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06.2017

AMA named Finalist in the Arthur Erikson Memorial Award 2017

Arno Matis named Arthur Erickson Emerging Architect Award Finalist. WL MAGAZINE—Western Living celebrates the best in Western Canadian design with the annual Designers of the Year awards. For our 10th annual competition, we saw entries flood in from all across the West, and our editorial team and all-star judging panel were floored by the talent on display. [] Congratulations to all of this year’s incredible finalists.   SEE FINALISTS >

06.2017

Vertical Microclimate Resort in CNN Style

Elizabeth Stamp, CNN— Chosen from over 65 entries, this year's finalists represent the latest in hotel design and offer a glimpse at the future of travel. "All Canadians want to go to Florida or Arizona in the winter, right?" says Hardy. "So [Arno Matis Architecture] thought, 'Why don't we create something here that's sustainable, with somewhat of the same environment? And then you don't have to leave Vancouver.'"   SEE FULL ARTICLE >   SEE PROJECT >

06.2017

AMA heading to New York as one of three Finalists of the Radical Innovation Competition

Arno Matis Architecture’s Vertical Micro-Climate Resort (VMR) Concept has been named one of three finalists in the New York Radical Innovation Design competition put on by a global leader in hospitality development: The John Hardy Group. The award aims to discover concepts that have the power to change the hotel industry.   SEE AWARD >   SEE PROJECT >

IN THE MEDIA:    Business in Vancouver >   Business Insider >   Lodging Magazine >   Victoria Citified >   Daily Hive >

03.2017

Rogers Arena Campus Design

AMA is thrilled to announce their partnership with Aquilini Developments to design Rogers Arena’s north and south plazas, repurposing the soon-to-be demolished viaducts into an exciting campus of mixed-use and public amenity. This exciting vision is sure to transform this entertainment district. Design updates coming soon! Sign-up for our newsletter >

02.2017

Downsizers cash in – driving the upscale condo market. Arno Matis talks about designing for upscale downsizers in the Globe and Mail.

KERRY GOLD – SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL “The recent surge in house prices and unexpected gains in home equity are giving baby boomers in some urban areas of Canada the advantage, allowing them to upgrade their lifestyles, instead of making do with less.”   READ ARTICLE >   SEE PROJECT >

01.2017

QUARRY HOUSE in Oakridge approved by City of Vancouver’s Urban Design Panel

“It will be a very well noticed & almost landmark building.” – UDP Panelist. Inspired by the organic beauty of the area, the rock formations of Queen Elizabeth Park, and the area’s tradition of west coast modernism, this mid-block proposal presents an opportunity to interpret the context in new way: as an out-cropping of surface rock. SEE PROJECT >

01.2017

YUSAF HAIR STUDIO Complete!

AMA is delighted to announce the completion of Vancouver’s premiere hair salon: Yusaf Hair Studio. An inverted ‘bamboo chandelier’ animates the cubic volume. The totemic lighting element in polished metal rises up from the floor rather than dropping down from the ceiling, forming an organic light-art garden. The composition is intended as a reflective, dreamlike escape. SEE PROJECT >

11.2016

The Future of Vancouver's Rental Market

KERRY GOLD – SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL - Now that many young people are expecting to rent for life – if they want to live in Vancouver – developers have woken up to the formerly neglected rental market. Renting has for too long been seen as second to owning, but in Vancouver at least, that attitude will soon have to change in the face of unaffordability and a rental vacancy rate below 1 per cent.

In Vancouver, the push for rental housing is moving forward, with a few new significant developments under way.Condo marketer Bob Rennie has taken the position that he’d like to see rental housing get yet more priority around transit hubs. READ ARTICLE >

06.2016

Southeast Asia meets West Coast in a Vision of Light - Floating House in the National Post

MARTHA UNIAKE BREEN, NATIONAL POST TORONTO - ‘The staggered pattern of the slats creates a sense of movement. It’s more natural, less predictably geometric; they look random, but viewed together it has a natural pattern, almost like branches’ – Architect, Arno Matis    SEE PROJECT>   READ FULL ARTICLE>

05.2016

Architectural Institute of British Columbia Special Jury Award Winner for Contextual innovation

“This is a unique building form for Vancouver on a prominent and difficult site. The building makes me happy. It’s a pleasure. Every time I drive down Cambie I admire it.” – Frances Bula, Journalist, Juror. SEE AWARD PROFILE >

