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Courtesy of Forest Pearson


704B Wood St. is a privately developed residential laneway house project. The project principals are based on bringing truly sustainable housing to the community of Whitehorse.  

704 Wood Street, which includes the Hulland House, is the only privately owned designated heritage home in Whitehorse. The property also included a separate small suite at the back of the property, accessed off the laneway.  

The suite was originally a garage and it had been converted to a suite in the early 1990s and was very poorly constructed initially. It was in bad condition, and despite maintenance efforts and had come to the end of its serviceable life.  

The goal with the replacement of 704B Wood was to provide high quality, small sustainable housing, while keeping the heritage character of the Hulland House intact and unmodified. The project at 704B Wood is a model for providing quality, small rental accommodation for the Whitehorse community. This project exemplifies the City's vision for “density with dignity" in downtown; trying to pioneer and demonstrate how this can be achieved has not been an easy road.  

The project is based on classic “craftsman” style homes of the early 20th century—therefore it is a classically lovable building. The home has the main living space on the second floor above the garage with a semi self-sufficient guest room on the main floor. It is relatively small at 940 ft2 plus a 307 ft2 unfinished basement and garage. The home  provides small, high quality rental accommodation. The building site is developed on the back half of an urban lot in downtown Whitehorse, Yukon with access off the laneway. The building is designed with three major themes: Energy efficiency, Durability and Healthy living, and it the Yukon’s only LEED platinum-certified building. 

The project was built to address three different qualifiers. Firstly, energy efficiency: That a well-insulated, well-sealed residence should cost <$400/year in heating. Secondly, a comprehensive durability building plan was necessary to ensure that the build would last at least 100 years. With that, design elements needed to include adaptability elements to allow the building to be easily modified over time. Finally, a healthy indoor environment initiative sought to ensure that a well-ventilated home used only safe & low-emission materials. [1]

The City of Whitehorse, through its Official Community Plan (OCP), has taken the approach of increasing residential densities to maximize the use of existing infrastructure, increase transit access and ridership, and limit sprawl. One aspect of the planning process has been density with dignity, where an increase in densities would be combined with design standards. The demand for design standards has become evident through the City’s public consultation process, due to a highlighted concern regarding the size, scale, look, and feel of higher density development. [2]


[1]        Pearson, Forest. 704B Wood Street Super GreenHome Laneway House. Whitehorse, YT, 2015.

[2]       “Density with Dignity.” Plan It Whitehorse: Planning & Development Services Newsletter. July 2008, 17 edition.

Project Title: 704B Wood Street
Artists:  Forest Pearson
Year: 2015

Place: Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

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