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National Day for Truth & Reconciliation Resources

This Friday, September 30th is National Day for Truth & Reconciliation, and our office will be showing support by wearing orange shirts!

Two weeks ago, Proscenium participated in a fantastic and educational seminar by OCI Solutions called “Indigenous Peoples; Fundamental Information on Canada’s Past, Present, and Future” which we highly recommend.

Here are some resources for you to learn more about Orange Shirt Day and show support for residential school survivors.

RESOURCES

History of Orange Shirt Day

Reconciliation Toolkit for Businesses 

Donate to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society

TRC (Truth & Reconciliation Commission) Calls to Action_English

UNDRIP_English (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples)

 

Setting up Royal Bay Presentation Centre

After three recent successful residential projects in Victoria, BC in the last few years, Proscenium is excited to be continuing our work on Vancouver Island in Colwood, BC!

We are providing full interior design services for Royal Bay Ryder Village, a new multi-family residential development located in the Royal Bay neighbourhood of Colwood, at the edge of an urban seaside.

Our interior design team had a great time setting up the Presentation Centre last Friday, with little touches to convey the sophisticated west-coast modern design direction for the condos.

The project includes 117 new condominium units in two sister midrise buildings designed by RH Architects. Spacious floor plans allow for generous living spaces, modern kitchens filled with light and expansive coastline views for this new community just west of Victoria.

We look forward to sharing more about this project as it progresses!

Our Story – Celebrating 25 years of Proscenium

It is with pride that we recognize 25 years of Proscenium Architecture + Interiors Inc! What started in 1996 as a small architecture and interior design firm specializing in theatre design has grown to a mid-sized firm in 2022 working across many project types.

We want to take this opportunity to reflect on where we came from and where we are going.

Team members Alex, Ben, Hugh and Sandi, 2021

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY

Since 1996, Proscenium has been involved in studies, renovations and the construction of arts and cultural spaces.

Thom Weeks and Jennifer Stanley, co-founders of Proscenium and now retired, were experts in theatre design. Working with them for over twenty years, our current Principals Hugh Cochlin and Kori Chan learned the ropes of the complex building typology that is a theatre—where every detail ranging from acoustics to the number of bathrooms affects its success.

Co-founders Thom Weeks and Jennifer Stanley

Original Proscenium team in the office at West 7th Ave, 1997

In the last twenty-five years, Proscenium has worked on dozens of theatres and entertainment venues in the Lower Mainland and beyond. Working in such a niche typology has led us to exciting and rewarding places, from the large-scale renovation of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (during which the ceiling was removed completely) to shaping the intimate room of the 75-seat Culture Lab at the Cultch. We developed a strong methodology for arts projects that includes comprehensive building assessments, studies, and phased renovations that work around an organization’s performance season.

Our understanding of performing arts spaces allowed us to approach unique institutional projects such as SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts—a post-secondary facility that includes a 400-seat black box theatre. Since many Vancouver theatres are heritage buildings, our team developed a deep understanding of heritage design, leading to other high-profile cultural projects like Christ Church Cathedral and bell tower renovation. In advance of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, Proscenium led upgrades for three major City-owned heritage performance venues—the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, The Vancouver East Cultural Centre and the Orpheum Theatre.

Fei & Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, SFU Goldcorp Centre

Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 2010

EXPANDING THE FOCUS

In the mid-2000’s, Proscenium’s focus expanded as the firm grew and took on diverse projects, including post-secondary, office, heritage, mixed-use and multi-family residential buildings. Working with sustainability-minded clients such as the David Suzuki Foundation and MEC gave our team the opportunity to develop high-performance solutions and a passion for innovative sustainable design.

As Proscenium’s portfolio diversified, an approach formed through years of working with arts groups continued to govern our work—including a strong aptitude for working with multiple stakeholders and process-driven design sensibility. Working with commercial clients created opportunities to infuse new types of projects with our values and find synergies between building types on mixed-use projects. Maximizing the positive impact of great design on user health, whether it be for office workers, students or residential tenants, continues to motivate and inspire our team.

MEC Head Office, 2014

COMMUNITY & CULTURE

Establishing community has remained one of our key values. We try to foster the kind of culture where individuals bring their unique interests to the table to enrich the PAI team. We have annual ski and lawn bowling staff days, staff get to take their birthday off, and we close the office between Christmas and New Years.

From the outset, Proscenium made the conscious choice to incorporate social responsibility into our office culture. We function as a co-op, sharing kitchen, cleaning, recycling and composting duties. Many of our staff walk or bike to work and we reimburse those who take public transit.

We actively support local businesses and local initiatives that align with our values, including charity organizations like WISH Drop-in Centre, Working Gear and UNYA (Urban Native Youth Association) through donations and food-drives each year.