08.2016

Arno Matis on the Real Estate Therapist Show

98.3 FM Roundhouse Radio Real Estate Therapist Joannah Connolly speaks with Arno Matis about accommodating urban growth, affordability, building process and Architecture in Vancouver. LISTEN ON DEMAND HERE >

Spring 2016

Arno Matis featured in Design Quarterly Magazine

CHERYL MAH, DESIGN QUARTERLY - “Born and Raised in South Vancouver by German Immigrant Parents, Arno Matis knew at a young age Architecture would be is career path. [ ] ‘I was always curious about the whole process of how a building comes into being,’ recalls the 51-year-old Matis. ‘I was fascinated with the whole idea of how the built environment can really transform your experience and your way of living.. so it was something that struck me even when I was young – how important design and architecture can be.’ READ FULL ARTICLE >

06.2016

Mid-rise Innovation Hits Heights - 2211 Cambie in the Vancouver Sun

JOHN MACKIE, VANCOUVER SUN - “It’s kind of a well-kept secret – for a city known for its tall towers, and unfortunately in many cases, (for) the monotony of its tall towers, we’ve been doing pretty good mid-rise buildings,” says Brent Toderian, Vancouver’s former head city planner. Case in point: South Creek Landing, a six-storey building at Sixth and Cambie. READ FULL ARTICLE >

03.2016

Arno Matis on The University of British Columbia’s Advisory Urban Design Panel

Arno Matis will join the University of British Columbia’s Advisory Urban Design Panel this Spring 2016. The panel acts as an advisor to the Board of Governors and Development Permit board, reviewing building and landscape proposals with respect to the design and impact to UBC campus land and community. MORE ABOUT THE PANEL >

03.2016

Sleek-looking rental building coming to the corner of Cambie and King Edward

KENNETH CHAN - Designed by Arno Matis Architecture, the exterior of the building carries a highly contemporary facade, with floor plates and building-length balconies that jut out and accentuate the building; upper levels are stepped back on the north and south facades to minimize the amount of shadowing. READ FULL ARTICLE >

03.2016

Unanimous approval from Richmond’s Design Panel

7100 Elmbridge received unanimous approval from Richmond’s Design Panel March 19, 2016. Inspired by the geological history of its context, the architectural expression of the project is forward-looking, utilizing contemporary geometries, materials and building systems. This project could be understood as a ‘landscape intervention’, a topography of built form shaped to express the flow of water that is so powerfully present in the Richmond delta. SEE PROJECT >

2016

Aperture Tops Up

Aperture’s unique concrete structure completed early December. This full city-block site engages an urban-scale project in a rapidly emerging neighborhood. Directly across from one of the most prestigious shopping areas in the city, this Cambie Corridor project seeks a contemporary design vernacular for the area SEE PROJECT >

12.2015

独具慧眼 拥抱竞争 专访建筑师 阿尔诺·马蒂斯Arno Matis

阿尔诺·马蒂斯(Arno Matis)曾任知名建筑公司Bing Thom Architects 的高级总监,并在华盛顿的 Arena Stage、素里的Central City和温哥华的Sunset Community Centre等众多获奖地标建筑的建 案中担任设计、管理要职。他在2006年创立了 ICONSTRUX建筑公司,并在 2012年将公司发 展为现在的Arno Matis建筑。《加拿大地产周 刊》记者特别采访了这位独具慧眼的建筑师,与 大家分享他对温哥华建筑市场的观察以及前卫建 筑——SOUTH CREEK LANDING背后的故事。 READ FULL ARTICLE >

12.2015

2211 Cambie Profiled in African Design Magazine

South Creek Landing is the result of a rare opportunity on a once-forgotten site in Vancouver, Canada. This commercial/residential mixed-use project presents an avant-garde building with cascading post-tensioned concrete cantilever floors.Named one of the 15 best buildings in Vancouver by Planning Director Brian Jackson, the project is perched on the southwest end of the Cambie Street Bridge and stands as the symbolic gateway to Vancouver’s uptown. READ FULL ARTICLE (PG 54) >

28.02.2015

South Creek Landing named Top 15 Best Buildings in Vancouver by City Planning Director

