Redeveloped Hillside Centre a bright spot in Victoria retail landscape


The reinvention of Hillside Centre is complete!

The shopping centre in Victoria, BC has seen a major expansion and renovation, led by MMC and CEI Architecture. The $75 million project includes a 55,000 square foot addition, with space for 30 new tenants, and a total of almost 300,000 square feet of renovated and added space. Several of the major existing stores were relocated to new, expanded premises. The design team worked closely with the construction team of EllisDon and Kinetic Construction.

The new Hillside Centre was repositioned to focus on fashion and is home to several new retailers, including U.S. industry leaders Target and Marshall’s. With a contemporary Pacific Northwest design aesthetic, the building features new two-storey entrances and a welcoming double-height galleria anchored by stone pilasters. Wood is featured throughout, extending from the canopy above the entryway deep into the facility, creating a spacious arcade for visitors to stroll through the centre. The stone and wood is expressed throughout the new facility, bringing a consistent visual and tactile experience.

The whole building is awash in natural light, with skylights lining circulation pathways, and clerestory windows drawing sunlight deep inside. The expanded food court is a particular highlight, with a high ceiling and lots of light—good food, too!

The redevelopment included several features to make the site more sustainable. New trees were added throughout the parking areas, along with rain gardens and permeable pavers. Cyclists have ample space to lock up their rides, and the use of natural light keeps energy use low.

CEI and MMC also led the addition of a new 120,000-square-foot Target store at Hillside Centre, one of the first in Western Canada.

For more info and engaging images by Ed White Photographics, visit our project page.


A new two-storey entrance and double-height galleria is anchored by stone pilasters.


Skylights line circulation pathways, bringing in tons of light.



BC Cancer Centre for the North awarded LEED Gold


BC Cancer_001webThe BC Cancer Agency Centre for the North has been awarded LEED Gold status by the Canada Green Building Council. The facility, located in Prince George BC, was completed in September 2012, designed and built using the public-private partnership (“P3”) delivery method. CEI Architecture led the design of the project, working with PCL Constructors and Plenary Health.

The project was designed to the climatic demands of its location in Prince George, BC, a community in central British Columbia and an 800 km drive north of Vancouver. The city has a fairly wide temperature swing: from average lows of twelve degrees below zero in January to average highs of over 20 degrees Celsius in July. The Cancer Centre had to be designed to accommodate this dynamic climate using an energy efficient and environmentally respectful approach that reflects the facility’s mandate to improve the health of the region.

The Centre for the North was acknowledged for “exemplary performance” in regional material sourcing; 38% of building materials (by cost) came from sources nearby.

Its other sustainable features are numerous.

The Centre for the North was built using 655,000 board feet of wood, reflecting the importance of the material to the region and wood’s lower carbon footprint compared to other building materials. Over 50% of the wood-based products used in the building are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which includes interior finishes, exterior siding, and structural wood columns and beams.

Energy-efficient lighting is used inside and outside, and high-performance windows control the energy needed to heat and cool the building. Occupancy and daylight sensors turn off the lights automatically in areas that are not being used or that have sufficient daylight from neighbouring windows.

An outdoor healing garden is located at the ground floor. The garden has space to sit and relax and also offers a covered smudging pavilion for patient and family use. The vegetation is native to its region, and many of the plants were selected by First Nations traditional healers from the region for their healing characteristics.

The design included a rooftop garden and a white, reflective roof on portions of the top of the mechanical room. Both roof elements reflect sunlight and reduce the amount of energy needed to cool the building in the summer. The rooftop garden is made up of local plants and provides several other benefits to the building including capturing rainwater, providing insulation, and offering staff and visitors a nice place to relax while enjoying the views.

BC Cancer_007web



Surrey Memorial Hospital Critical Care Tower Opens


The Surrey Memorial Hospital Critical Care Tower had its official grand opening last week. Now the entire eight-storey hospital tower is open to the public. Phase one of the facility, which included the new Emergency Department, opened in October 2013.

BC Health Minister Terry Lake was there for the opening, along with local MLAs and representatives.

“Thanks to this new facility, health-care professionals will be able to deliver the best possible care for families in a larger, modern environment with more beds, space, equipment and staff,” said Lake. “The critical care tower will go a long way in meeting the health care needs of the rapidly growing Fraser Valley.”

