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We are currently seeking candidates for technical focus Architects with 10+ years of experience for our Vancouver office. Not to be confused with Architectural Technologist, we are seeking a registered architect with specific interest and expertise in reviewing and stamping drawings and oversight of the QA/QC process. We are interested in exceptional people with strong analytical, communication and technical skills who are passionate and involved in community building at all scales.

VIA Architecture is a multi-disciplinary firm of urban strategists creating connected communities. With offices in Vancouver, Seattle and Oakland we are a highly interactive studio-based practice concentrating in urban planning, transit systems planning and design and architecture for urban mixed-use development. Our systems-level sustainable design strategies and community-based design studio set us apart from traditional architectural practice.

Desired Experience

  • Registered architect with 10+ years of architectural experience.
  • Passive House, Step Code and LEED certified preferred.
  • Specification writing preferred.

Key Skills

  • Deep knowledge of architectural technical detailing, envelope design, and specifications writing.
  • Skill in the coordination and production of project documentation packages.
  • Strong experience in the technical coordination of collaborative design disciplines, including integrated project delivery experience and 3-dimensional resolution of technical issues.
  • Ability and experience with organizing, tracking and implementing project data, directives and design, tender and construction document production, consultant coordination.
  • Experience with various construction and building types.
  • In-depth knowledge of the BCBC.
  • Ability to delegate supervise and mentor junior staff members.
  • Passion for green building and experience with sustainable building rating systems an asset.
  • QA/QC ability for office oversite.
  • Proficiency in REVIT, AutoCAD & Sketchup.
  • Must be registered or eligible to register with AIBC.

Responsibilities
This person will supplement and work within our multi-disciplinary teams to provide comprehensive technical architectural services for high-rise, wood frame, public transit/infrastructure and other commercial projects. This person will also oversee QA/QC processes and training for the Vancouver office.

Salary and Benefits
Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. Generous benefits include extended medical coverage, retirement funds contribution matching, and transit subsidy.

How to Apply
Please email resume, cover letter/email, work samples in PDF (max. 3 MB) with “YourName_Technical Architect” in subject‐line, attention Lauren Hamilton, Managing Director lhamilton@via‐architecture.com. No phone calls or office visits.

  • Applicants must meet minimum experience qualifications to be considered for the position.
  • Applicants must be registered with the AIBC, or eligible to be registered in BC.
  • Only candidates considered for an interview will be contacted.

For more information about VIA Architecture, please visit www.via-architecture.com.

This is the conclusion of a three-part think piece by VIA’s Dylan Glosecki about the potential reshaping of our communities by automated vehicles, today and in the future.

In Part 1, we concluded that AVs could change the individual’s relationship with the personal car, particularly reducing the need for individual car ownership. Part 2 determined that as a result of that changing relationship, AVs may expand both public and private transportation choices, whose potential implications must be monitored on the local scale. Part 3 concludes the series by briefly examining what policy considerations are necessary to eliminate policy conflicts.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart and  Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum pose with a driver-less shuttle. The two municipalities are collaborating on the federally funded Smart Cities Challenge, which sees them proactively embrace AV technology with the aim of becoming the model cities for the new technology (image: Smart Cities Challenge)

 


Jurisdictional Conflicts

The key assumptions driving AV adoption are that AVs would transport people and goods further, faster, safer and more conveniently than conventional vehicles. The success of each assumption can be quickly complicated by jurisdictional limitations. For example, provinces/states typically have different regulations for conventional vehicle use (e.g. drivers’ license qualifications), which may be extended to AVs.

 

If one is slower or resistant to facilitate the mass adoption of AVs, there may be challenges balancing driving laws between AVs and conventional vehicles. Let’s say there’s two jurisdictions: Banana and Grape. Banana allows AV owners to use their car to get home after consuming alcohol because the owner will technically not be driving the vehicle. In Grape, the ‘driver’ is required to be able to intervene their vehicle at any time and must therefore not be under the influence while the vehicle is in operation, regardless if they are to manually drive or are automatically driven home. There are potentially serious legal implications to the ‘driver’ in Banana travelling through Grape on their way home.

 

It is likely that public agencies will favor a Grape approach into the foreseeable future for the sake of public safety. But if the future is to be truly driverless, then a Banana approach must eventually be implemented at the largest scale. Still, such a large scale transition is likely to take place incrementally as public trust into the safety of AVs grows. These implications, between the practical and the legal, are what must be ironed out if an AV future is to be as smooth as many would assume it to be.

