2014 Heritage Awards

The District of North Vancouver is now accepting nominations for its 2014 Heritage Awards. This awards program acknowledges special accomplishments, projects and efforts that have furthered the goal of heritage conservation in the District. Every year the District of North Vancouver sponsors awards in the following categories:

  •      Heritage Restoration
  •      Heritage Advocacy
  •      Heritage Landscape Preservation
  •      New Design in a Heritage Context

The deadline for nominations is:
Monday, January 12, 2015

For additional information please contact:
Kathleen Larsen, Community Planner
Tel:  604-990-2369   Fax: 604-984-9683
E-Mail: larsenk@dnv.org

2015 NAPHN Conference & Expo

The North American Passive House Network (NAPHN) is pleased to announce that the 2015 NAPHN Conference & Expo (NAPHN15) will take place October 1st and 2nd in Vancouver, Canada.

The CanPHI West team, who produced the widely attended Passive House North conference in 2013, promises a program that includes new partners in building science and policy, and world-class education and networking opportunities.  The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Vancouver, itself a leader in sustainability.

Louisiana architecture students building, learning in Cheticamp


Students are building structures with the notorious suêtes winds in mind

By Nicole MacLennan

November 19, 2014, CBC News

Students are building structures with the notorious suêtes winds in mind

Dalhousie University has teamed up with three architecture schools in the U.S. to design and build structures in Cape Breton and learn from each other while they do it.

Professor Geoff Gjertson and students from the University of Louisiana Lafayette were in Cheticamp last month to meet with students from Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Architecture and see the structure they built this summer for the Cheticamp Farmers’ Market.

It’s part of a federal grant program from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Dalhousie has teamed up with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the University of Arizona.

“Essentially it’s a design, build exchange where each of the four universities are doing similar projects in their own communities and then we’ll be coming together to design and build a single structure in Nova Scotia in the summer of 2016.”

The students are building structures called gridshells, a unique curved design that uses thin strips of wood in an overlap grid format. The enclosure in Cheticamp was built with the notorious suêtes winds in mind. The students will monitor the structure over the winter to see how it holds up. Read more…

Dream Art Houses Visualized in Extravagant Architecture Series


By Ross Brooks
November 26, 2014, Arts & Culture

Extravagant homes often strike a balance between expression and convention, but for his latest project, architect Vasily Klyukin has created a series of homes that are designed to make a splash. Some feature extreme angles and colors, while others jump out from their surroundings – but none of them disappoint. The project was based on the question “What if the main star at your party is not a celebrity, not even the host of the party, but the villa in which the party is held?” Read more…

Five Projects Awarded Prizes at the 2014 Media Architecture Biennale

By  Rory Stott

November 26, 2014, Arch Daily

The 2014 Media Architecture Biennale has drawn to a close in Aarhus, Denmark, and with it five projects have been awarded for “outstanding accomplishments in the intersection between architecture and technology.” Representing five different categories (Animated Architecture, Spatial Media Art, Money Architecture, Participatory Architecture, and Trends & Prototypes), these five projects are the ones that most represent the Media Architecture Biennale’s goal to advance the understanding and capabilities of media architecture.

The winners include a power plant with a shimmering chimney tower, an installation that creates “phantoms” with light, an interactive LED facade, a crowdsourced mapping system for transit in the developing world, and a kinetic “selfie facade.” See videos of all five winners after the break. Read more…

Robert Fulford: Will Postmodern Architecture Get Its Turn For Preservation?


By Robert Fulford
National Post, November 18, 2014

Half a century ago, the usually dignified world of international architecture was embroiled in an angry controversy that created enemies across the profession and challenged its most sacred principles.  The issue was the appearance of postmodern buildings and what they meant for the future of design.  Was the long era of stripped-down, boxy modern architecture coming to an end?

