Our studio is moving into a new custom-built office space effective December 17th as we celebrate a significant milestone in growth with our expanded team of 30 people! The new space is built with state-of-the-art technologies, design features and end-of-trip facilities to create an even more collaborative in-person work environment, while supporting a hybrid in-office/work-from-home model.
The move into the new office parallels with our move into larger scale complex projects as we continue the pursuit of excellence in project delivery and client services while enriching our communities through architectural expression.
The new office will be housed in the new VMC + Affordable Housing mixed-use tower located at 1462 West 7th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6H 0C3.
Stay tuned for more information and images!
PROJECT UPDATE: Just West
The installation of the building envelope is well underway in our Just West Townhouses project. Passersby along West King Edward Avenue can now observe the painting of the white brick and black stucco cladding that will articulate the finishing architectural character of these six three-storey townhouses.
Sample mock-ups of the entry portals and deck railings have been installed on site for the team to evaluate on Building 1, which will inform the construction of these items for the remaining buildings. Other hardware, including the windows and doors, have also been put in place throughout the site now.
Stay tuned over the next few months as construction of these townhouse units continues to move towards completion!
This new four-storey wood-frame development, located on West King Edward and Oak Street in Vancouver, BC, provides 36 secured rental units, which will benefit from strong relationships to fresh air, natural light, landscape and usable outdoor space based on the building’s central courtyard and rooftop garden typology.
The unique multi-family rental housing project targets LEED Gold and is in its final stages of construction, where the exterior finishes are coming together, and work is ongoing in the interior. The design concept encapsulates a sense of community and living together, while the project further contributes to the City of Vancouver’s goal of improving the options and availability of affordable housing.
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.
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.
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.
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.