Archive for March, 2012



The charrette process at work at Wedgewood Park Recreation Centre

In 2011 CEI teamed with Ron Fougere Architects of St. John’s to complete the planning and conceptual design phase for the St. John’s Wellness Centre, a partnership between the City of St. John’s, the Province, and Sport Newfoundland. The project included an aquatic centre, 200 metre indoor banked track, gymnasiums, and a number of multi-use community and studio rooms. The Wellness Centre was designed using CEI’s highly successful collaborative design charrette process.

The Wellness Centre was, in fact, the City’s second priority for replacing its existing recreation infrastructure. In early 2012 the City concluded that the Wedgewood Park Recreation Centre remained its priority replacement project and they re-engaged CEI and Ron Fougere Associates to move that project forward. Again, a collaborative design charrette process was used to develop an exciting concept which is currently in design. The replacement facility, which is located within Wedgewood Park, will allow for the existing facility to continue to operate during construction. It will include a six lane 25 metre pool and a separate leisure pool, gymnasium, youth centre, seniors centre, fitness studio, and multi-purpose rooms. CEI will be in St. John’s again at the end of April as design development proceeds with the City’s team.



A place to celebrate UBC’s top athletes

The UBC Sports Hall of Fame opened at the end of 2011. The project was initiated to create a showcase area for University of British Columbia sports history within the new Thunderbird Sports Centre. The UBC Sports Hall of Fame celebrates UBC’s top athletes and provides a resource centre for 100 years of UBC history.

Two main goals for the project were to draw traffic into the Hall of Fame and to create a welcoming place of significance within Thunderbird Sports Centre. We took inspiration from the traditional post-and-beam design of the UBC Museum of Anthropology and combined it with attention-drawing lighting effects and contemporary materials such as resin panels.



CEI in Atlantic Canada

In addition to commencing work on the new aquatics centre in St. John’s Newfoundland, CEI remains increasingly active in Atlantic Canada. In January, Mark Hentze was invited by Atlantic WoodWORKS! to present CEI’s recreation work to audiences in Halifax and Moncton. Projects featured included Cowichan Lake Sports Arena, Armstrong Arena, Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies at Okanagan College, and Cloverdale Recreation Centre. You can view Mark’s presentation on the WoodWORKS! website.



Mark Hentze chairs international session on community centre design at IAKS

This past fall, CEI was invited to chair a panel discussion on the evolution of community centre design at the IAKS Congress in Cologne, Germany. The session, “Community Recreation Centres: Activating Design for All” focused on exploring how various social, demographic and site conditions helped to forge the design responses to a group of community centres in Canada and Denmark.

The session explored how dynamics such as multiculturalism, mixing arts with recreation, finding the multi-generational balance, and bold ideas can positively influence and direct the design of a community centre. Mark Hentze moderated the session, and joining him on the panel were Kai-Uwe Bergmann of Bjarke Ingels Grouop, Victor Jaunkalns of MJMA Architects, Duff Balmer of Perkins+Will Architects, and Lars Hjorth Baerentzen of the Danish Foundation for Culture and Sports Facilities.



Welcome, Nick Neisingh!

We are pleased to welcome Nick Neisingh to CEI’s Victoria office. Nick started with CEI in January as an Intern Architect, and is currently working on some of the early programming stages of the University of Victoria Business and Economics Building Expansion.

Nick has an interesting educational background, he holds an M.Arch from UBC and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Computing and Information Sciences and Philosophy from Queens University. Nick chose to pursue architecture because, in his words, “if it is done right, architecture is like a philosophical argument or a computer algorithm but written out of physical materials and inhabited by people. Each building we make is a political statement about how we think the world should be, which is a fascinating ethical challenge.”

Nick calls Boston his hometown, he went to Kindergarten there, and returned for his last couple years of high school. In between, his family lived in Europe, mainly Ireland and Switzerland. His parents wanted to embrace an opportunity to live abroad, so he and his two older sisters spent many of their childhood years growing up in Europe. In Nick’s words, “it had its pros and cons. It was hard to make new friends every few years when we moved, but in hindsight, it was a pretty cool thing to experience growing up.”

Outside of work, Nick loves to travel, but wishes he had the time to do more of it. He has traveled to distant places including Europe and New Zealand, but the most foreign place he has been is Iran. He spent a month there while in school with about ten others who were also studying architecture.

Nick also takes an interest in food: growing it, preparing it, and eating it. His girlfriend is a farmer, and it has become a lifestyle. “It’s a challenging thing to take on nowadays,” he says. “It’s hard to afford that land to farm on, and it’s hard work, but it’s a challenge and I find it inspiring to face it.”