WHERE WE ARE GOING

In 2020, Proscenium moved to the new PAI-designed office on the third floor of the mass timber MEC Vancouver Store in Mount Pleasant. We are glad to work in a high-performance building with lots of green features including rainwater collection and re-use, and have our surroundings reflect the firm’s commitment to sustainability. In the large daylit, open-plan studio, our team has been expanding over the last two years.

PAI Office on West 2nd Ave

Though our portfolio now includes all types of projects, Proscenium continues to honour its roots by working with arts and cultural groups—large and small—on studies, built theatres and other cultural/entertainment spaces.

We are excited to see what the future holds for Proscenium, including how innovations in green technology and materials will help us find more materially efficient ways to do what we do.

UBC MacLeod: Inside the Envelope

Clothing a building has become infinitely more complex due to new building codes. Building envelope technology, which once may have been akin to throwing on jeans and a t-shirt, is now the equivalent of designing a custom Gore-Tex parka, with a sweat-wicking base layer for good measure.

As expectations for buildings’ environmental performance increase to meet new sustainability goals by clients and municipalities, navigating envelope requirements calls for new expertise and staying on top of an expanding list of considerations—from energy modelling and specialized envelope knowledge to fabrication and construction sequencing. All of this takes a closely coordinated team of specialists on any given project.

UBC MACLEOD

Proscenium has worked with great teams on sustainably-focused buildings over the years with unique envelope solutions—both for mass timber and concrete. Our solutions are driven by a proactive approach to addressing energy conservation in every element. For the soon-to-be-completed UBC MacLeod Renewal project (with Teeple Architects), we led a complete renewal of the building envelope, as well as a complete gutting and reprogramming to bring the home of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty up to code and up to date.

ENVELOPE PERFORMANCE

On UBC MacLeod (targeting LEED Gold), we used energy modelling to develop performance targets for the envelope design, comprised of continuous exterior insulation behind precast concrete panels acting as a cladding in a rainscreen assembly. This method significantly reduces thermal bridging and provides an enhanced level of occupant comfort in tandem with an advanced mechanical system.

Energy modelling was based on predicted 50-year climate data to make sure that the building’s energy use would remain within acceptable parameters in the future, limiting the need to modify building systems in response to extreme weather events or rising temperatures.

ENVELOPE EXPRESSION

The pre-cast concrete panels are a cornerstone of the new design, and a contemporary approach to the original modernist building designed by Thompson, Berwick & Pratt (1964). Proscenium worked closely with UBC’s Campus and Community Planning Department to preserve the architectural integrity of the building, maintain the bold expression of the modernist structural grid, and choose materials that convey a similar strength and stature as the original cladding.

UBC MacLeod nearing completion, May 2022

The new envelope not only meets stringent energy performance requirements, but consciously and respectfully preserves the principles of the original façade while reflecting new possibilities of working with concrete.

We are excited to say that UBC MacLeod will achieve occupancy this summer to be ready for classes in September.

 

Proscenium’s expertise with high performance building envelopes has been recognized on other recent projects:

MEC Vancouver Store (commercial/office)

Elenore on Fifth (boutique multifamily residential)

Langara Science & Technology Building (institutional)

 

 

T3 Mount Pleasant receives support from Design Panel

Last week, we received support from the Design Panel for T3 Mount Pleasant, a new 12-storey mass-timber office project designed by DLR Group for which Proscenium is Associate Architect. The project (developed by Houston-based Hines and local developer PC Urban) joins other T3 buildings around the world named for their use of mass timber, technology and close proximity to transit.

Renders by Steelblue

 

We are excited to see this project moving forward, having already received support from the heritage commission. The project site on 6th Ave in Mount Pleasant is currently occupied by a heritage building, the SFU Elementary Annex (1929). Proscenium’s involvement has been focused on the relocation and revitalization of the heritage building to reintroduce it to the institutional and cultural life of the city.

SFU Annex, 1930

This proposal lifts the heritage building onto a reconstructed, at-grade ground floor anchoring the northeast corner of the site and fronting onto a lane activated by murals by local artists. Its new location against the arts walk concentrates cultural programming and allows the Annex to maintain a presence on 6th, filtering pedestrian access through a new entry plaza shared with the site’s new tenant, a mixed-use industrial office building.

The reconstruction at grade along with a new dedicated elevator will allow the plaza to provide equitable and accessible circulation throughout the Annex. It also allows users to appreciate the high degree of retained character-defining elements on the project such as wood sash windows and half-timber detailing. The Annex’ new colour palette is based on the historical colour scheme with the intent to take the annex colour back to its original contrasting light stucco with dark wood tracery and light window treatment.

Proscenium has a long history working with heritage buildings, due to our founders’ passion for arts and cultural buildings. We have worked on many of Vancouver’s cultural treasures, including the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver East Cultural Centre (“the Cultch”), the Stanley Theatre, the Massey Theatre and more.

We look forward to providing further updates about T3 Mount Pleasant!