Certified Passive House DesignerCanadian Passive House Institute

JAMES KERR
ARCHITECT


Projects

Aria

Victoria BC
Completed 2009
Alpha Project Developments
Merrick Architecture Borowski Sakumoto Fligg Limited
James Kerr Project Architect

Aria is a 12 storey residential-commercial condominium project located on Humboldt Street in downtown Victoria next to the historic Crystal Garden, Church of Our Lord, Cridge Park and Canadian Pacific Lawnbowling Club. The site straddles the original north shoreline of the James Bay mudflats prior to its infill and construction of the inner harbor causeway and Empress Hotel in 1908. The project was designed to be built in 2 phases and includes a total of 174 one level suites, retail and resident amenity spaces at grade and 2 levels of underground parking.

The project responds to its historic context and height sensitive site as a stepped, continuous mid-rise building form rather than the standard market solution of higher point towers sitting on a low podium or open plaza. The result is a substantial streetwall facing Humboldt Street which varies in height to allow thru views from adjacent buildings and sunlight to reach the street while being punctuated by a two storey glazed entry lobby. The project also includes commercial storefronts and enhanced public space along Humboldt Street plus mid-block pedestrian promenades along 3 sides linking adjacent streets with Cridge Park and the Crystal Garden.

Architecturally, the project presents itself in a more formal way along Humboldt Street and each end with its facades composed of brick, concrete and punched windows. On the opposite (Crystal Garden) side the building has a more ephemeral presence with its sinuous glazed facade optimizing resident views to the south and west while containing large sheltered balconies. The ground level brick and concrete columns on all sides incorporate public art in the form of bas-relief pre-cast elements reflecting the Aria’s musical theme.

As project architect, Jim was responsible for overseeing design and all project phase services while directing his team at Merrick Architecture Borowski Sakumoto Fligg Limited. Project challenges included negotiating with City planning staff and Council to gain its unanimous approval for the rezoning and development permits needed for the FSR 3.60 scheme.

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