This article in the Surrey Now newspaper has additional comments from medical staff in attendance:

Some doctors at the opening event said that the opening of the facility didn’t just represent newer, bigger rooms and state-of-the-art technology, but rather “compassion, caring and respect” as one patient reportedly said.

The $512 million Surrey Memorial Hospital Critical Care Tower was delivered by public-private partnership. CEI Architecture and Parkin Architects were the architects on the project. EllisDon led the construction.

Tagged: / /



CEI Architecture expands into Alberta with Edmonton location

CEI Architecture is open for business in Alberta.

The firm, now registered with the Alberta Association of Architects, has opened an office in Edmonton. The expansion enables the firm to lead the architectural design of buildings as prime consultant in Alberta. It represents the firm’s first office presence outside of British Columbia.

“Over the past ten years we’ve enjoyed steady growth,” said William Locking, managing partner of CEI Architecture. “We’ve primarily worked in B.C., though we’ve partnered with firms on projects in other provinces, including Alberta, Ontario, Newfoundland and New Brunswick.”

“We’re looking forward to leading projects in Alberta, making a difference in communities by bringing our strong focus on client service and collaboration.”

Significant projects in several sectors
CEI is known for expertise in significant healthcare, recreation, education, science and technology, and commercial projects.

The firm recently completed the design of the new Surrey Memorial Hospital Critical Care Tower, an eight-storey, $512 million expansion to the existing hospital. Phase one of the facility, which included the second-largest Emergency Department in Canada, opened in the fall of 2013. The final phase is set to open to the public in June 2014.

CEI is part of Affinity Partnerships, the team selected earlier this year by Provincial Health Services Authority to design, build, finance and maintain the Teck Acute Care Centre, a new $680 million facility being added to the BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre.

Both projects are being procured by public-private partnership, which CEI has excelled in over the past few years.

“Our leadership on significant, innovative healthcare projects will translate well to other regions,” added Locking.

Recreation and community facilities
CEI is nationally recognized as a leader in the design of recreation and community facilities, with a number of projects in Alberta. The firm has worked in St. Albert, Grand Prairie and Calgary, on the notable $296 million WinSport Canada Athletic and Ice Complex, a high-performance ice and sports training facility for Hockey Canada. CEI was recently awarded the design of the $18 million Sylvan Lake Multiplex redevelopment, which includes new hockey and curling rinks, multi-purpose spaces and more. The Town of Sylvan Lake, Alberta was recently named Kraft Hockeyville by the NHL.

“Alberta has a strong tradition of exceptional community recreation programs and facilities,” said Mark Hentze, CEI partner and director of recreation, community and cultural projects. “We’re looking forward to helping contribute to that legacy by bringing our experience leading community centres, aquatics facilities, ice rinks and other projects in several provinces across Canada.”

CEI Architecture is a leading architecture and design firm in Western Canada, with over 60 staff at offices in Vancouver, Victoria and Edmonton. The firm was named Designers of the Year in the Eco category by Western Living Magazine in 2013. Significant recent projects include the Edmonds Community Centre in Burnaby, the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at Okanagan College in Penticton and the Manulife Office Tower in downtown Vancouver.

Tagged: / / /



A Presentation Series on Improving Project Delivery

CEI staff portraitsWe would like to invite you to a series of sessions dedicated to improving how you deliver projects.

The “Improving the Process of Delivering Projects” series is designed to stimulate discussion on improving the project delivery process. Sessions are designed for members of the AEC industry who would like to see a more integrated approach to project delivery. These sessions will provide you with tools and skills to enhance your project delivery and collaborate with consultants, your client and the contractor.

These quarterly sessions will be facilitated by Scott Chatterton, BIM and QC Manager for CEI Architecture. The first will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 12 at CEI Architecture’s office at 500-1500 West Georgia Street, Vancouver.

Seating is limited. Email Scott Chatterton at to reserve your seat.

The goals of these sessions are to educate, communicate and cooperate.

These sessions are not:

  • …Another user group. These are a limited series of presentations directed towards improving how we deliver projects in the design and construction industry.
  • …Focused on Revit. They are high level overviews of the processes for delivering projects.
  • …A sales pitch. We’re not selling anything, promoting any products or any specific company. We’re discussing how to improve project delivery.

