Talk About It

About 4 years ago: Jimbeaux, AIA

Vancouver has a really vibrant downtown. According to Larry Beasley, FCIP, the number of people living downtown has increased from 35,000 to 105,000 in just 15 years, all while adhering to the stated goal of zero new traffic lanes into the core.

That amazing density growth is expressed in an impressive number of residential "pencil towers." Livable balconies, arrayed with all manner of personal expressions are everywhere. There are lots of plants up in the air and trees on roofs, too. Planned mixed-use facilities and public transportation modalities abound.

Larry Speck, FAIA explains that these towers, typically with really small floor plates, are made feasible through the use of interlocking double exit stairways. Two divergent paths of egress lead back to the same fire-rated shaft. It is an ingenious and safe design feature that has played a large part in the transformation of Vancouver's core.

About 4 years ago: Sheldon

The choice of Vancouver for the board meeting this year proved to be a very enlightening experience. In particular, the opportunity to have Chris McDonald and Larry Beasley's insights into the history and development process of the City paired with the first hand walking tour was a truly rare educational experience.

I am still contemplating the seemingly polar opposite design approaches illustrated by the Convention Center visit with Mark Reddington of LMN and the office visit with John Patkau.

The LMN team seems to have mastered the daunting, lengthy and very public development process required in downtown Vancouver. The result was an exceptionally elegant and smartly detailed Convention Center woven seamlessly into the fabric of a very active and picturesque public waterfront.

John Patkau graciously invited us into their office for an intimate glimpse into their award-winning process of research and design. This was a rare glimpse into the process of a practice based almost solely on winning competitions. Their practice makes tremendous use of research into the simplest of forms and dogged attention to the smallest detail from inception through fabrication.

The efforts Larry, James, Jeanette and team went to to pull off the meeting were well worth it, Thank you! If you have not volunteered to serve your chapter at the TxA level, I highly recommend it. Serving on the TxA board is proving to be a greater reward than I could have imagined!