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Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence named the most sustainable post-secondary building in Canada

The LEED Platinum Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation was named the most sustainable post-secondary building in Canada, according to Corporate Knights Magazine’s 2016 Green Building Review. The building received Gold (first place) in the university and college buildings category. Okanagan College has issued a press release describing the honour in more detail.

The building, located in Penticton, BC, became the first of its size in the region to achieve LEED Platinum certification in June 2015.

HDR’s Bridgepoint Hospital in Toronto also received recognition, achieving Bronze in the Hospitals category.



HDR | CEI enters ‘Mt. Venture’ in the PlayHouzz 2016 Competition

A team of clever staff here at HDR | CEI have designed an entry for Houzz’s PlayHouzz competition. The competition, held by Houzz and the American Institute of Architects, is a charitable playhouse design contest and showcase. This year’s theme is “Adventure”, and they’re looking for innovative playhouse design entries that inspire a sense of imaginative play.

In response, Jorge, Will and Riley have designed Mt. Venture. Here is how they describe the inspiration that led to their creative design:

Conquering nature’s greatest peaks is one of life’s greatest adventures. Mt. Venture invites children to experience the thrill of climbing a mountain, encouraging them to play and explore. Once they reach the top, the little mountaineers will be rewarded with a stunning view and a fun ride down a spiral tube slide.

There are a few ways to conquer Mt. Venture: Mountain Climbing, Cave Exploring, and Rope Climbing. Each path offers a unique challenge that develops motor skills while fostering imaginations. The cave under the mountain provides a gathering space to rest and share stories and a small garden serves as an interactive connection to nature. 

Go see it for yourself! You can view the full entry here in the PlayHouzz Showcase. Be sure to give it a ‘Like’ to vote. Voting is open until 5 p.m. PST on Thursday, April 21.

Good luck, team!



Interior Heart and Surgical Centre’s Fourth Floor Perinatal Unit Now Open

Designed by HDR | CEI, the second phase of the Interior Heart and Surgical Centre supports maternal health in B.C.’s Interior

KELOWNA, BC—With the completion and opening of a new perinatal unit, the Interior Heart and Surgical Centre in Kelowna, BC is now fully operational.

Designed by HDR | CEI Architecture Associates, the unit includes 17 inpatient beds, with five private labour and delivery rooms, a specialized neonatal intensive care unit, a new surgical suite for Caesarean and multiple birth deliveries, and private and semi-private post-partum rooms.

Mothers and babies moved into the Perinatal Unit, which occupies the entire fourth floor of the IHSC, from the adjacent Kelowna General Hospital last weekend. Several babies were born within hours of the move. The unit’s location in the IHSC provides close access to physicians who can perform urgent C-section deliveries, improving patient care when it’s needed most.

“This is an important facility that will support the health of new and expecting mothers and babies in the Interior of B.C., and we’re pleased to see it open and operating,” said Bill Locking, senior vice president of HDR | CEI.

The Perinatal Unit is the second and final phase of the IHSC’s development. The first phase, involving the base building and interiors for the first three floors, opened to the public in September 2015. That phase was designed by HDR | CEI and HOK Architects in joint venture, built by PCL Constructors, and led by Plenary Health.

The IHSC facility houses an advanced cardiac surgery program that supports an estimated 600 open-heart surgery procedures each year. The first two floors include private pre-operation and post-operation day surgery bays, family rooms, a cardiac surgery ICU, 15 operating rooms including two for cardiac operations, and advanced medical imaging equipment to support minimally invasive surgery. The third floor features a medical device reprocessing department.

The building was designed using the latest evidence-based design principles, and is targeting LEED Gold standards. Wood is featured in the exterior wall cladding and in the canopy and soffits, and used extensively for interior decorative elements. The use of wood promotes a warm and natural aesthetic that supports the form and function of the Interior Heart and Surgical Centre as a facility dedicated to healing.

© Sunny Jhooty

© Sunny Jhooty




New Residential Development Approved at 989 Johnson Street


A new residential development planned at 989 Johnson Street received unanimous approval from the Victoria City Council. Two residential towers, 15 and 17 storeys, will soon be built at the corner of Johnson and Vancouver streets in downtown Victoria, BC.

The 180,000 square-foot development with include ground-floor commercial space and 209 residential units with underground parking.

