Author Archives for Proscenium

An ASHRAE Technology Award for the MEC Vancouver Store

We are thrilled to share the news that mechanical/electrical lead on MEC Vancouver, Pageau Morel, has received second-place for MEC Vancouver at the 2022 ASHRAE Technology Awards.

During the winter conference of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Pageau Morel received a second-place Technology Award in the New Commercial Buildings category for the Mountain Equipment Company (MEC) store project in Vancouver. The international ASHRAE Technology Awards recognize outstanding achievements by members who have successfully applied innovative building design for effective energy management and indoor air quality.

MEC Vancouver store is a new 10,500 sq.m. construction that includes an underground parking, retail spaces and administrative offices. It is the first building in Vancouver to provide excess energy to the Neighbourhood Energy Utility heating network (NEU), a district heating initiative that provides hot water by recycling waste thermal energy from sewage. The building injects in the district energy network almost twice as much energy than it takes from it.

We are grateful to have worked with such an amazing team of consultants on this project.

Mass Timber projects featured on ArchDaily

We’re excited to see that two of our MEC projects have been featured in this great new article on biophilia and workplace design on ArchDaily.

The article points to the positive effects of wood in built environments, including the sensory experience of users and its timeless aesthetic value as a natural material.

The article points out that several new studies, including one from the University of British Columbia and a Brown University clinical trial show that “the visual presence of wooden elements can lower stress more effectively than plants, while rooms with about 45% of wooden surfaces boost perceptions of comfort and lower blood pressure.”

Thanks for recognizing our work!

Read the full article.

Working with a local Performing Arts School

For many years Proscenium has worked with local arts groups, big and small, to realize their vision for performing spaces.

We are excited to share that we are designing a new home for Vancouver Performing Stars, a dance and theatre performance school for children and youth. The project includes a black box theatre with approximately 90 seats, 2 secondary studios, offices, front of house including lobby and concession and back of house with loading. The theatre concept is a flexible black box with telescoping seating that can be folded in and reconfigured as a mainstage, end stage, arena or alley.

The new space will allow the performance school to host their own small performances in addition to their regular programming. Located in a new five-storey mass timber building in Mount Pleasant, the TI project is in the design stage and the building by Cape Group Developers is currently under construction.

We look forward to sharing more about the project!

 

 

Read more about theatres in mixed-use projects. 

Four projects are finalists for the Georgie Awards

We are excited to share that four projects we recently completed for Chard Development are named as finalists in the 2022 Georgie Awards, hosted by Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC.

The Georgie Awards celebrate excellence in home building and renovation in the residential construction industry. Projects are submitted by member companies for consideration by a panel of industry professionals from across Canada and the United States. The panel selects up to five finalists in each category.

These projects were selected as finalists for the noted categories:

Elenore on Fifth (Vancouver, BC)

– Best Multi-Family Mid/High Rise Development

The Royals (North Vancouver, BC)

– Best Public and Private Partnership

– Provincial Award for Excellence in Housing Affordability

The Yates on Yates (Victoria, BC)

– Best Multi-Family Mid/High Rise Development

Vivid at the Yates (Victoria, BC)

– Best Multi-Family Mid/High Rise Development

– Best Public and Private Partnership

– Provincial Award for Excellence in Housing Affordability

 

We look forward to hearing the awards announced this June!

PAI Insight: Incorporating Theatres into New Developments

Designing and renovating theatres has been a focus of Proscenium since 1996 when our firm started. In recent years, we have been approached by multiple clients who want to design theatres that are incorporated into new developments. Often this results in having a theatre on ground level (at grade) with a residential or mixed-use building attached.

When handled correctly we think this is a great idea because it makes theatres more feasible for developers who seek to maximize FSR in busy urban neighborhoods, while also creating dedicated community spaces for artists to make and show their work. The end result is a win-win situation for development the artistic community and the community at large.

But there are certain challenges with this arrangement with regards to acoustics, clear span structural spaces required for theatres, circulation, access and the geometry of the actual theatre space. Here are some ways we used our knowledge of theatre design to navigate these in a recent project.

Photos by Andrew Latreille

THE BMO THEATRE CENTRE

For the BMO Theatre Centre (2018), Proscenium was hired to do a complete fit-out of an existing base building that is part of a residential development in Olympic Village. The space originally meant for the Playhouse Theatre Company was redesigned for two of Vancouver’s popular theatre companies, Arts Club Theatre Company and Bard on the Beach. The program included a 250-seat theatre, rehearsal halls, costume shops and offices.

The design has been a success, in particular the infill of an existing double height space to facilitate a VIP balcony in the lobby and a perimeter catwalk for the theatre. The sleek, contemporary look and multi-dimensionality of the lobby has made it a prized event space, facilitating pre-show gatherings including space for live music and a wine bar.

Versatile 250-seat theatre

ACOUSTICS

For the best acoustics, ideally a theatre is isolated architecturally from neighbouring uses and does not have anything above it. At the minimum, this means none of the base building elements cross over into the performance space and at the most effective, it is a stand-alone structure. The BMO achieved this by making the theatre the podium beside the tower, with the theatre offices acting as the podium beneath the tower.

The mechanical systems were another important consideration. At the BMO, we adjusted the design to move rainwater leders out of the theatre and increase mechanical units and duct sizes to slow the movement of air, thus decreasing the noise of air and water movement in the theatre space. A complete acoustic isolation of the theatre from any base building mechanical and plumbing systems was required.

The original Playhouse design did not allow for rehearsal rooms but they were needed by Bard and the Arts Club. This meant that under the base tower, the structural isolation for these future spaces was not originally considered. To acoustically separate the rehearsal rooms from the offices above, we created physical separation by building a secondary concrete slab between floors involving a series of slab-spring isolators to keep them apart. (We worked with Aercoustics on this design).

Slab-spring isolators going in

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Theatres are unique buildings and require special treatment in many areas. Developers should know that if a sprung floor is required for a black-box theatre, it will require a depression in the concrete slab floor and developers should find out in advance.

The importance of back-of-house spaces are often overlooked, but it is essential to include practical rooms such as wardrobe storage space and shop space for theatre companies to use. At the BMO we included both.

A GROWING TREND

After twenty-five years in theatre design, our firm is glad to be designing new performance spaces in areas of high density. We are also branching out to design the base building for developers. In 2022, we are already working on two new theatre projects incorporated into new developments, one of which has us involved in both aspects.

We look forward to sharing more about these projects!