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MEC Vancouver receives 2022 SABMag Award

We are excited to announce that MEC Vancouver Store has received the 2022 SABMag Canadian Green Building Award for Mixed-Use projects!

We are blown away at the recognition this building has had since its completion in 2020, including the 2020 BC Wood Design Award, 2021 Canada Green Building Award, runner-up for the 2022 ASHRAE Technology Award and now the 2022 SAB Mag Award.

It’s a privilege to get the opportunity to design such a sustainably-focused commercial project. Our firm has worked with MEC for over 20 years, since the design of their original Head Office in 1999. The Flagship Store is a culmination of the architectural language we developed over the years to represent the brand and values of MEC, including many recognizable features such as the welcoming wood soffit canopy, steel staircase, mass timber and the use of daylight to create a connection to the outdoors. It is the second mass timber project we designed for the company after the acclaimed Head Office in 2014, and includes similar sustainable features like a grey water system, green roofs, rain gardens, passive sustainable design and highly efficient mechanical and electrical systems.

We are proud to say that due to its highly efficient mechanical and electrical systems, MEC Vancouver Store the first building in Vancouver that is a NET energy producer to the District energy network (NEU) in Olympic Village, injecting more heat energy to the system than it uses annually.

Thank you to SABMag for the award and to our consulting team for their solid work on this project!

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. 

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!

 

Designing Ballet BC’s New Home

We are excited to be working with Ballet BC with the design of their future home on Granville Island! Our team is currently working with the dance company to renovate the space at 1286 Cartwright St, formerly occupied by Arts Umbrella. The project includes new administration and dance rehearsal spaces.

Over the holidays the company announced the news:

Following more than a decade at Scotiabank Dance Centre where the company trained and rehearsed, Ballet BC looks forward to contributing to Vancouver’s premier artistic and cultural hub and joining an incredible community of neighbours on Granville Island. “We are delighted to have succeeded in securing this much needed space for Ballet BC,’ says Medhi Walerski, Ballet BC Artistic Director. “It’s a transformative milestone for our company and the evolution of its vision and artistic goals.”

 

PAI Highlight: 1235 Marine Drive

We are pleased to be moving forward in the design phase with our project at 1235 Marine Drive in North Vancouver!

 

This Mixed-Use project on the vibrant Marine Drive corridor consists of one floor of Commercial Retail and three stories of market residential condos ranging from one to two bedrooms.

Some great design features include:

  • A widened pedestrian sidewalk and added seating to encourage street use
  • Residential floors overhanging the commercial units for natural weather protection
  • Materials that reference the area’s shipbuilding past including wood, metal and brick in a contemporary interpretation
  • Red metal frames to provide a bold accent and reflect the high energy of the busy thoroughfare through North Van

 

 

These new renderings represent the latest refinements to the design in order to address DP requirements. We are getting ready to resubmit an updated DP package and are looking forward to the next design phase on this project!