 

Private vs Public Sector

In Part 2, we concluded that an AV future will continue to diminish the demand of individual car ownership. This is supported by the success of ride hailing services like Uber and the increasing popularity of car share services like Car2Go, which are strong indications of our changing relationship with the automobile. This assumption is given confidence by Uber’s R&D/investment in fleets of AVs, indicating a changing business model from purely a ‘bridge’ service provider between a passenger and a car owner, to conventional fleet ownership.

 

While we determined that there may be conflicts in development interests such as high density versus enabling sprawl, there may also be issues with having more vehicles on the road than we anticipate. This becomes especially true as ride hailing and car share companies provide even more convenient transportation options than automobile ownership. As Uber/Lyft invest in AV fleets, they’ll potentially be competing with public transit agencies as long as convenience continues to be the most important defining factor of utilization.

Alternatively, transit agencies may integrate AVs into their fleets, particularly for last mile services. In BC, Vancouver and Surrey are publicly testing ELA autonomous shuttles as part of a joint submission for the federal Smart Cities Challenge. As the two largest cities in the province, with Surrey particularly experiencing a population boom, the municipalities’ collaboration strongly suggests that the public sector can be thought leaders who are proactive in the research and implementation of AV infrastructure, instead of reacting to the market. This should result in a strong policy base

 

Competing Transport Modes

Beyond public transit, the convenience of last mile AV services may inadvertently result in competing modes of transportation vying for public support. Increasingly ongoing, for example, is a push to have cycling as a primary means of transportation within many high density areas and suburbs across North America. An AV future could potentially undermine cycling (and maybe even walking) as a sustainable transit option. If AVs are perceived to be more convenient than its human-powered alternatives, then this would not only affect people’s choices as individuals, but it may stall progressive policies designed to move people away from automobile dependence. This could be especially true for areas with comparatively underserviced transit options. An AV future may unwittingly support a similar type of automobile dependence if public transit, however implemented, is viewed as comparatively less convenient.

However, in recognition of the current and future demand and convenience of the bicycle as a suitable, reliable mode of transportation, ride-hailing companies have acquired bike share services like Lyft’s purchase of Motivate and Uber has already rolled out bike share service Jump, These multimodal options are being used to provide more complete mobility services with fleets of automobiles (eventually AVs), bikes, electric bikes and scooters available. Inversely, bike share service, Lime Bike, has rolled out car sharing services, further reinforcing the shift towards services offering a range of transport options. This integrated and flexible intermodal ecosystem is attractive to users based on convenience alone. Public transit agencies, with their limited budgets, structured policies and incremental service changes may fail to compete with the private sector.

All in all, as advocates for comprehensive and reliable public transportation systems, we must continue to strike the balance between public agencies, private providers and ourselves as end users. AVs are not a silver bullet to the private car or to public transit, much like Netflix isn’t a silver bullet to cable television or privacy. Rather than viewing them as evolutions of transportation and entertainment, respectively, they are perhaps better viewed as evolutions within the technology of transportation and entertainment.


Preceding articles:

Aerial view of UCSF Parnassus (image copyright UCFS)

University of California San Francisco (UCSF) leaders held a town hall meeting April 22nd 2019 to reveal and discuss the Comprehensive Parnassus Heights Plan (CPHP). The CPHP will provide the long-term vision for the revitalization and re-integration of the historic UCSF Parnassus Heights community.

This campus master planning project is being led by Perkins Eastman with stewardship from the Parnassus Master Plan Steering Committee. Kate Howe, a Director at VIA is acting as Project Manager and lead planner for the Perkins Eastman team, also including Walter Hood, MIG, Keyser Marsten and Fehr and Peers.

Read more about the UCSF Parnassus town hall meeting and the campus plan here.

We are t-minus four months away from Design in Public’s annual Seattle Design Festival 2019! VIA staff are already heads down on a new exhibit to bring to this year’s Block Party (August 24-25), which has moved from Pioneer Square and will now be taking place in South Lake Union at Lake Union Park. The theme this year, Balance, is generating some fantastic concepts we can’t wait to share with you.

Below is a look back at some of VIA’s most recent exhibits. Stay tuned for more updates in the months to come and we’ll see you in August!

Check out more photos from the Design Festival at DiP’s Flickr feed here.

 

VIA provides a breakdown review of the BART Market Street Canopies project. VIA’s team worked closely with BART staff to create the designs for two prototype entrance canopies, one for Powell Station and one entrance to Civic Center station.

New canopy as seen at BART Powell Street entrance.