THE VANCOUVER SUN, JEFF LEE "So what is it that Jackson, a planner for more than 35 years in places from Toronto to California to Nevada to British Columbia, thinks makes up good and bad architecture? Jackson agreed to show The Vancouver Sun what he considers the city’s best and worst." (Read full article here) Watch the video for Jackson's tour and comments on AMA’s design. Watch Tour >

07.05.2015

Aperture named 1 of '6 Exciting BC Condos to Watch' by Huffington Post

ALEXANDRE LÉVESQUE-LAVOIE, 05/07/2015 - This magnificent small project obviously caught our attention right away. The building exteriors, designed by architect Arno Matis, are inspired by iconic images of stacked timber and respond to the play of light, creating a unique and subtly changing look depending on season, time of day and weather. READ FULL ARTICLE >

22.04.2015

Yusaf Hair Studio Under Construction

This premiere salon is under construction and slated for completion this July 2015. Located in Oakridge, Vancouver the project features a ‘bamboo chandelier’ in polished metal, white concrete micro-topping and mirror and silver-backed acrylic wall finishes. SEE PROJECT >

09.04.2015

AMA listed among Top Forty Firms for the 21st Century by World Architecture News

For second year in a row, Arno Matis Architecture has been long listed in the top forty up-and-coming firms that WAN believes could be the ‘leading lights’ of the 21st century. Cited by World Architecture News as “Outstanding, forward-thinking people and organizations who have the demonstrable potential to be the next big thing in the architectural world.” SEE ARTICLE >

08.03.2015

VANCOUVER LINK; AMA partners with Brook Pooni & Assoc. & Javid Jah to enter 2015 Robson Redux Competition

An annual design competition for a summer installation in front of Vancouver’s downtown Art Gallery, the 2015 theme of ‘connection’ encouraged entrants to partner with fine artists. With an exceptionally tight installation budget of $40,000, ‘Vancouver Link’ is an installation piece of ‘found objects’ assembled to connect participants to each other and the City.

Inspired by links of a chain, each link forms a pathway shaped by prefabricated “Art Arches” leading to a central community space; a new urban room on Robson Street populated with soft seating. Expressed in original graffiti art by Canadian artists (graffiti depicted by Canadian artist Javid Jah), each arch tells a story about Vancouver, it’s people and its aspirations. Themes of multiculturalism, diversity and sustainability expressed in abstract pieces weave into each other, conveying interconnections that are an inevitable experience of life in Vancouver. Visitors are invited to add their stories through the participation in ‘pavement-chalkart’. At night, the site installation is illuminated by glow-in-the-dark graffiti and solar powered lighting.

03.12.2014

ARCHIPELAGO; AMA submits for Guggenheim Competition for new Art Museum in Helsinki

Designed to reflect the magical Nordic landscape of Finland, ‘Saaristo’ (Finnish for archipelago) reflects the social, environmental, economic and political ideals of the nation and the Guggenheim organization. Island-like massing is fragmented by public spaces designed to maximize interaction with artistic process and blur the lines between the physical and networked world. 'Saaristo' places simultaneous importance on 'arrival spaces' represented by pavilions expressed in Finnish wood, and 'process spaces' expressed as landscaped bridges and walkways that follow the geometric grid of Helsinki to maximize waterfront views and accessibility while connecting the islands to each other, the City, and the world. The Guggenheim 'Saaristo' is a 'next generation' gallery; iconic, respectful, contextual, sustainable and connected. SEE PROJECT >

08.03.2014

2211 Cambie - complete! Building featured in Arthitectural, Vancity Buzz, Vancouver Sun

South Creek Landing featured in Arthitectural, Vancouver Sun, Vancity buzz. Congratulations to the entire South Creek Landing team on getting residency permit, and to South Creek Landing residents for their beautiful new home. Read about the project on the following Media Outlets:

Lighting by Tamar Frank in the Vancouver Sun >

Vancity Buzz >

Arthitectural >

14.03.2014

'A Guiding Light in Vancouver' - AMA in World Architecture News

Arno Matis Architecture uses responsive density design to create Aperture residential scheme for the Cambie Boulevard With the introduction of the Canada Line along Vancouver’s Cambie Street, the Cambie Boulevard now transports over one hundred thousand transit riders per day. Despite route popularity, many station sites are still surrounded by low density, single-family neighbourhoods.

