Author Archives for Proscenium

Meet Ee Jay, our new Junior Architectural Graduate

A warm welcome to Ee Jay, who joined our firm last month as a Junior Architectural Graduate.

Where were you born?

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. It is a city of an estimated 600,000 people, and a 20-minutes drive to Kuala Lumpur, the capital city.

How did you get into architecture?

When I was a kid, I liked to make handicrafts and drawings. Initially, I thought of becoming an artist. However, my parents discouraged me because I can’t make a living on that. Therefore, the closest option was to pursue career in architecture.

What class in school has proven to be the least useful?

Electrolysis in Chemistry, I just do not understand the logic.

What is the best building of all time?

Brion Cemetery by Carlo Scarpa. The details are subtle, yet breathtaking.

Best brunch spot in Vancouver is…

Chewie’s Biscuit along 4th Ave & MacDonald St.

You never leave home without…


Your Great Escape would be to…  

Isolated places with great scenic view.

What single piece of technology makes your life easier?

Rice cooker.

What is your spirit animal?

Probably an owl, I feel more active and calmer during the night than day.

What word do you have trouble saying?

I can’t think of any words, maybe a lot when I speak too fast!

Skewed off the Grid: Elenore on Fifth

The design of Elenore on Fifth, a distinct mixed-use commercial and residential building completed in 2020, was driven by the site’s unique parameters and the identity of the vibrant lower Main Street neighbourhood.


Located on 5th and Main, the site is about halfway down the hill between Broadway and 2nd Avenue. The area has a history of small, light industrial uses and residences for workers.

In keeping with the topography of Main St, Elenore on Fifth steps down the hill with volumes of six storeys. The stepped massing creates excellent opportunities for greened roof terraces with views over the city and the mountains–creating public and private gathering spaces to allow opportunities for community connections.

On the street below, the building maintains the strong pedestrian experience of Main Street, providing visual interest and canopies for protection from the elements.


The project is a great example of how a site’s limitations can lead to interesting design solutions. The site is a challenging one because the view from 5th and Main is protected by the City of Vancouver through View Cone #22, which cuts significantly through the site’s proposed rezoning. (Vancouver’s view cones are located around the City to protect views of the mountains from specific locations).

Our solution was to skew the residential levels from the grid at the angle of the view cone. This actually benefits the residential units, allowing the western and northern faces to capture views that would normally be unavailable.

Landscape Design by Gauthier and Associates (G|ALA)

Achieving this architectural goal was challenging but ultimately sets the building apart and gives it a dynamic presence in the neighbourhood.

See more photos.


PAI Feature: Cook Street Plaza

Cook Street Plaza is a comprehensive mixed-use development in the City of Victoria, currently under construction. The vision for the project was to supply a range of market and below-market housing options and locally supportive commercial space for a walkable, thriving urban area with excellent access to transportation options. The scale of the site allows a holistic approach to the public realm; landscaped mews forming through-block connections that would not be possible without the proposed property consolidation.

The development includes a six-storey building designed to address Victoria’s new Inclusionary Housing Policy (“Haven”), the remediation and renovation of an existing medical office building, a 12-storey mixed use building including daycare facility (“Nest”), and an extensive site plan that ties the uses together to make a destination of the spaces between.

A well-defined architectural expression complements height and massing that is site-appropriate. The massing of the buildings has been arranged to be respectful of neighbours by orienting density towards the downtown core and stepping down in density towards the more urban-residential realm to the east. Buildings have been arranged to minimize the impact of on-look from one to the other. The proposal consolidates the properties bound by Yates, Cook and Johnson into three parcels of land.

Read more about the individual Nest and Haven projects in the “In Progress” section of our website.

Meet Carolyn, our new Junior Graduate Technologist

We’re excited to welcome Carolyn Ruttan to the team at PAI.

Where were you born?

Duncan, on Vancouver Island.

How did you get into architectural technology/drafting?

I’ve always been interested in buildings and how spaces work. I considered interior design, but I found a great program to become a technologist — I definitely have a passion for both.

What class in school has proven to be the least useful?

University physics. It was more trouble than it was worth!

What is the best building of all time?

In Vancouver, my favourite is the Marine building, which is really ornate with sea creatures on it. I love the detail.

Best brunch spot in Vancouver is…

Cafe deux Soleil on Commercial Drive.

You never leave home without…

My water bottle.

Your Great Escape would be to…  

Anywhere at all (pandemic life). But probably the beaches on Vancouver Island.

What single piece of technology makes your life easier?

Headphones — I listen to a lot of podcasts.

What is your spirit animal?

Realistically, a cat. I’m an indoors person.

What word do you have trouble saying?

I have perfect pronunciation!


MEC’s newest Head Office

New flooring is being laid at MEC’s new head office, the third our firm will have completed for the company (1999, 2014 and 2021).

Following a transfer of ownership, MEC gave up its former head office in 2020 and engaged Proscenium to do a basic tenant improvement for a new space on Great Northern Way.  The new, smaller footprint office is a clean shell and will feature “hotel-style” sit/stand workstations, offices and a staff recreational space for a new model of working.