Ian Ross McDonald

Ian Ross McDonald is a licensed architect in the province of British Columbia and has been with Bruce Carscadden Architect since 2007. (more…)

Peripheral Vancouver

Peripheral Vancouver

—Just ask Stan Douglas: the built environment has figured prominently in the narrative of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside; it is impossible to imagine the circumstances of the residents of Hastings Street without also thinking of the abandoned buildings and storefronts they occupy. (more…)

Cousin to the Woodward's Building, and just down the street, 18 West Hastings by Bruce Carscadden Architect is also enabled by engaging in an economic game: the City's minimum residential unit size requirements were relaxed considerably and in exchange the developer was permitted to charge rent as the market allows - the hope being that super-small units demanding less rent. Here too, the economic model is essential, superseding anyone's personal aspirations.

It’s the economy, stupid

Much of the service necessarily provided by an architect is a function of the building industry marketplace; performance of the builder; and interpretations by the authorities having jurisdiction. These are not under the architect’s control.

   –The AIBC Tariff of Fees for Architectural Services

Sit in on any architecture studio review and listen to both the invited and future professionals. From both sides of registration it’s clear that the expressed sympathies of our discipline frequently align themselves with the disenfranchised. While in school we contemplate social housing and design generous public space. We value the public realm and care about the poor. (more…)

It’s not just the economy, stupid

It’s not just the economy, stupid

—In my previous post I attempted to make the case that part of what hinders architecture’s ability to affect change, or more precisely to control where it affects change is a function of its poor position in the marketplace. We have little say in where and how money is spent.

A friend’s response to me a was “Well, kind of obvious, isn’t it?” and perhaps it is, but what is fascinating to me, is that the Tariff is framed with this weakness in mind:

[m]uch of the service necessarily provided by an architect is a function of the building industry marketplace.

Indeed, need for a Tariff of Fees at all (or an enforced Tariff, at any rate) is evidence of Architecture’s economic weakness. If Architecture were well-positioned in the economy a Tariff would hardly be necessary. (more…)

Peripheral Vancouver

Peripheral Vancouver

So what else is new?

In my earlier posts, I wanted to observe aspects of the existing legislative system that limit architecture’s agency or at least fail to enhance its relationship to the public good. I wrote about the Tariff’s admission of architecture’s weakness in the face of the economy; that the AIBC’s mandate advocates for protection of the public good, not its advancement; and that the density bonus program operates horizontally within existing class structures as opposed to vertically across them.

Beginning this post, I am left with the feeling. Indeed, so, what else is new? (more…)