Making

Collaborative Craft

Deploying an iterative process of investigation into material properties, detail connections and structural systems, leads to an understanding of the construction of architecture that directly informs the larger concept. To facilitate this understanding, we repeatedly form alliances with fabricators, artists, and builders to understand the implications and opportunities to integrate these ideas into the architecture.

Practice

Place and Structure

We are fundamentally interested in design which reflects the patterns and structure of its specific place. The patterns one finds in nature and imprinted on the landscape are specific responses to climate, sun-angle and topography. We believe that the harmonics and specific genius loci of place are at the heart of an authentic formal design response and that this can best be understood through a lens of structure.

Community Regeneration

SHAPE Architecture’s motivation to ensure that efficient design contributes to the development of highly-charged urban places was tested initially in a number of award-winning community-based residential commissions. These projects have been developed alongside larger scaled civic and academic buildings which share the desire to regenerate and improve our urban environment.

Void Space

As people live closer together and access to individualized private space becomes a precious commodity; civic hubs, community centres, libraries, pools and schools are becoming increasingly significant to the day to day health of communities. Void space is an important component of a successful civic matrix. We believe that in counterpoint to the tight adjacencies of an increasingly dense urban experience are the need for charged pathways connecting the city, which promote areas of relative quiet, where time has the opportunity to populate and energize.

Process

Contextual Mapping

Our initial process could be summarized as an intense period of mapping. At SHAPE Architecture, the foundation of a good design process starts with exploring and representing the contextual structures and patterns which underlie the places within which we design; site, landscape, light, wind, local methods of construction, the property plat of the City. Through writing, photography, video, hand-drawing and model making, our studio collects and interprets the physical and topological aspects of site, community, culture, planning bylaws, and economics before we begin to delineate the architecture which will emerge.

Responsive Design

The “mapping” of a project continues during the detailed design and further development of the scheme. We prefer a heuristic rather than prescriptive approach to design. We don’t know the end point when we begin, but we have to start somewhere. Our design process allows redirection, correction, and redefinition of a design problem at every phase of the design process.

Awards + Publications

Architectural Institute of British Columbia Awards

Lieutenant-Governor Medal for Architecture:
Guildford Aquatic Centre

2016

Royal Architectural Institute of Canada: National Urban Design Awards

Urban Architecture Award:
Union Street EcoHeritage

2016

British Columbia Library Association Awards

Merit Award:
Bob Prittie Metrotown Library

2016

City of Vancouver: Heritage Awards

Award of Recognition:
Union Street EcoHeritage

2015

City of Vancouver: Urban Design Awards

Special Jury Award:
Densification in Place
Outstanding Sustainable Design
Union Street EcoHeritage

2014

2013

Royal Architectural Institute of Canada: Advocacy Awards

Architecture Canada Advocacy in Architecture Award:
Dwayne Smyth

2012

Western Living: Designers of the Year

One To Watch Eco Design:
SHAPE Architecture

2011