27 Roy Street
Bordering both the City and Civic Districts, the building at 27 Roy Street is part of a heritage district which reflects a significant era in the development of Kitchener throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s. The residential houses within the district are an important representation of the extensive growth of Kitchener’s population and, in turn, the development of it’s industrial sector at the time. The Civic District is characterized by a unique and diverse cross section of architecture – in both the residential and commercial functions as well as the style of the buildings. The redevelopment of 27 Roy Street seeks to celebrate that history through the restoration of the building’s architectural features and utilizing multi-faceted functionality to serve the current needs of the community.
27 Roy Street contains many of the recognizable architectural features that are abundant within this district. Described as ‘Berlin or Kitchener Vernacular,’ these elements include the attic gable roof, decorative trim, brick construction, porch, and other features consistent with the styles and methods of construction from the era in which they were built. The intention of RFB Development is to preserve and restore this architectural character, which has become an integral part of the historical context of the district and the community as a whole.
RFB Development is proposing to redevelop 27 Roy Street into a multi-use dwelling containing residential apartments and working studio & gallery space for local artists and the public. As a historically significant property, it is important to preserve the integrity of the existing structure while improving the function of the space in order to for it to fulfill the current needs of the community. The intent of the redevelopment of 27 Roy Street is to bring together residential, cultural and commercial uses in order to provide a sense of community and create an innovative and vibrant experience for visitors – one that has the potential to become a model of how future urban redevelopment projects can be undertaken.
With apartments located on the upper floors of the building, the redevelopment will serve to fulfill a need for unique and central apartments within the downtown core of Kitchener as the city continues to develop. The main floor of 27 Roy Street will be transformed into a unique co-working space for artists and the general public. With space for four, open concept studios and a self-serve cafe, the main floor will function as a gathering space to create, display, and appreciate art. The open concept area allows the community to observe and participate in the dynamic art community that Kitchener has to offer. As a flexible and adaptable space, the area can also be completely cleared and set up for private events or art shows.
The vision for the interior space is a unique and novel combination of postmodernism and Victorian decorative arts. Though popular in different centuries, both styles celebrate heavy ornamentation, bold colours and an assortment of shapes. The overall aesthetic is to be rooted in a Victorian style, filled with eclectic wallpapers and ample gallery space but expressed in a vein similar to the iconic Memphis design group. The Victorian era was known for decor that was indulged in a grand excess of ornament due to its homage to history and incorporation of Middle East and Asian influences. The end of this era created styles like Art Deco and Art Nouveau that would continue to evolve into Postmodernism, the overarching style of the Memphis design group in the 1980’s. Though most of their work was based on minimalism, they embraced colour and abstract decoration, similar to the Victorian era. This style was also known for asymmetrical shapes that were thought to allude to exotic or earlier styles. Since the two styles were features of different eras, they are seldom appreciated as complementary to each other. Both styles are deeply rooted in being flashy and extravagant, embracing bold colours and bare walls which will be embraced throughout 27 Roy Street. The intersection of these two distinct styles will immediately contribute to the overall experience that will be felt by anyone who enters the space.
Read the full proposal here.