159 Forward Avenue

Ottawa, ON
Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC) and Cahdco
46,300 ft²
Year of construction
McDonald Brothers Construction
Photos: Naquib Hossain and JVL Photography
The 159 Forward Avenue Affordable Housing Project is a 49-unit, multi-family residential project for the Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC) and Cahdco. This Passive House performance meeting project is located in the Mechanicsville neighbourhood of Ottawa on the East side of Forward Avenue, between Burnside Avenue and Lyndale Avenue. The building replaces a formerly decommissioned family shelter once owned by the City of Ottawa.

This project is a prime example of a community-focused urban infill and provides much-needed affordable housing for the city. The building is designed to fit the needs of families in a growing neighbourhood and includes over ten two-bedroom and 12 three-bedroom family-focused units. The building also provides 100% accessible apartments and 16 barrier-free designed units. The units are rented at average market rates, below market rates, and at shelter rates. To further support the success of the tenants, a fully accessible rear yard amenity area offers access to community gardens, secured covered bike storage, and much-needed social spaces. 

As a non-profit organization, CCOC and Cahdco wanted a building that would be a showpiece for sustainability and affordability. With a history of sustainable design projects, 159 Forward Avenue is designed to meet Passive House performance standards and recently passed its testing, resulting in a project that is 3x more efficient than the client’s previously built project.  

Passive House standards reduce the environmental impact of the building and strain on the city’s energy consumption while also reducing monthly living costs for tenants. This project prioritizes sustainability, high design, and community for an established neighbourhood in Ottawa.  

Sustainability Features:

  • Passive House design standards
  • Airtight envelope
  • Super insulated building envelope
  • Heat recovery through ERV mechanical
  • Triple glazed windows
  • Compact massing
  • Solar panels on the roof
  • Ample bicycle parking
  • Community gardens
  • 500m from LRT station

The design team used a low-rise urban form with a mixture of patterns, varying colours and materials to provide visual interest and a sophisticated presence. Simple but effective urban features accentuate the main entrance, including a small bench area, plantings, and colour.   

The building uses a large, cantilevered overhang, which covers the parking and provides much-needed additional family units on levels 2-4. The project includes eight visitor parking spaces, 49 bicycle parking spaces, greenspace, garden plots, and laundry facilities. It is also located 500 m from Tunney’s Pasture LRT station, making it a very walkable and transit-oriented urban infill project.