Parks Make us Smarter — Science Proves it!

By Henry Grabar, Salon
September 21, 2013

Last year, a group of Edinburgh architecture researchers asked a dozen students to take a walk. They began on a tree-lined shopping drag, turned along the tranquil northern edge of the Meadows, one of the city’s larger parks, and wound up in a busy commercial district some half-hour later. The pastoral section of an otherwise urban jaunt, the researchers found, induced a significant increase in meditative thinking. This may not strike you as a novel discovery. Thanks to Henry Thoreau’s trip to Walden Pond, Teddy Roosevelt’s sojourn in the Badlands, and America’s other legends of retreat, the idea that nature has restorative powers is deeply embedded in our culture. Science is in support: A raft of studies credit bucolic settings with reducing aggression, alleviating depression, and improving mental function. More …

IDIBC Awards

The Interior Designers Institute of British Columbia’s 2013 Awards of Excellence were handed out on September 20, 2013, with a strong AIBC representation. Awards were given in nine categories. Nine projects were honoured with the IDIBC Award of Excellence, while 18 others received awards of merit. The prestigious Robert Ledingham Award (formerly Best in Show, renamed in memory of the renowned Vancouver interior designer who passed away earlier this year) was presented to Kasian Architecture Interior Design & Planning for its Esker Foundation Gallery. Other awards include:

  • Public and Institutional Spaces Category: Esker Foundation Gallery (Kasian Architecture Interior Design & Planning)
  • Food and Beverage Category:  Project Bosk Restaurant (mcfarlane green biggar architecture + design, now office of mcfarlane biggar architects + designers and Michael Green Architecture)

President’s Message

Picking up on the efforts of the previous AIBC Council, your current council representatives have carried forth the development of a five-year strategic plan that will guide council decision-making for the coming years. Amongst the agreed-upon priorities is pursuit of modernized legislation to govern the profession in this province.

It’s a goal that was pursued by previous councils with little in the way of success before being put onto the back-burner as the institute dealt with other, internal matters. However, the current message from members – expressed directly to council through the recent survey and voiced loudly at the 2013 Annual Meeting – is that such efforts should be resumed. It is a direction upon which your elected council is in agreement.

Recently, an AIBC delegation made its way to Victoria to discuss with government representatives the possibility of revisions to the Architects Act. On August 26, Executive Director Mike Ernest, AIBC Council Member Gord Richards and I met with Joe Thompson, a former Lieutenant Governor Appointee to council who happens to be Assistant Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Advanced Education. Also in attendance were current LG Appointees Mark Zacharias and Steve Simons, and AIBC Council Member Catherine Nickerson who works in the ministry. The central purpose of the meeting was to review the legislative process in Victoria and to seek guidance on how best to communicate with the government regarding legislative change.

The meeting was both informative and insightful. It was also a bit of a reality check.

The effort required to bring about legislative change is significant. In a very simplistic overview, there is a three-step process for getting a law enacted. First, a Request for Legislation is developed and approved by the minister responsible. This is, in essence, a policy paper that outlines the public interest for the proposed law including a benefits/risks analysis.

Once the request is approved, Legislative Council is then directed to draft the proposed law. The third step is debate in the provincial legislature, with various readings and committee work.

On average, it takes at least three years to complete the process – with no guarantees of success. As an example of the volume of requests for legislation our provincial government receives, the next spring sitting in Victoria has allocated a total of 20 bills to be brought before the house, selected from some 120 requests based on the priorities of the government. This is common for each sitting of the house.

Here’s another bit of sobering news: in the next sitting of the house, the Ministry of Advanced Education – our ministry – has not been allocated any of its bills to be introduced.

As architects, it is understandable that we would expect that priority should be given to our act, which is now approaching 100 years of age. However, there are many existing laws that also urgently need revision. As an example: it was described during our meeting that the government has been working on a new Waters Act – a piece of legislation likely to have a profound impact on a majority of B.C. citizens. The current Waters Act is more than 100 years old. The provincial government has been working on its revisions for three years now.

I do not want to give the impression of being pessimistic. In truth, we are well-positioned for positive and meaningful dialogue with government. Though no longer part of AIBC Council, Joe has indicated his willingness to assist the Institute and the profession in bringing matters to the attention of our minister. In addition, Steve, Mark and Catherine are in direct daily contact in Victoria.

