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QET and BMO Theatre featured in Construct Connect

We’re excited to see two of our favourite theatre projects featured in September’s edition of Construct Connect. The issue’s main feature is an article on Acoustics called “Perfecting the Sound Experience in Theatres”, written by Payam Ashtiani.

It’s certainly an interesting time for the performing arts community as audiences re-enter theatres following the pandemic. Many organizations are looking for safe ways to accommodate higher numbers of people in the same space while allowing for social distancing and air flow. In the article, Ashtiani touches on these issues and how the future of theatre design may be impacted.

PAI Insight: Evolving Space Needs for Industrial/Office Buildings

Our projects like The Yukon (2021) and 750 SW Marine Drive (ongoing) have highlighted some recent changes in space needs of our clients. We’d like to share some insights on the mixed-use building typology of industrial/office buildings and how we’re navigating those changes.

MEC Head Office (2014)

Covid-19 Impacts on Workplace Design

The increasing capabilities of remote work and employee’s desire for flexible schedules are changing the way workplaces are envisioned, built and designed. Developers are asking for a greater variety of floor options for office buildings, including increased numbers of smaller units. One way we have responded is by designing leasing spaces that can be demised into smaller units (early planning here is crucial).

Inside the office, employers are rethinking layouts and even the need for personal desks for individual employees. At MEC’s newest Head Office (2021), we established unassigned “hotel-style” sit/stand workstations to facilitate this trend.

Industrial Space is Evolving

As a port city, Vancouver has a strong need for both industry and commercial/office use. Many neighbourhoods are populated with mixed-use buildings that do both. Traditional industrial space use has been evolving in recent years, including a desire for greater flexibility.

Second Floor “Buffer”

At Proscenium, we have been strategizing new ways to balance what we see as complementary typologies. At The Yukon and 750 SW Marine Drive, we established the second floor as a light industrial use level with direct freight elevator access. This level, which is often leased to medical labs or other lower intensity industrial uses, creates an effective buffer zone between the more traditional industrial use below and office space above. We have also recently been involved in a survey/brainstorming session with the City of Vancouver to explore other uses which can be stacked on top of industrial to create more flexibility while retaining the much-needed industrial zones.

The Yukon (2021)

Loading Considerations

Industrial units can come with unique and demanding requirements for loading—raw supplies from sheet steel to coffee beans arrive and leave as products with their own unique handling requirements. Designing with site circulation in mind from the outset is important. Proper loading access and a back of house circulation route are key to making sure the front of house first impressions are as well considered as the products being made.

750 SW Marine Drive (Ongoing)

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.


Langara Bioinformatics Lab is complete!

We’re excited to have completed the Bioinformatics Lab at Langara College. This brand new molecular lab has a built-in tissue culture lab and some other great features.

The main lab has all the essentials for an academic science lab geared towards teaching upper-level biology. Proscenium paired a clean contemporary design with the necessary specialized building services such as access to water, compressed air, fume hoods, filters and methods of disposing chemicals.

The facility is unique because it also has built-in infrastructure for hosting industry professionals for extended periods on research projects. A hallway with faculty offices also includes two hotel-ing stations for visiting scientists.

The project also allows space for evolving technologies. A general-purpose computer lab features five Virtual Reality stations that allow users to build 3D models of enzymes, proteins and other molecular structures as a tool for teaching and research.

We are excited for Langara to reopen and for this lab to be full of students!


UBC MacLeod: A Seismic Test Case

Our ongoing major renovation of The MacLeod Building, the electrical and computer engineering building at UBC, involves a complete gutting down of the building to its basic structural elements. Necessary seismic upgrades are driving the renovation, which has provided an opportunity to reconstruct the building to evolve its approach to 21st Century learning. As part of the assessment, there was consideration given to not just upgrade to current code levels, but to exceed those levels.

The motivation was to limit damage to both structural and non-structural elements of the building, which would extend the useful life of the building, further protecting the investment in new infrastructure and systems that allow faculties to keep adapt to new teaching approaches.

After many years of working with UBC on various renew projects, we are proud to be involved in this exciting and sustainable approach to campus facilities! Extending the life of this 1967 building designed by Thompson Berwick Pratt is an important step in preserving the rich architectural history of UBC campus.