Party for Architects

Reading Vancouver Lights as I do, I found out that Vancouver Special is hosting a second Party for Architects. Too bad that it is at the same time as Cantu/Living Space/Midland event. How is a girl to decide?

By the way, more posts about actual buildings are coming up. Stay tuned.


Que Sera, Surrey

If any of you have been keeping an eye on this city then you know that for a while Trevor Boddy has been insinuating that he is working on a top-secret significant competition for some time. Well - the cat's out of the bag! Inspired by Formshift in name - and more? - Townshift was announced early this week.

Trevor Boddy presenting Townshift.

The competition's prizes will total $75,000 distributed among 11 winners. There are five different design areas as challenges. I will not provide much more detail as I would be competing with an exceptionally thorough overview by the re:place magazine.

Additional good sources of info since townshift.ca is not quite useful yet:
- GlobalBC story complete with a video
- BC Local (more details specifically regarding the competition)
- “Never having to say you're Surrey” « Price Tags

The notion of addressing suburb cities in a design ideas competition is interesting, although it is not as much a design problem as it is a planning, zoning, infrastructure, and economics problem. Let's design away anyway - so that they can be prize-ponied during the Olympics and then shelved (see referenced links above) - for the glory of it all!


Events _White, Pallasmaa, Sabattino

Three lectures coming up, all very exciting!

Mason White this Wednesday, October 22, at 6:30 pm in UBC's Lasserre 104.

Juhani Pallasmaa on November 2, Playhouse Theatre, 6:30.

Michelangelo Sabattino on Arthur Erickson on November 22, Vancity Theatre, 7pm. $75 (students $25)

...and we are back!

That was one looooong vacation.


Prefab 20*20 Competition

June 15th is the deadline for the early bird registration. So... tomorrow. Hurry, this is yet another fantastic international/local opportunity to showcase your talents to the world. Blurb:

As part of LivingDensity Exhibition and Forum, and in collaboration the Architectural Institute of British Columbia, Azure Magazine, and Interior Design Show West, Architecture For Humanity Vancouver proudly presents PREFAB 20*20: Visions For 400 Square Foot Homes, An International Open Ideas Competition.

Open to all designers, architects, engineers, artists and students around the world, PREFAB 20*20 challenges you to propose a free-standing, prefab dwelling unit for a footprint no more than 400sf (37.5sm) in an urban setting anywhere in the world. Fit for two adults, its basic program shall include sleeping, bathing, cooking, living, working/studying, and storage areas. Entrants are free to deviate from the basic program but justification must be included.

Click here to learn more.


'tis the season of the tour announcements!

West Van Tour 2008 - Ron Thom's Baker Forrest House:
The ultimate wine reception destination

Yay! Tours!

Heads up came from Vancouver Lights Blog today on the big modern residential tours of Vancouver. One is organized by the West Vancouver Museum and the other by Vancouver Heritage Foundation.

The West Van one runs on July 11 and all visitors will be bused around and there is a wine reception at the end with door prizes . $100.

Vancouver Heritage has theirs on October 3, as well bus and wine here too. $100. + 4 Core LUs.

Last year's West Van tour was fantastic, I architecture-geeked out every second of it. I really recommend it . Unfortunately, I missed the other tour, but it is praised highly by Vancouver Lights.

Lastly, I have no idea as to the line up of either(other than Harbour House by Helliwell+Smith: Blue Sky Architecture is the headliner for the West Van tour), but watch this space - who knows I might be able to shed some light on this later...

International competition: Self-sufficient City

Not Vancouver-related, but fun. This landed in my inbox today and I am passing it on:

We are organizing the 3rd Advanced Architecture Contest, envisioning the habitat of the future. The aim of this international competition is to promote online discussion and research through which to generate insights and visions, ideas and proposals that help us envisage what the city and the habitat of the 21st century will be like.
The competition is open to architects, planners, designers and artists who want to contribute to progress in making the world more habitable by developing a proposal capable of responding to emerging challenges in areas such as ecology, information technology, socialization and globalization, with a view to enhancing the connected self-sufficiency of our cities.



VAG has Andreas Gursky on now.

Winners of Where's the Square

The summer is here, the posts are few and sporadic...

