– Story by Darcy Nybo Photography by Don Denton
When Ryan Goodman, a partner of Aryze Developments Inc., visited Japan, he became enamoured by the efficiency of architectural structures there.
“The lots were super small, but they built these amazing homes on them,” says Ryan. “When we discovered this 1,750-square-foot lot — that no one seemed to want — in Sidney, we saw something special and realized it could be the perfect spot for an innovative infill development project.”
As cities grow, small pieces of land are often not included in larger developments, becoming “leftovers.” These small plots aren’t viable or on the radar of most larger developers, but they can represent unique opportunities for teams like Aryze that focus on infill developments and appreciate the challenge of using architecture and design to overcome site constraints. Infill developments use these under-sized lots to create well-functioning buildings and homes.
“The live/work lofts at the front of the Leeward building were sold as soon as we started construction,” says Ryan. “As this building is zoned Flexible C, it opened up the types of uses allowed: the 690-square-foot lofts can be used as an office or living space or both. The townhomes are residential.”
There were a few drawbacks to building so close to the sidewalk and street. First and foremost was privacy. Aryze worked with Victoria-based project architect LHRA to create an architectural screen made with cedar.
“When I was in Tokyo, I noticed that everything was built right up to the property line, and everything is screened like this. You can’t see in when you are walking by, and it creates visual interest from the outside.”
The second drawback was parking.
“We couldn’t fit parking here as the land was simply too small and did not allow for a turning radius or pull-outs. There was room for the building but no more. That’s where Modo came in. Modo is a car-sharing service and each Leeward unit comes with a lifetime membership that allows owners to pick up and drop off from the Modo car-share space right outside their door. The membership covers gas, insurance, maintenance, cleaning, parking, privileges and more. I believe this is the first ‘no car’ building on the Saanich Peninsula.”
The car sharing, coupled with the many nearby amenities makes it acceptable to have no allotted parking spot, Ryan said. The townhouses are two blocks from the ocean, one block off the main drag, two blocks from downtown and two blocks from Eastview Park and the Sidney Pier. Should residents decide to take the Modo car, they are two minutes to the highway, seven minutes to the ferry and six minutes to the airport.
Then there is the inside of the Leeward building. We toured one of the townhouses and it did not disappoint.
|Taking a Tahini Swirl Brownie. Don Denton photography|
Upon entering a fairly spacious landing area, one discovers plenty of storage available under the stairwell for coats, boots, etc. From here, you can take either the stairs or the elevator. Should you take the stairs, you’ll find yourself on another spacious landing on the second floor with storage and … another staircase. Since the lofts in the front are located on the first and second floors of the building, the living space for the townhouses starts on the third floor.
No matter how you get there, the townhouse’s main living area greets you with plenty of light and open spaces. Most of the windows in this townhouse are south- and west-facing, offering some great views.
This floor has more storage space, as well as an open-concept kitchen/living area and a powder room. A large quartz island with a built-in sink divides the kitchen from the dining/living space. The townhouse comes with all black Whirlpool appliances, including a dishwasher, fridge and glass cooktop. Space can be made for a microwave if need be.
The ceilings here are nine feet high, giving the room a light and airy feel. White oak engineered floors and dark blue cabinetry give the space a feel of the ocean. This floor has a small balcony facing downtown Sidney and gives a peek-a-book view of the sea. Large windows extend to views of Sidney and the airport.
Climb another flight of stairs (or take the elevator) and you’re on the floor that contains the sleeping quarters as well as a stackable washing machine and dryer. This floor houses the master bedroom with an en suite as well as a private balcony with ocean views. (Imagine waking up to 180-degree views of the ocean, including Haro Straight and the Southern Gulf Islands!)
Down the hall from the master bedroom is a second full bathroom and a bedroom/office area. A transom window here faces the airport.
The beauty of this townhouse is that it is close to everything, and yet far enough away that the sounds do not carry into the living area.
Next, it’s time to explore the “yard in the sky.” As you walk up the staircase, light streams through from the transom window. And then, there you are, five stories above Sidney. This is one of the highest points in Sidney, and the views are expansive.
This rooftop deck is truly a paradise away from the cares of the world. Raised planters with bushes and plants provide privacy. There’s also a slat fence that separates each space from the neighbours.’
“We built this cedar deck on top of a waterproof roof membrane,” explains Ryan. “It’s like a floating cedar deck. There is plenty of room for a barbecue, with lots of space left over for entertaining. It’s even big enough to pitch a tent if you want to.”
In case you were wondering, there’s also plenty of space to add more planters and to garden to your heart’s content, with full power and water access on the roof.
Aryze is becoming known for taking challenging, under-utilized sites and doing interesting things with them. These young homebuilders are creating high quality architectural homes near neighbourhood villages outside of Victoria’s core.
Says Ryan: “We like to think of ourselves as entrepreneurs who have an underlying goal of building better communities.”
|Taking a Tahini Swirl Brownie. Don Denton photography|
Financing Tate Knowles – Coast Capital
Architect Roya Darvish – LHRA
Constructor Aryze Construction
Electrical Slater electric
Plumbing MGM Mechanical
Excavation Erdem Excavating
Finishing Dustin Harrison
Flooring/Tile Island Floors
Drywall PR Wilson Interiors
Roofing Infinity Roofing
Elevators Home Elevators
Countertops Exotic Stone
Siding Chouinard Exterior Wall Systems
Millwork Woodshop 506
Paint The Painting Department
Lumber/ Supplies Home Lumber