1. What was your inspiration for the solar chimney? Can you explain how it will function?
The solar chimney was inspired by the BedZED housing development in the United Kingdom, where they use natural ventilation the draw air through the house. When you create an area like a greenhouse through solar gain, the heated air will naturally rise in this space. We hope that by creating a chimney effect, it will provide some solar gain heating and this heated air will be pushed around the house with the HRV and natural ventilation that we are encouraging with operable windows.
2. What inspired your solution to our problem of having the best view on the least window-friendly side of the house?
When I visited the site, there were two view angles to take advantage of. The view directly north to the river and one to the bridge that is slightly east of north. Creating the saw-tooth on the north side allowed for little windows that framed views to the bridge. Larger “picture windows” provided views to the river on the north side. The large windows on the east side for the living area and loft also took advantage of the view and the morning sun.
3. What two words encapsulate the essence of your design style today (this month, year, era)?
BOREAL MODERN, of course! Seriously, I think “style” always needs to be tempered by the client. So, you have really picked the appropriate words for me. Generally, my design aims to reflect our time [contemporary] and aim for environmental sensitivity.
4. What really gets you going at the beginning of a design project?
Visiting the project site provides the inspiration for design and talking to the clients/users provides the defining ideas for a building.
5. What gets you through the “slugging away at it” part?
I don’t really notice the slugging away part because time usually goes by too quickly to take much notice!
6. How do you let go at the end? (Can you let go at the end?)
No, I can’t let go! I really think creating buildings is like raising children. I will have to let go of the building at some point, and let it grow into the world- but it seems it will always be connected to me somehow.
7. You’ve seen a lot of the world. Why live and work in Edmonton and northern Alberta?
I grew up in Edmonton, so it will always feel like home. My wife and I also have our families here, so that too helps, especially as our parents like to host our son, so we can have a few nights to ourselves. I also like seasons- cross-country and downhill skiing, and tobogganing in the winter as well as cycling and hiking in the summer really create times of the year to look forward too. When I was younger, I was drawn to big cities like London and New York and I lived and worked there for a period of time. Now I like to visit them, and I think I appreciate the time I have to travel more when I can return to Edmonton.
I love the Children’s Gallery!
I think it is a remarkable building that helps anchor Sir Winston Churchill Square. I also enjoy many of the great spaces inside like the roof sculpture garden and members lounge balcony. As an architect, I get nit-picky about how the roof drains don’t get hidden well in the main atrium space and worry about how the swoop of steel will capture hail and rain in a summer thunderstorm and it makes me nervous if that drain clogs up, how it may leak. I really don’t like the “white” material that the swoop of steel changes into, when it curves inside the building…
I can see why Shafraaz likes the Children’s Gallery. . . he designed it! You can read about it in the Edmonton Journal article.
Thanks to Shafraaz for sharing his thoughts. . . and seeing eye-to-eye with us on a modern design!
*photo credit: Manasc Isaac Architects