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Construction Update: Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza Soft Opening

As we reach the last week of June we are excited to preview and share the North Plaza at the Vancouver Art Gallery as it nears completion!

For those who have not yet taken a peek at the new plaza, please note the next opportunity to see the plaza will be exclusively during the upcoming Canada Day celebrations and the 4th Annual Thai Festival on the weekend of July 22-23. The plaza will be closed in between and after these events through the end of summer 2017.

Earlier this month we had the honour to test the new pavers, while simultaneously testing popsicle flavours supplied by Johnny’s Pops, as a big thank you to the hard working on-site Jacob Brothers Construction team.

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Bollards that double as seats!

This past weekend, the rest of Vancouver had the opportunity to preview the North Plaza’s soft opening in light of Vancouver International Jazz Festival‘s offering of free performances during their Downtown Jazz Weekend at the Georgia Street stage.

Thank you to Ema Peter Photography for previewing her beautiful captures from Jazz Fest opening weekend. We look forward to sharing more as the plaza progresses and once it is fully complete!

The Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza redevelopment team is comprised of Nick Milkovich Architects, Matthew Soules Architecture, and Hapa Collaborative. Learn more about the Plaza Redevelopment here: http://hapacobo.com/project/vancouver-art-gallery-north-plaza-redevelopment/

Bing Thom & The Future of Our City

As winter is officially upon us and one more week of 2016 remains, it is certainly the perfect time for us to reflect on lessons learned, remember those who are not with us, and look forward to the future. Many tout 2016 was a tough year for loss of notable folks, and that will continue to ring true with a larger, aging population among us.

At this time, we would like to acknowledge & remember Mr. Bing Thom, who was an innovative, visionary leader in the architecture & design community both locally and globally. It was a pleasure to attend Bing Thom and The Future of Our City, a tribute and dialogue event in honour of the late founder of the architectural and urban design practice based in Vancouver, Hong Kong, and Washington, DC. Westbank is a continuous collaborative partner with Bing Thom Architects (BTA), and they hosted the evening earlier this month at the Rio Theatre, stemming from their salon series, Gwerk.

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Dedicated “to city building and the creation of beautiful buildings”, Westbank references Gwerk as a short form of Gesamtkunstwerk to describe their philosophy behind their body of work. Pronounced “get-zahmt-KOONST-VAIRK”, the German phrase was popularized by Richard Wagner in the mid-19th century and translates to “life as a total work of art”. Rather than a traditional sale office / presentation centre, the Beach & Howe development with Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Vancouver House, also programmed the space as a contemporary building exhibition in 2014.

Westbank’s President and CEO, Ian Gillespie, opened up our evening at the Rio Theatre with a personal reflection of his relationship with Bing. From sailing trips to the drawing board, he noted Mr. Thom was always one to challenge misconceptions, challenge the status quo, and did not present the same old, same old. In the same vein, Helen, who is BTA’s Director of Marketing & Communications, shared her insight of their everyday office culture, working alongside Bing, her observations of his genuine connection and those that were affected by his daily kindness.

Bing Thom & the Future of our City - Panel

The night was intentionally organised in the heart of Grandview-Woodland, as Bing, Westbank, Crombie REIT and their respective teams continue to engage in the revitalization of the site at Broadway and Commercial. “We have the chance to develop a design vision that can bring the community together to create a legacy project for the city’s most diverse and creative neighbourhood. Can we rise to the challenge?,” Bing provocatively anticipated back in September. There is no doubt that Bing has left us with a great legacy in Vancouver, Canada and beyond. BTA Principal Michael Heeney closed the speaker installment of the evening with a chronicle of the firm’s past successes, from the start of his career at BTA in the early 80s to the most recent Surrey City Central projects including SFU Surrey and the City Centre Library. Other highlights included nautral light control and illuminating of the Pacific Canada Pavilion, natural amphitheatres at Vancouver’s Sunset Community Centre, historic preservation and small library renovation(s) in Washington, DC, flood mitigation for Fort Worth’s Trinity Uptown Plan, and working with Canadian Landscape Architect, Cornelia Oberlander, on the Chan Centre.

