1235 Marine Drive

We are excited to announce that 1235 Marine Drive, a new four-storey residential/commercial project in North Vancouver has gone in for development permit.

The new project on the North Shore is a contemporary expression of the history of Marine Drive and its rich ship building past, historically an early industrial neighbourhood constructed of brick, steel and wood. We researched local building typology and expression circa 1900, and used our research to inform two options showcasing these materials, examining approaches to breaking up the building’s massing while maintaining a sense of project continuity.

Some design features from the Architect:

  • The residential floors hang over the commercial units, creating natural weather protection without having to resort to tacked-on canopies
  • We widened the sidewalk and added seating to encourage the use of Marine Drive as a walking and shopping destination
  • It has the ingredients of an industrial warehouse (wood, metal, brick) but those materials have been designed for residential suites instead
  • Bright red metal frames reflect the high energy of busy Marine Drive

Sustainability in Design

Sustainable urban design is about more than innovation, it’s about survival.

On October 31st, the UN-Habitat (a UN program for sustainable urban development) released its 2020 report on World Cities, as mentioned by this article in ArchDaily. A central issue highlighted in the report is sustainable urban development. More people than ever before are living in cities, and reducing their carbon footprint will be a major factor in tackling climate change.

Sustainability is a big value for us at Proscenium, and we are thrilled when we get to work with clients who are passionate about it too. Over the years, MEC has made sustainability integral to its brand (more on this during Hugh Cochlin’s upcoming presentation for the Wood Solutions Conference).

One of the many features that makes the newly completed MEC Vancouver so unique is that it is a high-performance mass-timber building with high insulation and air tightness, designed to us one-third less energy than national standards. It is so efficient that the building’s mandatory connection to the Neighbourhood Energy Utility (NEU) is used to sell back excess energy to the system. The building is also LEED Gold and Salmon Safe.

MEC Vancouver on East 2nd at dusk

Other green factors include: a flat central “blue” roof that collects water then reuses it in the building’s toilet system, “green” sloping roofs planted with regional meadow growth, and the use of wood as a building material. Wood construction (as an architectural trend) is a sustainable option because it has reduced embodied energy (it can be locally sourced) and the materials can be recycled after demolition.

Being sustainable never looked so good!

Green and Blue Roof for Water Collection

Interior Atrium (Showing Douglas Fir Glulam Columns, Spruce/Pine CLT Floor and Roof, Steel Omega Braces)

Cedar Wood Soffit/Column Canopy at 2nd Ave



Join us at the Wood Solutions Conference

On November 18th, Proscenium’s Hugh Cochlin (Principal) will be speaking at the annual Wood Solutions Conference (November 16-20) hosted by Wood WORKS! BC. This year all the sessions will be virtual.


Hugh’s session, “The Material is the Message,” looks at the connection between material and brand for commercial projects, with the new timber-frame MEC Vancouver building as an example. He will dive into the use of wood as both an aesthetic and structural choice, touch on sustainability concerns (is wood always a sustainable choice?) and give a virtual tour of the building and its innovative design solutions.

Register for the conference online.

2020 Excellence in Commercial Wood Design

We are thrilled to receive this award for MEC Edmonton Brewery District in Edmonton!

WOOD WORKS! Alberta / the Canadian Wood Council jury provided these comments on the building:

“Wood was used for structural and accent finishing pieces and the jury felt that this choice makes the project stand out. It is going above and beyond in a retail experience when customers are allowed to approach and interact with the wood. The entry canopy is impressive, the proportions of wood make a nice warm entry to the building, especially the wood doors. A wide variety of materials were used: glulam columns, timber clad canopies, CLT changing rooms. The structure is thoughtfully oriented to the south and will get the natural light bouncing off the wood surfaces.”

It is great to add this new award to our office and we look forward to submitting future projects.


UBC MacLeod underway

Out at UBC, we’re excited to see the renovation of the MacLeod building deep in progress! This gutting and renovation project on the electrical computer engineering faculty building is taking the building down to its basic structural elements to rebuild/reprogram/refresh for 21st century teaching.

We’re at that exciting turnaround point where we see the vision start to come to life…



MEC Brewery District wins 2020 Excellence in Commercial Wood Design Award!

In 2015 MEC launched their strategic plan to evolve from encouraging “self propelled wilderness” to “active outdoor lifestyles”.  Along with developing products, marketing and community involvement for their expanded market, an enhanced store environment was required to create a meaningful experience for existing and new members.

The simple goals: To create a contemporary consistent distinctive MEC store design which is inspiring, easy to navigate, recognizable and familiar from coast to coast, in alignment with MEC brand values; to encapsulate the core principles that will be applied to all stores, while allowing modulation and flexibility both in store planning and building expression to respond to local opportunities; to make MEC stores ‘siblings’ rather than ‘identical twins’, sharing a visible relationship and an approach to composition & material palette, without being a carbon copy; to register – from any distance, a dedication to sustainable goals & green features, a clear respect for use of organic materials and for a regionally inspired landscaping.

