Tonari Gumi’s New Building Wins Award!

Manley Design & Construction Management Ltd. of Langley, B.C., who were the general contractors for Tonari Gumi’s new facility at 42 West 8th Avenue in Vancouver has recently Tonari Gumi's New Lounge Areabeen awarded a Vancouver Regional Contractors’ Association (VRCA) 2014 Silver Award of Excellence for their work on turning an aging commercial building into the new home of the Tonari Gumi Community Centre.  In a special news feature in the October 14-20, 2014 issue of the Association Newsletter, “Construction in Vancouver”, the author, Jean Sorensen,  under the headline, “INNOVATION: Manley Transforms Warehouse and Office into Japanese Seniors’ Centre”, stated as follows:

“Initially, the task seemed almost impossible: take an old, rundown, three-storey office with an adjoining two storey warehouse located half a kilometre uphill from the Olympic Village site and transform it into the modern Japanese Tonari Gumi Community Centre, an outreach facility that provides a warm and inviting atmosphere for Vancouver’s Japanese elderly.  And, do it within a budget that doesn’t go over $2 million (including taxes) and includes a complete retrofit for a seismic upgrade, new roof and sprinkler system.  And then, halfway through construction, factor in an elevator in the central core…Today, the street entrance leads to an inviting lounge done in blond maple wood, a gift shop, a commercial kitchen with walk-in freezer and an assembly area able to seat 100.  As well, there is an upstairs lending library, storage space, offices and a roughed-in area for extra activity.  The third floor offers rental space.”

Warm Welcome at Tonari Gumi

Warm Welcome at Tonari Gumi

The article also states that “warm-toned maple wood and shoji screen doors create inviting atmosphere at Tonari Gumi Community Centre”.

Yoneko Kusumoto Building Plaque

Yoneko Kusumoto Building Plaque

The article quotes Henry Wakabayashi, one of the centre’s key building advisers, “he said the centre retained a design company, which provided the interior design features that would make it inviting for Vancouver’s first-generation Japanese.”  David Iwaasa, Executive Director of the Japanese Community Volunteers Association, or Tonari Gumi as it is generally known in Japanese, was quoted as follows: “We had one very generous donor who contributed close to $2 million.  Tom Kusumoto and family contributed $1.75 million and then an additional $25,000, all in the name of his mother, Yoneko. A centre plaque in front of the building bears her name.”

For the complete article, go to page 10 at the following link: http://www.vrca.bc.ca/Marketing/Bulletin/1302_CIV_October2014.pdf.

 


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