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Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza Redevelopment

Simon Fraser University Student Union Building

Whistler Village Neighbourhood Improvements

UBC Bookstore

Evergreen Line Station Plazas

Stong’s on Dunbar

Whistler Cultural Connector

Terra Nova Play Experience

Mid Main Park

Foot of Lonsdale Public Plaza

Richmond Railway Corridor

Harbourside Overpass

McBurney Lane

Orchard Commons

Edgemont Village Design Guidelines

Hillcrest Riley Parks

Newton Athletic Park

Market Lane (Figure Ground)

Pearson Dogwood

The Concord

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.


Creative Mornings Vancouver: Playground Builders and Magic Through Play

Playgrounds are more than just physical places to play. They are spaces where kids can be kids, community members can feel connected and empowered, new possibilities find a strong foundation and peace and hope begins.

– Playground Builders

It has been a little over one month since Kirby Brown’s “Magic Through Play” talk, part of Vancouver’s chapter of Creative Mornings, a free, monthly breakfast lecture series for the creative community. Mr. Brown is currently GM of the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, and is 1/2 of Playground Builders, a registered charity founded in 2007 that builds playgrounds for children in war-torn areas. Along with Keith Reynolds, Playground Builders has brought safe play for over 400,000 children in the form of approximately 20 playgrounds per year in Baghdad, Iraq, Kabul and Afghanistan.

Describing a region riddled, as we often forget, with land mines, Kirby did not hesitate to let us know that spotting white markers (resembling dots) on Afghanistan soil translates to a safe, clear place to walk about. Anywhere else would be a danger zone. In fact, it may take up to 200 years to entirely rid Afghanistan exclusively of land mines, he says. The legacy of war may have dismal remnants ingrained in the region’s culture and society, however Kirby’s snapshots whilst working in Afghanistan revealed breathtaking natural phenomena that would have us thinking otherwise. Things are not always how they appear, read one of Kirby’s presentation subtitles, which were a welcome lightness poetically lacing Creative Mornings’ global Magic theme.

Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding full use of the senses.
– Dr. Richard Louv, author of Last Child Left in the Woods.

Kirby’s anecdotes of Afghanistan may be able to add dimension to our Western understanding. His stories of cultivating relationships with schools, orphanages and communities, and human nature’s resilience, remind us of the possibilities of positive transformation and the power of play. Based on Hapa’s experience in providing opportunities for the activity of play to occur (e.g. UBC’s Orchard CommonsTerra Nova Play ExperienceHillcrest and Riley Parks, and the YWCA Vancouver Public Library), we are firm believers that a child’s natural curiousity and vivid imagination are what drive play. Regardless of geographic location or social status, Kirby argues that play may improve learning and spark intuition and imagination for many children. Admittedly, the cost of materials and building in Canada are not comparable to Playground Builders’ area of focus but their work brings great impact with smaller budgets.

CMVan Sep 2, 2016

The dedication and devotion of Playground Builders became obvious when a commonly received critique and question came up after the morning presentation— why not work within our own backyard? Kirby’s emphatic response was that a place like Afghanistan is where this work is desperately needed. What we can learn from Playground Builders is the value of relationships and a collaborative process. Work that is that result of a process that engages who is in need, including peers and advisors along with the design team.  Playground Builders not only enhances the experience of place, but certainly enriches lives that may otherwise be frought with danger— “a candle in a dark room” is better than none. Kirby’s presentation is available for online view here.

Welcome Gil Kelley!

Last night, Vancouver’s developers, designers, and planners alike helped welcome Vancouver’s new General Manager of Planning, Urban Design, and Sustainability Gil Kelley.

At the event hosted by the Urbanarium, Kelley gave an inspiring talk on what his new role means, highlighted some of his past planning successes and failures in Portland, San Francisco, and Berkeley, and shed some light on potential opportunities he sees for Vancouver. Although he has only been at his new job for two weeks, we are excited to see what he and his team of planners, along with the new General Manager of Development Services, Buildings and Licensing Kaye Matheny Krishna, have in store for raising the level of design discussion and planning processes in Vancouver.

Kelley characterized himself as a listener. His attitude toward questions posed to him last night proved that even further. Instead of suggesting quick answers based on his experiences in other west coast cities as solutions to Vancouver’s unique but similar problems relating to urban planning, he instead focused on describing why certain programs or initiatives were successful in their respective places. Among his self-cited accomplishments were leveraging funding from Bayer to support the Biotech Partners program in Berkeley, and Vision PDX.

As fellow city-builders, we are happy to welcome this new wave of leadership to Vancouver, and excited to meet you, Gil.

Hapa Collaborative
403 – 375 West Fifth Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1J6
+ 1 604 909 4150

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