PROJECT UPDATE: Vancouver Masonic Centre + Affordable Housing

The Vancouver Masonic Centre + Affordable Housing project had a successful Occupancy Review with the City of Vancouver last week, which means that 150 units of housing are becoming available to a city that desperately needs them!

This past month enjoyed an accelerated completion of finishing details that completed the building’s form and character. Metal cladding, limestone cladding, patio paving, tile work and guardrails have all come to completion. Final touches of landscaping installations have completely transformed the worksite into an urban oasis, with trees, shrubs and sedums animating the interior courtyard “mews”, and the nine levels of green roof spaces that terrace up around it. Civil and landscape sidewalks along 7th and 8th Avenue connect the interior courtyards and entrances to the neighborhood streets and sidewalks.

While we are proud of the contribution that the building makes to the Vancouver skyline, and enjoy discovering the various vantage points in the city that disclose the tower’s iconic white, columnar cladding, we are also very pleased to be making a societal impact in contributing to the provision of affordable housing for the City of Vancouver.

Learn more about the Vancouver Masonic Centre + Affordable Housing project.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Newest Associates at SHAPE Architecture

Please join us as we congratulate and welcome our newest associates, Nathan Webster and Mehran Parnian.

Nathan has garnered over 20 years of industry experience and has been with SHAPE Architecture for over two years. He has successfully continued project delivery for multi-family housing and mixed-use facilities, and is currently involved in multiple projects including a significant not-for-profit Passive House project for The United Church of Canada.

Mehran has over 16 years of experience in the industry and has demonstrated exemplary leadership and design skills in his past year at SHAPE Architecture. He is currently working on multiple projects including a mixed-use student housing facility at the University Endowment Lands.

As new associates, both Nathan and Mehran will continue to share their extensive experience in design and construction with our team. Their passion for architecture contributes to our dynamic design process and will continue to support SHAPE Architecture as we grow and strengthen both new and existing relationships with the clients, design professionals and communities that we collaborate with.

Learn more about our team here.


PROJECT UPDATE: Morrison on the Park Townhouses

Below-grade construction is moving quickly on the Morrison on the Park Townhouses, located south of our Morrison Townhouses project. Pouring of concrete walls has begun to take plan on site following its excavation, and the formwork for interior concrete walls and reinforcements is in progress. The concrete walls have been shotcrete on the north + east ends of the site and is advancing westward with the formwork and reinforcements.

About a third of the concrete columns are in now place for the P2 level, and excavation and installation of the mechanical sump and oil interceptor was observed in progress as well. A few others are on site awaiting installation.

Learn more about the project here, and stay tuned as the below-grade concrete work develops over the next months!

Skylights: Illuminating Insights into Townhouses

Natural light has always been an essential component in the design of buildings and architecture—the element not only evokes uplifting sentiments of calmness and well-being, but also allows interior spaces to feel more open and inviting. Through its flexibility also comes opportunities for expression: from the shape to the angle of how light can be brought into a building, it is crucial for our team to consider strategic and unexpected intersections of design and light during early schematic phases.

At SHAPE Architecture, skylights continue to be key instruments for controlling and enhancing the quantity of light being let in and its distribution throughout spaces. Placed high above the floor, they allow the light to diffuse significantly before it reaches the ground. By incorporating skylights as focal points of the design, we can create remarkable moments for daylight to enter from above and provide visual comfort for spaces that cannot be adequately lit by windows along the exterior envelope (e.g., spaces at the center of the building where light from exterior windows cannot reach).

This lighting concept becomes critical as we continue to develop and refine the townhouse typology within our projects. For stacked townhouses, we have often integrated skylights with the design of roof accesses to significantly improve the living qualities of the residential units—allowing them to have higher ceilings to permit better access to natural air and daylight thru the depth of the plan. These roof access designs also help in the servicing of green roofs atop the stacked townhouses and provide much needed private outdoor amenity space for the individual units.

Check out how we have incorporated such lighting strategies in our Just West Townhouses, The Morrison Townhouses, Morrison on the Park Townhouses, and Revive Townhouses.

PROJECT UPDATE: Cancer Prevention and Survivorship Centre

SHAPE Architecture’s Cancer Prevention and Survivorship Centre is set to complete in June, with lodge patients inhabiting the building in July. While there are many aspects of the building that could be focused on, the feature Atrium Staircase is nearing completion and worth taking a closer look at for its process from concept to reality.

