Lyra Residences’ location on Rainbow Hill Lane, just below the crest of Christmas Hill in Saanich, is reminiscent of an address from a storybook. But the eight-storey development is very real, with building already underway and completion scheduled for 2018.
“You might call Christmas Hill the geographic centre of Greater Victoria. It’s equally distant from most of the areas on the peninsula, so it’s a very central location,” says project architect Peter de Hoog, principal at de Hoog & Kierulf Architects.
The 39-home development is adjacent to the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Conservancy, which links to a corridor of green space that runs through Saanich, de Hoog says. The conservancy includes the oak-forested Christmas Hill and the bird-rich marshland of Swan Lake.
De Hoog worked closely on the site with an arborist to establish the drip lines of significant trees and made changes to parts of the excavation to disturb as few trees as possible.
The concrete mid-rise includes two-bedroom homes ranging from 1,077 to 1,207 square feet, each with a parking space and storage unit. The west side of Christmas Hill has been developed over the last 15 years and the two-phase Lyra Residences is being built towards the east end of a two-acre lot, the last vacant site in the area.
The units’ over-sized balconies run the entire width of the units and average more than 300 square feet and are attractive to this group. In addition to providing an outdoor living space in the warmer months, they are a perfect vantage point to enjoy the panoramic views. While the outlook depends on the position of the unit, it could present views of Victoria, towards Washington State, the Strait of Juan de Fuca or the Sooke Hills, de Hoog says.
Another feature of the balconies is the coloured glass in the balcony guards, an homage to the natural hues on the site.
“In summer, Christmas Hill has lots of rust and tan colours, because the grasses go that colour, and then you have the Garry oaks and their various browns and greens,” he adds.
Each unit has two doors to the balcony, which can be accessed from the living room and from the main bedroom.