Ground-breaking is expected to take place at the beginning of August, and is anticipated to take two years.

The Victoria Times Colonist reported on the new development. Find the whole story here.



The Importance of Community


By Mary Chow

A question we often ask a new client before starting to design a community, recreation or sports centre is “What does success look like to you on this project?” Along with answers about meeting budgets and timelines, when you finally get to the heart of why the project is being built in the first place, more often than not the answer is “community”.

What does that mean?

For our clients it means a place that will enrich lives, a place to discover new interests, a place to find and make new friends, a place that will meet a need that is missing from the lives of the people in the community.

For me, the word gives real meaning to my work. My client is not the project manager sitting on the other side of the table at meetings. It’s the stay-at-home mother who is looking for relief from her day, a distraction for her child. It’s the senior who often doesn’t make lunch, but will go to his local community centre for a hot nutritious meal. It’s the youth looking for a place away from home to connect, relax, or to do homework. It’s men and woman looking for a way to keep fit or a place to learn something new.

It makes me want to do a good job.

For me, it’s also about extending the idea of “community” into my workplace. The building we create is a result of a community of participants. Each person contributes to the overall whole; without them, the building may be completed, but will never reach the level of excellence that we anticipate.

For the design, it means infusing community into the project by creating spaces for the community. Spaces not just for specific program elements, but spaces for interaction and to just “be”.

Our best projects are elastic from the start. They begin with inviting the community—a range of key stakeholders that have a real vested interest in the project—to contribute. These stakeholders are representatives from the neighbourhood, from sports groups, accessibility groups, seniors, youth, new immigrants; essentially any key group that would benefit from the project. But the project needs to stay elastic with our teams to ultimately allow room to change and to become better as each person contributes something worthwhile.

You know when you’ve reached your goal when the best day is the long awaited for opening day. When the community comes to experience their community centre. Where the number of people who enter the front doors exceeds everyone’s expectations and it’s when you really understand how many people have long waited for this place to become theirs.

Looking for more posts like this? Check out HDR’s blog, BLiNK, written by employees at HDR. Our bloggers represent offices from around the world and write about topics of importance to the architecture and design profession.



980 Howe open for business in downtown Vancouver

980 Howe_24

The new Manulife Office Tower in downtown Vancouver at 980 Howe had its grand opening just a few weeks ago.

Designed by HDR | CEI Architecture Associates and Endall Elliot Associates, the highly sustainable 16-storey building is a model of clean, contemporary office design. The facility provides 245,000 square feet of leasable office space in downtown Vancouver.

Elegant contemporary design
“The client challenged us to create an all-glass curtain wall building,” said Alan Endall, architect and principal with Endall Elliot Associates.

The design team wasn’t sure that was possible at first, as an all-glass curtain wall structure would have a hard time achieving the energy efficiency standards required for the project, which is targeting LEED Gold.

“The team responded with an all-glass design that incorporates innovative features to reduce solar heat gain and ensure energy efficiency, while preserving transparency and a sense of openness,” said John Scott, Vice President of HDR | CEI.

A limited material palette and a subtle layering of light colours and textures helps the building achieve a simple, almost minimalist expression that contrasts with the more heavily articulated and solid buildings in the neighbourhood.

980 Howe_01

Sustainable features abound
The design uses a triple-glazed curtain wall throughout the structure. Triple-glazing—essentially three panes of glass separated by argon gas—offers better insulation than the more common double-glazing. It also provides additional surfaces for low-e coating, which prevents interior heat loss and mitigates solar heat gain.

To address how light and shadow affect the building, the design team studied the position of the sun at different times of the day and during each season. This led to the use of ceramic frit patterns—ceramic baked onto the glass—with subtle variations in glass colour and patterning on the four orientations of the building to address the different amount of sun and shadow that each frontage gets.

The design team used a highly transparent low-iron glass on lower floors of the Howe Street facade, since that face tends to be in the shade and solar gain is not as much of an issue.

“It was another way that we were able to vary the appearance of the all-glass building along that frontage,” noted Endall.

Continuing the minimalist theme, interior finishes are kept simple, with white marble on columns and walls, granite paving, and wood introduced in the ceiling to help create warmth in the lobby.

“The entrance lobby is an important aspect of the interiors,” said Scott. “We introduced a double-height linear entry lobby with low-iron glass and structural glazing along the street to facilitate transparency.”