Using Vancouver’s Cambie Corridor Plan as a direction for redevelopment, Arno Matis Architecture (AMA) sought to expand on the transformation of this major city street using their new approach to urban development: Responsive Density Design. Here, AMA doesn’t propose a site and program as if it was a standalone object, but rather as a response to its urban environment. READ FULL ARTICLE >

04.10.2014

Arno as Panelist at ULI Conference ‘Tying Cities Together: Using Civic Space to Increase Value & Build Community’

Arno as panelist at Urban Land Institute’s spring conference, to speak on: ‘Tying Cities Together: Using Civic Space to Increase Value and Build Community’, April 10th, 2014 at the Vancouver convention centre.

[session profile from uli.org] The unintended consequences of post-war America urban sprawl was the negligent omission of civic space. To remedy this, place-making applied as regenerative urban tissue and as centerpieces of ground up urban framework systems for suburban areas is an essential imperative of Building Healthy Places. Why? Because it’s bankable, both at the micro-scale creating increased asset value, and at the macro-scale by building community.

08.03.2014

'A new vision for the densifying Cambie Corridor' AMA's Aperture in The Globe and Mail

THE GLOBE AND MAIL - MAR 8, 2014, HADANI DITMARS - Vancouver-born architect Arno Matis has a lot invested in his newest project, a six-storey development of 78 residential units near Oakridge Mall called Aperture: Not only is it the result of an extensive neighbourhood review, recently approved by the Urban Design Panel, it’s also the area where he grew up. So it’s with a certain pride of place that he describes the Cambie Corridor not only as Vancouver’s next big experiment in densification, but also as “our great North-South boulevard, a gateway to downtown and one of the first things visitors see when they drive in from the airport. more >

03.08.2014

Aperture wins rave reviews from Vancouver Urban Design Panel

VANCOUVER COURIER – FEB 12, 2014, NAOIBH O’CONNOR - It’s a “cool building.” “Bold expression.” It will be like “living in an idea.” Those are some of the effusive comments members of the city’s Urban Design Panel made recently about buildings planned for West 41st Ave. between Willow and Baillie streets near Oakridge Centre. The UDP advises city council and staff about development proposals or policies, including major development applications, rezoning applications, and other projects of public interest, although its decisions aren’t binding on the city. In this case, the panel voted 8-0 in support of the development called Aperture destined for 799 West 41st Ave. It includes two large six-storey buildings and four two-storey laneway villas. They will be built on five former single-family lots. READ FULL ARTICLE >

02.14.2014

AMA work fills the architectural studio in an upcoming TV movie ‘Mothers Day Off’

Look for Arno Matis Architecture’s work filling an architectural studio in an eOne TV movie ‘Mother’s Day off’. Movie slated to air in May. Stay tuned for details. Eone.com >

08.03.2014

'Finally a building as good as its view.' AMA’s Mt Pleasant project profiled in the Globe & Mail

GLOBE AND MAIL – NOV 15, 2013, HADANI DITMARS - The convergence of Main Street and Kingsway is one of Vancouver’s most important intersections. Main Street follows the pathway of an old salmon stream named Brewery Creek and Kingsway was once the gold rush-spawned New Westminster trail. Now the historically significant, culturally rich and rapidly gentrifying area is at the epicentre of a new real estate gold rush – as well as concomitant controversy about how (the “if” being a fait accompli) density should proceed. But the first new mixed use development to be approved for rezoning in Mount Pleasant since the nearby Rize Alliance project (which has endured years of negotiating, public hearings and redesigns) may have solved the community conundrum in a neat architectural hat trick. READ FULL ARTICLE >

02.14.2014

AMA in Urban Land article ‘How Vancouver Invented Itself’

URBANLAND – FEB 14, 2014, PATRICK KIGER - Vancouver’s view corridors are just one of the strictures in what is arguably the most heavily regulated development space in North America. But while there have been periodic complaints that the process has slowed Vancouver’s growth, it doesn’t necessarily stifle creativity. Case in point: architect Arno Matis’ Vertical Forest building, recently approved for construction at the intersection of Main Street and Kings­way in the city’s Mount Pleasant area. The building’s design incorporates six different geometric forms, which not only conform to view corridor regulations but also provide angles that will allow for production of passive solar heating and cooling. The architect and developer, Amir Virani, had to go through an 18-month process that included not only scrutiny by city planners but also meetings with neighborhood residents—who reportedly urged Matis to create an edgier, more innovative design. “One of their key concerns was that we avoid another ‘cookie-cutter tower,’ ” Matis recently told the Globe and Mail, a Canadian newspaper. READ FULL ARTICLE >

30.10.2013

APPROVED! The Vertical Forest Building receives rezoning support and is now proceeding to development approval.

