Broadway and Prince Albert.

The Site

The site is approximately 60 m x 37 m and has an area of 2,245 sm. It is located on a rise of land from both directions along Broadway.


The residential component of the project consists of 103 single units plus amenity & support spaces. Residents will be varied and may bring with them many challenges. Approximately thirty of the residents will be youth and directly involved with the BYRC program. The remainder of the units will be available to individuals who have low incomes and are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. These individuals will be referred through BC Housing. As per the MOU between

the Province of British Columbia and the City of Vancouver, priority will be given to residents of Mount Pleasant and the Broadway Corridor.


The Broadway Youth Resource Centre (BYRC) has been at this location for ten years. It is an integrated program which provides a wide range of social, health, housing, education, employment and life skills services to homeless and at-risk youth between the ages of 12 and 24. Services are provided by several non-profit agencies, a community college, a university and all three levels of government. The goal of this multi-agency model is to provide a seamless continuum of integrated community-based social and health services.


The commercial component is approximately 1100 sm and comprises the entire main floor facing East Broadway. It will be owned, managed and leased by the City of Vancouver Real Estate Services. Although dictated by current market trends, there is an opportunity for either community oriented services suitable to the neighbourhood services or by a larger more destination-oriented retail space.

Design Description

Art is a significant component to BYRC and VNHS for client support and community outreach, and was included in site hoarding.

The selected building form is comprised of a two-storey commercial base with a six-storey residential component above it, with an aggregate building form of eight (8) storeys on East Broadway. This urban design response minimizes overshadowing to the residential areas to the north, defines the Broadway street edge, and provides a slim profile to traffic traveling both ways on Broadway. Active uses for the BYRC, such as classrooms, art rooms, and meeting rooms, have been placed along Fraser Street and the lane to provide pedestrian interest and activity. Residential amenity areas and outdoor spaces have been provided on levels 3 and 5. Large planters for urban agriculture are included as part of the outdoor amenity area on the 5th floor.

The landscape treatment of the streets has been designed to reinforce desirable urban design objectives. This includes the introduction of street trees, decorative paving, and bicycle racks.


This project achieved CaGBC LEED Gold sustainable project certification. Through a careful design process it will consume significantly less energy via incorporating a high energy performance envelope, low flow fixtures to reduce water consumption as well as a high efficiency

Vancouver Native Housing were enthusiastic participates in the project’s LEED Certification and prepared a LEED compliant “Green Cleaning Plan” for staff and tenants.

HVAC system to provide ideal indoor air quality and occupancy comfort. This housing project will also incorporate proper construction waste management, specify recycled content in the building materials and low VOC finishes.

Passive Design Strategies

The design of Kwayatsut includes an optimized East-West building orientation providing a large South facing presence yet also houses a compact and simple form. East & South facing windows of the building are protected with exterior shading systems providing passive heating through solar gain in the winter, while benefiting from cooling load control in the summer.

Assembly areas of the building, which typically require cooling during the summer, have been located along the North face where there is limited solar gain. North facing glazing, has been maximized here, including clerestory windows and a roof monitor to provide an ideal learning environment of naturally lit classrooms.

Exterior wall assemblies have been optimized with high thermal resistance values as well as controlled thermal bridging. Coupled with high performance windows and a low window to wall ratio, this development will incorporate a carefully reviewed building envelope which will also be airtight to minimize infiltration. The mechanical system will include ventilation air pre-conditioning achieved through a heat recovery system as well as the incorporation of natural ventilation via operable windows which allows for cross ventilation through corridors.