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Kunstayaa Gawtlaa

Affordable Rental Housing in Old Massett, Haida Gwaii

An initiative of the Old Massett Village Administration, this 12-suite multi-family project serves the housing needs of young families and elders of the Old Massett community.  A form of self-funding affordable housing, rental revenue is expected to cover the operating and financing costs of the project while providing much-needed affordable rental housing within the community.


The building is designed in the language of traditional archetypes of the Haida First Nation with and functions as a modern apartment building. Ambitious environmental performance objectives informed the design from the outset, allowing the design team to design a highly efficient building envelope and to utilize incentives provided by BC Hydro to reduce energy demand almost 50%.

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Although the building pre-dates the emergence of Passive House in North America, this project was an early adopter of passive design principles, utilizing compact form, continuous exterior insulation, airtight construction and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery.


The remote location and lack of a local supplier for maintenance and replacement informed the strategic decision to rely on passive energy performance strategies in lieu of technology to manage the building's energy demand.

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Architect: Mark Ashby Architecture_2010

Interior and Concept design: Art of the Raven Design

Contractor: Newhaven Construction Management

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