Thursday 14 June 2018

Creating Community Connection: One Home Becomes Sixteen

Love the smartphone. Hate the isolation it creates. There are now less friendly smiles on the bus and chance meetings are too easily hijacked by the latest tweet.

How do we give opportunity for friendly encounters and community connection?

First of all, have vision to transform a piece of land with one single home needing a lot of weekend lawn mowing, to a community of sixteen families. 

Secondly, make sure each new family home has ample space, privacy, security and independence. The interior layout should suit family life, and the home look out to a beautiful garden setting. 

For community connection, think of great places where people mingle naturally - that are sunny, relaxed and have an openness that feels safe, like Rome's Spanish Steps...

By Arnaud 25 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

In Maple Ridge, British Columbia, after the location's environmental setback was established to match the circumstances, a four-plex / townhouse site was created. To fit in with the neighborhood, the building form was to appear as three large homes, arranged to establish a wonderful family style community setting.

Now a rezoning application at the City, the meeting point designed in the middle of the three buildings is the 'Maple Steps', a place where landscape, sunlight and passive surveillance (for safety) can allow great conversations to begin.

The result is a site surrounded by nature with a beautiful outlook and the right number of families to create a vibrant community where genuine care and concern for each other can happen 'by accident'.

Friday 6 October 2017

Land Assembly Valuation

Concept Plan

How do you value property on a land assembly deal?

You might go to the MLS, look at active and sold listings in the last few months, look at trends and list comparbles and come up with a number. 

Here is where Commercial Real Estate and Planning Architecture join forces.

The Value of Land is based on the masterplanner's vision and the final built product price on the day of acquisition. 
Massing Study
Vision for land is created by
  • Site Analysis 
  • Masterplanning 
  • Massing Studies 
  • By-Law Interpretation

The aim is to build agreement between Buyers, Sellers, the City and ultimately the local community to come up with the highest and best use of the land and find a solution where everyone wins.

When we do the right amount of the upfront work to create vision by Site Analysis / Masterplanning / Massing Studies and By-Law interpretation, the whole process can be much smoother and well-reasoned.

Apart from managing the complexity of price through 'residual land value' calculations, the terms of sale in a commercial deal often involves some inventive responses as we satisfy the Stakeholders needs. This is always fascinating because there are lots of interesting moving parts.

Our ultimate aim is three things:  Find a solution that excites the Developer, satisfies the Seller and creates Value.

Wednesday 21 June 2017

New Estate Home in a Whistler Forest

Introducing the Forrest Home. An entertainer's estate residence being built just 12 minutes from Whistler Village. It is part of an exclusive collection of large high quality homes in the Wedge Woods Properties Area.

Situated on 1.16 acres of land, the over 4,000 square foot home has around 600 square feet of elevated decks for enjoying the seclusion and beauty of the forest.

The planning of the home provides for a legal suite along with defined areas for family living, guests and perhaps even your driver.

It is on the market and will be a rare addition to the quality lifestyle  options provided for in Whistler. The for-rest home.

Contemporary architecture, priced at $3,600,000. 

Call to arrange to for a site visit on +1 604 655 6122. International enquiries are welcome. Site address: 9005 Skiers Rest Lane, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada.

Video New Whistler Ski Chalet

Friday 17 February 2017

Why a Blog Instead of a Splash Page?

"But you only have a blog..."

...was commented recently. So I began pondering why...

I had a website for ten years that presented my favorite projects. What I realized though, is that it dated very fast. A third party designed it back then and the formula for changing it was a mystery. I found myself at arm's length to get it to reflect where things were at.

Now in a constantly changing and dynamic world of bringing together development projects, it seemed should evolve more into a conversation. So the blog was born and was pointed to it.

Projects are now are rich and varied, ranging from helping masterplan new communities for transit oriented development (TOD) to joyfully resolving the finest detail of copper construction. 

A static website wouldn't reflect issues in an up to date way but there is more. While a website puts makeup on my face to help me look my best, the values and reasons behind what we do are a work in progress, generally more interesting, useful and hopefully less self focussed.

The motive is this: I am hoping you will chose Andrew Scott Architecture and Planning (ASAP) for your next building project, including guidance in choosing the right land. That is why the Real Estate license make sense. Having the local Architect's Certificate of Practice means I can begin the design conversation too.

Friday 13 January 2017

Art, Architecture and Business School

Above my workspace an old life drawing sits beside the AIBC Certificate of Practice
In an Architect designed building, there is an opportunity for loose artistic expression and exploration of form in the context of the views, values and light available to a project. 

This is refined through the inventive, yet disciplined 3D world of master building.