A few days ago the winners of the Where's the Square competition were announced and that saga has ended. For me it was the locations that the entrants have selected, rather than the designs themselves, that determined how convinced I was of success of each entry. Many locations did not 'speak of what it means to be "Vancouver" ' (per competition brief) to me. Here is where the competition played a trick on all its ambitious entrants - unless one has selected the perfect site, the design itself seems secondary. And selecting such a site proved to be very, very, very hard indeed!


The jury unanimously selected an entry - this one did not even appear on the shortlist - by Mark Ashby Architecture and Greenskins Lab (Mark Ashby, Kevin King, Isabel Kunigk, and Daniel Roehr). That name would be good for a band of some sorts, too. Their entry entitled "The Band" envisioned a linear space running by the BC Place; along that space would centre various cultural institutions and the like. These institutions sequentially program a certain stretch along "the band". Unfortunately, it is VAG's new location - taken for granted, but now in peril -that determined along with GM Place the location for "the band". The band - complete with garden plots, market/cafe, farmer's market infrastructure, interactive light standards, permanent umbrellas, and a floating island - would have connected the downtown with the seawall, allowing the existing building to stay in its path thus creating "interesting programmatic tensions".

The very few and very tiny images released by VPSN :

( Dear VPSN,
Please send me bigger images!
I asked nicely earlier, and...
Pretty please?)

People's Choice Awards went to:
#1 - Vancouver Carpet by Hapa Collection (Joe Fry, Xenia Semeniuk, and Doron Fishman)
#2 - Waterfront Square by MPA Design ( Michael Alexander and Michael Painter)


Image Post: Gould Residence by Splyce

Initially setting out to give an overview of works by Nigel Parish ( Splyce ) , I decided very soon thereafter that there are simply too many images of his projects that I would like to post. So ... Today there is just this one; more later.

Parish has received a Bronze 2008 IDIBC Award of Excellence for the renovation of this West Vancouver home. Simple graceful exterior with Parish's characteristically thorough approach to interior design and detailing. Click on an individual image to enlarge it:

(by the way, love the shoes in the photo above, left - just like
the fish in one of Le Corbusier's photos. Cheeky)

All images splyce.ca


Image Post: Eagle Road House

Eagle Road House in West Vancouver by Helliwell + Smith: Blue Sky Architecture. Click images to enlarge.

This 2008 house might be joining this year's West Vancouver Museum House Tour roster. *fingers crossed*

All images are by Gillean Proctor and Blue Sky Architecture.


Awards news!!!

Washrooms (Bruce Carscadden)

During the gala this weekend, AIBC handed out the awards for 2009. Here is the breakdown:

Lieutenant-Governor Medals:
Arts & Social Sciences 1 and Blusson Hall complex, SFU, Burnaby
Busby Perkins + Will Architects

Washrooms (Kensington Park, Robert Burnaby Park, and Swalwell Park)
Bruce Carscadden Architect Inc.

Lieutenant-Governor Merit Awards:
Chimo Aquatic and Fitness Centre
Hughes Condon Marler: Architects

North Vancouver City Library
Diamond and Schmitt Architects (Toronto) and CEI

Whistler Public Library
Hughes Condon Marler: Architects

AIBC Innovation Award:

"22" Series
Omer Arbel for Bocci

AIBC Special Jury Award:
Dockside Green_Synergy
Busby Perkins + Will Architects

AIBC Emergind Firm Award (new!):
JWT Architecture and Planning (interesting choice)

Source Canadian Architect


Where's the square? shortlist

Vote for the people's choice entry and and view all the shortlisted entries here now.


Harmony House

In 2006 Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CMHC for short, of course) launched EQuilibrium, a program that was meant to get developers and builders to envision demonstration houses that focus on principles of sustainablity:
-occupant health and comfort,
-energy efficiency,
-energy production,
-resources conservation,
-reduced environmental impact, and
-last but certainly not least, affordability.
Designs are entered into a competition and the winning entries are built. In addition to having the winning entries built, the designers receive $60,000 to cover design costs, management, and commisioning of the project. Since the initiative's inception, six projects have been completed and are/were open to public as show pieces (they are sold once the tour period is over).