Over the next five years, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in collaboration with the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (MUNI), will be installing new canopies at the BART/ MUNI subway entrances along Market Street in San Francisco. The BART entrances today are non-descript, unprotected portals with little indication for riders to know they are even there. New codes require BART to protect the escalators from the weather, which presents new placemaking and wayfinding opportunities while increasing the reliability of the station infrastructure and  improving user experience along the most important multi-modal corridor in San Francisco.

Market Street cuts a diagonal between colliding neighborhood grids beginning at The Embarcadero, located on the waterfront of San Francisco Bay, and extending through historic financial, shopping, civic, and cultural districts. The twenty four BART and MUNI entrances serving the four major stations on Market Street are a hub of activity day and night. Each of the stations reflect the confluence of the unique cultural  identities that permeate the street.

The City of San Francisco is simultaneously implementing a project called Better Market Street; a transformative urban design project reinvigorating the streetscape to anchor neighborhoods, link public open spaces and connect the City’s Civic Center with cultural, social, convention, retail and tourism destinations along 2.2 miles of Market Street. BART and MUNI are embracing their role in the project, designing the canopies to reflect the unique character of San Francisco’s most iconic thoroughfare.

 

Design Challenge: Balancing functionality and place making

The canopies need to provide protection from the elements, secure the stations at night when the trains aren’t operating, and not obstruct visibility at street level for safety as well as retaining visual access to the businesses along Market Street. With the introduction of twenty-four new large structures, the architecture had to be beautiful, unique, while not being imposing or in conflict with the other elements of creating a Better Market Street.

Maximizing transparency of the vertical elements (glass wall and minimized load bearing columns) presented a design solution that provides the greatest visibility and not obstructing the adjacent businesses. The ceiling soffit is separated from the walls invoking a floating effect creating a lightness of structure. The edges of the canopy lift upwards, creating a welcoming transition for transit users both entering and exiting the transit station. The uplighting of the curved ceiling creates a soft glow of reflected light that both identifies the entrances for pedestrians and provides illumination for security purposes. The sandy white texture of the ceiling eliminates glare and harsh reflections from the subtle bank of lights running along the top of the glass walls. This even and ample lighting make for a safe and welcoming space.

Canopy at the Civic Center entrance.

Integration of new formal elements into existing place

The new structures need to contribute to Better Market Street’s unified identity while celebrating the unique character of the different districts the stations occupy. To do this, the canopies employ elements of continuity and elements of distinction. Architectural and material elements remain consistent while distinctive elements of civic art, reflecting each station’s neighborhood context, is  integrated into the canopy ceilings.

The art program was a collaborative effort engaging the many business and neighborhood stakeholders along with city leaders. Representatives of the local art community, including SF MOMA and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, were brought in at early phases to help select the format and establish guidelines for art integration. The designs will be unique to each station while the material and methods used to render those designs serves as an element of continuity between the stations.

 

Kit of parts:

  • A floating, horizontal canopy – a simple and robust structure containing a roller shutter that completes the security enclosure at night. The curved, cloud-like shape of the canopy becomes a recognizable systematic element for transit and for Market Street. Its underbelly has been sculpted so it is easily seen while approaching it along market street or coming up from the station. Its horizontal orientation means it does not block facades of adjacent buildings.
  • Incorporation of art – the canopy ceiling becomes an element of distinction at each entrance – reflecting the cultural context with civic artwork produced by local and international artists. It is shaped to draw interest down into the transit levels below grade, to accommodate structure, and to provide modulation of lighting from daylight to underground.
  • The roof surface becomes responsive to the environment – an opportunity for a future green roofs providing local Tiger Butterfly habitat, drainage, and shade.
  • The “working wall” is comprised of 10’ glass walls which protect the entrance from weather, traffic, and intruders.
  • The “station identification column” acts as a structural wall with wayfinding information, integrating electrical and drainage elements, and an automated roller shutter for securing station access at night.
  • The “system information column” includes station information, a local area map, and dynamic signage.

Sustainability measures:

  • Long-lasting and low-maintenance materials were chosen for the design. Stainless steel, coated, laminated glass, and fiberglass reinforced polymer ceiling panels –less common, but extremely resilient to weather and damage.
  • LED lighting reduces the energy consumption of the canopy while maintaining an inviting atmosphere
  • Use of fabricators local to the Bay Area minimized transit of assembled materials, reducing the embodied energy of the canopies.

