Archive for February, 2012



Using Social Media to engage the public in your project

The use of web-based and mobile technologies that turn communications into interactive dialogue through vehicles such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are proving to be highly effective for community-based projects. The City Centre Community Centre in Richmond is a great example of how web-based platforms and social media can be used to involve the community in the public consultation process.

CEI set up a blog, which is readable in English and Mandarin, as a platform to post all the latest news and events about the project. The site also hosted a public survey where over 150 respondents shared information about their expectations for the new centre including amenities, design, programs and services. The site was promoted by CEI and the City of Richmond through various forms of advertising, including social media, to help drive traffic to the site.

Imaginative use of social media can be a powerful tool to get buy-in from your community on your upcoming project, addition or renovation. It can also help keep the energy and momentum of the project, ensuring public interest is maintained throughout each phase—from design development through construction and the grand opening.

Visit the Richmond City Centre blog at



Willingdon Park Phases 8 and 9 are LEED Gold

CEI Architecture is proud to announce that Willingdon Business Park Phases 8 & 9 have officially achieved LEED Gold certification. This project adds to our growing portfolio of sustainable projects including the recent certification of the University of Victoria Administrative Services Building, also LEED Gold. This final stage of Willingdon Park in Burnaby is the culmination of 25 years of design and development of one of Metro Vancouver’s most highly regarded business parks.

The twin buildings represent nearly 190,000 square feet of first class technology-oriented office space and now house a division of Fortis Energy.  The mirrored structures create a strong architectural statement framing a central plaza with massive panel-clad arches and featured light spires. Many sustainable design initiatives have been incorporated in the buildings to achieve the LEED Gold Certification, including:

– Private shuttle from the park to major transportation hubs.
– Bicycle storage and changing rooms.
– Preferred parking for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles.

– All lighting is concentrated to fall within the property to reduce light pollution.
– LED lighting targets more than 20% reduction in energy consumption.
– 21.1% reduction in energy use.
– Solar hot water panels supplying pre-heated water.
– High-efficiency glazed curtainwall.
– Renewable energy certificates will supply 70% of the building energy use for the next 2 years.

– High efficiency irrigation.
– Water efficient fixtures provide over 40% reduction in water use.
– Dual flush and low flow toilets and fixtures.
– Potable water use reduction targeted for 40% reduction.

Waste & Materials
– Achieved more than 80% diversion of construction materials from landfill.
– Over 10% of materials contain recycled content and be sourced regionally.
– Over 50% of all wood is FSC certified.
– Steel supplied through Heritage Steel with 98% of materials from post-industrial waste.

Working environment
– All paints, coatings and sealants are low-emitting formulas.
– Over 75% of spaces will have access to daylight.
– Over 90% of spaces will have a view to the outdoors.
– Cleaning and maintenance plan uses only healthy cleaning products.

With this final stage of development completed, Willingdon Business Park now provides a total area of nearly 1,000,000 square feet, as well as many on-site amenities to encourage a healthy, sustainable community and a campus-like feel. Amenities include service retail, cafes, meeting and conference facilities, as well as multiple fitness centres with lockers, showers and secure bicycle storage. Circling the park is the ‘Willingdon Mile’, a soft-surface jogging trail that winds through the natural surrounding landscape and borders Still Creek.

Willingdon Business Park Phases 8 & 9 have also recently won the Award of Excellence in the Office Category at the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver Commercial Building Awards, 2011.




Competitive Vantage: Vancouver Island Mountain Centre

Most people who’ve ever experienced Vancouver Island love its magical mix of mountains and ocean. Spectacular natural beauty helps define the entire region and it’s fitting that a new community centre now sits on the slopes of Mount Washington, at the edge of Strathcona Provincial Park.

The multi-million dollar Vancouver Island Mountain Centre was designed through collaboration between the Vancouver Island Mountain Sports Society and CEI Architecture. Its intent is to bring together the Island’s diverse communities to celebrate all things outdoors. The 8,000 square foot, two-storey multi-use facility serves a variety of user groups, particularly mountain sports athletes and coaches, school groups and educational faculties.

“The original idea was to design a facility around the energy of the Olympics,” says CEI partner Jim Aalders. “But the society also needed it to be flexible enough so that if a corporation or a school group wants to have an annual retreat or do a workshop there they could do that very comfortably.”

The prominent glass work throughout the facility provides blanket views across the oldest Provincial Park in British Columbia—from Paradise Meadows to the Elk River Mountains—and already makes the building one of the most recognizable on Mount Washington. In addition to dorm-style accommodation for up to 40 people, amenities include meeting and video rooms, training facilities for state-of-the-art fitness equipment, equipment storage, maintenance rooms, cooking facilities and a large dining room.

The Centre came to be because of dedicated volunteers from across professional spectrums. Although approximately $800,000 of the total budget came from the Western Economic Development fund, almost equal that amount came in the form donated in services, materials, and equipment, ensuring the Centre was eventually completed on time and on a modest budget of approximately $3 million.

In part the Centre is built to help the VIMSS generate revenue to support emerging athletes from across Vancouver Island. And with access to both the Nordic and alpine areas of Mount Washington ski resort literally at the building’s doorstep, there is plenty of interest and early demand. The building officially opened in early 2011 by hosting First Nations Snowboard Team coaches from across the province. According to the first guests, the Centre will serve visitors well at every turn.

“We will absolutely go back,” says Paul McIntyre, a lead coach for the team. “I really think that what sells it is the group area with the kitchen just off to the side and the great Hall with a fireplace at one end and the patio and view at the other. That is a great spot to get a fairly large group and it’s a very usable space and really feels comfortable.”

Click here to download the press release.