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In Passing: James Terrance (Terry) Barkley

James Terrance (Terry) BarkleyJames Terrance (Terry) Barkley
Former Architect AIBC, MRAIC
November 15, 1937 – January 22, 2016

James Terrance (Terry) Barkley passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on January 22, 2016 with his beloved companion, Iona Douglas, beside him. Terry was predeceased by his father, James Loury Barkley of Lethbridge, Alberta, mother Dorothy Barkley (nee Conners) of Coalhurst, Alberta, and brother John (Jackie) Barkley of Vancouver, B.C. He is survived by his close cousins, Bruce MacDonald and Bob Connors. Growing up, Terry moved with his family to army barracks throughout Canada and overseas. Ultimately, his love of history and world events were cultivated throughout his childhood. He settled in Vancouver and attended UBC. Terry was an accomplished architect who specialized in the design of schools and sports venues. His legacy remains with his projects which include the Vancouver Aquatic Centre, Minoru Aquatic Centre, Ladner Leisure Centre, Qualicum Beach Aquatic Centre, Lynn Valley Community Centre, Westwind Elementary School and Karen Magnussen Wave Pool. To Iona, Terry was a great joy; kind, wise, funny, loyal and patient. He was a student of history, a lover of music, theatre and travel. He was devoted to his friends, most especially, his beloved professional colleagues, Barry Thorson and Nick Milkovich. Terry is deeply missed. Family and friends will be notified about a celebration of life for Terry which is planned for the Spring.

Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province from Feb. 5 to Feb. 7, 2016.

In Passing: Natalie Dickson Hall

Natalie Dickson HallBorn Easter Sunday April 8, 1928 in Arlington, Massachusetts, Natalie passed away peacefully January 13, 2016 in Vancouver. Her beloved husband, Hugh Upham Hall, predeceased her in 1991. She was deeply loved by her children, Harriet (David), Dickson (Christine), Katherine and Carl (Mary) and grandchildren, Jackson, Blythe, Katie, Graham (deceased), Theo, Nicholas, Thomas, Max and Alison. Natalie viewed life as an adventure from her earliest years. After graduation from Radcliffe College (BA, History), she married Hugh (MBA, Harvard) and accompanied him, first to the wilds of Port Alberni, and then to Vancouver where she raised her family and became a Canadian citizen. She then carved a twenty-year career as a librarian for the UBC School of Architecture out of a six-week temporary position. She was an active member of Canadian Memorial United Church; her faith and devotion were a source of deep satisfaction. She loved to travel but also found time to volunteer within her community. Natalie touched many lives and will be very much missed by her family and friends. Her life will be celebrated at Canadian Memorial United Church, 1825 W. 16th Ave, on Saturday, January 30 at 4 pm, followed by a reception at the Centre for Peace. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in memory of Natalie to, a micro-lending non-profit operating internationally.

Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province from January 22-23, 2016.

In Passing: Douglas Allen Lane

In Passing: Douglas Allen LaneIt is with broken hearts that we announce the sudden passing of Douglas Allen Lane on January 6, 2016. Born in Calgary on July 29, 1951, Doug graduated in 1969 from Ernest Manning High School and went on to obtain his Bachelor of Architecture from Montana State University in 1976. He resided briefly in Christchurch, New Zealand before moving to Kelowna in 1977.

Doug was a project architect with well-known firm, Woodworth, Ulrich, & Frie Architects, and spent four years designing boats for Three Buoys Houseboats – even attending the Westlawn School of Architecture Design in Connecticut. He opened his own architecture practice, Water Street Architecture, in 1993 specializing in health care, commercial, industrial and multi-residential design.

Among the projects Water Street Architecture was responsible for over those 22 years were: the Regency Retirement Resorts which include Sandalwood, Missionwood, Westwood, Northwood and Southwood; The Landmark Centre, built by Stober Construction; Trapper’s Crossing at Big White; The Cannery Lofts by The Webster Group, and the BC Gas offices in Kelowna, Penticton and Kamloops. He won an Urban Development Institute Award of Excellence for the Kamloops BC Gas in 1996; and Thompson Okanagan Housing Awards for Sandalwood and Trapper’s Crossing.