A poignant story Michael shared about Bing’s professional approach and creative genius was the North West Territories Pavilion for Expo 86. Heeney indicated that the budget was approximately $2.8M, whereas their work for Expo 92’s Canadian Pavilion in Seville, Spain was a whopping $40M. Michael believes the project with the smaller budget had greater success, as it was multi-faceted, including Bing’s incorporation of film. “He had a holistic approach. [Which reminds us all] You can’t limit yourself to architecture,” Michael notes about Bing.

A common thread in BTA’s work shown is the lessons and cues from previous projects that are obviously and not-so obviously carried over to new ones. One particular client, the City of Surrey, was so pleased that they rebranded their new identity to boast “the future lives here” with a silhouette of buildings that have a striking resemblance to BTA’s completed project.

The City Centre library proves that the contemporary library is not exclusively a silent place anymore and that a variety of spaces can (and perhaps should) be intended for a variety of activities over time. The practice of landscape architecture and urban design focuses on this area a lot – the Third Place. Derived from Ray Oldenburg’s The Great Good Place, the third place is apart from the other two places: our home and our work places. Michael segues into the panel discussion portion of the evening reminding us that the third place will continue to have an important role in the community as more of us live in smaller spaces.

The lively panel discussion that followed acquainted us with moderator Leslie Van Duzer (SALA Professor), Charles Montgomery (Happy City author), Bruce Haden (Vancouver architect and Board Member at The Vancouver Urbanarium Society), Sonja Trauss (founder of San Francisco Bay Area Renters Federation), and Michael who spoke earlier. The breadth of the discussion was the timely topic of housing affordability and designing for youth and children. “I want the most interesting people to live here,” Bruce proclaimed. “It is also a responsibility to my children to live in a place with the most interesting people.” While Ian sees Bing as a “disruptor”, Bruce’s additional thought was that Bing was an ultimate pragmatist: “he was profoundly able to understand [aspects of a project] from finances to urbanism, and that allowed him to do extraordinary things.”

In order to achieve the range of social experiences, sustainability, and longevity that is being advocated for, we certainly need leaders that think like Bing has. An approach that celebrates the past, present and future, like BTA’s team has in their work. The panel acknowledged the need for social coherence and durability in our buildings. “New residents come whether or not there are new residences to live in,” Sonja reminded us. The panel concluded that looking to other living typologies and options is a matter of proactivity and preparation to prevent crowding and circumstances that may be a threat to public health. The task is not simply city building of yesteryear, but to inspire activities, places for children, support housing and work.

Trick or Treat Count - BTA

A significant piece of the picture is the steadfast arm of urban research that BTA has, directed by Andy Yan. The firm partners with Vancouver Sun every year to do a “Trick-or-Treat count”, tallying up visitors every Halloween. The result is a rewarding visual map of Vancouver proper that highlights where it is most likely one can get a full chocolate bar. Though our North American tradition of stocking up on extra sugar may not be the healthiest, Heeney, Yan et al. may imply that neighbourhoods with more children are healthier ones.

We were left with thoughtful reminders and questions to ask: encourage more places for children and families in the city; encourage more gathering places apart from home and work which may also fold into a place we have a right to protest — a public space, per Leslie Van Duzer. Last but not least, Charles asks: Who is the city for?

How can we participate? We hope to continue to share these stories and dialogue in the community. Thanks to BTA x Westbank for inpsiring us and helping us remember Bing. We are obliged to announce we will be working with both teams on the Commercial Broadway site, and look forward to what 2017 brings for Vancouver! Merry Holidays and a Happy New Year, from the Hapa Team!

Hapa in Seattle

As last month gave us record-breaking amounts of rainfall, us Hapsters intercepted that streak… by visiting the other rain city— Seattle. Our Pacific Northwestern neighbours became our team’s destination at the beginning of November. From simple refreshers to new places to remember, the 2016 Hapster retreat saw nineteen of us strong (including two cute babies) covering a lot of ground in only 2 ½ days. Fortunately, we were only covered by a little bit of rain on our last day.

