Occidental Lofts is the transformation of the iconic Occidental Hotel, a heritage building dating back to 1898-1913. This period coincided with New Westminster’s golden era when it stood as the epicenter of commerce and industry in the Fraser Valley region. The building is ideally situated on the south side of Columbia Street—the heartbeat of New Westminster’s historic downtown core. Its strategic location not only offers a glimpse into the city’s vibrant past but also immerses residents in the dynamic atmosphere of the main commercial street.
The goal of this project was to renovate the existing building into a functional mixed-use, multi-unit proposition. Seven residential units were transformed to create a refined, student-focused loft solution, while the ground level was outfitted for commercial use. We were required to work within the confines of a cost-efficient budget for a property providing flexible and modern rental housing.
Navigating this project required a delicate fusion of history and contemporary living. Our approach was to modernize the interior while retaining the building’s historical essence. Striking this balance meant choosing materials that were both budget-friendly and enduring, ensuring an elegant yet sustainable transformation.
While the historic façade was retained, the interior of the building was neutralized and simplified, transforming the space into a blend of history and modernity. The Commercial Unit on the ground level is a shell space awaiting its transformation into a potential restaurant. The upper floors house two distinct typologies of loft-style housing. The living spaces, bathrooms, and kitchens were designed to be clean, bright, and durable. Every material was selected for its functionality, style, and resilience, ensuring that students can move in and out with minimal need for repairs. The staircases were crafted from salvaged material reclaimed from the building’s original structure. The refinished planks retain the building’s historic character, telling a story of days gone by with every step. Paired harmoniously with wood flooring and millwork, these elements not only provide physical support but also lend the entire space a feeling of warmth and sophistication. It’s a blend of heritage and craftsmanship that greets residents with a sense of timeless elegance every time.