Doug was a gifted artist and took an old-school approach to architecture for the duration of his career. He designed each original building concept meticulously by hand, employing AutoCad technicians to digitize his visions. It was not uncommon for Doug to sketch beautiful renderings on cocktail napkins or scrap pieces of paper before his clients’ eyes – often during meetings at Sturgeon Hall, which was next door to his first office and served as his “secondary office.”

Doug was a member of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia and the Royal Architectural Institute. He admired the work of famed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright and had a passion for Arts and Crafts and West Coast design.

While Doug worked hard, he also played hard. He was an athlete and his sport of choice was rugby. He played for the Kelowna Crows and was a member of the Central Okanagan Rugby Enthusiasts (CORE) until his death. Doug loved to travel. He enjoyed taking road trips, fishing excursions and getaways to Las Vegas, Mexico and the Caribbean. He had dreams of retiring to a tropical beach. Doug played the drums since high school and his Ludwig kit was a source of entertainment and relaxation. Doug loved vintage cars and was especially proud of his 1957 MGA.

Doug was compassionate, generous, tender hearted and genuine. And in his death, he gave the ultimate gift. He had a sudden a cardiac arrest on January 2 and never regained consciousness, but he was able to become an organ donor for five recipients with his kidneys, corneas and liver.

Doug leaves behind two bright and beautiful children, Caitlin and Brendan, whom he guided and watched develop into amazing, happy young adults who share his tender-hearted spirit. He became their friend as well as their parent and he was extremely proud of them both. He was predeceased in 2007 by his son Chad, whom he needed to continue parenting. He wasn’t done yet.

Doug is deeply missed by his life partner Julianna Masson (Jules), who is grateful for the 13 wonderful years they spent together. He is mourned by his father Harry; sister Val (John); brothers Tom (Darrelanne) and Rick (Cynthia); mother of his children Catherine Norris; and numerous nieces, nephews, extended family and countless friends.

He was predeceased by his warm and sociable mother Lorraine in 2011.

A celebration of Doug’s life will take place on Sunday, January 31, at Roses Waterfront Pub from noon to 4 pm. Rose Sexsmith was a life-long friend since elementary school. All are welcome to attend and share memories and “Dougisms.” It will be an informal drop-in affair with no set agenda – Doug always made it clear he just wanted his friends and loved ones to raise a glass (or two) in his honour when he was gone.

Dr. Seuss said it best. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

In lieu of flowers, Doug would appreciate donations on his behalf to the Canadian Diabetes Association.

In Passing: Reginald Joseph Bickford

Reginald Joseph Bickford, born October 11, 1916, died peacefully at home on June 27, 2015 surrounded by his immediate family, at the end of a long and colourful life. Born and raised in Swansea, Wales, his architectural apprenticeship was interrupted when WW2 took him to Sri Lanka for three years in the Royal Air Force, supervising the construction of heavy bomber airfields. He returned to Britain at the end of the war and, after completing his training, he worked for the Ministry of Works in Bedford. With a thirst for new horizons he immigrated to Eire where he spent seven years as Architect at Guinness’s St. James Gate Brewery. He was hired to design and oversee an extensive building program, which among other projects included the design of a theatre and a housing estate for brewery workers in Dublin’s Tenure district.

The wanderlust kicked in again. After applying to the governments of several Commonwealth countries, he accepted a job with Canada’s Department of Citizenship and Immigration. He brought his young family, wife Betty (nee Newman) and daughters, Janet Dorothy and Diana, to Ottawa. He soon transferred to Public Works. But his love of the sea drew him. After summer holidays in the Maritimes he was moved to apply for a transfer to the position of District Architect for B.C. and the Yukon based in Vancouver. In 1956 the family settled in West Vancouver. This job led him to explore the province and territory extensively and experience their hunting and fishing potential.

During his time with Public Works Canada, Reginald became a member of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia in December 1965. He served on the Examining Board and was active as a member of council between 1970 and 1972 ably filling the position of Honorary Treasurer. During 1970 Reginald was producer of the AIBC’s 50th anniversary film entitled “Architecture – New Directions” in conjunction with Simon Fraser University personnel. He was involved in a lot of committee work for the AIBC and the members of the AIBC voted to confer the status of Honorary Member of the AIBC to Reginald. After his retirement he was asked in September 1974 to act as Executive Director of the AIBC. This he did for 5 years. He also sat on the board of the GVRD in the 1970’s. He sat on the White Rock Design Panel during the time he lived In Ocean Park. In later years, living in Metchosin, he served on the Planning Committees for both Metchosin and Langford.

