North Vancouver Museum Update

The North Vancouver Museum is a vital addition in the larger redevelopment of the Lower Lonsdale Cultural District. It will be prominently located adjacent Carrie Cates Mews and Esplanade Ave, inviting the public in to discover the rich ecological and cultural heritage of North Vancouver. Urban Arts Architecture is completing a design that reflects the identity of North Vancouver through the use of natural materials and clean, modern detailing providing a fitting home for the important exhibits and artifact to be displayed therein. The museum features both Permanent and Temporary Galleries in addition to a Flex Space and Multi-Purpose Room that will provide public, bookable spaces for a broad range of events. The Lobby has been designed as a ‘public living room’  featuring an original commissioned cedar carving by local First Nations Artist, Wade Baker in addition to the refurbished electric street car that operated nearby in the early decades of the 1900s.  The Project also includes the new Administrative Offices for the Museum and Archives. The Museum will be open to the public in 2019.

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We have moved!

UAA is excited to announce that we have moved into our new office space! We have relocated our office across the street to #300 - 111 Water Street. We are loving the new space and look forward to sharing photos soon!

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Her Story in Focus

On November 3rd our team attended ‘Her Story in Focus’ at the Vancouver Art Gallery, in support of the Women’s Centre in the Downtown Eastside. There was a silent auction, a live auctioneer, and a fashion show, accompanied by canapés, wine and delicious desserts. The fashion show featured women from the Women’s Centre walking in the fashion show, wearing a garment that they designed from resources that were donated to the centre. Some of our favorite looks were the hand-beaded traditional dress outfits, which showcased beautiful workmanship. Mayor Gregor Robertson also attended the event, giving each woman who walked the runway a rose during the finale. We are very excited to hear that they exceeded their goal of $35,000 and raised $50,000 going towards safe space, basic needs, and empowering support for women of the Downtown Eastside!

Update on Radium Community Hall

The prefabricated Dowel-Laminated-Panels (DLT) are currently being installed on site.  Manufactured locally by International Timberframes Inc., the framing will be completed in under two weeks. The DLT structure is comprised of a modular series of prefabricated panels of alternating 2x6 and 2x4 giving a variegated texture to the ceilings in the Library and the Community Hall. Click through the images below to see the emerging structure.

Ouri Scott part of the UNCEDED team!

Just announced, our own Ouri Scott is a part of the UNCEDED team selected to represent Canada at the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture. UNCEDED is an Indigenous design project led by Douglas Cardinal that includes indigenous architects from across Turtle Island, speaks to the unrelinquished traditional territories of Canada’s First Nations, Metis and Inuit people. In as much as this artistic contribution is about arriving from afar onto the shores of the Giardini-Arsenale — it is also about ceasing to go away. Learn more about UNCEDED at

Kelowna Main Branch Library in Action

Kelowna Main Branch Library renovation opened in March this year and has been widely embraced by the community.  Read the description below of one days activities from Christine McPhee, Head Librarian!

"Yesterday was a very exciting day at the Kelowna Library – and in the midst of all the hard work that everyone has and is continuing to put in to this branch, it’s worth taking a minute to reflect on the impact of all that work.

I arrived at work yesterday afternoon to wander into the Pop-Up Makerspace to find Mark Reinelt, Amy Wright and Keenan Farquharson hosting the First Page Book Club (a reading club for adults with diversabilities that meets weekly at the branch) in the Makerspace – they all made laser etched and cut bookmarks out of wood on the laser cutter, and got their pictures taken in front of the green screen wearing a pirate hat so we could transport them to the deck of a pirate ship using the green screen app on our iPad! They loved it! 

It was the 8th day the Makerspace has been open this month and we again had over 50 people through – some return visitors who have become regulars – and most of whom stayed in the space for over an hour trying all the different stations.

In the afternoon we started the second of a series of workshops we are doing with Work BC – Resume writing, cover letter writing, and interview skills. The first resume writing workshop had only one attendee – yesterday we had 6! Work BC is very pleased with the result and is excited to keep developing this series in partnership with us. We have identified that Work BC is only able to work with people who already have a base level of computer skill so there is an opportunity for us to deliver a “pre-requisite” basic computer course that they would refer people to – we are working on that now.

In the evening, Jamie hosted our regular crowd of gamers – 28 people were there, including a few families who have become regulars – sharing their love of gaming in community.

We also hosted a World Refugee Day event in partnership with KCR and Central Okanagan Local Immigrant Partnership – a screening of the film Taaloo Zorouna “A Visit with our Syrian Neighbours” made by a faculty member at UBCO in which she interviewed several families who recently settled in the Okanagan from Syria. Mayor Colin Basran attended to open the event, along with a couple of the families in the film and the film maker. There were 60 people in attendance to learn about and offer support to the new refugee families living among us, and the space and the projection were perfect – even on a bright sunny evening.

The Spanish Language Intercambio group – who are already outgrowing our new meeting rooms – had a full house last night of 12 people. This group has grown from a few English speakers practicing Spanish to a nice mix of native English and native Spanish speakers learning both languages in cooperation. And finally, a Community Support Group was also meeting in the branch in one of our new meeting rooms.

We had a total of about 185 people in programs / meetings yesterday (without any children’s programming running!) – but those numbers don’t tell the story of the diverse range of activities, and the diversity of communities we are supporting in Kelowna. 