Of course, to build something, there is a piece of land that usually must be purchased. Buying real estate is a commercial exchange that is hotly negotiated, bringing into play huge financial courage and grit.

Here the artistic DNA that started the journey requires the tempering fires of commercial life and times:
  • Does the value of the land support the cost of the building?
  • Will my client now be successful in his marketplace?
  • Will the next sale price cover the cost of land + building + needed profit?
  • Will it sell fast enough?

So, it is good to remember:

1. Every project needs to begin with a vision or unified artistic expression, that informs design decisions further down the track. That is the part Architects love. 

2. Our client has often been in a heady commercial battlefield of land purchase, sometimes well before he has knocked on the Architect's door. 

The journey of land purchase and sale is thrilling, and so is the winding road of realizing the dream you can one day walk into.  

Monday 25 July 2016

A New York State of Mind

New York is on the move again. 

The World Trade Center site is becoming a triumph of resilience and faith.

The rest of the city appears to be in a building boom.

As always, the ideas are strong, the people toughened, 
the history real.







Now, back to basics. How can the old skyscrapers be so tall and narrow? 

Because NY is built on the strongest of geological bedrock.

A life needs bedrock too, something that can hold you up. When you find the bedrock of truth - you build there. 
That is just smart. 

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock." Matthew 7, 24-5

New York is an idea. It is the 'Big Time', the 'Wit and Wisdom and Commerce of the City' where we behold the joy of people who love the game.

Dining Table by Studio Job at MAD, the Museum of Art and Design

The Entrerprise Space Shuttle



Here life and humanity is celebrated. We are encouraged to prototype the grand idea with commitment and conviction.

In New York we are inspired to do our best work yet.

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Geoduck, Sea Cucumber and Me


A Perfect Partnership - Asian Delicacy meets Western Knowhow


Luxury Asian Seafood Business with Land and Sea Ranch for equity sale

An rare opportunity exists to enter a closely guarded industry where Geoduck and Sea Cucumber licences are worth millions of dollars.

The proforma shows a very high yield on investment after an initial product grow out period. Investment of $20M will help to provide a $28M sustainable yearly harvest of the highest grade product.

The Principal, who is keen to invest in teaching and guiding the next generation of owners, is considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on Geoduck Clam Aquaculture. In 1977, he was a Founding Director of the Underwater Harvesters’ Association (UHA) and through many years of diving, harvesting and hatchery research, has an unsurpassed understanding of creating a healthy and productive sea ranch. 
The group owns and runs a shellfish aquaculture hatchery, built at a cost of $6M, and have the largest equity position in sub-tidal Geoduck aquaculture tenures in British Columbia.
These tenures are in various stages of development. Empty, the tenures have a market value of over $20 million. Their value has greatly increased due to successful geoduck planting and growth. Over the last three years, the hatchery produced over 6 million Geoduck seeds. Much of this crop has been planted and sold and currently covers over 20 hectares of the 89 hectare tenure. 

This program of planting is on-going and after the first eight year grow out period, the tenure is calculated to yield a $28 Million harvest per year. 

The hatchery also currently sells Oyster seed and is in the process of culturing Sea Cucumber, Cockle, Urchin and Scallop.

Macdonald Commercial are pleased to present for an investment of $20,000,000 the offering of an equity position in the following:

  • 89 Hectare (220 Acre) Savary Island sub-tidal tenure and hatchery with multi-species hatchery license and associated 8 acre property on Victoria Island
  • A Geoduck license, three Sea Cucumber licenses and the aquaculture tenure harvest (immediate return through supply of wild Geoduck and Sea Cucumber). A single Geoduck licence has a market value of $6M (there are only 55 licences available in BC).

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Wood Micro Apartments?

Economics dictates that you should build your development with wood framing if the building code lets you - unless a buyer will pay the required extra $100+ per square foot to live in the perceived solidity and safety of concrete construction.

After all, will anyone really care once the plasterboard has been set?

Recent evidence shows that the home buyer in Canada will live in smaller quarters in concrete buildings, but can the current 'micro-sized apartment' movement find opportunity in a wood framed building?

The question is a cultural history one.

In downtown Melbourne, Australia, there is one of the tallest modern timber buildings in the world (10 floors) and no one seemed to mind when the sales began. In Canada, though - a land established on tales of tall timber, it can be a concern.

Evenings toasting marshmallows in front of the campfire may not have helped the timber industry. Is it possible that deep in the Canadian psyche everybody knows: wood burns. More than that - there is a lot of it in British Columbia and like any supply and demand scenario, that makes it seem less valuable.

