… to find out what’s happening in Vancouver.
Here’s a report from one of the coolest named papers in the States:

Four Cleveland designers among the winners in global design competition in Vancouver

Cleveland Plain Dealer architecture critic Steven Litt
Four architectural interns from Cleveland emerged as winners in an international design competition in Vancouver, along with designers from Rome and Toronto.
The competition was meant to generate ideas and to stir debate in Vancouver – not to provide a concept for an actual construction project.
The winners were Jonathan Kurtz, Kevin Stitak, Kyle May and Dru McKeown. All work for Westlake Reed Leskosky except May, who left two weeks ago for a position in New York.
“I think it’s great,” Kurtz said today. “We assembled ourselves collectively outside the office. We saw it as an opportunity to engage a wider architectural audience..”
May and McKeown hold architecture degrees from Kent State University; Stitak is a graduate of Miami University; and Kurtz holds an architecture degree from Harvard.
The competition, organized by a group of architectural interns in Vancouver, sought new ideas about how the city could move beyond the “podium-tower,” a type of building that has become ubiquitous on the skyline.
A podium tower consists of a tall tower set upon a low base, perhaps several stories high, which fills most of the block on which it sits. The terms of the competition are outlined on the “Poto” website.
The winners — who submitted the best of 45 international entries — earned $2,000 prizes and high praise from the “Potogroup,” which said their proposals “demonstrated equal merit in their solution and presentation of their schemes.”


  1. While I celebrate the attempt to bring diversity in design. I think that Vancouver should be proud of the “PoTo”. Creating a friendly street wall is a wonderful thing that many cities such as Victoria where I live have yet to return to. As they say don’t throw out the babe with the bathwater.

  2. The only comment I really have about the podium-tower form is that some of the built projects in Vancouver have podiums that are too short for their locations close to the CBD. While it’s fine adjacent to park space or the seawall (i.e. Expo lands or Coal Harbour), locations like Richards Street near Smithe (i.e. Savoy) can bear a taller podium. The taller podiums at L’Hermitage and H+H definitely lend an urban feel to the streetscape. There are a number of mid/lowrise infill projects that are adding to the streetwall and one of the view cones through downtown south has forced a number of buildings to move their density into the podium (Robinson Tower, H+H, Freesia, Living 1010(?)).

  3. Vancouver’s architecture is a pathetic, cookie cutter mix.
    Whats with all the ‘sunrooms’? What a waste of space.
    Its well know that we get what we get from a handfull of ‘designers’ at large firms that should have retired in the 70’s.
    Nothing’s fresh. And half of the so called architects don’t even live downtown, yet feel they can indicate what we are surrounded by, a leaking mess.

  4. The sunrooms are “enclosed balconies” and are an artefact of zoning bylaws. Officially they are exterior space (not counted in square footage for development/zoning approval purposes) – without the zoning bylaw they would be deleted entirely or would be solely exterior balconies.
    The zoning is supposed to be an acknowledgement that exterior balconies are not useable year-round in the cold wet Vancouver weather.
    It is illegal to remove the enclosed balcony doors/walls to combine the space with the main living areas, and if the City finds out, it can require the doors/walls to be put back in. Unauthorized renovations of that sort are causing an increasing number of lawsuits between vendors and purchasers of condos.

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