And this was just one day. Kelowna Library is an amazing place to be most of the time – but it was extra specialyesterday so I thought I’d share. None of this would be happening without the support we’ve had to renovate this space to meet community needs, and without the amazing staff who build community and relationships one customer interaction at a time."


UBC Collegium

Our second Collegium opened this spring, providing a home on campus for commuter students.  UAA worked with UBC to develop the design guidelines for the Collegia and now has finished two on campus. Open to first year students, the Collegia provide a place for students to socialize, study,and make and meet friends, establishing a home and a circle of support.

UBC University Services Building Renovation

UAA recently finished a renovation in the University Services Building at UBC. We added a new mezzanine over the existing Pipe Fitting Workshop while maintaining access to the workshop during construction! Check out some more photos of the renovation here.

Cooks Ferry Duplexes

The Cooks Ferry Duplexes are starting on site this month.  Working closely with the Cooks Ferry Band, UAA has developed the first new housing in the community in 20 years. Featuring passive design strategies, the duplexes have been designed to allow elders to age within the community and to remain in close connection with their extended families.

UBC Sexual Violence and Response Offices

UAA is honoured to have been selected to work with UBC to develop the design guidelines for this significant new program on campus.  This space will reflect the goals of UBC Policy 131 reinforcing UBC’s commitment to the safety and security of all its members and its responsibility to maintain a respectful environment where its members can study, work and live free from concerns of sexual assault. For more information on UBC Policy 131 visit the UBC website here.

North Vancouver Museum

UAA is delighted to be continuing our work with the North Vancouver Museum at their new home in located in Lower Lonsdale at 100 block West Esplanade.  UAA has been working with the City and the Museum staff to develop the Museum on the ground floor of the Polygon development. In its new location, the Museum will complement the new Polygon Gallery firmly establishing a cultural precinct on the waters edge in North Vancouver. For more information visit the North Vancouver Museum & Archieves website here.

UAA Welcomes Meghan Froehlich

Meghan recently returned to Vancouver and joined the UAA team as a newly registered architect. She has over 6 years experience in British Columbia and Alberta on a variety of project types ranging from commercial to institutional and residential. She obtained a degree in Architectural studies from Carleton University and her Masters in Architecture at the University of Calgary.

Her interest is in working closely with clients to create meaningful projects that contribute to their context and community.  She is passionate about sustainable and vibrant cities and is happiest when exploring on her bike. 

Ouri Scott in the RAIC Aboriginal Symposium

Ouri Scott recently participated in the RAIC Indigenous Architecture and Design Symposium in Ottawa. The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) held its first ever International Indigenous Architecture and Design Symposium on May 27, 2017 in Ottawa which brought together Indigenous Designers and Architects from New Zealand, Australia, the United States and all regions of Canada.  The symposium included a keynote by RAIC Gold Medalist and renowned Indigenous architect, Douglas Cardinal, FRAIC and presentations, all by indigenous voices, that were thought provoking, inspiring and showed the depth of talent within the indigenous design community. The subsequant conversations were about having the indigenous perspective and voice heard, meaningful participation by indigenous communities and authentic design response and representation. 

The symposium will serve as a springboard for the work of the RAIC Indigenous Task Force, which as part of it’s mandate is advocating for the role of architecture as a public-spirited profession with an important role to play in reconciliation – addressing injustices through giving agency back to Indigenous people. Ouri is honoured to be an active member of the Indigenous Task Force and participate in it’s advocacy work.

Radium Community Hall Construction Started

Radium Community Hall Construction has started on site for the Radium Hot Springs Community Hall.  The 8,000 sq ft facility will house the Community Hall and Library in the heart of the community.  Designed to support local industry, the Hall features an innovative dowel laminated mass timber structure with a charred timber siding exterior.  Opening is slated for Spring 2018. Learn more about Village of Radium Hot Springs on their website here.

UAA Awarded Britannia Renewal Master Plan Project

Urban Arts Architecture is awarded the Britannia Renewal Master Plan Project and is working with their select team of co-consultants to engage deeply with the community to create a vision and master plan for facilities on this pivotal 18 acre site in the heart of the city. The project uniquely combines 5 partners (Britannia Community Services Centre, the City, Park Board, Public Library, and School Board) who have aligned themselves to deliver this shared 30 year plan for the site and its facilities.

UAA Welcomes David Cromp

We are pleased to welcome David Cromp to our firm!

David graduated from Dalhousie University with a Master of Architecture degree in 2008. Since then, he has worked on a broad range of projects ranging from institutional interior renovations and single-family homes to high-rise towers. David’s work at Urban Arts has been similarly varied. Notably, he has made considerable contributions UBC’s Engineering Students Centre, Brock Hall, and the Lower Post Community Centre in Northern B.C.

He is currently Project Architect for the North Vancouver Museum and the Squiala Montessori School. David also holds Bachelor’s degrees in Commerce and Environmental Design.

Engineering Student Centre Wins 2017 WoodWorks Award!

Urban Arts Architecture is proud to announce that their design for this unique facility at UBC has received the 2017 WoodWorks Award for Institutional Wood Design: Small. The jury quoted that the Student Centre is “A small building with a big impact. Intelligent design using wood as the primary building material results in a lovely building that merges with its surroundings.”