Can a parking lot be beautiful?

Vancouver International Airport Templeton Value Long Term Parking Lot

Our challenge was to encompass 3 architectural components with one shared design structure without compromising individual identity and function.

The solution involved a cost-effective modular and highly re-adaptable approach in which the vehicular entry gate canopies, the pedestrian canopies and the bus shelter exude one Architectural language.

A structural roof frame that incorporates an aerodynamic gesture was used as a module and sized to reflect the dimensional requirement of each function. When combined in different configurations and quantity, the modules create the form that best suits each use. 71 modules were used for the pedestrian walkway canopy. PVC coated fabric was selected as the rood covering for economy, and speed of fabrication and installation. For the entry gate and bus station, architectural deck and standing seam metal roofs were chosen for durability and aesthetics.

The modular approach is based on re-usability, future adaptability and minimum construction wastage

A building at the top of its class

University of the Fraser Valley Student Union Building, Abbotsford

Needed: a one-stop destination for all student services.
Must provide a home for a student pub, campus radio station, a student newspaper studio and a multi-purpose hall.

Also should look awesome…..

Presenting the new Student Union building at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV). Juxtaposing key components of student life, it serves as a portal to diversity, vibrancy, inspiration, and transformation. Providing a space for students to meet, relax and socialize, the building’s main purpose is to provide space for the functions and operations of the Student Union.
Amidst the natural beauty of the setting, the 3-storey sailing weaves into the existing vehicular and pedestrian network fabric of the campus, incorporating contemporary and sustainable elements to reflect the conscious responsibility of our generation to the future, while responding to the history of the place.
The project achieved LEED Gold Certification from CaGBC. The 4,700sm Student Union Building will undoubtedly become the hub for young minds experiencing campus life.

Gateway to the universe


TRIUMF (TRI-University Meson Facility) is one of the world’s leading subatomic physics laboratories.

It brings together dedicated physicists and interdisciplinary talent, sophisticated technical resources and commercial partners in a way that has established the laboratory as a global model of success. ARIEL is an integrated component of TRIUMF, its job is to implement the mission of TRIUMF as a leader in the world of particle physics research. TRIUMF wanted to create a contemporary image that reflects their leadership position.

So the new building is much more than just a shelter for a machine. It embraces the aesthetic, social and ecological aspects of TRIUMF and contributes to UBC as a whole. They’ve dubbed their new facility – “gateway to the universe”.

ARIEL is unique, as the building itself is one of the many components of the machine. And it’s strongly influenced by the geometry of the beam lines associated with the e-linac and Cyclotron, and the technical requirements of both the space and safety. The main space in the building is the Target Hall, centrally located at the terminus of the beamline tunnel at the Target Pit. A remote controlled crane is provided to move heavy targets and other components necessary for the installation of the hot cells and operations within Target Hall.

Simple is the best solution

Esquimalt Graving Dock Southside Switchgear Replacement Project

The task was to create a new substation to add to the existing substation building and house new switchgear to service the dry dock.

Our solution was simple.

A clean box without any ornamentation. The south face of the new addition lines up and respects the building face of the existing substation. We used brick of the same size and similar colour to clad the exterior of the building. Two galvanized steel stair sets were provided at the west and the north sides of the building to  access the second floor. A seismic joint was created to provide a seamless transition between the old and new buildings. The existing substation will be repurposed for another use.

Clean, Simple, Industrial

Esquimalt Graving Dock Service Entrance Substation

This project will replace the aging electrical infrastructure as a high voltage hub for the Esquimalt Graving Dock.

The Service Substation (SES) houses a main line of up to 12.5/25Kv switchgear including the required BC Hydro incoming and metering sections. A single HV 750kVA step down transformer to 600V is housed at the SES for local building distribution and station services. In line with 12.5/25kV switchgear there is a 5MVA step down transformer to 2.4kV switchgear for the motor starting line-ups. There is also a 750kVA step down transformer to 600V for local 600V distribution. In preparation for future needs, the roof of the SES will become the second floor when high voltage shore power is needed. The centralized Standby generators bank was constructed right next to SES. We reserved space outside the SES for a future North Substation low voltage shore power distribution centre.

A masterful master plan

Pacific Rim National Park Maintenance Compound, Tofino

The project was a new maintenance compound/work yard that would replace and consolidate 3 existing facilities in leased spaces at Pacific Rim National Park near Tofino, Vancouver Island.

We executed a programming and preliminary master plan design. Our goal? Build one combined facility on Parks Canada owned land. The site was adjacent to the existing Parks Canada Administration building that was completed in 2014.