In our meeting, we also discussed a new act versus substantial revision to the existing act. It was agreed that a request for major revisions to the Act probably stood a better chance for success. A major revision would likely entail changes to 1/3 to 1/2 of the existing clauses, of which our act has 85.

Moving forward, we are pleased to have been given an introductory meeting with our new minister this week. However, it is not likely to present an opportunity to discuss our interest in legislative renewal in any depth. To that end, we hope to meet with our deputy minister, preferably by the end of the year, followed ideally with a focused meeting with the minister in April or May, during the spring sitting of the house.

The next question is, “What revisions do we want?” It has been a difficult time for B.C.’s architectural profession of late, with much time and energy spent dealing with various contentious issues that themselves have ramifications for any potential reworking of our governing legislation. The signal from our members is loud and clear: Now is the time to put the past behind us and start a productive, meaningful dialogue focused on how our collective future can and should be crafted. If there is any one direction with the potential to impact our profession well into the future, it is act renewal and the possibilities that flow from it.

What act revisions do you think should be pursued? How best should your council communicate with the membership on this matter? We are seeking direct input from you, our members.

I encourage you to share your personal thoughts on act renewal, including whatever concerns you might have, and how best you’d like us to proceed. You can do so via e-mail to As always, you can also contact me directly at any time.

Council will be deliberating on this topic in the weeks and months ahead. In addition, over the coming year council will be scheduling opportunities to meet and hear directly from members and associates, on this important direction as well as whatever other professional concerns might be on your minds. It is part of this council’s renewed commitment to engaging with the membership, another of the priorities identified in our new five-year strategic plan … which itself will be shared with the membership in the days and weeks ahead.

I look forward to hearing from you, and to involving you in this important process.


Scott Kemp  Architect AIBC
AIBC Council President

Breakfast Panel: Best Practices on Energy Efficiency

The City of Vancouver, Carbon Talks and the Canadian Passive House Institute invite you to attend a breakfast presentation on Municipal Best Practices on Energy Efficiency for Existing Buildings. The city’s “Greenest City Action Plan” (GCAP) includes a commitment to reduce energy use in buildings and greenhouse gas emissions by 20% below 2007 levels by 2020. With that in mind, the city has partnered with BC Hydro and the Consulate of the United States in Vancouver to host representatives from leading U.S. jurisdictions to share experiences on best practices for municipal policies and programs that encourage energy efficiency in existing buildings. Energy reporting and disclosure of energy performance is a key policy action being implemented by municipal climate action leaders in the United States. The launch of the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager tool in Canada in July 2013 presents an opportunity for local private and public sector leadership. Be there to hear representatives from the cities of Austin New York, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle, along with speakers from the Institute of Market Transformation and Lawrence Berkeley Labs, share information about developing and implementing building energy benchmarking policies and programs. It happened Friday, October 27 as part of the Passive House North 2013 Conference,  7:15 – 8:15 a.m. at the Westin Bayshore, 1601 Bayshore Drive, Vancouver. Admissions is $37.50 (free for conference registrants) and includes access to the conference exhibit. Contact Jaclyn Jimenez at

An Architectural Eyesore or a Potential Masterpiece? Proposed Building For False Creek Could Divide The City

By Sam Cooper, The Province
September 22, 2013

If a complex rezoning is approved, an awkward jigsaw-puzzle of urban lots under the north side of Vancouver’s Granville Bridge could give rise to a twisted 152-metre beehive of a tower that has the city’s art and architecture crowd panting with desire. The 52-floor tower design by Danish superstar architect Bjarke Ingels — part Bladerunner, part modern sculpture — would be such an exclamation point amid Vancouver’s monotone sheet-glass condo towers, that some see it as a pivotal opportunity in the city’s evolution. More …

SFU City Program: How Photography Can Enhance the Professional Practice of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design

Photography can enhance proposals, provide more accurate site and context evaluation, clarify and improve all kinds of communications, reduce time and construction costs, record progress, assist post-occupancy surveys, and help win awards. Led by instructor Richard Hulbert, this one-day course will provide a basic understanding of how people visually perceive the environment around them, and illustrate how photography can improve your photography skills and final products. It happens Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at SFU Harbour Centre, 555 West Hastings Street, Vancouver. The cost is $252. Click here to register online

7.5 Non-core LUs

SFU City Program Fall 2013 Urban Design Courses: Implementation Methods

One important challenge faced by today’s urban designers is that, when measuring their final products against the urban design plans, design guidelines, and comprehensive community input, the results are often disappointing, and at times unacceptable. So what goes wrong? This course will focus on the implementation of urban design projects in dynamic and often complex situations. Through discussions, case studies and exercises, participants will learn new tools and techniques to help ensure successful implementation of their projects. It takes place Friday and Saturday, December 6-7, 2013, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at SFU Harbour Centre, 555 West Hastings Street, Vancouver. $650 to register. Click here.