These sessions are:

  • Designed for Decision Makers. They’re for project managers, partners, associates, architects, engineers and contractors. Decision makers who need information to be able to make educated decisions and keep up with industry trends.
  • Free… What more can I say?

The first session will feature two presentations, guaranteed to stimulate thought and discussion. 

Rodrigo Photo-150pxCollaboration in the Design Process
Rodrigo Freig; WSP Group

This presentation looks at three different case scenarios of BIM collaboration and how the process impacted the project delivery. We will look at the level of involvement of consultants, contractors and owners, and the benefits gained and/or lost.

Rodrigo Freig is the technical manager for the engineering departments at WSP Group’s Vancouver office. He has 14 years’ experience in the structural engineering field and he also teaches Revit Structures at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. He has been involved with BIM processes since 2006 and is an enthusiast of working in 3D.

O-Pawson-150pxBuilding an Integrated Team to Deliver a Project
Owen Pawson; Miller Thomson 

This session covers the following aspects of collaborative project delivery:

Who should be on the team
The importance of trust within the team
The importance of BIM in enhancing collaboration
Tying rewards (and risk) to project success
Decision making within the team
Dispute resolution (if really necessary)

Owen Pawson is the Managing Partner of Miller Thomson’s Vancouver office. He practices as a solicitor with the firm in construction law. He assists governments, crown corporations and a variety of construction companies, architects, engineers and interior designers to identify issues and resolve conflicts in construction law, develop commercial arrangements for traditional design-tender-build projects through to major design-build and engineer, procure and construct facilities, as well as public private partnerships projects. In this regard, Owen has been involved in the preparation of procurement processes and complex contracts necessary to implement design-build school projects and major transportation infrastructure projects by way of design-build, P3 and EPC contracts. He also advises clients with respect to professional liability of design consultants and has prepared professional consulting agreements for a variety of projects.



William Griffin Recreation Centre in North Vancouver moving forward

The design of the new William Griffin Recreation Centre, in North Vancouver, continues to earn strong support from council members and the local community. At a recent development permit reading, the District of North Vancouver council voted unanimously in support of the project’s design and direction.

The CEI-designed facility will include a 25-metre lap pool, leisure swimming pool, gymnasium, weight room, and seniors’ and preschool spaces. The facility is expected to open in 2016.

Among the most striking features of the design are exposed, two-storey structural glulam columns that form the main circulation spine, starting from a spacious main lobby and public entry area.

The new weight room and fitness will be full of light, with a two-storey south-facing window facing onto William Griffin Field and a trail system beyond.

According to an article in the North Shore News, Councilor Alan Nixon praised the project, saying, “I think the architects, from what I can see… have done an exceptional job in creating a building we’ll all be very, very proud of.”

Mayor Richard Walton agreed, saying, “I can’t wait to get this beautiful building opened.”



CEI selected to lead community consultation for replacement of Quesnel ice arena

CEI was recently selected by the City of Quesnel and the Cariboo Regional District to provide design consultant services for the first phase of the North Cariboo Arena Replacement Project in Quesnel, B.C.

The City and District are planning to replace the current spectator arena in the Quesnel and District Twin Arenas facility with a new 1600-seat spectator arena. CEI is leading the first phase of the process, which includes a community consultation, concept design and preparation for a public referendum on the project.

CEI was selected in part due to our extensive experience leading community consultations and presentations, and designing ice sports and other recreation and community centres throughout Western Canada and in Atlantic Canada. Our experience includes the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex, Cowichan Lake Sports Arena and the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

We were recently selected by the Town of Sylvan Lake, Alberta, to lead their arena redevelopment project.

Stay tuned for more on this project.



CEI Architecture wins design of Sylvan Lake Multiplex redevelopment project in Alberta

CEI Architecture has been selected as the prime consultant and architect for the Sylvan Lake Multiplex redevelopment project in Sylvan Lake, Alberta, located 25 km west of Red Deer and 170 km north of Calgary.

The $18 million redevelopment is planned to include a new hockey rink, five-sheet curling rink, four-lane running track, seniors centre, multi-use spaces, and more. The new facility will be tied into the existing Sylvan Lake Multiplex, which has a hockey rink with seating capacity for over 1000, and aquatics centre. The roof of the Multiplex collapsed in January 2014 after heavy snow accumulation.