The Vertical Forest Building receives rezoning support and is now proceeding to development approval. The proposal includes artist-live work spaces, commercial retail uses, and market residential uses. The site is one of the most exciting locations in the City, in the heart of Mt. Pleasant on the edge of the hilltop. Its location boasts commanding views of the downtown Vancouver cityscape. It is a bold, contemporary proposal, yet imminently responsive to the existing context. The massing responds to the dynamic intersection of one of Vancouver’s most important intersections; the diagonal grid of Kingsway with the orthogonal grid of Main Street. This intersection throws off an energy that is captured in the geometry of the design proposal with its alternating diagonal north facades. The proposal introduces a familiar palette of wood and glass in a completely new and seductive form. READ FULL ARTICLE >

30.09.2013

UNANIMOUS SUPPORT! AMA’S Aperture Building Receives Unanimous Support from City of Vancouver Council for Rezoning

AMA’S Aperture Building Receives Unanimous Support from City of Vancouver Council for Rezoning. Stratigraphic architectural themes are explored with strong horizontals expressed throughout the project in combination with layering façade frame elements. Materials are proposed as architectural concrete and glass. The architectural façade frames are programmed to maximize passive shading and fragment density. Distant views are breathtaking and private roof decks are fully appointed to take advantage of this amenity. This western gateway project to the Oakridge Town Centre precinct introduces an exciting new typology into rapidly transforming part of the City. VIEW PROJECT >

07.27.2013

IN THE MEDIA

The Vertical Forest Building in the media for its innovative façade design and passive shading system. Read about The Vertical Forest Building’s ‘biomimetic’ Energy efficient light strategies on the following online media outlets:

Inhabitat >

Architecture Lab >

Arthitectural >

Tech Investor News >

Design Spotter >

05.12.2012

Aperture Receives Unanimous Support from the City of Vancouver Urban Design Panel

On 5 December 2012 the Urban Design Panel enthusiastically supported the design proposal which introduces a new paradigm and building typology to the Oakridge Town Centre Area. The project which includes 100 residential and market rental units in a combination of midrise and lane villa massing configurations meets all of the requirements of the Cambie Corridor Plan on a regular lot depth of 120ft. The shallow lot presents an opportunity to decrease typical unit depths, greatly enhancing liveability. The project also introduces a contemporary and bold architectural vocabulary, proposing a material palette that is sensitive to its context, yet pointing to a new and exciting future for the Oakridge Area. The integration of architecture, urban design and landscape is in keeping with the AMA firm philosophy of working in the ‘hybrid spaces’ between the disciplines and ‘blurring the lines between them’. SEE PROJECT >

01.08.2012

AMA Shortlisted for Presentation House Gallery

AMA has been selected to join a short-list of five firms for new art gallery facilities in North Vancouver. Presentation House Gallery has a mandate to exhibit and disseminate photography and media art, emphasizing contemporary Canadian work within a context of historical and international art. In addition to the exhibition program, we organize national and international tours of exhibitions, produce publications, and offer public events and art education programs.

10.02.2011

'Vancouver Film Production Facility Enters Pre-Construction Phase

The Film Production Facility has entered the pre-construction phase. The project challenges conventional wisdom with respect to design of contemporary work spaces. The traditional eight hour workday has been extended to a 24 hour day. The workplace now functions more like a residence with the need for entertainment, outdoor and interior living spaces.

01.08.2012

South Creek Landing, Vancouver Under Construction

The much - anticipated SCL project has broken ground and is now under construction. This project boasts a number of design “firsts” including the research and development of a new white concrete veneer building skin.

01.09.2012

Steel House Enters Pre-Construction Phase

The Steel House is now in the building permit and tender phase. This private cliff-hugging residence draws its inspiration from its immediate industrial context. The project sits immediately above a working rail yard and offers spectacular views to the north shore mountains and waterfront views along coal harbour to downtown Vancouver.

