The Forward-Thinking Concept Behind Gibbard District
A vibrant new community in the heart of Napanee, Gibbard District was thoughtfully created to honour the historic site it was built on and the close-knit town it calls home. Designed by Toronto-based architecture firm Studio JCI, the concept behind Gibbard District reflects both its stunning location on the Napanee River and the significance of the land to the people of the town. This bold vision of Gibbard District is both a nod to its historical legacy and an innovative approach to small-town living.
For over 10 years, Studio JCI and founder Jaegap Chung have specialized in creating residential spaces that respond to their surrounding context and capture its story. That’s why the firm saw the community’s location on the Napanee River as a prime opportunity. To take full advantage of this waterfront setting, Studio JCI pivoted the building by 90 degrees. Orienting all units toward the river, this rotation optimizes views of the water instead of closing them up. As a result, you’ll be able to enjoy stunning river views right from the property.
When designing Gibbard District, Studio JCI built on the importance of what the Gibbard Furniture Factory meant to the town of Napanee. Although the factory was a private commercial space that wasn’t open to the public, its legacy and employees were an integral part of the community. That’s why Studio JCI sought to transform the Gibbard factory into a community hub that local residents can engage with like a public amenity.
Given the vibrant, pedestrian-friendly piazza at the centre of Gibbard District, the development is much more than a condo building for residents. With a platform for local gatherings, it makes the site of the Gibbard factory a community focal point once again. It’s where the people of Napanee and surrounding regions can gather for farmers’ markets, tree-lighting ceremonies, and other special events.
In a typical condo development, all residential units and common spaces are housed under a single roof. However, to make Gibbard District a waterfront destination instead of just a condo building, Studio JCI did away with this template. Instead of designing Gibbard District as a solo structure with standard condominium amenities, they created a collection of buildings that form an intimate urban ecosystem in the heart of historic downtown Napanee.
In addition to serving as a venue for community events, the district contains commercial units for potential coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores, and offices. The multi-building design doesn’t just add a touch of urban flair to Dundas Street. It enhances modern living by placing key amenities right at the doorstep of Gibbard residents. Bringing the town of Napanee to Gibbard District, it will also boost traffic to the downtown area and stimulate the economy.