“We’re thrilled to be working with the Town of Sylvan Lake on this recreation project,” said Mark Hentze, partner and leader of CEI’s recreation and community design practice. It’s going to be a great addition to Sylvan Lake, providing additional hockey, skating, curling and other facilities to the whole community,” Hentze added. “From kids to seniors, everyone will benefit.”

“We know that ice sports are important to the community of Sylvan Lake, and we’re happy to contribute our expertise.”

Sylvan Lake was recently named Kraft Hockeyville by the NHL, beating out seven other communities in Western Canada in the public voting stage. The prize comes with $100,000 for arena upgrades, which will go toward this project. The redeveloped facility will host an NHL pre-season exhibition game between the Calgary Flames and Phoenix Coyotes.

CEI’s portfolio of recreation facility projects across Canada continues to expand. We recently completed the Southlands Community Centre and are working on the Wedgewood Park Recreation Centre. Both facilities are in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and designed in collaboration with Ron Fougere Associates.



New life for old spectator arenas

A number of Canadian cities are looking at replacing their older spectator arenas. Fort McMurray, Moncton, Thunder Bay and Sudbury are all considering building new facilities, and as often happens in this situation, the question has come up: What should they do with their older venues?

Thunder Bay and Moncton each engaged CEI and PricewaterhouseCoopers to help them deal with this question and, while the process is not fully complete, the results are both surprising and exciting.

When repurposing a spectator facility, one needs to acknowledge that the main value of the facility comes from the amount of floor space underneath its span. The flat-floor space may be the size of an ice surface—with the rest of the area taken up by seating—or it can be two to three times larger, if the seating is removed.

The Fort William Gardens in Thunder Bay was built in 1950, with around 5,000 seats. The Gardens is connected to the Fort William Curling Club, and the facilities share the same refrigeration system. The facility is not far from the city’s southern business district, but the value of the land does not justify demolishing the facility for redevelopment.

Through a community workshop and subsequent open house, CEI developed consensus around a few key objectives the public wanted to see in a repurposed facility:

  • Repurposing the Gardens to support community recreation and leisure needs
  • Removing permanent seating and providing flexible or removable seating
  • Reducing the extent to which the facility is subsidized by the City.

The workshop included an opportunity for participants to express their opinions about what they wanted to see.

Ft William Gardens-Statements

The final recommendation included removal of all fixed seating in the facility, and the addition of an elevated walking track and fitness station, and a highly robust sports flooring system that would accommodate street traffic for trade shows, farmer’s markets, and other assembly activity. First and foremost, however, was the need to dedicate the 40,000 sq ft of flat floor area to community recreation and leisure programs.

Ft William Gardens-Recommendations

The existing Moncton Coliseum Complex contains both the 6,500-seat Coliseum, and the 75,000 sq ft Agrena trade show facility. Developing their new Downtown Centre will move spectator-oriented events from the Coliseum, but not the trade show activity. Repurposing a vacated Coliseum is as much about reinforcing the business plan of the Agrena as it is about supporting community-oriented programming.

CEI based the repurposing of the Coliseum on a model developed for the Regina Exhibition Grounds, which sees a six-pad arena and large indoor soccer facility support major trade show activity on an opportunistic basis. In this model, the recreation components are primarily used for community programs and only occasionally for flat floor events and shows. Scheduling is critical but ultimately it is a win-win from both business and recreation programming perspectives.


The final recommendation for the Moncton Coliseum will be to remove all of the fixed seating and provide large-scale open recreational space at the event level (the original ice level), as well as smaller, open-area recreation spaces on the mezzanine level. Unlike the repurposing of the Fort William Gardens into a multi-purpose recreation facility, the Moncton project creates a city-wide recreation hub and supports the business plan for the Agrena, making it Atlantic Canada’s premier destination for large trade show events and activities.



CEI’s Mark Hentze in panel discussion at 2014 AIBC conference

Mark Hentze, CEI Architecture’s director of recreation, community and culture projects, was invited to participate in a panel discussion at the AIBC Annual Conference taking place in October, 2014, in Vancouver.

The topic of the discussion is “building community through architecture.” The panel will focus on community centres, pool and recreation facilities, and their impact on new and established communities and neighbourhoods. The talk will be moderated by Anne Mooi, director of parks and recreation for West Vancouver.