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Northeast False Creek Urban Framework

800 Block Robson Street

Foot of Lonsdale Public Plaza

Shipyards Lot 5 Redevelopment

University of Victoria Master Plan Update

The Megaphone: Jim Deva Plaza Speaker’s Corner

Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza Redevelopment

Simon Fraser University Student Union Building

UBC Bookstore

Ponderosa Commons

Evergreen Line Station Plazas

Terra Nova Play Experience

Sun Hop Park

Corduroy Road

Richmond Railway Corridor

Harbourside Overpass

McBurney Lane

Orchard Commons

Hillcrest & Riley Parks

Market Lane (Figure Ground)

Hapa Collaborative is a landscape architecture and urban design practice established with placemaking, attentiveness and collaboration in mind.

We see each project as an opportunity to partner, dream big and synthesize ideas wrought from many, often opposing, influences.  Our goal is to evoke the poetry of the place and in doing so reveal something delightful but perhaps previously unseen.  Most of all, we consider Hapa to be a contemporary voice for landscape architecture and a small, agile and fresh alternative to traditional firms.

Hapa Collaborative works within the full breadth of scales from master plans to pocket parks, civic spaces to private residences, streetscapes to green roofs.  However we specifically enjoy addressing the leftover spaces between buildings, applying the principles of landscape urbanism to city-building, site design and community consultation. We like to explore new methods and materials, forge new relationships and ultimately create places that people remember.

Hapa means many things: half, mixed, or hybrid; originally a pejorative term for someone of part Asian ethnicity and, by extension, anything shaped by the collision of cultural influences. Hapa can be defined as an intentional disturbance – an explosion – that creates space for something new.  It is an apt description of Vancouver’s cosmopolitan complexity and an emblem of our own profession’s mixed pedigree: landscape and architecture, art and science, nature and culture. Hapa is also a Japanese word for ‘leaf.’

Our studio of ten designers is a daily collaboration between people with different backgrounds and training, and a mix of skills and specialization.  We love the fact that this mix is present in our design process and is often realized in the final design direction in our work.  Read more about each of our Hapsters through the link below.

Team   Careers

The Pender Harbour Ocean Discovery Station

Studio Design Process

In early April, Hapa had the opportunity to respond to an exciting architectural proposal and community-led initiative for the design of a biodiversity research station and aquarium in the beautiful Sunshine Coast community of Pender Harbour. PODS aka Pender Harbour Ocean Discovery Station aims to combine sustainable design with an educational program as a means of bringing young people into the community through research positions and eco-tourism.

Hapa was brought on board alongside a team of committed consultants through Deutscher Architecture Studio, whose ambitious building design incorporates climate change responses, modular construction, and cultural references to local ship-building histories. We were thrilled to be part of this energetic collective and contribute to what was shaping up to be an interesting design project. Adding to the excitement was The Ruby Lake Lagoon Society, a visionary client group born of a local not-for-profit conservation society spearheaded by the charismatic Michael Jackson. Michael championed the project as a means to address the need for oceanic research and conservation along the Sunshine Coast while contributing to the transitioning local economy and helping mitigate the adverse effects of shifting population demographics in the Pender Harbour area.

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For the team at Hapa, the project brief translated into first developing a set of design principles and a site program that carried forth both the ecologically sensitive considerations of Jeremiah Deutscher’s architectural proposal as well as the Lagoon Society’s educational-based conservation efforts and community ambitions. Leveraging our team’s knowledge and connection to the region’s biological conditions with an appreciation of the community scale, we used a 3D site model, hand sketching, native plant guides, First Nations land use reports, maritime charts, and precedent studies to imagine contextual uses of the landscape for the introduction of outdoor learning opportunities. Putting pen to paper, a collaborative preliminary landscape design was produced for an open house to start a conversation with the community. We left the studio to present our ideas in Pender Harbour, excited to hear and learn more about the local experiences and visions for the site.

PODS in Community

Community Engagement

With an early start and a thermos of coffee, our small team left for the Horseshoe Bay ferry. After a morning drive up the coast, we arrived at the local music hall to the welcome of a large turnout of local residents for the open house gathering. Michael introduced the many characters constituting the Lagoon Society’s board, including but not limited to,a longtime fisherman, the town’s dentist, an ex-school principal, and journalist. The presentation helped those in attendance understand how the idea was manifested through the actions of a small group of people, and how it will become reality through community support. Throughout the session, those in attendance were openly engaged for comments, and in many instances playfully called upon for anecdotes or support through the humorous banter colloquial to the jovial MC and the town he holds dear.

