Low-Tech Tool Helps Designers Create Healthier Spaces

by Carolyn Abate
Metropolis Magazine, Dec 1, 2015

The mindful MATERIALS initiative is designed to act as a sort of Dewey-Decimal system of icons that rest on the spine of product binders to easily and readily inform designers about the chemical content and environmental impact information of those products. Courtesy of mindful MATERIALS, Metropolis Magazine

(Image: The mindful MATERIALS initiative is designed to act as a sort of Dewey-Decimal system of icons that rest on the spine of product binders to easily and readily inform designers about the chemical content and environmental impact information of those products. Courtesy of mindful MATERIALS, Metropolis magazine)

When interior designers and architects want to provide clients with a variety of product options, they face a daunting task. To vet product information, they will conduct exhaustive online searches, on numerous databases. They comb through product sheets, one by one, seeking just the right fit. Regardless of the method they use, it is always time consuming. And time is the one thing most designers don’t have to spare. But sometimes it takes the simplest solution to solve a complex task.

The mindful MATERIALS initiative, recently launched by HKS, is about to transform how designers do their jobs. In the process, it will usher in a new era of product transparency for furnishing products. Read more…

Shape of Things to Come

by Alex Bozikovic
The Globe and Mail, Nov 23, 2015

Image: The Castle Downs Park Pavilion is wrapped in a skin of stainless steel and contains such humble facilities as washrooms and a meeting room. Courtesy of The Globe and Mail, photo by Raymond Chow

(Image: The Castle Downs Park Pavilion is wrapped in a skin of stainless steel and contains such humble facilities as washrooms and a meeting room. Courtesy of The Globe and Mail, photo by Raymond Chow)

As the business of architecture consolidates, it becomes harder to create beautiful, challenging buildings. But thanks to one unorthodox architect, Edmonton is opening its doors to a brighter future.

Edmonton is sending a message: Civic architecture matters – and it is ready to pay for the best. Read more…

B.C. Place Named One of Top 100 Soccer Experiences in the World

by Canadian Press
The Province, Nov 13, 2015

B.C. Place Stadium received a multimillion-dollar renovation to become an open-air soccer experience. A U.K. sports website has named it one of the world's top 100 soccer experiences. Courtesy of The Province, photo by Mark van Manen

(Image: B.C. Place Stadium received a multimillion-dollar renovation to become an open-air soccer experience. A U.K. sports website has named it one of the world’s top 100 soccer experiences. Courtesy of The Province, photo by Mark van Manen)

B.C. Place Stadium has made British soccer magazine FourFourTwo’s list of 100 best football stadiums in the world.

At No. 95, the Vancouver venue ranks ahead of Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge (No. 100).

“Despite sounding like Fred Flintstone’s address, B.C. Place is beautifully futuristic,” says the magazine. “With stunning symmetry resembling a Spirograph drawing, myriad cables snake around to hold up the retractable roof and the giant scoreboard that hangs delicately above the pitch.” Read more…

Canadians Take the Podium at International Olympic Committee Awards

by Elsa Lam
Canadian Architect, Nov 10, 2015Image: Richmond Olympic Oval by Cannon Design. Courtesy Canadian Architect, photo by Derek Lepper

(Image: Richmond Olympic Oval by Cannon Design. Courtesy Canadian Architect, photo by Derek Lepper)

The Richmond Olympic Oval, the signature venue from the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games and now a multi-use community recreation centre and sports venue designed by CannonDesign, has received the All Time Award from the International Association of Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) —an award reserved for landmark sports facilities from the past half-century. The All Time Award is being issued in conjunction with IAKS 50th anniversary and will not be awarded again until 2065.

The Oval is one of just 10 facilities to receive the All Time award and the only award-winning venue from North America.“We have always been proud of the visionary work that helped make the Richmond Olympic Oval an influential and notable facility, a cultural treasure for the community in the years since, and now with this award from IAKS, one of the best sports facilities of our time,” said CannonDesign Principal Ken Wiseman, who led CannonDesign’s efforts on the Oval. “Our firm is honored to have worked with the City of Richmond and so many other people who helped make this building a reality.” Read more…

Fluidity and Architecture at the 2015 AIBC Conference

by staff
Journal of Commerce, Oct 29, 2015Image: Nana Last onscreen during the Fluidity and Architecture plenary session October 29, 2015 at the AIBC Annual Conference. Photo by Jay Shaw(Image: Nana Last onscreen during the Fluidity and Architecture plenary session October 29, 2015 at the AIBC Annual Conference. Photo by Jay Shaw)

The panel consisted of Lana Kaufman, Nana Last and Josh Zabel.

Last began (via Skype) by asking what is flowing in architecture; the space itself, the architecture, or what surrounds the architecture. Last said the term “fluidity” is commonly used in the media to describe some buildings, but is not used properly. Seamless connections between adjacent spaces and curvatures are being embraced by new projects and are gaining widespread attention.