Reginald was always a builder of things. During his life, he built seven boats from an Irish currach to a small sail boat, a catamaran, culminating in a 28-foot trimaran. In Dublin, he built a house and two family house trailers one of which housed the family on their adventurous road trip from Ottawa to Vancouver. During his time in West Vancouver, he built a cabin on the shore of Green Lake, near 70 Mile House BC. This was a family project that evolved over several summers.

As soon as he moved into a home he set about renovating it to his liking. A few years after his retirement he began building a pioneering solar heated house in Ocean Park, BC. The house was constructed from wood cut and milled from the property on which it was built. You’d think he was set for life, now, but a family wedding in Victoria sent him exploring Vancouver Island as a place to live. He and Betty eventually found their dream home in Metchosin, with a view across the Straight of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Mountains. Over the 35 years they lived there he transformed it into a rambling “plantation” with accommodation for visiting extended family and a suite for Diana, her husband Grant and children, Emerald and Trevor. It was a great blow to him when in 2011 he lost his beloved wife, Betty, after 70 years of marriage and partnership.

He leaves daughters, Janet, Dorothy and Diana (who lovingly undertook and supervised his care in his last years), grandchildren, Jane, David, Gwendolyn, Emerald and Trevor, great grandchildren, Steven, Anna, Alexis and Alicia, who at 18 months old enchanted him with a visit from Ottawa in his last weeks of life.

In lieu of flowers, we would welcome donations to the Victoria Hospice Society.

The date for the memorial service is to be announced.

The above information is sourced from Reginald Joseph Bickford’s online obituary.

In Passing: Gordon Graham

It is with deep regret that Thinkspace announces the passing of Gordon Graham, Retired Architect AIBC, who was the founder of the firm. He was 81 years old.

Mr. Graham first registered at the AIBC as an architect in 1963 and retired in 2003.

Sincere condolences go out to the entire Graham family.

A memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. on July 18, 2015 at Henderson’s Funeral Home, 45901 Victoria Avenue, Chilliwack, BC V2P 2S9.

Please contact them directly at 604-426-0167 for more information on the memorial service arrangements.

In Passing: Jonathan Pemberton Miller Yardley

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who loved life as much as Jonathan Pemberton Miller Yardley Architect AIBC did. Whether learning a new piece of music for one of the many choirs he sang with, painting a foggy rain-soaked horizon, or helping to restore some of Canada’s most cherished heritage buildings, Jonathan always committed himself fully to everything he did.

Born in Lichfield, England, Jonathan made his home on Salt Spring Island with his wife Sue (née Wall) in 1974, renovating their beloved Southdown Farm, growing a massive veggie garden, and raising sheep, goats, cows, pigs, chickens, geese, horses – and three children.

In his life on Salt Spring, Jonathan always shared his warmth and joie de vivre with everyone around him, from hosting live Christmas nativities in the barn, to dancing the grapevine on the lawn to celebrate friends’ birthdays, to taking midnight dips in the pond just to see the stars.

A graduate of the Birmingham School of Architecture in England, Jonathan managed to quietly carve out an extremely successful career on the western edge of Canada. Though he was too humble to ever announce it, he received dozens of provincial and national architectural awards (including recognition as “Life Member of the AIBC” in 2008 for 30 years of continuous membership with the Architectural Institute of British Columbia), and had a hand in the preservation of nearly every renovated heritage building in downtown Victoria and Vancouver (not to mention some of our most cherished ones here on the island – Ruckle Provincial Park, Mahon, Beaver Point and Fulford Halls, to name a few).

An avid traveller, he and Sue have explored many parts of this world, taking equal pleasure in the sublime (soaring cathedrals) and the simple (a baguette and wheel of hard cheese). Venice was a special spot they shared with their closest friends on a number of trips, but walking the Camino de Santiago across France and Spain in 2003 with eldest son Thomas was a life-defining experience.