The City of Seattle has pledged to spend more than $75 million dollars on affordable housing projects throughout 2019. The plan, unveiled at a recent news conference with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, endeavors to help nonprofits build around 1,200 new affordable apartments while preserving another 200 low-rent homes.

The press-event was held at Northaven, an affordable seniors community in the Northgate neighborhood of Seattle. Northaven had previously engaged VIA to develop a community plan for their growing tenant population – and we are excited to report that they are one of the recipients of this new round of funding.

VIA’s work with Northaven will build upon several previously-provided feasibility studies, with neighboring stakeholders, that examined the existing sites with options to integrate new development of various sizes and configurations, including the incorporation of an existing auto body shop. These exercises assisted Northaven in determining what they wanted and what they were able to build. The project was envisioned as a rich mixture of housing and amenities acting as a sort of ‘senior hub’ in the Northgate area.

Congratulations to Northaven and all the newly-funded affordable housing projects in our City!

 

By Wolf Saar, FAIA, Managing Director VIA Architecture.

In addition to the “flagship” contract known as B101, AIA offers several other owner-architect agreements that are critical to any commercial design project.

Choosing the right owner-architect agreement is critical to any commercial design project. This is because the agreement establishes a foundation for the contractual relationship between the owner and architect and communicates the expected design and other services that the architect will provide. Architects and owners can choose from several AIA owner-architect agreements, which suit various project delivery methods, sizes, and complexities. AIA agreements provide a time-proven and court-tested framework to discuss and negotiate key terms, including the architect’s scope of services and compensation. They are widely accepted and used in the construction industry, signifying a consensus of individuals and groups who represent the interests of architects, owners, and contractors.

The AIA Documents Committee develops AIA Contract Documents through a rigorous process that includes input from contractor organizations, owner groups, architects, legal and insurance counsel, and others involved in the construction process. AIA Contract Documents are periodically updated to reflect changes in the design and construction industry, as well as the law. As courts have tested the agreements over time, users may rely confidently on the meaning and interpretation of the contract terms. These agreements provide a solid framework for relationships among the owner, architect, contractor, and other project participants.

The “flagship” Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect is the B101, which assumes traditional design-bid-build construction procurement. As the construction industry and procurement of construction services have evolved, owners often choose to engage construction managers or similar consultants to provide specialized pre-construction services, such as cost estimating, scheduling, and constructability review. AIA Contract Documents have also been developed to address this shift in responsibility. In addition to B101, AIA offers several other owner-architect agreements. Commonly used owner-architect agreements for commercial projects and their distinguishing features include… click here to continue reading on AIA’s website.


This article was first published on AIA’s website. Wolf Saar, FAIA, is managing director at VIA Architecture and a member of AIA National’s Contract Documents Committee. All images credit: AIA.

VIA staff tour various VIA projects in Seattle. Words by VIA’s Justin Panganiban

 

VIA staff from our Seattle and Vancouver offices participated in a walking tour of Seattle, highlighting several neighborhoods and projects where VIA played a role in shaping livable, sustainable communities.

Matt Roewe led a morning tour of South Lake Union, a neighborhood that has undergone a major transformation over the last decade as Seattle’s emerging tech/research hub. Matt shared his insight into the combination of public and private investment, land use and zoning policy, and mobility infrastructure that is responsible for the neighborhood’s urban form – from the preserved historic brick facades to the midblock alleyways. The tour culminated at one of VIA’s multifamily projects, Fox & Finch, which exemplifies a design that responds appropriately to changing neighborhood context. A seven-story, 49-unit building nestled next to several office buildings, Fox & Finch utilizes high quality building materials, integrates ground-floor retail space to activate the street, and provides residents with proximity to live, work, and play opportunities.

The group then headed to Uptown, a neighborhood also poised for significant transformation through the renovation of KeyArena and a future light rail station. Here, Katie Idziorek showcased how VIA contributed to community-building at different scales. The group first walked to Uptown Parklet, a small public park next to the SIFF Cinema. As one of Seattle’s first parklets, this Community Design Studio (CDS) project was a result of a collaborative process between community members to create a space whose design reflects the arts & culture presence in the neighborhood. Katie then walked the group over to the Cora Apartments, where we were given a building tour of different residential and amenity spaces – including a landscaped rooftop terrace with views toward Elliott Bay!