Add to this the bad press of the leaky mould producing four storey wood frame buildings of the nineties and wood is fighting a huge battle for equality.

In Canada the government has pushed back some, calling for wood to be a major component in any public building. Here, 'Cross Laminated Timber' and 'Laminated Veneer Lumber' known as mass timber construction is doing well to bring solidity to the wood debate.

However, in the developer's world (where the coal mine canary lives), the question for micro-apartments and wood framed buildings remains: "If you build it, will they come?"

The answer may lie in mass timber panels and prefabrication, where computer driven accuracy and fine detail resolution can bring a renewed opportunity to express the beauty of wood.

Monday 8 December 2014

Why Go to Architecture School?

Ideals and Ideas

Idealistic and artistic 'scientists' go to architecture school to develop the 'conceptual' way of thinking.

At the start, University is a unique environment that allows you to dream about new ideas (or concepts) and great sensory experiences full of drama and wit - without concerning yourself with the complex matrix of building science, law and accounting, known as building.

Reality and Materials

In the first year of school, you add an understanding of the movement of the sun, the wind and the rain: "the environment". Next you get to learn about construction methods, like, 'what is a clay brick really' and isn't concrete fluid, not to mention the inherent beauty of wood. You get to think about the importance of mathematics and structural systems and learn about the 'strength to weight ratio' of steel.

Tools and Rules

Like a carpenter's hammer or a brickies trowel, you start to use tools that range from mathematics to music. The logic of maths and the formal layering and rhythms of music are a good analogy for the process of design. For example, an underlying structure is like a steady bass line on which the other layers rest.

Along comes construction law and you start to realise that what you do can get pretty serious. That part of the course can only be described as intense.

City zoning plans inform you of a community's entrepreneurial expression of growth. Local government regulations represent good manners between neighbours and building codes are there to keep everyone healthy and safe.

Concept and Decision

As you begin to absorb these disciplines, Architecture School continues to insist that with any regular design presentation, there must always be a 'concept' or big idea to pull all the issues together into a unified whole. Conceptual thinking involves broadly and loosely considering the important parts of any problem and coming up with a unified artistic expression for the solution.
This is the joy of design.

During the six years of study, you slowly learn how to hold on to a precious 'concept' through the rigors of climate and the reality of commerce. Of course, a degree is only the beginning of a life of discovering and balancing 'the idea' hidden within a building site, client brief and architectural mind.


The picture above is an international design competition entry for a new city center site in Semiahmoo (which can be translated as 'Crescent Moon'), just south of Vancouver. The concept was called the 'Net of the Crescent Moon' and just like 'First Nations' fishing nets, it aimed to catch the interest and the commerce of the locals. The result was two floors of retail with residential apartments above. The second level of retail could be reached by climbing a grassy hill within the courtyard.

The opening in the building follows the path of the setting sun, so that the unique courtyard is always a great place to be. Once the concept was established, fitting penthouse style apartment plans in this organic plan shape was great fun. On a macro level, the curved plan surrounds a water feature which becomes a public skating rink in Winter.

Building an Architect

University gives you time and space. Once trained, inspired and hired, discovering a concept for a building project gives you an overall vision that helps you make decisions in a structured way further down the track. The result? Architecture.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Managing Snow: Keep it Cool and Know How Much it Weighs

Snow Equation

Snow + heat = water.
Water + freezing temperatures = icicles.
Thawing ice + the roof junctions = problems.

Melting roof snow over warm living spaces can lead to ice dams building up over the much cooler eaves. So when in Whistler, apart from thick insulation to keep the heat in, a good practice is to keep the roof space well ventilated top to bottom so it maintains a constant temperature, over both the main roof and the eave. After all, we do like the look and function of a nice wide eave, especially as it functions to push snow away from the wall.

This is a construction section cut through the middle of a house designed for Canadian snow. It was important to safely manage where the heavy snow falls off the roof and what effect it will have on the neighbours, as well as keeping it shedding away from front door. It is always important to mix practical issues with any romantic and inventive design concept.

My talented Structural Engineer explains how much higher the snow loads here are. It gives the building elements a certain thickness and a robust, even 'chunky' look. Some good design work in Whistler has kept chunky from looking 'clunky'.

Saturday 31 May 2014

Let it Grow, Let it Grow, Let it Grow

When two becomes three. 

28,800 square feet is created by a three lot land assembly on the strategic commercial corner in White Rock. There are great water views down Nichol Road and the site is ready to take a mixed use commercial development. 

A positive response is expected from the City planners as the site is not so close that it will detract from the town centre; the higher density will create much needed diversity in housing stock and the location helps create a walkable neighbourhood with less dependance on the car.