Taken by prostate cancer too soon with still so much life to live, Jonathan will be desperately missed by wife Sue, sons Thomas (Michelle Yardley) and Ben (Jessie Carlson), daughter Emma (Daniel Squizzato), granddaughters Lucy, Lila and Grace Yardley, and sister Jennifer Chapman, as well as many relatives in England and the U.S.A.

The family would like to thank Dr. Manya Sadowsky and all the nursing staff at Lady Minto Hospital for their compassionate care. A private ceremony will be held for family. Please send your good memories of Jonathan to 316 Isabella Pt. Rd., S.S.I., B.C. V8K 1V4.

To honour Jonathan’s memory, the family requests that you speak to your health professionals and government representatives about Dying With Dignity (, in the hopes that Canadian law will be amended to eliminate unnecessary end-of-life suffering.

The information was sourced from an article written by by L. Sullivan for the Gulf Islands Driftwood on April 28, 2015.

In Passing: Joel Anthony Barrett

Joel Anthony Barrett Architect AIBC passed away peacefully Easter Sunday in White Rock at the Peace Arch Hospice surrounded by his loved ones. With heavy hearts all his family said goodbye to a sweet wonderful soul. Joel was born on October 8, 1930 in Didsbury, Alberta to Roger and Emma. With his five brothers and sisters, he lived a small town life and accomplished all that he set his mind to becoming an excellent student, gifted pianist and fine artist. He went off to the University of Manitoba to study Architecture and later to Columbia University in New York where he received his Masters in 1956, at a time when few did, let alone a young man from a prairie farming town. Joel settled in Calgary where he joined the firm that would become Stevenson, Raines, Barrett, Hutton and Seton shortly after his arrival. As the firms Design Partner through 1988, he designed some of Calgary’s most notable buildings such as the Calgary Centre for Performing Arts, Calgary Airport, Mount Royal College, and many churches such as St. Anthony’s and St. James just to name a few. He received many awards such as the Governor General’s award and was honored when named a fellow by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. During these early years he met a beautiful young secretary named Marion who caught his eye and became the love of his life, best friend, wife, and the mother of his children. They enjoyed for 58 wonderful years together. Family, friends, and gatherings were the focal point of their early years. In 1989 they relocated to Vancouver for a new lease and lifestyle. They settled in West Vancouver where they enjoyed the west coast lifestyle for over 25 years. During Joel’s career at CJP Architects in New Westminster, he designed many excellent schools, hospitals and government buildings always with the needs of the occupants as his main focus. He enjoyed many years working side by side with his son Mark, Joel retired at 79. During his cherished 55 + year career he mentored many young architects and always cared deeply for the craft. Joel is fondly remembered for his kind demeanor, warm smile, sense of humor and keen intellect. Visitors all enjoyed his hospitality and ample beverage offerings “what are you drinking?” He had great pool and ping pong skills developed during his youth and hustled many quarters from his unsuspecting offspring in basement challenges. His artistic talents were many including 50 plus years of hand drawn Christmas cards featuring his children, family and grandsons. Joel enjoyed golf, tennis, spy novels, crossword puzzles, painting and most of all spending time with Marion, his children, Granny, his nephews and nieces and two grandsons. The last few years were challenging following a few strokes, but with the loving and constant care from Marion and Brad he still enjoyed these last couple of years and rarely complained. He will be greatly missed and forever fondly remembered. Joel is survived by his wife Marion, sons Mark and Brad, daughter Terace and daughter-in-law Andrea, grandsons Jordan and Drew, nieces Karen, Lucille and Donna, nephews Terry, Russell, Dean, Lane, Tim and Lance, his eldest sister Betty and sister in-law Marlene.In lieu of flowers, donations in Joel’s name to the Peace Arch Hospice Society would be greatly appreciated. Their warm care and compassion sustained our family through Joel’s final journey with dignity, love and respect, befitting such an incredible man. Our words cannot express the impact he has had on our lives and how he will be missed. A Celebration of his Life will be held on April 25, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. at the Hazelmere Golf Course Clubhouse in South Surrey.

The above information was sourced from the Vancouver Sun, published on April 18, 2015.

In Passing: Fred Hollingsworth

Fred Hollingsworth Retired Architect AIBC wasn’t as famous as his contemporaries Arthur Erickson and Ron Thom. But he stood with them as one of the key architects in Vancouver’s west coast modern movement.