“Fluidity is one of the defining aspects of 21st century architecture,” Last said, and it was pioneered in the 90s with the merging of computation and architecture. Read more…

BIG’s Twisted Vancouver Tower Named Future Project of the Year 2015

by staff
dezeen, Nov 6, 2015

Image: BIG's proposal for a 150-metre-high twisted skyscraper in Vancouver has won the title Future Project of the Year 2015 at the World Architecture Festival. Courtesy of BIG, dezeen

(Image: BIG’s proposal for a 150-metre-high twisted skyscraper in Vancouver has won the title Future Project of the Year 2015 at the World Architecture Festival. Courtesy of BIG, dezeen)

Bjarke Ingels’ firm contorted the form of its 49-storey Vancouver House, creating a 30-metre setback from the adjacent motorway flyover that prevents any windows or balconies from overlooking it.

Nine floors at the base of the tower will accommodate offices, shops and restaurants, which will spill out onto a series of public plazas that stretch underneath the elevated highway.

The judges selected the project because it “mitigates the destructive impact of the highway flyover on infrastructure and urban form, and generates an exemplar new urban typology.” Read more…

Fred Hollingsworth’s Sky Bungalow

by Eve Lazarus
evelazarus.com, Nov 7, 2015

Image: Sky Bungalow, 3355 Aintree Drive. Photo by Eve Lazarus(Image: Sky Bungalow, 3355 Aintree Drive. Photo by Eve Lazarus)

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I’m a huge fan of West Coast Modern, and especially of Fred Hollingsworth, an amazing North Vancouver architect who died this year at age 98 after changing the face of architecture.

But it wasn’t until I was at the West Vancouver Museum this summer that I heard the story behind the Sky Bungalow. So instead of writing up a talk for my book launch on Thursday, I decided to go check out the house. Read more…

Disruptive Trends at the 2015 AIBC Conference

by JOC staff
Journal of Commerce, Oct 30, 2015

Image: Charles Leman pictured onscreen during the Disruptive Trends plenary session October 29, 2015 at the AIBC Annual Conference. Photo by AIBC(Image: Charles Leman pictured onscreen during the Disruptive Trends plenary session October 29, 2015 at the AIBC Annual Conference. Photo by AIBC)

The panelists were Charles Leman, Steven Fleming, Kira Gerwing, Robert Brown and Newsha Gaeli.

Fleming began by explaining that he is an advocate of not only architecture, but cycling. He, in fact, wrote a book called “Cycle Space” which meshes the two disciplines. He said as a cyclist he spoke extensively in the Netherlands, but other cities have had a hard time adapting the Dutch model of cycling paths.

Fleming said transportation accounts for a third of our energy use and with increasingly efficient buildings will become half of our energy use. Cycling addresses this to a certain extent but we need to “bridge the fast zones,” he said.

Leman said “A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value system.” Read more…

Architecture of Place at the 2015 AIBC Conference

by JOC staff
Journal of Commerce, Oct 29, 2015

Image: Otto Condon presents during the Architecture of Place plenary session October 29, 2015 at the AIBC Annual Conference. Photo by AIBC(Image: Otto Condon presents during the Architecture of Place plenary session October 29, 2015 at the AIBC Annual Conference. Photo by AIBC)

The panelists were Kelly Edzera-Bapty, Don Lyumes, Otto Condon, Charles Kelley, and Kirsten Murray.

Lyumes, who is the manager of community planning for the City of Surrey, said the term “architecture of place” implies a relationship between a built form and the place surrounding it. He added that design consultancies and strategies are “fluid and borderless,” which means a tower block in any city looks and functions much the same no matter where it is located.

Edzera-Bapty, who is an intern architect with the AIBC, focused on indigenous space (she is Taltan First Nation, located in northern B.C.) to see how the indigenous sense of space intersects with architecture. Read more…

Surrey to Pick Light Rail Station Stops by Early 2016

by Jacob Parry
BCBusiness, Oct 30, 2015

Image: City of Surrey is finalizing light rail station locations. Courtesy of BCBusiness, photo from city of Surrey(Image: City of Surrey is finalizing light rail station locations. Courtesy of BCBusiness, photo from city of Surrey)

If you commute from Langley to downtown Vancouver, Surrey’s choice for light rail over familiar and faster SkyTrain lines may seem counterintuitive. But the choice for smaller “Euro-style” low-floor trains is more attuned to the city’s ambitions as a place where South Fraser residents can easily commute within the region, ideally without a car, according to Don Luymes, Surrey’s manager of community planning, who discussed Surrey’s light rail ambitions at the Architectural Institute of British Columbia’s annual convention on Friday.

The city of Surrey and TransLink are in the process of finalizing station locations, coordinating bus schedules and selecting run times for a system that Surrey planners hope will form the backbone of the city’s future development. By early 2016, the city will have finalized the final number and locations of stations along the 10-kilometre first phase, which will be nailed down in early 2016. But when it comes to the $2.1 billion price tag, little has changed. While provincial Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone has reiterated his commitment to fund one-third of the proposal, and the incoming Trudeau government has made a similar commitment, the city still has to come up with $700 million to pay for its share. Read more…

How to Plan a City for Cyclists

by Felicity Stone
BCBusiness, Nov 2, 2015

Apartments built for bicycles could have ramps like 8 House in Copenhagen, designed by Bjarke Ingels. Courtesy of BCBusiness, photo by Wojtek Gurak(Image: Apartments built for bicycles could have ramps like 8 House in Copenhagen, designed by Bjarke Ingels. Courtesy of BCBusiness, photo by Wojtek Gurak)

Just as architects Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright envisioned cities planned around the car, today’s architects must do the same for bicycling, says architect, researcher and Cycle Space author Steven Fleming. Speaking at the Architectural Institute of British Columbia conference October 30, Fleming said replacing cars with bicycles is healthy for the cyclists and the planet, and since people in the developing world tend to emulate those in wealthier countries, it’s up to those at the top of the pyramid to set an example.