14 Non-core LUs

SFU City Program Fall 2013 Urban Design Courses: Economic Fundamentals

Traditionally, there has been a significant gap between financial analysts and urban designers. This two-day course will help to close this gap by introducing the important relationships that exist between economics and urban design. The first day will introduce the tools and techniques of land economics analysis. The second day will focus on applying these tools through a variety of current case studies that are relevant to urban design and planning practice. The details: Friday and Saturday, November 15-16, 2013, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at SFU Harbour Centre, 555 West Hastings Street, Vancouver. The registration fee is $650. click here.

14 Non-core LUs

SFU City Program Fall 2013 Urban Design Courses: Visual Communication

Drawing and visual communication skills are essential in urban design. In this hands-on course, participants will learn and practice graphic techniques that will enhance one’s ability to communicate ideas visually. Explore how to effectively use graphics for different audiences in the urban design process. If you’re a novice, this course will increase your confidence by leaps and bounds as you learn the basics of line and form drawing, colour, and perspective techniques. If you’re more experienced, this course will be a good refresher that will also address more advanced drawing and presentation techniques. It happens Friday and Saturday, October 25-26, 2013, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at SFU Harbour Centre, 555 West Hastings Street, Vancouver. The cost is $650. For details and to sign up, click here.

14 Non-core LUs

SFU City Program Fall 2013 Urban Design Courses: Theory & Practice

Our buildings and spaces need to fit our urban, social, and economic environments. This intensive urban design course draws from many disciplines — architecture, ecology, economics, engineering, real estate development, landscape architecture, planning, and sociology — to find that fit. Building on the experience and insight of many specialists who play a role in urban design, as well as our students’ individual and collective knowledge, participants will use the city as a studio for the careful examination of space and built form. Instructors include Frank Ducote, Frank Ducote Urban Design; Michael Gordon, City of Vancouver; Scot Hein, City of Vancouver; and Michael von Hausen, MVH Urban Planning and Design. This two-day course runs Friday and Saturday, September 27-29, 2013, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at SFU Harbour Centre, 555 West Hastings Street, Vancouver. The cost is $650. For more information and to register, click here.

14 Core LUs

Simon Fraser University

SFU City Program: Urban Design Certificate

Taught by renowned practitioners and industry leaders, the SFU’s Urban Design Certificate equips mid-career professionals with the right tools to create positive changes in their communities. Our hands-on programs feature eight two- and three-day intensive courses. The application deadline for the Fall 2013 cohort has been extended to September 25, 2013, so there is still time to apply. For more information, click here.

Tiling Specifications Guide

The Terrazzo, Tile & Marble Association of Canada, part of the AIBC’s Registered Educational Provider Program, has developed a new tool that may be of value to the architectural community. The TTMAC Tiling Guide Specification 2013 is a practical tool to assist in editing specifications needed to describe the installation and performance requirements of ceramic and stone tile. The master specification is in an editable format, allowing architects, interior designers and specifiers to easily customize the document to suit the unique requirements of any project. Click here for the free, downloadable document.

AIBC Council Meeting Summary: September 10, 2013

At its most recent meeting on Tuesday, September 10, AIBC Council considered a wide range of matters including:

