duplex reno currently under construction!
our latest finished project, lafontaine comptoir et marché. the design took its notes from sister project Vivalia in old montreal, but here we have an organic grocer and take-away counter instead. the new store is a smarter configuration dressed in clean, fresh, and bright lines.
some recent photos of the OCBC!
The Ottawa Chinese Bible Church (OCBC) purchased a stately 1950s A-framed church building, ideally located in downtown Ottawa, with the intention of building an addition to satisfy the needs for classrooms and offices. The design proposes an optimized circulation between old and new, an elevator, and a new welcome/fellowship lounge to anchor the corner. The new facade is takes its cue from the original rhythm of glass and columns, which remain exposed in the new fellowship lounge area. [seeking site plan control approval ]
Design is an iterative process. For years I’ve known this to be true, but it’s good to be reminded of it, as design is often misunderstood as a purely linear process driven by inspiration or genius only. To be able to navigate “real world” constraints of program, budget, and time – read efficiency – the iterations so necessary for good design have to happen furiously fast, and cheaply.
Learning to make, and to make as many things that are designable, is perhaps to add yet another constraint. Our minds and our ultimate solutions become constrained by constructability. But i’m OK with that.
Years ago I heard Peter Rose talk about how an architect’s work is unlike most artists’ work in that it was removed from the final product by space, time, material, and scale. His approach to try and reconcile a drawing to a building involved being able to design at least some things in situ, things like handrails and other details – no shop drawings, just him on site telling the metal worker to bend it this way or that way.
This also reminds me of Brunelleschi, who was a capomaestro, the head of the works. He would design things he knew how to build, including the everything in the pipeline: machines to quarry the stone and bring it to the site, and those to lift them, and the chains that became tension rings for his enormous dome.
An AIA State Society once purchased a lovely office building from the turn-of-the century, and received in the transaction the only drawings for the 9 story tower: 3 pages consisting of a general floor plan, an elevation, and a letter stating the building would be built to look like the drawings. The architect would go on site to say “cut this corbel like this” or “make this door casing wider.” Today, this would be unthinkable, and a set of drawings for such a building would be an inch-thick ream of A0s and a fat, iron-clad spec. When I asked how we got to our current state of required documentation and procedures, the past-president of that AIA Society (and my former boss) said succinctly, “lawyers.”
Anyhow, Makerhub intends to make things, and first (or iteratively, during the process), to design them. We want to be a hub for making. So we bought a 3D printer, for which we don’t have any active projects or purposes… yet. And I’m OK with that too.
vivalia, completed in the fall of 2016. lha designed almost every part of it!
Evangel Pentecostal Church undertook a campaign entitled “reimagine” to tackle a lack of space and outdated facilities and systems, as well as a lack of visual presence despite it’s ideal location adjacent to Cabot Square. The renovation project aims to optimize the existing space with a significant interior renovation, and to complement the vocation of the church by allowing transparency and visibility through the addition of prominent glass volumes. [completed 2015 – this project was a collaboration with Reinders+Reider Ltd, consultant architects from Ontario]