“The first thing you should do in terms of planning is to maximize the mode of maximum benefit to society,” says Fleming. “At the moment we maximize driving.” Most people will only agree to use bikes if bike transport becomes faster and more convenient than driving, but today the car has unfair advantage: the purpose-built driving city. Apart from Dubai, most didn’t start that way, and the purpose-built cycling city could also evolve piecemeal. Fleming suggests starting with the space not currently used by cars: underutilized grey fields and brown fields, strips of land that follow rail corridors and waterways where there could be bike tracks, or the land opened up by the removal of Vancouver’s viaducts. Read more…

Jaw-dropping Photos of Europe’s Abandoned Buildings

by Christopher Hooton
The Independent, Sep 22, 2015

Photographer Christian Richter latest project is capturing images of old decaying architecture. Courtesy of The Independent, photo by Christian Richter(Image: Photographer Christian Richter latest project is capturing images of old decaying architecture. Courtesy of The Independent, photo by Christian Richter)

There’s something Ozymandian about Christian Richter’s abandoned buildings – ornate halls with grand pianos and plush furniture slowly decaying into dust, beds sprouting grass, cinemas caving in.

“When I was young, I fell in love with abandoned buildings. After I got a camera as a present, I started photographing the beauty there. I mostly photograph empty buildings with great staircases or interiors,” he told BoredPanda.

“I simply adore old decaying architecture, their patterns and textures – they remind me that everything is impermanent. Abandoned architecture photography is my ongoing project and I often travel around Europe looking for abandoned buildings.” Read more…

Euronews’ Unique New Headquarters

by staff
Dezeen, Oct 16, 2015

Euronew's 800 employees are accommodated within the 10,000 square metres of office space. Courtesy of Dezeen, photo by Nicolas Borel(Image: Euronew’s 800 employees are accommodated within the 10,000 square metres of office space. Courtesy of Dezeen, photo by Nicolas Borel.)

Built in Lyon’s docklands, Jakob + MacFarlane’s new headquarters for international news channel Euronews features an acid-green facade punctured by two huge egg-shaped holes (+ slideshow).

Paris-based Jakob + MacFarlane collaborated with French artist Fabrice Hyber on the waterside building.

Hyber was responsible for the building’s green aluminium skin, which features a sinuous pattern of openings that allow light and air to filter inside. Read more…

These 3-D Scans Are Digitally Saving Ancient Monuments Before ISIS Blows Them Up

by Adele Peters
Fast Co., Oct 20, 2015

Image: The first monument to be 3-D scanned for the project was the Ziggurat of Ur in Iraq, originally built around 4,000 years ago, and restored in the sixth century B.C. Courtesy of Fast Co.(Image: The first monument to be 3-D scanned for the project was the Ziggurat of Ur in Iraq, originally built around 4,000 years ago, and restored in the sixth century B.C. Courtesy of Fast Co.)

In August, ISIS militants blew up the legendary and beautiful 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel in the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria, saying that it promoted “idolatry.” At the beginning of October, they destroyed the equally historic Arch of Triumph leading to the site. Now, some experts are afraid the entire ancient city—one of the most spectacular ancient sites in the world—could be obliterated in as little as three months.

Throughout the Middle East, hundreds of historic sites are now at risk of total destruction because of war.

A nonprofit called CyArk is racing to 3-D scan ancient architecture to digitally preserve it for the future, so it can later be recreated in virtual reality or rebuilt on the ground. In a new initiative called Project Anga, they’re working with the International Council of Monuments and Sites to digitally document dozens of at-risk sites in the region, starting with Syria and Iraq. Read more…

World’s Most Amazing Places to Pray

by Kieran Corcoran
Daily Mail, Sep 22, 2015

Image: Pictured is the Ribbon Chapel in Hiroshima, Japan, which has twin spiral staircases design to represent the union of man and wife and a symbol of marriage. Courtesy of World Architecture Festival, Daily Mail(Image: Pictured is the Ribbon Chapel in Hiroshima, Japan, which has twin spiral staircases design to represent the union of man and wife and a symbol of marriage. Courtesy of World Architecture Festival, Daily Mail)

These amazing places of worship are among the world’s most beautiful places to pray.

The religious buildings, located as far apart as the U.S., Asia and the Middle East, are all due to feature in the upcoming World Architecture Festival in Singapore.

All nine buildings form the shortlist for the religion category. The designs are huge departures from the traditional forms of each religion, in some cases resembling a helter-skelter slide or a Bond villain’s lair. Read more…