  • A submission from its Strategic Planning Committee that brought forth a five-year strategic plan for AIBC Council. Council endorsed the plan, which identifies five goals of priority concern: Modernized Regulatory Regime; Vibrant membership; Regulatory Identity: Public Interest Outreach; and Institutional Excellence. Effort will now focus on implementing the plan, including a detailed operation plan that supports council’s goals and priorities. Click to view the 2014-18 AIBC Strategic Plan.
  • Approval of a Registration Board motion, in keeping with directions brought forth by Associates Resolutions Task Force, that will see only three categories of associates within the institute: Architectural Technologist; Intern Architect; and Retired Architect. This decision also does away with the previous “.AIBC” title for associate categories. These changes are to come into effect January 1, 2014. Detailed information regarding the transition will be shared with membership, the public and others directly affected in the coming weeks.
  • Approval of new rules governing the institute’s professional conduct process resulting from recent amendment to the Architects Act allowing for new AIBC Bylaws that, in turn, permit the institute to once again resolve conduct matters through consensual resolution. Council also approved the appointment of architects Selwyn Dodd, Pierre Gallant and Paul Thorkelsson, along with public representatives William McLean and Roy Wares, to its newly-established Consensual Resolution Review Panel.
  • A report from its Associates Task Force outlining its timeline and approach for addressing an appropriate regulatory scheme for AIBC associates engaged in independent practice, along with terms of reference for the newly-formulated task force.
  • A report from Treasurer Cal Meiklejohn Architect AIBC, which touched upon an organizational financial risk assessment that is being completed and initial discussions regarding the 2014 budget cycle.
  • New terms of reference for both its newly-established Act Review Working Group and Diverse Membership Working Group.
  • Additional reports from council’s Governance Committee, Operational Constraints Committee and Registration Board, along with a status report from Executive Director Michael Ernest Architect AIBC.

Council also passed motions pertaining to various consent items dealing with policy compliance, committee changes, examination results and registration amendments. The next official meeting of AIBC Council is scheduled for Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at the AIBC offices (#100 – 440 Cambie Street, Vancouver) Members, associates and the public are welcome to attend; please confirm your attendance in advance by contacting Yana Vassilenko by e-mail ( or phone (604-683-8588, #314).

New Registered Educational Provider: Fontile Corporation

For the past 50 years, Fontile has brought innovative European kitchen and bath products to the Lower Mainland. The company offers a diverse range of products including porcelain and ceramic tiles, stone, and glass mosaics; it also specializes in kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, faucets and sinks. To learn more about all Registered Educational Providers, please click here.

Call for Submissions: Diversity by Design Exhibition

The AIA Seattle Diversity Roundtable and the Architectural Institute of British Columbia invite B.C. architects and architecture firms to submit their work for inclusion in an exhibit of complete or in-process projects expressing the theme of “Diversity by Design”.  The exhibit will highlight individuals and businesses in both Washington and B.C. whose works reflect the spirit of gender and cultural inclusiveness, in keeping with the AIBC Council’s commitment to supporting new and diverse membership.

The exhibit will be mounted at the 2013 Conference, hosted by the AIBC and AIA Northwest and Pacific Region, October 23-26 in Vancouver. It will tell the story of diversity in the profession of architecture through final design products as well as processes that engage architects from gender or ethnic backgrounds that are under-represented in the profession. This might include work for clients representing ethnically-oriented or social service enterprise/organizations, or other projects or actions that address issues of race, gender, and ethnicity.


In keeping with intent of this exhibition, submissions must reflect firms, practitioners and projects that demonstrably support diversity within the profession – particularly through the encouragement of leadership by minority and women architects. The submission must also feature a project completed within the last five years, and whose lead architect is AIBC-registered.


  • Interested firms and individuals are asked to submit:An exhibit panel in PDF format. The exhibit panel should feature a single project along with proper project attribution information (see AIBC Bulletin 44: Attribution: Giving and Taking Credit for Architectural Services), and be designed in keeping with the exhibit template provided (click here), which calls for a printed board at 22”x34”. Please use the following naming convention for your exhibit panel file: firmname_projectname_board.pdf
  • A one-page (8.5” x 11”) overview document (also in PDF format) detailing project information. This should include project name and location, design team, contact information (name, phone, e-mail address), and a statement about the relevance of the project to the “Diversity by Design” theme. Please use the following naming convention for your project overview file: firmname_projectname_cover.pdf.

To access the required templates as well as a sample version of a completed submission, click here.


Submissions will be reviewed and selected based on the message of architectural diversity and inclusion conveyed by the project team and/or the project itself.


There is no cost to submit. If selected, exhibitors will be responsible for all costs related to the printing and shipping of their exhibit boards.

Submission Deadline

5:00 p.m. PST on October 11, 2013. Submissions should be directed to:



Rachael Kitagawa 206-624-5702

Titus Uomoto 206-898-9354

David Wiebe 604-522-6964