Affordable Homes Crunch: Experts See Opportunities

Lower Mainland could be lab for innovative financing, planning, say BUILDEX panelists
By Jackie Wong,
February 15, 2013

The words “affordable home ownership” and “Vancouver” aren’t frequently uttered in the same breath, but some innovative local projects suggest the tides are turning — slowly. The discussions emerging from the Feb. 14 BuildEX Vancouver panel on living affordably in Greater Vancouver reflected what it is to live in this region; it’s a place of infinite, Russian doll-style contradictions underscored by a widely felt, sometimes cloudily articulated notion that somehow things can be better. More …

Under And Over The Granville Bridge

Novae Res Urbis – Vancouver
February 18, 2013

Expect to hear more about the Granville bridge: what will happen under it, built beside it, what changes could take place on top of it and to the north end of it. Westbank Project Corp.’s plan for Howe and Pacific, which is trisected by the bridge and its Howe and Seymour ramps, has a lot to do with it. Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group of Copenhagen, the project’s focal point is the 52-storey tower beside the western ramp, but much lies under the bridge, and includes plans for public space there. More …

Project Sidesteps Design Panel

Novae Res Urbis – Vancouver
February 18, 2013

The city’s first cohousing project and one of the first applications under the city’s new interim rezoning policy has been approved for a public hearing despite twice failing to get the support of the urban design panel. City council voted unanimously last week to send the rezoning application to a hearing after a city staff recommendation said it would provide more affordable housing. Approval would be subject to design development and other conditions. More …

Hotel Design Awards

Entries are still being accepted for the Air Canada enRoute Hotel Design Awards, which celebrate the best Canadian-designed hotels around the world. These awards recognize the outstanding achievements by Canadian architects and designers working in the hospitality realm. They are open to Canadian architects and designers working both in Canada and abroad, and encompass both new hotels and resorts as well as properties that have undergone extensive renovations. Eligible projects must have been completed between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012. There are 12 award categories, including Best Overall Hotel Architecture. Judging will be conducted by a panel of international jurors that includes Douglas Coupland, Matali Crasset, Moshe Safdie and Adam D. Tihany, Decisions will be based on the design’s creativity, aesthetic impact, functionality, comfort, sustainable features and innovation. Entry is free, and the deadline for submissions is March 1, 2013. For more information and to enter, visit

Going With the Flow

The Netherlands has held back the sea for centuries; now it is letting it in, as the Dutch realize they are facing a losing battle.
By Michael Kimmelman, New York Times
February 13, 2013 

When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York proposed the other day to spend up to $400 million to buy and raze homes in the floodplains damaged by Hurricane Sandy, I thought of Nol Hooijmaijers. Some dozen years ago the Dutch government ordered Mr. Hooijmaijers to vacate the farmland that he and his family shared with 16 other farmers so it could be turned into a river spillway for occasional floods. More …

VCC Wins WAN Award

The Vancouver Convention Centre West has been named recipient of the inaugural WAN Sustainable Building of the Year Award, given by World Architecture News to showcase exciting developments in environmentally-conscious design and construction. VCC West, designed in partnership by Vancouver’s Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership and DA Architects + Planners along with Seattle-based LMN Architects, was singled out for its success in fully engaging the urban ecosystem at the intersection of a vibrant downtown core and one of the most spectacular natural ecosystems in North America. Certified LEED® Canada Platinum, the project weaves together architecture, interior architecture and urban design in a unified whole that functions literally as a living part of both the city and the harbour, with an emphasis on spaces for both public and private events, gatherings and circulation. This project was also chosen for the 2011 WAN Effectiveness Award.