“He was a very modest man, he always underplayed his own accomplishments,” said heritage expert Don Luxton. “But I think he was an amazing designer, and a propelling force in modernism at the time.”

Hollingsworth died April 10 at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver at the age of 98. He had been in poor health since he suffered a stroke about a year-and-a-half ago.

Hollingsworth first came to prominence in the late 1940s, designing simple, elegant postand-beam homes in North Vancouver.

“They were small, like 900 square feet,” said Luxton. “A big one was 1,200.”

But he made up for their small size with innovation. Hollingsworth’s homes were incredibly cool, with open floor plans, French doors and wings that separated the living from the sleeping spaces.

They usually came with builtin cabinets and furniture, funky brick fireplaces, and sunken living rooms. Clerestory windows near the ceiling bounced light into the house, and radiant heat came up from the polished cement floors.

The homes often had plywood walls, because they were cheap.

“The kind of people who were building these things were schoolteachers and electricians,” said Fred’s son Russell Hollingsworth, also a successful architect.

“So tradespeople, young professional people just starting out. He didn’t have wealthy clients. As a matter of fact he didn’t really have a wealthy client till very late in his life, when he did a house for Nat Bosa in West Van.”

Luxton said Hollingsworth drew inspiration from architectural legend Frank Lloyd Wright.

“He knew Wright – he used to go down there and visit him in Taliesin West (in Arizona),” said Luxton.

“Some of his buildings are very directly based on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian houses. Frank Lloyd Wright pursued the whole idea of low-cost housing, especially in the postwar period, and Fred’s thinking was inspired by that, the idea of keeping the houses very simple.”

“(My dad) developed a line of houses called the Neoteric houses,” said Russell Hollingsworth. “There’s more of these houses on the heritage list in North Van than any other architect, by a long shot.

“My dad was not in any way an elitist architect. He was the opposite. He had a real thrust in life to bring modernism and creative platforms for living to regular people, not just wealthy people.”

Fred Thornton Hollingsworth was born in Golborne, Lancaster, England on Jan. 8, 1917. He immigrated to Canada with his family in 1929, and grew up in Marpole.

His first passions were model airplanes – he was the Canadian national model airplane champion in 1935 and 1939 – and music. He played sax and sang in the Fred Hollingsworth Orchestra, a jazz band, in the 1930s and 40s.

After the Second World War he fell in love with architecture. He designed his first house in 1946 in North Vancouver – his own, where he lived until he had his stroke. He didn’t have an architectural degree when he started designing houses – he entered the profession through an apprenticeship program, and didn’t become a registered architect until 1959.

But that didn’t stop Vancouver’s top architectural firm, Sharp and Thompson, from hiring him in the late 1940s. At Sharp and Thompson, Hollingsworth became close friends with Thom.

“The two of them were really pivotal in the development of the west coast school,” said Russell Hollingsworth.

“This was before Erickson came along, they were really in the forefront of it. They were both enthralled with Wright’s work, and other west coast guys, and they imported that up into the rugged wilds of the Pacific Northwest.”

Fred Hollingsworth is survived by Russell, daughters Lynn and Kim, and his wife Phyllis, who still lives in the home he designed in 1946.

The above information was sourced from an article written by John Mackie for the Vancouver Sun on April 20, 2015.

In Passing: Henry Yorke Mann

Henry Yorke Mann Architect AIBC, passed away on April 2, 2015.  He was surrounded by family and friends in his home the ‘Manndela,’ after experiencing a series of strokes in Oliver, BC at the age of 84.

