Sunday, July 25, 2010


Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden has been selected as architects of the new UBC AMS Student Union Building.
Two others firms had been short-listed in addition to HBBH+BH: Bing Thom Architects and Busby Perkins+Will. To the AMS's credit, the selection process was comprehensive and engaged.
Some first thoughts on the SUB design from HBBH+BH. See their SUB-specific website for full text:
"The new SUB will function like an agora - an arena for the community to express its values. It will be a space where student culture will flourish. Local values can be expressed in light of global concerns."
Sustainability was a key part of their submission, stressing a 'green' approach to the design. So was accessibility and transparency, particularly important given the student population who will be using the building. HBBH+HB also introduced the idea of a 'design cube' (pictured above) - an on-site office to work from to better engage the campus community.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bloedel Saved

Good news for the Bloedel Conservatory: in a solution that seems to make sense for all parties, the Vancouver park board has supported a proposal that will see the facility partner with Van Dusen Botanical Garden to ensure its long term viability. See the Vancouver Sun's coverage here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Douglas Coupland

This profile of Douglas Coupland's renovated second home in West Vancouver appeared in the New York Times last year.

Coupland is a master with colours, materials and reinterpretation, so it's interesting to see what he's done with a post and beamer. The upstairs becomes a pure white gallery/backdrop for colourful artwork, while the downstairs retains the warmth of wood and a mid-century aesthetic. The house is a logical extension of his multidisciplinary work, integrating art and architecture.

West Vancouver has an astounding architectural heritage that is slowly being obliterated; it's nice to see someone as high-profile as Coupland lead by example on the restoration front.

Photo: Martin Tessler.

Party For Architects: Summer

The latest Party For Architects is lined up for Thursday, July 15.

For the summer edition the location has shifted from Vancouver Special to Museum of Vancouver. The MOV, which has done a great job re-engaging with the cultural sector in the city, should be a good fit for the PFA.

As with past events, the evening will feature guest speakers, music and excellent conversation about our built environment. On the bill are Nick Sully and Alec Smith of Shape Architecture and dj Lucas.

As always, it's graciously hosted by Julian Carnrite, Mitra Mansour, Anne Pearson and Anant Topiwala. Things get underway at 7pm.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Modern House on Tour

The West Vancouver Museum and Archives is hosting its annual West Coast Modern House Tour tomorrow (Saturday July 10, 2010).

There's a nice crop of houses: RJ Thom's 1957 Southworth Residence (profiled earlier on Vancouver Lights); a 1964 Barry Downs and Fred Hollingsworth house (purchased by the Helliwell/Smith and subsequently renovated); Russell Hollingsworth's own home; the 1954 Erickson-designed Stegeman Residence, renovated by Brian Hemingway; and Erickson's iconic Smith Residence II (pictured above).

See today's Globe + Mail for a tour profile by Adele Weder.

Photo: Ezra Stoller/Esto

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Lantern Goes Out

See Frances Bula's
blog for a post about the recently kiboshed Lantern Residence that was part of West Vancouver's pilot project for infill housing.

A sensitive piece of architecture designed by Barry Downs, it would have been an ideal starting point for density in the municipality and a fitting testament to Downs' mastery of site. If council can't work up the courage to move ahead confidently on a proposal this strong, it begs asking what they are waiting for.

Bula's blog has the full text of Rick Gruneau's letter explaining their decision to withdraw from the project.

Disappointing all around: for the clients, Barry Downs and West Vancouver.

Lionel Thomas: Abstractions

The West Vancouver Museum + Archives is currently running an exhibition on the work of Lionel Thomas.

The West Coast Modernist painter and sculptor contributed immensely to Vancouver's public art. His work appears all over the city, exhibiting a dynamic connection with the architecture it inevitably appears alongside.

Lionel Thomas: Abstractions 1949-1990 focuses on the artists' little-seen abstract painted works and runs until August 28, 2010.