Building amenities include a fitness centre and a common meeting room on the penthouse level.

Additional sustainable features include:

  • A combination of high performance building envelope, high efficiency mechanical systems, heat recovery and lighting technologies limit energy use.
  • End-of-trip cycling facilities with ample covered bike parking, showers and change rooms
  • Preferred parking and charging stations for electric vehicles.
  • Landscaping strategies with rain gardens, boulevard structural soil trenches providing a reservoir to support shade trees, public education, and art celebrating water management.
  • Plantings featuring native species and hardy west coast plants to minimize maintenance and pest management.
  • The project mitigates the “heat island” effect by placing parking underground, incorporating street trees and plantings to help cool building surfaces, and using light-coloured landscape materials, both at the ground plane and roof level.

980 Howe_07

980 Howe_12



Edmonds Community Centre wins IPC/IAKS Distinction


Edmonds Community Centre and Fred Randall Pool
has been honoured with an IPC/IAKS Distinction award from the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities.

129 projects from around the world competed for awards demonstrating excellence in sports, leisure, and recreational facilities. Overall, 31 projects were recognized at the Awards Gala which took place in Cologne, Germany on October 27th.

The IPC/IAKS Distinction award is aimed at increasing the accessibility of all sports and leisure facilities in order to offer all people, regardless of their physical abilities, opportunities to practise and view sport without barriers. Four projects in the ‘Indoor facilities for sports, leisure, and recreation’ category were recognized with the ‘Distinction’ award. Edmonds joins other notable projects designed by MJMA, Zaha Hadid, and Herzog De Meuron.

Accessibility and inclusivity were key considerations for the architectural team during the design process of the facility. Adapted equipment and features were incorporated throughout Edmonds Community Centre to make recreation more accessible to people with physical disabilities. The ethnically diverse neighborhood demographic also impacted the design, as change room and shower spaces address differing cultural requirements for modesty and privacy.

The IAKS/IOC award adds to the recognition the community centre has received since its opening, including receiving the BC Recreation and Parks Association’s 2015 Facility Excellence Award.



The Misconceptions of Integrated Project Delivery

CEI candids 2014_12

There’s been a lot of talk lately about IPD (Integrated Project Delivery), but with it has come many misconceptions, misunderstandings and miscommunication about what IPD really means.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) defines IPD as “a project delivery method that integrates people, systems, business structures and practices into a process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to reduce waste and optimize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication and construction.”

The Integrated Project Delivery method contains many specific components, including continuous involvement of the owner and key designers and builders from early design through project completion, an alignment of the business interests of all parties through shared risk/reward, and joint project control by the owner, key designers and builders. As you’d expect, a true IPD model is truly integrated, sharing and spreading responsibilities and rewards among all parties.

As an architecture firm, we are seeing many requests for proposals that request IPD, but also refer to other delivery methods such as design-build, stipulated sum and even P3—all in the same proposal. This indicates to me that our clients are interested in IPD but are unsure exactly what’s involved. This can be troublesome, as a confusing RFP puts not only the contractors and consultants at risk but the project itself.

IPD isn’t a new model—it’s been around in one way or another for many years, though true IPD projects are few and far between. It takes a special client and project team that fully agree to all the terms that an IPD project requires. After talking to many contractors, consultants and even clients, my experience is that most do not fully understand exactly what’s involved in a true IPD contract.

Everyone is willing to improve the construction process, and a modified IPD can be the tool to do so. Many so-called IPD projects are just this: a modified IPD contract that conforms to the ideology of an integrated project. Construction companies, consultants, suppliers and, most importantly, the client all want to be a part of a successful project.

With a little knowledge and a desire to improve how we design and construct buildings we can change the process for the better. We can incorporate aspects of IPD and modify the contract so all parties involved are comfortable and happy with the outcome, and as we do more and more of these IPD-type projects, the parties involved will become more familiar and comfortable with the process and we can introduce more aspects of a true IPD contract.


Currently, at HDR | CEI, we already do many aspects of Integrated Project Delivery simply as good business practices. Educating our clients and the project team are key to a successful IPD project and to making everyone comfortable with the process and the contractual obligations.

People are often confused with the differences between Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and Integrated Design Process (IDP). In addition to the contractual obligations of an IPD project, it also includes aspects of the integrated design process. Both require the project team to collaborate together in a specific manner for the benefit of the project and ultimately for the benefit of the project team, ensuring a successful project.