Winners Announced for Wood WORKS! Alberta Prairie Wood Design Awards

Project title: Mountain Equipment Co-op, Brewery District (Edmonton, Alberta)
Architect: Proscenium Architecture + Interiors with Aedifica
Structural Engineer: Fast + Epp
General Contractor: Ventana Construction Ltd.

Danish Construction Companies tour MEC Flagship Store Site


We were delighted to take several Danish Construction Companies on a tour of our project.


MEC’s new Vancouver flagship store set to open this fall!

Excerpted from The Daily Hive by Kenneth Chan…

“Designed by Proscenium Architecture & Interiors (PAI), the new store — a wood building using cross-laminated timber panels — is aiming for a LEED Gold green building standard.

PAI is also behind the design of MEC’s office headquarters in the False Creek Flats, and three newer store locations in North Vancouver, Kelowna, and Edmonton.”

MEC Vancouver Olympic Village storeEarly-June 2019 construction of the new MEC Vancouver flagship store in Vancouver’s Olympic Village. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)


MEC Vancouver Olympic Village storeEarly-June 2019 construction of the new MEC Vancouver flagship store in Vancouver’s Olympic Village. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)


The Pipe Shop Phase 2 Progress

Phase 2 of the Pipe Shop Venue is progressing with visible progress

as installation of the acoustic ceiling panels are well underway.





The Vancouver Sun reports on our project “The Yukon”

The Yukon is a four-storey, 49,000-sq.-ft. strata office and light industrial building being built on the former site of the 3 Vets outdoor equipment store.

Rendering provided of The Yukon, by Chard Development.
Another strata office/light industrial building is under construction in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. And while the project will be a welcome addition for tenants fleeing a tough downtown market, it’s not the kind of building that will ease the city’s overall industrial vacancy crunch, insiders say.

Earlier this month, Chard Development officially broke ground on The Yukon.

It’s a 49,000-sq.-ft. strata office and light industrial building that will rise four storeys and will have units from 1,000 to 10,000 sq. ft. at the corner of Yukon St. and West 6th Ave. — the former site of the 3 Vets outdoor equipment store. The building is expected to complete in late 2020.

The Yukon is Chard’s fifth project in the area and second strata office and light industrial development. It follows their completion in January of a similar building in the area called 34-W7 (also designed by Proscenium Architecture).

Several other buildings with a mix of office and industrial workspace have either recently completed or are under way in the City of Vancouver, including, among others, The WorkSpaces at Strathcona Village on Hastings St.; Ironworks on Victoria Drive; and IntraUrban Evolution at False Creek Flats – a 105,000-sq.-ft. multi-storey stacked industrial building that will include upper-level warehouse spaces.

At 34|W7, most of the buyers were Vancouver-based companies who had been operating for decades, said Byron Chard, president and CEO of Chard Development.

Smaller light industrial space like these are mainly aimed at creative companies that need some storage or racking systems, plus a mix of office owner/users, he said.

He called it a “niche product” that isn’t really tailored to respond to Metro Vancouver’s critical shortage of industrial logistical space related to port activity and distribution.

The City of Vancouver’s industrial vacancy rate has never been lower, and now sits at one per cent.

“You need diversity of supply, and this is adding to that diversity in the light industrial and the office market,” Chard said. “It adds that different element in for buyers or for end users or companies to consider as an alternative.”

The building was designed by Proscenium Architecture and is being built by Ventana Construction. Chard is a B.C.-based developer mostly active in Victoria and Vancouver.

The entire main floor of The Yukon will be used for light industrial, said Matt Carlson, a vice-president with Colliers International, the listing agency for the building.

He said a portion of the second floor will also be industrial and the rest of the building will be designed as office.

“The main floor is definitely different,” he said. “The ceiling is much higher. It’s at least six feet higher on the main floor.”

That space is designed to accommodate a business like a coffee roaster or craft brewery, he said.

The main floor has not yet been sold, Carlson said. “We’re hopeful that we see a nice creative use like (brewing). That would be great.”

He said there is demand for more buildings like this in the Mt. Pleasant node. Colliers estimated that 5,000 to 8,000 new workers will be added to the neighbourhood once all the buildings that are under development complete.

Meanwhile, industrial land prices have surged so high in recent years that modestly sized owner/users have been pushed out of large-scale purchases by developers, said Russ Bougie, a principal and industrial specialist with Avison Young in Vancouver.

In a recent report, Avison Young said 2018 had the second fewest industrial deals (47) in the City of Vancouver since 2010, but the total dollar volume for those deals set a record at $295.6 million.

Bougie said a few massive deals, including Hungerford Properties’ purchase of 86 SE Marine Drive and 101 East 69th Avenue for $90.4 million from Walmart Canada, skewed those numbers. But the fact remains that most small businesses have to look for strata projects if they want to get into the market.

However, this year could see fewer large transactions for industrial property as developers take a wait and see approach to the land market. “I think it’s going to be a quiet year for trades,” Bougie said.

He said buildings, like the one by Chard, are more of a response to the tight downtown office leasing market than to the region’s industrial shortage.

“It’s more office-oriented type users,” he said. “Offices and showrooms and that sort of thing. It’s not really a solution to the distribution-type users.”