Robert Venturi, a postmodern architect and theorist, brought to these questions a cheekiness typical of radical newcomers.  Architects had accepted that in functional modernism “Less is more” – the power of careful design eliminated the need for ornamentation and individualism.  Venturi came up with an emphatic denial: No, wrong! He gave postmodernism a slogan, “Less is a bore.” Modernism was filling the world with characterless, unappealing structures. Read more…

Building Officials’ Association of British Columbia

2014 BOABC Fall Education Conference

The Building Officials’ Association of BC is hosting a three-day Education Conference aimed at codes, building standards and regulations relating to the British Columbia Building, Plumbing and Fire Codes. Topics covered in the seminars will include:  overview of current regulations, scope of changes, building envelope, performance compliance and administrative issues. Full-day courses on Energy Provisions BCBC 9.36 and Legal and Ethics are also available.

Date: November 26th to 28th, 2014
Location: Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel, 7571  Westminster Highway, Richmond, B.C.
Cost: Single and multi-day packages available.
Learning Units (LUs): Core LUs available
To register: The schedule and registration form can be found on the BOABC website at www.boabc.org under ‘What’s New’ on the home page, or by clicking on the following link: http://www.boabc.org/EN/main/270.html.

Please send completed registration forms to Jennifer at the BOABC office along with payment.  You can also fax (604-270-9488) or scan and email (jennifer@boabc.org) completed registration forms with payment to follow.

“Hypotopia”: Architecture as a Vehicle for Political Action

By  Evan Rawn 
November 17, 2014, Architecture News – Austria

In the wake of the global financial crisis, banking scandals and government bailouts have made countless news headlines around the world. With such large sums of taxpayer money being funneled to the troubled financial sector, ordinary individuals are left to wonder how it will affect their own lives. But how can an entire country rise up and make their voices heard when it is nearly impossible to understand the magnitude of such an injustice? In Austria, a group of innovative students from the Technical University of Vienna set out to answer this question and have taken to a new form of protest in order to make the consequences of one Europe’s largest financial scandals in recent history a tangible reality.

To demonstrate the €19 billion price tag of Austria’s recent bailout of Hypo-Alpe-Adria, students designed and built a scale model of a fictional city called “Hypotopia,” a portmanteau of the bank’s name and “utopia.” According to Lukas Zeilbauer, “while utopia stands for an ideal fictitious world, ‘hypo’ is a Greek word meaning under, beneath or bellow – so a change coming from the bottom, from the folk.” Embodying an idealistic society with plentiful renewable resources and public education for people of all ages, the model city would theoretically contain 102,574 inhabitants, making it the sixth largest city in Austria.

The inspiration for the project came from the shock that Zeilbauer and Diana Contiu felt upon realizing that despite the enormous cost of the bailout, there were few public demonstrations, and the online petition calling for further investigation of the case drew only 150,000 signatures – less than 2% of Austria’s citizens. In attempting to explain the public’s passivity, Zeilbauer told ArchDaily “somehow this great sum of money surpasses the human power of imagination, and nobody can imagine what a great loss this is for Austria.” Read more…

B.C.’s Best Buildings Reflect History, Memories


The Marine Building is heavily adorned with Art Deco style decorations. (Jeff Hitchcock)

By Jesara Sinclair
CBC News Posted, Nov 17, 2014

Architect Dave Hewitt reveals the results of a contest to find B.C.’s best building

The results are in for a contest seeking out the “best” building in British Columbia.

The Architecture Foundation of B.C. opened the contest to nominations in April, asking people to submit buildings they had an emotional attachment to, not just those with architectural merit.

The contest received over 400 submissions, which people were able to vote for online. A panel of judges met to choose the top contender in each of four regions, and People’s Choice Awards were also given to the buildings with the most online votes.

David Hewitt, president of the Architecture Foundation of B.C., announced the winners on The Early Edition. Read more…

The BC Building Code Appeal Board: Seeking A New Member

The BC Building Code Appeal Board is seeking a new member for a three year term beginning November 30, 2014. The ideal candidate will have extensive experience in the interpretation and application of the BC Plumbing Code.  Similar experience with the BC Building Code is also an asset. Please see the Notice of Position for further information.