Our team visited the site, interviewed users and worked to understand the current space, their operational  requirements and future requirements.

The program includes many industrial-type maintenance workshops, plus, an exterior storage yard for heavy-duty equipment. It also includes offices, a wood workshop, areas for trail supplies, road supplies, welding shops, a heavy fleet storage area, winter boat/car storage area, a battery charging station and storage for maintenance materials.

We pressed the refresh button on this historic centre

Sinclair Centre Revitalization, Vancouver

The Sinclair Centre has housed upscale retail outlets, a food court, and various Federal services offices since 1986.

No major renovations have been done since then.

This project is the first phase of the Federal Government’s plan to revive the civic identity of the Sinclair Centre while maintaining its main function as housing for the Federal Services Centre serving the people of Greater Vancouver.

The revitalization project relocates and consolidates the Passport office. It upgrades the overall signage in the public space, and provides seismic upgrades to all major public areas including the atrium and galleria. The interior and exterior lighting has been improved and the interior updated.

The project aims to enliven the currently underused public space while increasing public awareness of its heritage and historical values.

All parks should be this green

Clean Energy Technology Park, Surrey

The Surrey City Development Corporation had a unique ask.

Come up with a plan to develop the 25 arce site in Campbell Heights North into a Clean Energy Technology Park. A visionary master plan was developed to provide a hub for research, manufacturing and commercial use for the clean energy sector and other associated supporting technology sectors. This unique tech park will be a living lab for the advancement of Clean energy technology. It will also promote healthy working and living lifestyles And inspire potential for collaboration.

The Masterplan we provided is characterized by the Energy Plaza which is an urban green space with these features. A geothermal field provides the alternative energy source for the commercialization centre.

Storm Water Management is provided by a detention pond. Perforated paving material is used for the pedestrian walk and bike path. A recycle depot is on site and centrally located. There’s a district power plant that can tie into the geothermal field if it expands to service the entire park. For recreation, there’s a basketball court and a volleyball court. Extensive walking and bike trails connect to the pedestrian walkway.

The final green touch is the use of native plants to cut down on irrigation needs and maintenance.

A nice fit with history

Royal Roads University Learning + Innovation Centre

The location on this project called for the kid gloves treatment. The Learning Innovation Centre is a building that blends into a former military historic site. Royal Roads University programs are centred on active  team learning complemented with blended learning models that allow learners to continue their studies off campus and  return to campus for periodic residences. The four-storey, contemporary educational technology and learning facility provides flexible, inspiring, welcoming spaces. Planning allowed for the projected enrolment growth in the university’s expanding roster of academic programs.

Our client said:

The Learning Innovation Centre is modern and innovative, yet respectful of the historical and natural environment in which it sits….

Alan Cahoon, PhD, President and Vice-Chancellor



The eyes have it

University of the Frasier Valley Building C Visual Arts

Could we turn what used to be a trade school into an inspiring home for the visual arts? The answer was a resounding, yes.

The project consisted of refurbishment and re-building of the existing trades teaching facility. We transformed it into teaching space for the visual arts program, student services offices, 9 new classrooms and over 45 offices for faculty. The existing building underwent a seismic upgrading, building code and systems upgrade and an exterior cladding retrofit.

The end result? Simply beautiful.

A beautiful hive of activity

University of Washington Benjamin Hall Research Building

This new research building uses a design/build/operate and maintain for 30 years projects delivery model. To clarify, the University of Washington owns the building, but the DBOM team provides the finished building with tenant improvements. A highly flexible design facilitates tenants of varying space requirements and science needs. Initial tenants include nano systems, mind brain and learning photonics, genome technology, biosensors, and energy research with specialized equipment such as MRI and NMR machines. The project was in collaboration with Collins Woerman Architects. CTA has been the go-to consultant for several user fit-outs. The building has been certified LEED Gold.

The client said:
“We are proud of our facility, and after 2 years of occupancy, there are no second thoughts about design. This is a tribute to Chernoff Thompson and their experience in lab design and supporting commitments to their clients.”
E. Virginia Armbrust, Director, Centre for Environmental Genomics

The first Silver lab in Canada

Technology Enterprise Facility III, UBC

The third in a series of multi-tenant research buildings by Discovery Parks Trust Incorporated on the campus of the University of British Columbia, this one’s the biggest.

This 6-storey building provides space for a wide range of wet labs, and office and information technology tenants. The design of the building systems and planning of floor plates result in efficient service connections and space layouts. Tenants include emerging biotech companies, a bioinformatics company, University Liaison office, retail at grade and UBC academic users, all leasing on a commercial basis. The facility was the first LEED Silver certified laboratory building in the country.