IPD and IDP differ in some key aspects. IDP projects do not require all parties to have a “business interest” to the point of shared risk and reward. Financial gain is not necessarily tied to a successful project outcome. Having all parties involved, including the owner, consultants and construction company, at the onset of a project is beneficial. It facilitates an environment in which all parties agree to share information and ideas, and are willing to compromise and work together. Dialogue between all parties is open and communicative, egos are left at the door and input is expected and appreciated from all levels.

We do many projects using an IDP approach. Any project with careful collaboration between the consultants, client, contractors and suppliers is an IDP project. A client or owner can specify IDP as part of the contractual obligations of participating in a project without the financial risk/reward of a typical IPD project.

However, when specifying that a project will incorporate IDP, the expectations have to be clearly defined early on. A roadmap of how collaboration is to occur and what is to be expected from all parties involved needs to be clearly laid out in advance with sufficient time allocated to collaboration and dialogue.

If you are considering an Integrated Project Delivery model for your next project, be clear to your team exactly what your expectations are, select a team with experience and a willingness to collaborate in a way that benefits the project. Those are the keys to a successful IPD project.



It’s official! CEI has joined HDR!

CEI Architecture, one of western Canada’s leading architectural practices, has joined HDR, a global firm with one of the world’s top ranked architecture practices. Leadership of the two firms cite growth opportunities, both geographically and within each firm’s respective market sectors, as the reasons for merging its shared commitment to design innovation in Canada and globally. The transaction was effective July 26, 2015. Going forward, the firm will go to market as HDR | CEI.

“I am confident in the success of this alliance because both of our firms share a philosophy of balancing quality design, technical expertise, business orientation, and customer satisfaction—specifically focusing on being market leaders in clearly defined sectors,” commented Doug Wignall, AIA, president of HDR’s Architecture practice. “This common platform is essential to building a solid foundation for future growth. Additionally, both our firm’s experience with public-private partnerships (P3) for health is perhaps more than any other architecture firm in Canada. This merger of practices provides clients with a much greater depth of experienced resources focused on an incredibly deep portfolio of P3 projects.”

“Together, we are poised to be a preeminent force in many sectors in Canada, particularly in healthcare, research and recreation,” explained Bill Locking, a founding partner of CEI and now Senior Vice President of HDR | CEI. “We will deepen our bench of local healthcare and research expertise with HDR’s global resources in consulting services, which will uniquely position us to deliver healthcare and research projects of all sizes, scopes and complexities. In turn, the expertise CEI brings to the table can help HDR expand into new sectors such as recreation, K-12 education and commercial development not only throughout all provinces of Canada, but beyond the Canadian border as well.”

Locking added that over the past few weeks, CEI has shared news of the merger with key clients. “We have been overwhelmed by how positive the response had been,” Locking said. “Our clients understand that we will remain the same highly professional team, with the same dedication to client service and design excellence they’ve grown accustomed to. What will change, though, is an even greater capacity to bring clients the very best in global research, benchmarking and professional expertise.”

HDR has more than 1,450 architecture employees working in offices in six countries who provide complete design, engineering, planning and consulting services across the United States, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Australia, and the People’s Republic of China.



Three CEI projects shortlisted for P3 Awards


Three CEI Architecture projects have been shortlisted for P3 Awards by P3 Bulletin.The award program recognizes and rewards outstanding achievements in public-private partnerships across Canada, the United States, and Latin America.

CEI’s design of the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the North has been shortlisted under the Best Operational Project category, while the Surrey Memorial Hospital Redevelopment Expansion (with Parkin Architects) is in the running for Best Designed Project. The BC Children’s and BC Women’s Redevelopment Project Phase 2, the Teck Acute Care Centre, was also recognized as a shortlist under the Best Social Infrastructure Project.

Though sister program ‘Partnership Awards’ has been operating in the United Kingdom for 18 years, 2015 marks the second year for the Americas-focused P3 Awards. A panel of 50 judges will make their selections, announcing the winners at a gala awards ceremony in New York on October 8.

The BC Cancer Agency represents CEI’s first project delivered under the public-private partnership model, and since its completion in 2012, the firm has established itself as a leader in P3 delivery in Western Canada.