We had the opportunity to explore much of Downtown, as well as the vicinity of: South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, First Hill, Belltown, and Lower Queen Anne. Highlights of our stay include: walking across from our hotel to see PWP Landscape Architecture’s United States Federal Courthouse; tinkering around Seattle Center Artists at Play by Site Workshop (with Trimpin, Judith Caldwell and Highwire) by the freshly branded MoPop museum (formerly EMP Museum); popping by Westlake Park; meeting our contemporary art quotas at the Henry Art Gallery (especially James Turrell Skyspace Light Reign); sailing through the green roof atop SAM/Russell Investments Centre (formerly Washington Mutual and Chase Centre) by PFS Studio; walking through GGN’s Lower Rainier Vista at University of Washington campus; and a quick visit to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (also by GGN). Of course, we also had to make a stop at Peter Miller Books and the stunning Chapel of St. Ignatius by Steven Holl. More highlights in photos captured by some of us on this very page.

Seattle, we enjoyed the many small places to meet in the midst of your seemingly vast streetscape. Though our stay was short and sweet, #hapainseattle 2016 was not short of great insights, inspiration, innovation and craft beer goodness. Thanks to our fellow Hapsters Shelley and Laura (aka Long and MacD!) for organising our inaugural Hapster trivia night.

A special thanks to Bernie Alonzo and Grant Stewart of GGN for their time in walking us through the University of Washington.

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From Where We Stand
Courthouse

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Sanctuary RIC Rooftop
Downtown 1
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Upgarden
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Westlake 1
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University of Washington Campus with GGN

University of Washington Campus with GGN

UofWA Fountain
James Turrell Skyspace @ Henry

Courthouse 2
Sculpture Park

Chromer Building Parklet & Streatery by GGN.

Chromer Building Parklet & Streatery by GGN.


Green Wall

Artists at Play
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Artists At Play 2

Water Fountain

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Westlake Park
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St. Ignatius
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Trivia
Trivia

Trivia

Bonus question: Hapa Coat of Arms Designs, ad hoc.

Bonus question: Hapa Coat of Arms Designs, ad hoc.

Serious Pie

Seriously some of the best pizza @ Serious Pie.


Guest Blog: Vancouver Placemaking Week + #VivaRobson

Last week, Vancouver was bustling with great energy and enthusiasm for public spaces and urbanism. From premier conferences and leadership forums to  Vancouver Public Space Network’s 10 year Anniversary celebration, we have great insight and inspiration to carry us through the coming months of Autumn. We enjoyed one of the last summer days at #VivaRobson listening to your thoughts about the future of the 800-block of Robson. Our first activated / “reimagined laneway” also launched. Kudos to HCMA Architecture + Design for bringing more colour downtown with Alley-Oop. Even though us Hapsters couldn’t make it to most of the events, we have a guest author who did.


It is my pleasure to be the first guest author to Hapa Collaborative’s blog. I am a graduate of Landscape + Urbanism at the University of Manitoba and I am pleased to share my recent experience at the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference in Vancouver.

From September 12 to 15th, Vancouver was host to the 19th Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place, one of the most notable North American active transportation conferences. Held biennially, over one thousand individuals attended this event from across the world to take a multi-sectoral gaze at the state of current active transportation issues. Hosted by Project for Public Spaces, Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place (#WalkBikePlaces) included plenary presentations by experts in various fields, over 70 breakout sessions, and a handful of mobile workshops across the greater metropolitan region. The themes of this year’s conference were: mobility; governance; health; and resilience.

This year, a host of notable speakers offered their expertise and knowledge to the conference. These speakers included The Honorable Jean-Yves Duclos (Federal Minister of Children, Families, and Social Development), Charles Montgomery (Principal of Happy Cities), Secretary Anthony Foxx (United States of America Department of Transportation), The Honorable Gregor Robertson (Mayor, City of Vancouver), and The Honorable Lisa Helps (Mayor, City of Victoria).

The City of Vancouver in particular had the privilege of promoting their active transportation opportunities as host city, and many of the new and exciting active transportation endeavours currently underway by the City were front and centre for registrants. As a Winnipegger, the connectivity of bike paths in the downtown core and surroundings that we rode during the mobile workshop were a particular point of envy. Residents of Vancouver can also appreciate the benefits of the comprehensive transportation count strategy being rolled out by the City of Vancouver, which is to become an integral component of future active transportation decisions. Engineers and advocates hoping to assist in guiding active transportation decisions with the city can also be heartened to hear that the Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads will be updated and released in 2017, with design guidelines for Active Transportation Infrastructure to be included.

