Wood Works! BC

2014 Wood Design Luncheon Conferences

Wood WORKS! BC is pleased to support the efforts of architects, designers, engineers, builders, technologists, municipal planners and building officials by offering the latest in wood expertise and knowledge through its annual Wood Design Luncheon Conferences. This year’s theme is “Advancing opportunities for wood products and systems: a study of distinctive and innovative new structures in BC”. Experts in their fields are on hand with presentations in the areas of architecture, design and construction in wood. The same three presentations are given in Kelowna, Victoria and Nanaimo and are tailored for decision makers in the construction industry. 

Locations & Dates:

  • Kelowna – Tuesday, November 25: Delta Grand Okanagan Resort & Conference Centre, 1310 Water Street
  • Victoria – Thursday, November 27: Delta Ocean Pointe, 45 Songhees Road
  • Nanaimo – Friday, November 28: Vancouver Island Conference Centre, 101 Gordon Street 

Time: 9:00am Registration & Exhibits Open I 10:00am – 2:00pm Conference Program In Session
Cost: Complimentary when registering in advance
Learning Units (LUs):
1 Core LU per luncheon
To Register:


Role Call: Municipality of Whistler Design Panel

The AIBC invites applications from architects interested in serving on the Municipality of Whistler Advisory Design Panel. The role of an advisory design panel member is to give impartial, professional advice directly on any proposal or policy affecting the community’s physical environment in the public interest.  

To learn more about the procedures for serving on a panel, please refer to the following documents: 

·         AIBC Bulletin 65: Advisory Design Panels – Standards for Procedures and Conduct (here)

·         ADP Frequently Asked Questions (here) 

To fill out an interactive application form on the AIBC website, click here. 

Please forward all submissions to the attention of Professional Services Coordinator Alexandra Kokol by email (akokol@aibc.ca).


The science of pillow forts: Architect reveals how children can build the ultimate hideaway

New York architect Ben Pell found there were three different types of fort – tunnel forts, buttress forts and compound forts.

By Mark Prigg
November 11, 2014, MailOnline

He is more used to building exclusive, minimalist buildings.

However, New York architect Ben Pell has turned his hand to a very different kind of structure – a pillow fort.

Following exhaustive testing with his two children, he has revealed the best way to construct a living room hideaway.

Writing on the blog Fatherly, he explained there are three different types of fort – tunnel forts, buttress forts and compound forts.

He also believes that many children manage to trap themselves inside forts.

“Kids, left to their own devices, pile up pillows and then figure out how to get inside.

‘Or, they’ll build it around themselves and then they can’t leave without destroying it.’

Pell, who in his day job work for Pell Overton, urged children to think like an architect.

He warned prospective builders should first sort the available pillows based on which ones are best for walls and which ones are a good for laying on inside the finished fort.

Over the past twenty years, he has worked on a variety of projects, and also taught on the design faculty of the Syracuse University School of Architecture and the Pratt Institute, and has been a regular member of the Yale School of Architecture faculty since 2005. Read more…

What Architecture Is Doing to Your Brain


By Emily von Hoffmann
November 10, 2014, The Atlantic CityLab

Looking at buildings designed for contemplation—like museums, churches, and libraries—may have positive, measurable effects on your mental state.

At a particular moment during every tour of Georgetown University’s campus, it becomes necessary for the student guide to acknowledge the singular blight in an otherwise idyllic environment.

“Lauinger Library was designed to be a modern abstraction of Healy Hall…,” a sentence that inevitably trails off with an apologetic shrug, inviting the crowd to arrive at their own conclusions about how well it turned out. Much of the student population would likely agree that the library’s menacing figure on the quad is nothing short of soul-crushing. New research conducted by a team of architects and neuroscientists suggests that architecture may indeed affect mental states, though they choose to focus on the positive.

Studies on architecture struggle for funding because, Bermudez sighed, “it’s difficult to suggest that people are dying from it.”

I spoke with Dr. Julio Bermudez, the lead of a new study that uses fMRI to capture the effects of architecture on the brain. His team operates with the goal of using the scientific method to transform something opaque—the qualitative “phenomenologies of our built environment”—into neuroscientific observations that architects and city planners can deliberately design for. Bermudez and his team’s research question focuses on buildings and sites designed to elicit contemplation: They theorize that the presence of “contemplative architecture” in one’s environment may over time produce the same health benefits as traditional “internally induced” meditation, except with much less effort by the individual. Read more…

Designing for Seniors and Soldiers, Toward a “Silver” Architecture


(Image courtesy of Michael Graves and Associates)

By  Jimmy Stamp 
November 11, 2014 , smithsonian.com

Going green is good, but could architects be doing more for two segments of our population?

In a recent opinion piece in The New York Times, geriatrician Louise Aronson advocated for a new type of building, one designed with an aging population in mind, which, she suggests, might be dubbed “silver” architecture. The idea came to he after taking her father to a top-notch, “green” medical center that was surprisingly unaccommodating for older patients. Sure, sustainability is important, but a building needs to do more than perform efficiently and attract millennials. Aronson notes:

Such approaches once may have made sense from a business perspective, but current demographic realities are creating financial and practical reasons to build more homes, businesses, health care facilities and public buildings that are well suited to older people’s needs.

