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2010 Archive

Friday Feature: Trey

Oct 29, 2010

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Trey and I create spaces that, hopefully, have a positive effect on people.

What made you decide to go into your field?

As a young lad I wanted to fly A-10’s for the US Air Force. Then my eyesight went south about the time I was taking a class in Architecture, and now here I am.

What did your family think of your chosen field?

They were very supportive of my decision. I think they wanted me out of the house too.

Who is the teacher who had the most influence on you and why?

Ezra Rice, my shop / drafting / Intro to Architecture teacher at Patch American High School. He was hard on us but fair, and he had a great outlook on life. He loved to tell us life lessons he learned from his great Gran Pappy, and how we will be better off for taking his class. He didn’t take any crap in the shop, “because it could get you killed!” or in the classroom, “because you will fail and end up living on the street with the bums!”

He also taught me the difference between a scale and a ruler.

What was the biggest hurdle you faced along your educational path? (academic, financial, motivational, family or peer pressure, outside distraction, etc.)

Well there was a little hiccup my second year where I did a little too much partying and my GPA slipped. That was a pretty big hurdle to overcome, but it did give …

Friday Feature: Ivan

Oct 22, 2010

Who are you and what do you do?

Ivan – Intern Architect

What made you decide to go into your field?

I love to design.

What did your family think of your chosen field?

They were happy I chose something that makes me happy.

Who is the teacher who had the most influence on you and why?

He taught me to question everything.

What was the biggest hurdle you faced along your educational path? (academic, financial, motivational, family or peer pressure, outside distraction, etc.)

Learning how to write, again.

What inspires you?


What schooling is required for success in your career?


What kind of people are the most successful in your field? Are there any specific attributes?

That depends on how you define success. Money? Fame? Making clients happy? Making the world a better place? There are many examples of each, but they all share the same kind of drive.

Is your field growing? (ie. is there room for new entries and is there career growth?)

I don’t know. I guess Schools of Architecture are probably just as busy as when I graduated.

What advice would you give someone considering a career like yours?

Architecture is a vast field. Someone considering making architecture a career should understand what it takes to achieve what they are looking for, then find the most suitable path.

Let the Suburbs Grow Up

by Richard Borbridge, Urban Planner for VIA Architecture That’s the call to action closing the TED lecture by Ellen Dunham-Jones. It encapsulates well the way we continue to coddle and misunderstand what the suburbs are and what they can or should become.

What are the suburbs? We’re vaguely aware of how the suburbs emerged from an era of burgeoning consumerism and opportunity after the second World War, sponsored by a infrastructure investment and a booming post-war economy. They promised to deliver the American Dream of 2.4 children, a private lawn for them to play on and a homestead, bucolic and isolated from the noise and pollution of the city-proper. The principle of building homes on the outskirts of cities to achieve a greener and more serene way of life is hardly new – just look at the turn-of-last-century Garden City Movement or even the villas of ancient Rome.

Today it is fair to ask “where are the suburbs?” It’s remarkable how many different ideas people have of what “the ‘burbs” represent… In the case of a tightly connected metropolitan region such as ours the lines are especially blurred and “suburb” encompasses at least three meanings. To some, they are any of the cities outside Vancouver’s Central Business District. To others, suburbs include any primarily residential area outside higher-density commercial zones. Examples include neighbourhoods like Point Grey or Richmond’s Seafair neighbourhood – but the “inner rings” of Kitsilano or the City of North Vancouver, residential areas that contain their own vibrant business …


Oct 15, 2010

No think piece and no Friday Feature this week? I know.. it’s disappointing…

We’ve been implementing new Business Development programs and are involved in some big project deadlines, but we’ll be back in full force next week!

Enjoy a great weekend, with some great weather (at least in Seattle…)

Monday News Roundup

Oct 11, 2010

BC Waste-collecting cyclists put a new spin on recycling (The Globe and Mail) A street peddler of a different kind, Darren Douglas rides a $4,000, custom-built tricycle through the city’s downtown, picking up odour-emitting organic waste from businesses that is later converted into compost.

Celebrity sighting: Riding the bus with ‘Mad Men’ actor Vincent Karthesier (NYTimes) A man is measured by his automobile in this city. But Vincent Kartheiser, the actor who plays the slick ad salesman Pete Campbell on “Mad Men,” is among the 10 percent of Angelenos who rely on public transportation. So on a Thursday night he and a reporter got around using his preferred, and for now, only, method of transportation: mass transit.


The Rise of the Bus Riding Celebrity (GOOD) Why don’t more eco-minded celebrities in Los Angeles take public transit?

Skytrain service expanded to accommodate cyclists (Vancouver Sun) TransLink will keep three extra trains running at the end of rush hour to serve cyclists.

Why cheaper streets are smarter streets (The Tyee) Rule 7 for sustainable communities: invest in lighter, greener, cheaper, smarter infrastructure.

Vancouver plans for more bike lanes (Vancouver Sun) With the Hornby, Dunsmuir and Burrard Bridge separated bike lanes under its belt, Vancouver is now developing a master plan for how to increase the share of bicycles on city streets over the next decade.

