Something Borrowed, Something New

Though merely in framing stage, the Smithbuilt project is attracting attention with its blend of 100+ year old elements and the brand new additions we are creating today, in 2016.  So often we find the old being replaced by the new for monetary reasons, aesthetic reasons, and/or functionality.  At Placeworks, we are enjoying the effort we are putting in to letting the past shine through while we redesign this heritage building. If you share our love for heritage buildings, check out the links below and take a look at some of our favourites in Calgary. In the comment section, let us know which heritage building(s) you admire!

Collaboration and Community – Bridgeland Market

As you know, we’ve been working hard to catch up on documenting some of our more recent projects. At the top of the list is the Bridgeland Market. Here are a few teaser images thanks to Robert Scott Photography!


Bridgeland Market has been open and a busy and vibrant hub for a couple of years in the incredible Bridgeland community in Calgary. Yousef Treya envisioned a contemporary take on the traditional corner grocery store where high quality goods and produce mixed freely with conversation and friendship. If you haven’t been there, it is a must. The market is an example of just how great Calgary is becoming.

Although Yousef and his family have been been in business in this building and across the street at Tazza Deli since the 1980’s, he downplays how well the market has filled a need for this and the greater neighborhood and his own creativity and acumen in pulling it all together. Placeworks’ involvement was as a part of a rewarding collaboration with him and Shayne McBride who helped nail down the branding and exterior signage.

The project remains one of our most rewarding. Calgary just needs more folks like the Treya’s!




Smithbilt Hats at the Fletcher Mill Building

New Garage Night South view MAY 14

street view

smithbilt view (reduced)

Friday’s Calgary Herald spilled the beans on a project that we’ve been working on for the past while with Calgary’s iconic Smithbilt Hat Company. The longtime manufacturer of the cowboy hats so representative of our City envisions an adaptive re-use of the 100+ year old Fletcher Mills (known to many as Sure-Gain) in Inglewood to be their new home.

Once restored and improved, the Mill will house the manufacturing, retail and community activities of Smithbilt. It will also have a very interesting residential component in the upper levels of the metal-clad, wood-framed agricultural building. The entire project, the vision, and the commitment to a re-use of a historic resource says volumes about the character of Smithbilt and the primary owner Cam Clark.

There have certainly been challenges to move this to reality, but it has been a pleasure for our office to be a part of it. Even if the Herald misidentified me!

Smithbilt invests in Inglewood

Website, Wes, and Wonder

The new website is on its way. Last week, we spent a fun morning at Adina Photography’s studio getting the team’s portraits taken. The dogs participated as well, of course! Jayseadesigns will be finishing things off in the near future and many of our recent projects will appear!

Wes Bou-Saleh has just joined us to spend his work-placement term from Dalhousie. We’re excited to have this creative, humorous and friendly fellow who hails from the Sylvan Lake area in the office until the end of August.

Things are rolling here on a number of projects including some residential, a sports-health clinic in a great mid-century modern building in the Beltline, and the Sure-Gain Fletcher Mills historic site in Inglewood. The projects at our favorite Village Brewery (a cool lab overlooking the ‘floor) and Source Energy Services new headquarters on the main floor of Victoria Park’s Biscuit Block are now complete – images coming soon!

Some Project Images

Just a quick update to a couple of placeworks projects now under construction.
Construction is well underway for our Client’s lease-space in the newly developed and incredible Biscuit Block in Victoria Park. Taking up the entire main floor of this 100+ year old Timber and Brick Building, the space is going to be about light and texture. Karson Builders are knocking it out of the park too.

Biscuit Block

Biscuit Block


Biscuit Board Room

Biscuit Board Room

We’re close to completing a large and complex full renovation and addition in Kelvin Grove. The home’s main floor has been reconfigured to create incredible connections to large garden space now reinforced by the newly added glass walled family room. Great clients – great project.

Kelvin Grove

Kelvin Grove

Kelvin Grove

Kelvin Grove

Kelvin Grove

Kelvin Grove

Fatima and Anders go to the 2014 Venice Biennale!

