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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.

Jim Deva Plaza Speaker’s Corner – Opening Thursday July 28th

Tomorrow night, downtown Vancouver’s newest plaza opens to the public with live performances, entertainment, and a ribbon cutting with the Mayor.

Hapa designed and coordinated the fabrication of a commemorative speakers’ corner ‘soapbox’ feature for Jim Deva Plaza (plaza design by PFS Studio).
The public art/commemorative sculpture pays tribute to the plaza’s namesake Jim Deva, who was a beloved community member and champion of free speech rights and equality in the LGBTQ2+ Community in Vancouver. Inspired by the formal geometries of megaphones, grammaphones, and flowers alike, the piece is painted in pink and turquoise – the two colours from the original rainbow flag design that did not make it into mass production.

The plaza also celebrates Jim Deva’s role as advocate for parks and open space in Vancouver, making the street closure by the famous rainbow crosswalks a fitting dedication.

Join us tomorrow night at Jim Deva Plaza from 4-8:30pm for a lively night of celebration to kick off Vancouver Pride Week!

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Ponderosa Commons Tour

Hapa was one of the tour leaders for the Society for College and University Planning’s Annual Conference, held in Vancouver this week. The tour sessions featured our work at Ponderosa Commons, the first of several mixed-use student housing hubs at the University of British Columbia. Approximately 75 conference attendees toured the complex, including the Fine Arts and Education faculties, student housing and collegium spaces, and ending with our al fresco presentation in the recently completed outdoor classroom.

Congratulations to UBC and our collaborators at HCMA, KPMB, Ledcor and Urban One: we received lots of really positive comments from the conference tour!

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Terra Nova in Extraordinary Playscapes Exhibition by Design Museum Boston

Terra Nova Play Experience is one of many Extraordinary Playscapes from around the world currently part of an exhibition at the Design Museum Boston.

The exhibition is open in Boston until September 5th, 2016, after which it will visit the west coast in Portland, Oregon.

For the exhibition, Hapa created Playbook: Designing Terra Nova Play Experience – a book documenting the design process of the playground from public consultation, to models and renderings, and finally, construction.

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Lonsdale Bench

The undulating bench at the Foot of Lonsdale Plaza is starting to take shape. Some photos from Doug & Sarah’s site visit this morning in the downpour:




Vancouver Sign Shop

Earlier this week, Nathan and I visited the Vancouver sign shop to see where all the street signs, police car decals, and other urban signage gets made in Vancouver.

We were expecting a messy engineering-type space, but were surprised that it more resembled an immaculately kept print making shop – further to our surprise – because they hand screen print tons of their signs. Here are some photos to enlighten the sign making process!

An excellent installation on National Ave. that all designers should go and visit.

An excellent installation on National Ave. that all designers should go and visit.


A screen printing template with our most helpful tour guide, Don

A screen printing template with our most helpful tour guide, Don

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Rolls of reflective vinyl

Rolls of reflective vinyl

but they look so small from far away!

but they look so small from far away!

hand screen printed temporary no stopping signs drying on racks

hand screen printed temporary no stopping signs drying on racks

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vinyl stickers ready for application on streets

vinyl stickers ready for application on streets

the sticker vinyl cutter

the sticker vinyl cutter





Congratulations to our collaborators at Marianne Amodio Architecture Studio on receiving the AIBC Emerging Firm Award – you certainly deserve it! We are working on an exciting new project with MAA Studio and can’t wait to show you.

Several architecture firms we collaborate with in BC earned awards last week: see the full list here.

Lane Swim (No Lifeguard on Duty) – a public art proposal for Winnipeg

  2016-03-30 Backlane Submission Hapa Collaborative-6Lane Swim (No Lifeguard on Duty) is Hapa’s submission for the 2016 Winnipeg Backlane Public Art Project Competition.

The proposal references how, for millennia, the fortunes of people settled in Winnipeg have risen and fallen with the waters of the Red and Assiniboine. The rivers brought sustenance, transportation, industry and amenity, and also devastating floods. Though the Red River Floodway currently keeps the City of Winnipeg dry, it may not always, as its climate, weather and hydrology will continue to change. Winnipeg, like all living cities, will have to adapt, just as it has in the face of continual social and cultural change. The installation is also a metaphor for life downtown: it highlights the challenges of urban existence, and the fact that some residents must rise above life’s “floods”.

Lane Swim (No Lifeguard On Duty) consists of seven lifeguard chair installations, placed strategically along the study site as wayfinding elements, beacons of light, gathering places and curiosities. They draw people to the laneway and encourage them to linger. Though the chairs and their lifesavers are at 1:1 scale, their stainless steel legs are stretched out of proportion, so that they stand sentry over an imagined future flood level, higher than any the city has seen to date; their legs are painted Red River gumbo-brown up to the level of that imagined flood. The chairs are uplit, and the lifesavers lit from within, so that the installations glow and provide lighting through the laneway after dark. Each chair has an image of the prairie sky as a backdrop, referencing the weather on the open prairie beyond the City’s edifices. Each chair installation has a wooden bench at its base to provide seating for two, for resting, visiting and observing people and laneway events.

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Hapa at the Museum of Vancouver – Your Future Home Exhibition

Two weeks ago, the newest exhibition at the Museum of Vancouver called Your Future Home opened to the public. The exhibition features speculative projects by various Vancouver designers and thinkers: including Hapa Collaborative! The themes that participants were asked to address are affordability, accessibility, density, and public space. Can you guess which one ours fits under?

Our office had a lot of fun creating and “performing” with Vancouver’s Smallest Public Space – a mobile miniature public space we constructed and towed around the city to occupy underused public spaces.

We hope you have a chance to check it out before it closes on May 15.

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