In the afternoon, the group put on their transit hats and traveled to two destinations along the LINK light rail line. Bethany Madsen first led the group on a tour of Angle Lake Station, located at the southern terminus of the current light rail line. She highlighted sustainable aspects of the station design that contributed to the project’s LEED gold certification, including rainwater harvesting and material selection. Bethany also shared how the station architecture, such as the wave-form canopy design elevated over the roadway, contributed to the station’s signature presence for arriving passengers. We concluded the afternoon with a tour led by Charles Romero of CityLine II, one of VIA’s transit-oriented multifamily projects located minutes away from the Columbia City Station. Compared to the more “urban center”-scaled buildings in South Lake Union and Uptown, Charles Romero highlighted the project’s ability to engage pedestrians at a residential neighborhood scale, from high-quality landscaping to pedestrian passages throughout the site.

The walking tour was an excellent way for staff across both offices to get a deeper dive into what make VIA a leader in sustainable, livable communities in the Seattle area. As new projects break ground and are constructed over the next few years, we look forward to what a future Seattle walking tour potentially has in store.

Ribbon cutting at Kent Community Garden (Image: Forterra/Alissabeth Newton)

VIA’s Community Design Studio staff were recently on hand for the ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony for Forterra’s new community garden at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Kent WA. This project represents a collaboration between three non-profits — Forterra, the International Rescue Committee, and Global to Local —  in supporting refugees and recent immigrants to the South King County area. By developing both garden plots and gathering space, the project directly supports community health by providing access to fresh food and strengthening social connections. It also allows gardeners to grow fruits and vegetables from their countries of origin, supporting traditional diets and sharing connections to cultural roots through food.

During the design process, VIA created graphics and models to support two community outreach events, so that future gardeners could provide input on preferred sites and layouts. Once the site at St. Columba’s was finalized, VIA developed site plans that were used to lay out the individual plots. With the generous individual plot sizes, families will be able to grow a considerable amount of their annual produce needs in this beautiful new garden space.

VIA’s Community Design Studio is proud to have supported this and other projects that encourage local, collaborative food production.

For more information about the project, please visit Forterra’s recent post: https://forterra.org/editorial/kent-community-garden-opens

If you are interested in getting involved in the garden as a volunteer, please contact the International Rescue Committee at Seattle@Rescue.org. If you are interested in supporting Forterra’s great work with a financial donation, please visit: https://forterra.org/give

The first of a series of VIA staff spotlights, Karim Dilawar is VIA Seattle’s Project Accountant.

“It’s not common to work for an organization where you actually look forward to coming back from vacation so you can share your experiences with your colleagues but at VIA, I feel just that.”

 

Born in Pakistan and now living in the US by way of Burnaby BC, Karim Dilawar is VIA’s project accountant and team manager of the VIA Ducks.

Always intrigued by the intricacies of business operations, Karim chose a career in project accounting “because you see the inside-out of a project, and project by project, you can see how the company is performing. I learn how a project can be successful–or not. Working closely with project managers, I can help identify any deficiencies and improvements.”

Karim offers similar advice to any finance professional looking for hands-on business experience. “Project accounting is a good field to apply all the accounting knowledge you learned in school.”

Already a year into his role at VIA, Karim maintains his enthusiasm for the work and the people he works with:

I truly enjoy coming to work every day. It is so refreshing to work for an organization where I am empowered to make decisions and provided opportunities to learn and grow. I am exposed to challenging and exciting tasks and projects that keep me motivated and engaged. Also, I love the people that I work with. VIA employs some of the brightest minds in the industry and it is a pleasure to interact with and bounce ideas off my peers.

And so, it’s unsurprising that when he’s not wrapped up with project accounting, Karim manages the VIA Ducks, VIA’s co-ed soccer team. He uses soccer as an opportunity to foster relationships with his VIA colleagues. “I only started playing soccer when I moved to Seattle, but I figured, ‘Hey, why not start a group setting where we can meet outside the office?’” He sees many similarities between organizing the VIA Ducks and project accounting: “with project deadlines and other commitments [that VIA staff have], consistently fielding 11 players every Monday can be a challenge. But it’s also about resource matching, as well as making sure everybody gets enough playing time.”

Karim and the VIA DUCKS

 

Karim’s favorite books, which skew towards autobiographies like Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom and comedian Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, remind him that even the world’s most iconic changemakers aren’t successful overnight: “to make improvements to your life, you need to be patient. I say this because I like to see things transpire quickly.”

When you have been in the workforce as long as I have, you become a bit jaded as many organizations talk about how much they value their employees but in reality, very few actually practice it. In my experience, VIA is a rare exception to this as they genuinely value their employees. This is demonstrated by the growth and development opportunities employees have here, the compensation philosophy of the company, the culture and the rest.”