“Henry Yorke Mann was an architect who understood the true spirit of architecture and lived fully in the Way of clarity and directness that embodied this understanding. Drawing inspiration from his friendships with former architect and poet Bud Wood and with painter Jack Wise, Henry forged a singular and powerful style that set him apart from his contemporaries. Through a deeply meditative and thoughtful process, he created spaces embodying a sense of presence and meaning rarely found in contemporary architecture. His characteristically dense detailing and profound exploration of archetypal forms produced timeless works of great personal and universal resonance. For Henry, the place of the architect is alongside great composers, musicians, painters and poets who aspire to fully express the beauty, depth and mystery of humanity. Both his built work and the loving memory of his genuine and generous character embody his ideal.” ~Norman Goddard

Join friends and family to Celebrate the Life of Henry Yorke Mann, Sunday, April 26, 11:00am-3:00pm at their home, 222 Old Camp McKinney Road Oliver, BC. Memorial contributions may be sent to Desert Valley Hospice Society, PO Box 1261, Oliver, BC, V0H 1T0 or online at
Published: April 16, 2015
By: © 2015 Henry Yorke Mann Architect B.arch. MAIBC. MRAIC., Newsletter

In Passing: Joe Pincus

Joe Pincus, the very popular and much loved librarian at the UBC School of Architecture Reading Room from the late 1980’s to the mid 1990’s, passed away in Washington DC on May 21,2014, after a short but intense illness.

A highly cultured and easy-going person, Joe was a favourite of his students. He revitalized the Reading Room and revamped its systems to better serve their needs, often keeping the Reading Room open to all hours as required.  With his broad knowledge of the culture and history of architecture, Joe (who was not an architect) was an invaluable resource for everyone. He was generous with his time and help, giving reference for precedent, advice on papers and presentations, and even serving as a kind but rigorous editor.

Joe made the Reading Room his own.  Coming in late in the morning, he would grab a beer from the Old Auditorium Café and have smoke, before opening the premises and then staying as long and as late as the students needed.

Condolences to his wife Debra, who taught art history at UBC for many years.

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.

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


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

In Passing: Robert (Bob) F. Harrison

Robert (Bob) F. Harrison, former Architect with the Architectural Institute of British Columbia, was born in North Vancouver on February 4, 1925 and passed away on September 8, 2014 at his home in West Vancouver. Robert attended schools in North Vancouver and after leaving high school joined the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve in 1943. He served on the frigate HMCS Antigonish for two years as a radar technician and one year in the North Atlantic.

After demobilization, he articled with McCarter Nairne Architects and was registered with the Architectural Institute of British Columbia in 1955. Robert started his own practice in 1963, one of the successful Architects for the design of Simon Fraser University, he was given the library and the Administration Building to design. Robert was appointed AIBC Registrar in 1962. He was also the director of the Vancouver Chapter and was later admitted to the College of Fellows of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

In 1982 he was Commodore of the West Vancouver Yacht Club. Robert was active in the cultural affairs of Vancouver and a founding member of the Vancouver Opera Association. He was a long time member of the Kiwanis Club of Vancouver. Robert was an active sailor, racing in the Vancouver area and cruised many times up the coast of BC. For ten years a hiker on our local mountains then hiked in the Alps, New Zealand and Switzerland. There will be no service by request. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Save the Children Fund.

In Passing: James Coverdale

James Coverdale, a former associate of the AIBC, passed away on July 1, 2014 after a long and courageous battle with brain cancer. James passed on peacefully in the loving presence of his wife and “dearest soul friend” Lynn, their beloved daughter Nina, and sister-in-law Karen.  With the support of Lynn (and with then-infant Nina in tow) Jim took a daring mid-life plunge into the School of Architecture at Carlton University. Upon graduating he applied his modernist aesthetic and impeccable design skills to projects in Vancouver for some 20 years.

Jim’s architectural sensibility was continuous with his deep love and profound understanding of music, a gift he generously bestowed on all who knew him, whether by sharing the latest acquisition to his infinitely expanding and eclectic music collection, or an exhilarating account of a concert he’d just attended. As past president and long- standing board member of the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society, Jim’s vast musical knowledge, superb ear, and commitment to governance helped to inform and shape Canada’s leading showcase for cutting edge music, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. Jim understood that small things often carry great significance and loved tuning others in to the “bright moments” that illuminated his days. To his many friends he was a touchstone not only on matters of taste but also on matters of right and wrong, how we should conduct ourselves, and what we should attend to in our lives.

Those who knew Jim are invited to visit and share their remembrances. An Open House at the family home to honour James will be held on Saturday, July 26 from 3-5 p.m. Donations to The Callanish Society (604 732-0633) and The Coastal Jazz and Blues Society (604 872-5200 ext. 5) in James’ memory will be gratefully accepted.