The various trades that made up the construction team involved in constructing the stair was just as complex as the stair composition itself. The stair assembly is comprised of structural steel stringers with a concrete deck, from which precast concrete is placed on top. The stair guards are made up of steel stub support posts and light gauge steel stud infill, and they are cladded with a white oak millwork. The complexity of assembling the various components was amplified due to the confined space the team had to work within.

The stair is the glue between the component parts of the building. It provides breakout spaces at each level to allow for moments of repose, chance encounter, and social interaction. It animates the building by bridging the gap between the various groups that inhabit it. Stay tuned as we approach completion of the entire building in the next months!

Hearths in the Home

Traditionally the corner stone of a home, hearths are rife with symbolism and synonymous with light, warmth, food and protection. However, technological advancements in home heating over the last half century have rendered their place in most homes largely obsolete. As we strive towards greater energy efficiencies through air tightness and increased insulation the case for the inclusion of hearths in a home becomes increasingly difficult given their inefficiencies.

At the same time, there is perhaps an intrinsic desire within the human psyche for a hearth in the home. A focal point for people to gather around, away from the distractions of technology. Balancing these seemingly opposing interests has been a pleasing challenge for us as we have begun schematic design work on a large energy efficient home for a client in Whistler. The project sits on a sloping site and will likely be spread across multiple floors with a strong emphasis on vertical circulation.

Early concepts and conversations have centered around how a hearth should function within the home, what purpose is it serving serve and where. Due to the non-combustible nature of a hearth, it’s material lends it toward being a key structural component of the house. Placement within the layout is critical not just structurally but also in how it determines the flow of spaces, frames views and how it is expressed both internally and externally. We are exploring a concept of a large structural anchor in the house serving as a hearth, a mass which could house multiple fireplaces across a number of floors. This mass thereby becomes the pivot or centre of the home, consolidating the fireplaces in one area will also hopefully allow us greater control of the openings, mitigating against the inefficiencies associated with hearths and energy losses.

PROJECT UPDATE: The Willow Townhouses

SHAPE Architecture have recently submitted a Building Permit for eleven townhouses as part of the Cambie Corridor Plan. The project challenges the typical apartment / stacked townhouse typology by developing a series of ‘sky suites’ that allow a more equal allocation of space for every unit. As the first phase of three developments in it’s immediate neighbourhood, the proposed design uses careful changes in materiality and massing to integrate with both the existing scale of its context and the future redevelopment of the area.

PROJECT UPDATE: Just West Townhouses

With all of the framing that has now gone up around the site, it is hard to miss the fast-paced construction of Just West Townhouses as you drive along W King Edward Avenue. The project consists of 6 three storey townhouses configured around a central mews, which provides a visual and pedestrian connection from W King Edward Avenue to the lane.

Here are some views of the envelope work that is beginning to take place on site: application of the air and vapour barrier has begun on Building 1, as well as the installation of the windows and other hardware. Plumbing and ductwork has also been put in place, and mechanical and electrical penetrations can be observed. Preparation is underway for the metal planters and AC units that will be located on the roof levels next to the doghouses.

Keep an eye out as the project continues to progress. To learn more, click here.

NEW PROJECT: Bloom Townhouses

SHAPE has recently submitted a Building Permit for a development of 27 residential units sited at the South West corner of West 23rd Avenue at Yukon Street. The site massing consists of four buildings of two and three storey structures around a generous central courtyard, with access to units at street level and at Level 2.

The architectural design looks to use a simple palette of brick and glazing, stretching the brick course in specific locations to provide more privacy but maintain natural light into these spaces. On the top floor, large glazed lightwells are sunken into the floorplate—providing more light into the living spaces and a small informal external space in addition to the substantial open roof terraces. The ground-oriented units allow for an enhanced streetscape with planter lined individual entries that delineate the public-private realm.

Click here to learn more about the project and stay tuned as it develops!

AWARD: South Haven Cemetery Awarded Prairie Wood Design Awards 2021

SHAPE Architecture’s South Haven Cemetery was recently awarded with the Prairie Wood Design Awards 2021.

The Prairie Wood Design Awards celebrates leaders in sustainable design across the prairies and projects that showcase our proud heritage of wood construction and create legacies within our communities. Rory Koska, Program Director of Alberta Wood WORKS!, has stated, “This year’s award winners showcase ingenuity and creativity in new construction and an affinity for wood by not demolishing buildings but celebrating wood in the restoration of history through engineering and craftsmanship.”

To read the full article, click here. To learn more about the project, click here.