As Building Code Appeal Board meetings are held in the City of Vancouver, preference will be given to candidates in the lower mainland area.

Please submit your application via the Board Resourcing Development Office website here. Alternatively, a resume and cover letter may be emailed to Junichi.Jensen@gov.bc.ca. Applications will be accepted until the end of day on November 25, 2014.

Canadian Centre for Healthcare Facilities

Bridging from Theory to Reality: Putting Patients First

CCHF invites you to learn about cutting edge approaches in planning and design. Learn from the ‘C-Suite’ hospital leadership and experts in the healthcare facility sector as they share their insights on: integrating innovative POE research into practice; Bridgepoint Active Healthcare’s facility development story; using a ‘problem setting’ methodology for planning and design at West Park; applying building standards to meet patient needs; mitigating risk for an infection-free environment.

Date: December 8, 2014 – 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location: Margaret & Less Lau Auditorium, Bridgepoint Active Healthcare, 14th St. Matthews Rd, Toronto, ON
Cost: Early Bird $550, after December 1st $650
Learning Units (LUs): 7.5 Core
To register: http://www.cchf.net/

UBC Continuing Studies

Passive House Design: An Introduction

Passive House construction is the world’s leading standard in low energy, sustainable construction. Join UBC Continuing Studies and find out how the Passive House Standard can be a cost-effective way to design and construct a building that is extremely energy efficient. This one-day course is designed for everyone involved in sustainability or energy efficiency in the built environment and addresses the fundamentals of: Passive House design, super insulated envelopes, leading ventilation design principles and more.

Date: December 12, 2014; 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Location: UBC Point Grey campus
Cost: $295
Learning Units (LUs): 7 Core
To register: Contact Kassandra Darbel at kassandra.darbel@ubc.ca or 604-827-4234

New Registered Educational Provider: Construction Specifications Canada

Construction Specifications Canada (CSC) is a national multi-disciplinary, non-profit association with chapters across Canada. CSC is committed to ongoing development and delivery of quality education programs, publications and services for the betterment of the construction community. To learn more about all AIBC Registered Educational Providers, click here.

In Passing: Vladimir Plavsic

Vladimir Plavsic, formerly registered as an architect with the AIBC, passed away on October 22, 2014.  He was 84. He leaves behind his wife, four children, and some amazing stories.

In 1951, 20-year-old Vladimir Plavsic travelled to Salzburg, Austria, as a member of the Yugoslavian national water polo team.  At breakfast one morning, eight of his teammates suddenly announced they were going to defect to the west. And Plavsic had to make a decision — quick. “He said they gave him about 29 seconds to decide (whether to join them),” his wife Karyn said.  “And in those 29 seconds he was visualizing himself as a great architect in New York City, in a red Cadillac, two blondes on either side of him. He had this vision and stood up and said, ‘I’m going.’”  He didn’t end up in New York, or with a red Cadillac. But after immigrating to Canada, the energetic Plavsic became one of Vancouver’s top architects, owned a series of red Alfa Romeo convertibles and squired a fair number of blondes around.

Born in Belgrade, he studied at a private German school before the Second World War. His knowledge of German made him invaluable to Yugoslav partisans battling the Nazi occupation because he could run messages between groups, sometimes wearing a German uniform.  Unfortunately, one day he was among a group of partisans that were caught. A German officer ordered them executed, but a German soldier protested the teenage Plavsic was only a young boy.  “The commandant said shoot them dead, all of them,” Karyn Plavsic said. “The German soldier took pity on Vlad. He shot him, but he just grazed the side of his temple. So there was blood, and the commandant thought everyone was dead.”