Current and former placeworks co-op students Fatima Rehman and Anders Peacock along with team member Caitlin Biggar are arriving shortly in Venice in part to represent Canada at the Biennale!
Having won a national architecture student’s competition for their conceptual project based on the edge of Frobisher Bay close to Iqualuit, they were given support to pursue the design further on-site in the high-Arctic community as well as attend the Canadian Pavilion in Venice where their work will go on display June 7th. Lateral Office from Toronto provided the team with curatorial support readying their representations.
An article in Canadian Architect outlines the overall Canadian effort for this important exposition.
If you are in Italy, go see this work and meet our amazing colleagues!


National Holocaust Monument Entry

P1010845placeworks has entered Ottawa’s National Capital Commission’s competition for a National Holocaust Monument as part of an amazing collaborative of artists and designers from Calgary and Halifax.
The first phase of the process ended yesterday with submissions of qualifications and statements of interest and we’re pretty proud of the stunning document that we nervously gave to the courier last Friday. An image of the cover is shown here, but we’ll get a link up soon to view the rest of the entry. Big thanks to McAra Printing for the incredible role they played.
Our team – the Bamford Collaborative – was an initiative of Magda’s and is made up of Artist Doug Bamford from NSCAD in Halifax, architekt Catherine Venart from Dalhousie University, artists and designers Matt Kennedy and Mark Erickson from Calgary’s Studio North, and Braden, Magda and I from our office. Magda will be the assistant team lead which is appropriate in both her ability to get us to get things done and because her incredible Master’s thesis dealt with architectural intervention at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Big thanks too to Cam and Stephanie for their assistance.
The monument is to be located on a rich and prominent site close to the escarpment and the War Museum in Ottawa. The competition and resulting commission is one of the most important design undertakings nationally for some time.
There are many strengths that come out of this collaborative relative to the objectives of the competition so we are hopeful to get to the next phase. Cross your fingers!

Magda’s London Project wins RIBA awards!

Crowbrook05(c)DennisGilbertThe Crowbrook House, designed by Knox Bhavan Architects with our own Magda Gawlik on the team, was just awarded a couple of RIBA regional and national awards! We’ve been drooling over her images and drawings of this exceptional Hertfordshire residence for the last few months and it now seems that we’re not alone. Magda spent 20 months working in their UK office before finally returning to Dalhousie to graduate. Congratulations to all involved – we’re very proud! Also, check out this great panoramic!

Tough Times but We Love This City

IMG-20130625-00347It is devastating to see the impact of the floods on people and businesses in Calgary over the past few days. Our thoughts are with everyone facing these challenges.
On a positive note, it has been incredible to see the sense of community that has exploded everywhere – everyone is chipping in so many ways to help out those they know and don’t.
Everyone here – except Cam who KNOWS how to time vacations – has been out helping in many ways (usually muddy) and we’re going to keep that up for a couple of weeks. Again, contact us if we can give any advice that will help you address your immediate challenges with your homes or businesses – smile and buy us a coffee and we’ll show up!
We’ve seen some crazy stuff too. A house in Elbow Park that had fast water streaming through it 1250mm over the main level (the basement was special…) and an 800A Main power panel at pumphouse theatre that was left energized with its bottom 1100mm in standing water – Scott described the scene as “a Russian Steambath” when they entered (AFTER it was shut-off) with the water close to the panel 15C warmer than that 8m across the room.
Hats off to the City of Calgary and everything that they’ve brought to the table – wow! Nenshi, Council, Owen and all your staff – thanks!
Finally – we’re back open here at the office in Inglewood. And if we’re not out helping or making countless sandwiches for the volunteers in Sunnyside (Magda..), we’ll be around. Best of luck everyone.

Banff, anyone?

Friends of our office are considering building an interesting front-rear semi-detached home in Banff and is feeling around for someone interested in the other half.
The homes will be on a great site with views on Beaver Street, facing into the school yard.
Each unit can be configured with an additional and legal caretaker suite if desired.
Our friends are interesting long-term Banff residents, interested in great design, and would make the best of neighbors. If you have any questions, call us at the office.