Earlier this year, it was announced that two out of this year's three winning entries originate in British Columbia, and one of these in Vancouver. It is a two-storey, 3,500 sf "Harmony House" envisioned by Vancouver's Habitat Design & Insightful Building Technologies. Harmony House has a separate in-law suite and a space for a home office. Designed as an integrated system, it boasts -
- light shelves and reflective surfaces
- skylights and ample window area
- rainwater harvesting
- wind and stack driven cooling tower
- solar system
Besides being the first EQuilibrium home to be built in Vancouver, Harmony also has the distinction of being the only project of all CMHC winning entries that is aesthetically anywhere near the twenty first century.

Unfortunately, the image above is all the graphic info that I can either provide or obtain two months after Diane Finlay's announcement of the winners. It seems that CMHC is somewhat lacking in public awareness/marketing department. It is sad to see such a worthy initiative barely rise above obscurity as far as the general public is concerned. Time and money should also be allocated to generate interest and awareness - updating the website every month or so, making it less "goverment" or setting up a separate dedicated one, embracing the pesky "new" online media, etc. This post could certainly do with a few more drawings and some engaging renderings.

Kudos to CMHC for the initiative - now put your mouth where your money is!


Image Post: FormShift Winners

Primary category winner: Sturgess Architects, Calgary

secondary category winner: Romses Architects, Vancouver

wild card category winner: go Design, Vancouver

primary category honourable mention:
Garon Sebastien and Chris Foyd, Vancouver

primary category honourable mention:
Romses Architects, Vancouver

secondary category honourable mention:
Acme Architecture, Santa Barbara

secondary category honourable mention:
CMO, Vancouver

wild card category honourable mention:
GBL Architects Inc, Vancouver

wild card category honourable mention:
Brian Wakelin, Vancouver

wild card category honourable mention:
Idette de Boer & Magali Bailey, Vancouver

wild card category honourable mention:
Wang Yiming, Burnaby*

images via the Tyee

* Who says bloggers don't actually create content? Congratulations to Wang Yiming not only on his honourable mention but on his well-read blog Yworkshop as well. It has been in the blogroll (to the right) pretty much since my blog began - a must read for Vancouver architecture enthusiasts.

As of now all entries can be seen as pdf files on FormShift website. Thanks for the tip, 'anonymous'!


Form Shift winners

go's submission for Wild Card

primary/arterial category:
- Sturgess Architects, Calgary
secondary/residential category:
- Romses Architects, Vancouver
wild card category:
- go Design, Vancouver

Honorable mentions:
primary/arterial category:
- Garon Sebastien and Chris Foyd, Vancouver
- Romses Architects, Vancouver
secondary/residential category:
- Acme Architecture, Santa Barbara
- CMO, Vancouver
wild card category:
- GBL Architects Inc, Vancouver
- Brian Wakelin, Vancouver
- Idette de Boer & Magali Bailey, Vancouver
- Wang Yiming, Burnaby

Check out Frances Bula's post on the topic, complete with Brent Toderian's input in the comments!


Quotable Erickson

I thought I'd share a few interesting Arthur Erickson quotes (on the nature of architecture's role in everyday culture) that I found in Edith Iglauer's Seven Stones: A Portrait of Arthur Erickson, Architect:
- Everything I do, everything I see is through architecture. It has given me a vehicle for looking at the world. I am not involved in the aesthetics of architecture or interested in design as such. I'm interested in what buildings can do beyond what they look like, and how they can affect whole areas of people's lives. I have never done a building where I didn't attempt to see it in a new philosophical or social way. I could have asked questions in any field, but I am doing it through my buildings. Now I want to build with all details suppressed, to make what I build look as if it had just happened - as if there was nothing studied, no labour or art involved. (p. 19)

- Architects are so rarely aware of their own power of communication , and therefore most of what we see is indifferent building, which nevertheless affects us by its indifference. (p.60).
And if you would like to find out how Erickson waged a war on the raccoons that fished in his koi pond, who won, and how the black swans got involved along the way as well as the neighbour's cat - you'll have to grab the book yourself for that epic tale.

And some international news I could not possibly omit on this local architecture blog - one of my architectural heroes has finally picked up a Pritzker Prize. Congratulations to Peter Zumthor!

Zumthor's therme in Vals