After the war, the athletic Vlad became a member of both the national water polo and swimming teams.  “He was a world-class swimmer,” Karyn Plavsic said. “He said he held a world record in breaststroke in a team relay … for about 23 hours.”  After defecting, Plavsic and his teammates wound up in a displaced persons camp in Switzerland.  “They were given a choice,” Karyn Plavsic said. “They said you can go to the U.S., or you can go to Canada. (But) if you go to the U.S., you have to go to the Korean War. So five came to Canada, four went off to the Korean War.”

Plavsic had studied architecture in Belgrade, and enrolled in the architecture school at the University of Toronto. He was offered a scholarship and room and board in return for coaching the water polo and swimming teams.  He wound up marrying Jane Firstbrook, from a prominent Toronto family. But he didn’t like his mother-in-law, so the young couple moved to Vancouver to attend UBC, where he graduated in 1957.

He had a hand in all sorts of different designs, such as Capilano College, UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium and the provincial court at 222 Main.  “He had a contract with Brunswick Bowling and did bowling alleys all over North America,” Karyn Plavsic said. “He also did all the Canada Safeways, the old Canada Safeways that had that curved roof. That was his innovation.”  His most well known building is probably the Medical-Dental Building at 805 West Broadway, a 20-storey cement highrise that is hailed as a great example of brutalist architecture.  “That’s an excellent building — probably one of the best things he did,” said Geoff Massey, who shared an architectural practice with Plavsic in the late 1950s.  “It’s a very attractive building, with a large courtyard in the front.”  “He used concrete really well, and did a tasteful version of brutalism,” said architectural historian Hal Kalman, author of Exploring Vancouver: The Architectural Guide.  “He was very highly thought of by his peers, and did a lot for the city.”  Plavsic also did a lot of work in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and was even in on the founding of the ski resort at Whistler Mountain.

Plavsic divorced his first wife in the mid-’60s, and had a common-law relationship for several years. But Karyn said he was living the playboy lifestyle when they met in 1976.  “I immediately had five or six gentlemen that called me and said, ‘Run. Run as fast as you can the other way,’” she said with a laugh. “(But) he charmed me. We got married a year later.”  Sailing was another of Plavsic’s passions. He designed his own 13-metre sailboat, the Kanata, which won the 1981 Victoria-to-Maui race.  He passed on his sailing skills to his son: Zachary was a member of the Canadian Olympian windsurfing team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics.  His entrepreneurship was passed on to his daughter Sasha, who runs a multimillion-dollar cosmetic company, Ilia.  “Both my sister and I attribute all our accomplishments and success in life to our father,” Zachary Plavsic said.

Vlad had heart trouble in recent years.  “He has a triple bypass, he had a pacemaker, and he had multiple stents put in,” Zachary said.  In June, he was diagnosed with colon cancer, which had spread to his liver and lung.  But he continued to enjoy life until the end, attending his daughter’s wedding in Vancouver and in Europe this summer.  “He was a Serbian warrior to the end,” Karyn Plavsic said.  “He went skidding into his grave with a cigar in his mouth and a glass of scotch in his hand,” Zachary Plavsic said.

The above information was sourced from an article written by By John Mackie for the Vancouver Sun on October 30, 2014.

Eleanor Wachtel interviews Rem Koolhaas on CBC Radio

Rem Koolhaas
Image of Rem Koolhaas, courtesy of OMA

Rem Koolhaas will be Eleanor Wachtel’s guest on “Wachtel on the Arts” on CBC Radio’s IDEAS on Tuesday, November 18 at 9:00 pm, (9:30 pm NT). Tune in to hear their hour-long conversation in which he talks about how he was shaped by his early experience in Rotterdam and Indonesia, his belief in the need to find new ways of talking and writing about architecture, his approach to the design of a building (“begin every project from scratch and forget everything you think you know”), the “evolution” of a building once it’s finished, and being Director of the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. The interview will also be available online and as a podcast at cbc.ca/ideas/.