Coming back to Winnipeg, I hope that our organization can take Vancouver’s willingness to embrace active transportation and inject it into our own decision-making bodies. A great step in the right direction was the attendance of two Winnipeg city councilors and the City of Winnipeg’s Active Transportation Coordinator, all of whom were keen to pursue some of the ideas presented. (If you want to help though, feel free to bump by email or twitter any of our councilors or mayor and encourage them to learn from your city’s example!)

Ultimately, the variety of subjects offered through the conference makes it impossible to cover the breadth and richness of the conversations discussed in one post. However, if you are interested in learning more of the proceedings during Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place, the detailed itinerary of each day can be found here: http://walkbikeplaces.org/#container_uiw42bc

Justin Quigley is a resident of Winnipeg, Manitoba and employee of Green Action Centre. Their program engages schools for safer active transportation environments. For more information, please visit their website here: http://greenactioncentre.ca/module/asrts/

Vancouver Placemaking Week 2016 Alley-Oop by HCMA Architecture + DesignVancouver Placemaking Week 2016

Now open: The Foot of Lonsdale’s Megabench

It’s here! The Megabench at the Foot of Lonsdale is complete and now open to the public. Thank you to City of North Vancouver staff and all visitors that braved the rain to visit our opening this morning in the North shore.

Mayor Darrell Mussatto and Councillor Linda Buchanan were there for the occasion, as were our clients from the City, Heather Reinhold and Monty Hurd. Below is Hapa’s own Doug, with the Mayor and Councillor Buchanan trying the bench out.

For more updates, visit the City of North Vancouver’s page here.

Foot of Lonsdale Megabench Opening 2

(City of North Vancouver: Monty Hurd, Councillor Linda Buchanan, Mayor Darrell Mussatto, Barbara Pearce, and Heather Reinhold.)

(City of North Vancouver: Monty Hurd, Councillor Linda Buchanan, Mayor Darrell Mussatto, Barbara Pearce, and Heather Reinhold.)

Foot of Lonsdale Megabench Opening 4 Foot of Lonsdale Megabench Opening 3

The 40th Anniversary Powell Street Festival: Hapa sponsors Design Competition

Although Vancouver is considerably young compared to its other Canadian counterparts, our oldest Community-based festival, Powell Street Festival, celebrated its 40th Anniversary on the weekend of July 30th, 2016. It also happens to be Canada’s Largest Japanese Canadian Festival, and Hapa Collaborative is proud to be a Community Partner each year. Powell Street Festival Society’s (PSFS) mission is to cultivate Japanese Canadian arts and culture to connect communities.

This year, Hapa sponsored Bing Thom Architects’ & Abaton Projects PSFS Design Competition, which invited architecture students to design an interactive installation that considers civic engagement, cultural relevance, and environmental sustainability at the festival’s site in the Downtown Eastside’s Japantown. Festival goers and passersby grazing the north side of Oppenheimer Park would likely have seen a carp-shaped structure perched on the lawn. Coined by winning design students as “The Koinobori”, the temporary, rubberwood, interactive installation resembles a windsock. It was dressed with cloth “scales” that served as visual or written stories by members of the community.

In Japanese culture, the carp symbolizes strength and courage because of its ability to swim upstream and against the current of a waterfall. In a way, we felt that it fit well with the festival because it is all about bringing the Japanese community together, celebrating their culture and keeping that tradition strong. – Melody Giang, Winning Student Team Member

The winning team was awarded a $1,000 prize, a production budget and mentorship from Bing Thom Architects (BTA) and Abaton Projects. Other partners included Hapa, Haeblar Group, Heatherbrae Builders, AME Group, and RDH Building Science. Congratulations to German exchange students Kai Kattge & Sebastian Saure, along with BCIT’s Architectural Technology 3 class (Melody Giang, Emily Huser, Steven Schmidt).

 

PSFS 2016 Koinobori

 

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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2016 Vancouver Urban Design Awards – Mid Main Park!

We are excited to announce Mid Main Park took home the award for Urban Elements in the 2016 Vancouver Urban Design awards!

“We recognized the following projects for their outstanding contribution to visionary thinking and design excellence.”

A big thank you to the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, Equilibrium Consulting Ltd, Watanabe Engineering Ltd and Aplin & Martin Consultants Ltd in their efforts with Mid Main Park.

Congratulations to all the other winners!  What a great event, held every 2 years by the City of Vancouver, 2nd year running!

 

 

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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