The consultants took the stage next, with Jeremiah bringing the audience into the story of his involvement and passion for the project, peppering his presentation with the under-utilized ‘architecture as cooking’ metaphor. The team from Associated Engineering followed, communicating their approach to understanding site, demonstrating a rigorous knowledge and respect for local conditions. Before our own talk, Martina Soderlund spoke about the effects of climate change, and the need for buildings to respond using closed loop diagrams and building systems sections to describe how this project could be a precedent setting architectural response to the challenges faced globally but also locally on the coast.

To close the session, we spoke about our playful approach to past projects, by drawing on natural systems and cultural metaphors to create a sense of place. We used site plans, axonometric drawings, and perspective vignettes to guide the audience from the experience of entry at the dock, to the hearth of a gathering space and outdoor classroom, before reaching a sunset lookout framed by laboratories fading into an Arbutus grove and aquaponic planters. Our design used the concept of a learning landscape that draws out ecological conditions and local context to create didactic place-making experiences. In response, the audience communicated their support and concerns, enriching our understanding of a place they have known for so long with suggestions that built upon our proposal in valuable ways, teaching us in turn. The schematic concept design was received and given back to us through the lens of those who would be most connected to its manifestation, and we were grateful for the chance to be further inspired to return to the drafting table.

PODS Site

Site Visit

The next day, on site the client group again facilitated an open discussion with stakeholders and the project’s immediate neighbours, this time under the sky and at the ocean’s edge, actively pursuing feedback of all kinds as a means of achieving consensus and building support for the project from the ground up. Hapa listened to concerns, and endorsed the ability of the landscape to engage the issues while providing amenity and remediating the now neglected space.

This session was followed by a period for us to gather community input in situ, while also taking photographs, noting existing trees and plant species, and understanding the extensive cultural layers to the site, including its recent use as a popular pub built upon the historic site of Irvine’s Landing. As the original point of access for Pender Harbour, it became clear that the site was well positioned to become a new hub for scientific research, but also for tourism, conferences, and cultural events to bring the community together with people visiting from Vancouver and further afield.

Before leaving for the ferry home, we were excited to continue pacing the site, ground truthing and riffing with Jeremiah & Martina on new ideas brought out by tactile conditions of the landscape: clambering down to the water’s edge to pick up oyster shells; clearing invasive Scotch Broom to reveal textural soils and native wildflowers; scrambling up a minor rock face to gain aspect on building footprints; and landscape extents from a small mossy plateau. In all, our site-driven conversations helped reaffirm the desire and passion for pushing the project forward through design, and with community engagement, the need to realize the project’s sustainable aspirations through collaboration and attention to place.

For more information, please visit: www.openpods.com



Written by: Jordan Lypkie and Lukas Holy, landscape designers of Hapa, part of the PODS project team alongside Deutscher Architecture Studio.

The Future of Landscape Architecture: Celebrating Risk-Taking with Sitelines

Last month, Hapa was invited by Symmetry Lighting to participate in a conversation for this February’s edition of Sitelines, exploring the theme of celebrating risk-taking. We sat down with guest editor Robin Rosebrugh (Symmetry Lighting), landscape designer Vanessa Goldgrub (ETA Landscape Architecture) and Derek Lee (PWL Partnership) to discuss why celebration may not commonly be the initial response to risk, and how pushing boundaries can be healthy. Or perhaps necessary.

As Robin prefaces in the issue, “landscape architects play a role in community cohesion, restoration and resilience, and personal well-being” and we certainly agree these are everyday considerations  in the business and the profession. A glimpse of the conversation from this month’s newsletter can be found online on the Sitelines publication archive here.

The topics that Vanessa, Derek and Joe covered with Robin brings to mind a couple excerpts from the 50th anniversary edition of Sitelines (June 2014):

“We need what I call “VIM”—namely Vision, Imagination, and Motivation in order to accomplish these goals. The challenges of climate change, worldwide hyper-urbanized growth,  resulting  in the loss of open space, especially agricultural lands—essential for our food security, and resource scarcity such as water, are expanding the scale, methods, and demands for our profession. We can no longer solve these problems alone but must collaborate with other professionals. While practicing what I call the three R’s: Research, shouldering Responsibility, and Risk-taking.” – Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, LMBCSLA, FCSLA, FASLA, OC

“A radical rethinking of how our cities have been built is required, and this rethinking will necessitate a reassertion of the public
realm as a multifunctional, adaptable, dynamic, absorptive, responsive, relational, democratic space.” – Kelty McKinnon, MBCSLA

Almost three years later, Cornelia and Kelty’s call for memorable acronyms and multivalent places continue to be part of our advocacy today. Collaboration and an educated society are continuously important, so we can find more solutions together and integrate, rather than work within our own silos.

Thank you all for your company and to Robin and Lilian for hosting us on that Monday evening. Cover image by Vanessa.

Hapa Collaborative
403 – 375 West Fifth Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1J6
+ 1 604 909 4150
info@hapacobo.com

Interested in working with us?
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