01.06.2012

AMA Launches New Vancouver Office

Located in the Waterfall Building by renowned Canadian Architect Arthur Erickson, the new Vancouver AMA Office lays the ground work for the shape of things to come. In keeping with the firm methodology philosophy, the open studio workshop fits our integrated approach to design. The landscape courtyard and adjacent glass pyramid pavilion are perfect for exhibitions, events and presentations. We look forward to welcoming our clients and guests to the new space.

18.06.2011

Dubai Towers Construction Complete!

The twin towers in the heart of Dubai’s financial district completed with CPG of Singapore incorporates offices, a hotel, residential apartments, and a retail mall. Elliptical in plan, the sleek, crystalline forms of the 140m high towers are connected by a futuristic ‘living bridge’ - a filigree of steel and glass hovering 90m above the bustle of Sheikh Zayed road. Within is an exclusive lifestyle club, a contemporary oasis whose infinity lap pool merges with the distant horizon of the Arabian Sea. SEE PROJECT >

16.11.2010

'South Creek Landing Mixed Use Building Enters Pre-Construction

This iconic project perched on the south west end of the Cambie Street Bridge, will soon become the symbolic gateway to Vancouver’s uptown. The project is now in the tendering and construction planning stage with building permits underway. A rare opportunity on a once-forgotten site, the commercial/residential mixed use project presents a building form of cascading post-tensioned concrete cantilever floors and a layered screen façade that reflects light and distorts the boundaries between interior and exterior. SEE PROJECT >

20.09.2010

Floating House enters Construction Phase

This highly innovative private residence breaks new ground with an architectural concrete envelope that uses a completely unique white concrete mix custom developed exclusively for the project. The project is a fusion of contemporary east-Asian, and west coast design influences. The project in architectural concrete utilizes a proprietary custom white concrete mix. SEE PROJECT >

14.07.2010

V House enters Construction Phase

The V House is now under construction. This concrete custom family residence draws from the neo-tudor style of its context and delivers a new interpretation. Exposed architectural concrete, contemporary details and design typically associated with comparable projects are delivered through careful planning and the meticulous and careful application of resources. SEE PROJECT >

10.01.2010

Sea Island Remote Terminal at YVR for 2010 Winter Olympics

The temporary air terminal at Vancouver International Airport designed by AMA is now complete and ready to welcome athletes and VIP’s from around the world. This complete airport facility contains all functions required to process arriving and departing persons in an environment of the highest security. Completed in just three months, the facility will be converted into permanent airside terminal after the Olympic Games.

27.09.2009

City Caucus - Vancouver Special

Coincidentally, one of the most beautiful home retrofits on the tour was by current Planning Commissioner Arno Matis of iConstrux Architecture. Matis, who also worked with Bing Thom in designing the iconic Sunset Community Centre in south Vancouver, shows what a little passion for the city you live in can create. That Vancouver Special that was once a dull and functional domicile, is now the envy of the block.

13.09.2009

CTV News - Toasting the Vancouver Special

Local architects are calling them under-appreciated, unfairly mocked and bursting with potential. Believe it or not, they're referring to Vancouver Specials -- and half a century after their arrival, the affordable homes may be getting the makeover they deserve…

18.06.2009

BC Business Magazine - Vancouver Special

Before you write me off as another fallen suburbanite, look at the photos of the unit as redesigned and renovated by Vancouver architectural firm Iconstrux Architecture (AMA). It's attracted a lot of attention, and deservedly so. I don't really care if this house started life as a tool shed – it's gorgeous, and I want one… There are many experiences that contribute to "the Vancouver Brand," and public revilement of the infamous Vancouver Special is one of them. Boxy and boring, it's part of our shared heritage as Vancouverites to scoff at these inelegant abodes. But brand attributes can change – even commonly accepted ones. And if the widespread belief that these suburban shoeboxes are a blight on the good name of Vancouver can change, what's next?

08.03.2014

VANCOUVER SUN - Vancouver Special Renovation

Everyone knows that Vancouver house prices are sky high. Still, here’s one that ups the ante….But this is no ordinary Vancouver Special. In fact, you’d never know that it was a Vancouver Special...

because it has been transformed into an ultra-contemporary home. For the uninitiated, a Vancouver Special is a two-storey box that is popular among some people, but totally reviled by others. Architecturally they're usually distinguished by a red brick facade on the first floor, white stucco up top and a wrought iron railing on a second-story balcony. This is an older Special from the late 1960s, with brown wood siding up top and stucco on the bottom. Built it is virtually unrecognizable from when renovations started a year ago.