Bikes not welcome in Seattle (The Stranger) Neighborhoods across Seattle have balked at having their streets changed to accommodate bike and pedestrian traffic, claiming that businesses …

By Naomi Buell, Marketing Assistant -Continued from Wednesday-

HYADians at a picnic

HYAD was formed by a group of parents who had come to the realization that they would not be around forever and that there needed to be something in place for their children’s futures. The realization of their immortality created the motivation necessary to take on such a large undertaking. This passion was further fueled by knowing that their children would need stability and routines as change can be a huge disruption and even detrimental to their wellbeing. The idea of being switched from home to home was not something these parents were willing to stomach for their children so they thought they would try to find another solution. They needed something that would give their children the freedom of having their own place, the reassurance of being surrounded by their friends, the connection to their existing North Vancouver community and the safety and care needed for these young adults with disabilities. The parents had met each other through social events and gatherings for their children, and through these events their children had formed bonds with each other. After a few informal talks they formed a group and went to the City of North Vancouver to find out what their next steps should be.

They were told that the best way would be to form a non-profit group and then approach the city again with a goal and concept which is exactly what they did. The next step was to find a …

By Naomi Buell, Marketing Assistant

Last Thursday we had our first VIAVOX which is a reoccurring event we created to bring people together and discuss topics they are passionate about. The name stems from the Latin word for voice so it seemed appropriate. Our first topic was partnerships and affordable housing and we had a great turnout which included people from Housing for Young Adults with Disabilities (HYAD), the Vancouver school board, Pacific Arbour, the City of North Vancouver, our own VIA staff and many other great people.The VIAVOX’s main presenter was HYAD so it was no surprise that Clay Knowlton, the president of HYAD and his wife Susan were the first to arrive. This allowed me the time to chat with them a little. Not only is what they’re doing inspiring but they are both extremely nice people and Clay has quite the sense of humor, just try to find out if he prefers to wear a nametag on his lapel or on the back of his jacket. Vera Frinton of HYAD arrived shortly thereafter followed by Cavan Stephens, HYAD’s vice president and I was able to show them the poster which we had created for the event.

The poster highlighted one of the fundraisers they had held, their website, a news article on their new location, the sketches of the new building and pictures of the various HYADians, as they are called. Because HYAD was created by the parents of young adults with disabilities, it was nice for …

Monday News Roundup

Oct 04, 2010

UBC researcher expresses streetcar desires (Vancouver Courier) Silas Archambault, who studied the Olympic streetcar line for his master’s thesis in community and regional planning at UBC, said streetcars not only shape how neighbourhoods develop, but they also appeal to riders who might not catch a bus.

Building on Strengths (Planetizen) In Lowell, Massachusetts, planner Jeff Speck painted a picture for locals of a transformed city that capitalizes on the strengths of the city to move forward with a greater vision.

Metro Rail: The Solution for India? (The City Fix) According to Parisar, an environmental organization that works on sustainable development with a focus on urban transport, India is expected to spend 40 billion dollars in metro rail over the next 10 years.

A competition to transform 9,600 aging buildings (GOOD) Metropolis magazine’s Next Generation competition is an annual showcase of bright ideas from emerging designers focused on a major sustainability challenge.

Fascinating slideshow of various landscapes (particularly sprawl) shot from a helicopter (Infrastructurist) The New York Times Opinionator blog has a fascinating slideshow of the work of Christoph Gielen, a German-born photographer who has been shooting various landscapes — particularly, sprawl — from a helicopter for the past five years.

A free sparkling water fountain in Paris (GOOD) The average person in France consumes about 40 gallons of bottled water each year. That means they’re buying and throwing away a lot of plastic. But what’s the alternative when they demand sparking water?

Cambridge parking …

Who are you and what do you do? I am the first Canadian born (Calgary) in our family who emigrated from Scotland. I live in Squamish with my partner, Ernie, and 2 dogs. I am an intern architect.

What made you decide to go into your field? It was a matter of finding what seemed to be the right fit…and came down to a choice between music and architecture. I had a Fine Arts degree but Architecture had the potential of satisfying my urge to sculpt spaces that have a positive impact on people in their daily lives… and it appeared to embody other interests of mine as well.

What did your family think of your chosen field? Mixed. My father was a physician who saw architecture as art (not good) and thought it was something I should do ‘on the side’! His opinion changed over time.

Who is the teacher who had the most influence on you and why? I think the most memorable one was my grade 4/5 teacher. While she was big on discipline, she had a big heart and brought creativity and music to the classroom, and got our classroom connected with one in Australia. We would send tapes back and forth of music, readings etc. We learned to knit [something resembling] squares for a quilt we donated to the red cross. She was inspiring in how she got us working together and connected with strangers. She also had a great sense of humour.

What was the biggest hurdle you faced along your educational …

by Amanda Bryan, VIA Architecture

This was the first year that I had enough advanced notice (thanks to a little thing called social media a.k.a. Facebook) to attend Seattle’s annual PARK(ing) Day.

Originally started in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco design studio, this open source global event has been catching on like wild fire – PARK(ing) Day is now being held in 140 cities, throughout 21 countries, and across 6 continents. I figured that there had to be something to this so two of my coworkers and I trekked down to Pioneer Square on our lunch break to check out a couple of Seattle’s many transformed metered parking spaces.

Our first stop was at Yesler Way & Western Ave to see Miller/Hull’s ‘parking space gone salsa dancing’. Salsa dancing in a parking spot? Absolutely! It really didn’t take much to transform two traditional 9′ x 18′ parking spaces into a dance floor. The local architecture firm laid down some recycled cardboard for the ‘floor’ and piled up old car tires at each end to make ‘chairs’ and then the dancing began. Granted, the city’s best salsa dancers weren’t flocking here to show off their newest moves but there was one couple brave enough to break the ice.

While we didn’t stick around to see who else would join in, I was quite confident that some positive peer pressure would lull more dancers onto the floor if for no other reason than to say they had danced in …