The Americans With Disabilities Act’s guidelines help, but they do not ensure access or safety for this unique and rapidly growing population. Many buildings are A.D.A.-compliant and still difficult to navigate for older adults who have one or more physical, sensory or cognitive challenges, and especially for the frail elderly who have many.

To meet the challenges of an aging population, she proposes the development of LEED-like standards and awards for a “silver” architecture. Such an architecture would be well-lit, quiet, accessible and safe. It would be spacious enough to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs and provide room for a caregiver. These aren’t new ideas, but they aren’t as widely adapted as they could be, especially considering that over 50 million Americans are over the age of 65 – and that number is growing quickly. “Some might say that buildings can’t cater to every group with special needs,” says Aronson. “But silver architecture and design aren’t about indulging a special interest group. They’re about maximizing quality of life and independence for a life stage most of us will reach.” She makes a good point.

It being Veterans Day, this article got me thinking about architect Michael Graves, who recently designed a pair of houses for returning soldiers that follow through on many of Aronson’s suggested parameters for silver design. First though, a brief digression. The idea of a “silver” architecture actually has some precedent in architectural history, although the term was used in a very different way. Read more…

In Passing: Catherine Chard Wisnicki

Catherine Chard Wisnicki, formerly registered as an architect with the AIBC and also an honourary member, passed away on October 21, 2014. Born in Winnipeg, in 1917, she was raised in Montreal and attended McGill University where she became the first woman to graduate from McGill’s School of Architecture. In 1945, she married Paul Wisnicki, a former aeronautical structural engineer in the Polish Air Force. In 1946, they moved to Vancouver where she became one of the first women to become a member with the Architectural Institute of BC.  Catherine worked as a senior designer with the prestigious firm of Sharp, Thomson, Berwick, Pratt. Somehow she also found time to start a family with twins, Nina and Michael arriving in 1946 followed by Julia in 1949.

In 1963, Catherine began a career as a lecturer and assistant professor at the UBC Faculty of Architecture.  She was well-known to students at the Architecture School until her retirement from the school in 1985.  Her courses and her design tutorials were imaginative studies of elements of architecture, planning and mentoring in the design studio.  “Students were finally exposed to a female role model whose passionate enthusiasm for architecture encouraged them to follow her adventurous example.” 1

In 1996, McGill University conferred an honorary degree of doctor of science upon her.  On her retirement, Catherine and Paul moved to Naramata, BC, where they designed and built an innovative passive solar house. Paul jokingly called Naramata his ‘white elephant’ while for Catherine it was ‘a land for the eye,’ hence the name Elephant Island.  Donations in Catherine’s name can be made to Because I am a Girl at www.becauseiamagirl.ca.


1) Constructing Careers; Profiles of Five Early Women Architects in British Columbia; Women in architecture Exhibits Committee; Vancouver, BC, 1996

NEXT BIG ONE: An International Open Ideas Competition Winners Announced

Architecture for Humanity Vancouver launched “NEXT BIG ONE – An International Open Ideas Competition” earlier this year. The competition raised awareness on the high-magnitude earthquake and tsunami events that plague cities around the world.  Entries were received from every continent (except for Antarctica).

Designers were faced with a challenge to propose an innovative design solution that can mitigate natural disasters while simultaneously providing community permanence.  The competition judges, Stephen Cassell, Susan Gushe, Eileen Keenan, David Scott and Doug Smith, convened on October 25th to evaluate the entries.  In the end, a Design Professional team was awarded the Design Professionals Award of CAD$3000, and a Student team was awarded the Bing Thom Emerging Designers Award of CAD$1500.  Three Honorable Mentions from each category were recognized also for the merit of their intervention and for their contribution to the discussion on designing for disasters.   View the winning entries on their website (http://www.nextbigone.org).

Save the Date: 2014 AIBC Holiday Open House

Tis the season to mark your calendars for the 2014 AIBC Holiday Open House!
Plan on joining colleagues and friends in celebrating the very best of the season with local flavours and plenty of holiday cheer.  The AIBC will be collecting food donations in support of Strathcona Community Centre.  Please give generously.

Date: Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Time: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Location: AIBC offices (#100 – 440 Cambie Street, Vancouver) 

RSVP: http://2014aibcholidayopenhouse.splashthat.com/

Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Knob & Tube Wiring

This talk will explain historic knob & tube wiring, how the primary concerns with it result from subsequent renovations or additions, and how it can be tested and certified safe for home insurance. Learn who insures heritage homes with knob & tube and how testing and rectifying any issues is considerably cheaper than rewiring. Join certified electrical contractor and electrical tester, Brian Cook.

Date: November 19, 2014 from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm
Location: Creekside Recreational Community Centre, Room 4 (In the old Olympic Village)
Cost: $20
Learning Units (LUs): 2.5 Core LUs
To register: https://register.beanstream.com



Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Heritage and the SRO’s

Join Mike Pistrin, BC Housing’s Executive Director of Asset Strategies, for a discussion on the progress so far, challenges and successes with the renewal of government owned social housing in Vancouver.

Date: November 19, 2014 from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Location: BCIT Downtown, 555 Seymour St, Room 382
Cost: $12
Learning Units (LUs): 1.5 Core LUs
To register: https://register.beanstream.com