Red Cross at London Rd

Location: Lethbridge , AB

Year: 2014-2016

Status: Complete

Type: Multi-Family Development

Client: Canadian red cross

For 60 years, the Lethbridge branch of the Canadian Red Cross
Society had its headquarters in a historic landmark in the London
Road area. When the offices were moved to the west side in 2008,
the historic landmark remained empty for a number of years before
a new vision was proposed to its owner, the City of Lethbridge.
Being a highly desirable residential neighbourhood, the London
Road Neighborhood Association was very interested in these plans,
many attending the open houses and tea parties to discuss the
future of the site.
The response was favourable towards the rezoning to “direct control
- 6 condos”, and under the circumstances, small waivers to bylaws
were secured to allow the project to go ahead. Portico Properties
Inc purchased the property and began a two-stage redevelopment
conversion, including a subdivision of the lot for 7 new dwellings.
The historic structure would remain unchanged in its geometry and
be retrofitted with 6 units, while the site to the west would include
one earth-sheltered dwelling, minimizing impact to the west facade.
The interior of the substantive structure was completely demolished
and new footings were poured to support the new floor systems.
A new lower floor was built above the original basement floor,
allowing for a walk-out patio environment along 12th Street,
characteristic of many homes along the steep neighbourhood streets
(opposite page).
To integrate less mobile residents, the lower level was fitted with
barrier-free and accessible suites, allowing for the elderly in the
neighbourhood to remain on their much-loved street. The proximity
to the hospital only adds convenience to the location which is
surrounded by 25-plus amenities within a five-minute walk.
A loft design maximized the characteristic arched window openings
in this masonry facade, recreating the openness of the original
vaulted ceiling. New mezzanine structures created space for
bedrooms on the upper floors, borrowing light from the generous
fenestration. The exterior was reverted to its original appearance;
its Greek Revival style is now protected by provincial historic
designation. Grants from the Alberta Historic Resource Foundation
assist in maintaining its historic treasure.
The overall success of the project was due to the cooperation
and hard work of many local companies, including Silver Ridge
Construction Ltd, Portico Properties Inc, Alberta Historic Resource
Foundation, the London Road Neighborhood Association, and the
The city of Lethbridge. Without the special effort afforded by the team,
this tedious project could not have been made a reality.

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