December 2020

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D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 | 7 Teeple Architects Guthrie is reminded of this every time she walks around the Langara College Science & Technology Building in Vancouver. "I think about the major challenges and constraints that came with the project and site, and I have been struck several times by how much less of a building it could have been without this extraordinary drive to achieve an extraordinary result. The project team worked incredibly hard with the client, the consultant team, and the city to make an opportunity out of challenge. For instance, the site was not big enough to fit the program! The solution? A 16-metre-cantilever punctured by an oculus, which makes an incredible gateway into campus. The result is beautiful and functional and, most importantly, a place where students, faculty, and staff tell us they love to be in every day." While the team has grown, it has been advantageous to Teeple Architects to remain a certain size to maintain that personal touch. "For the past decade or so we've operated at a unique scale. We have the staff, experience, and resources to undertake a leading role in the design and implementation of large scale, com- plex projects, but we're also small enough to avoid an 'assembly line' approach to project delivery," explains Tomer Diamant, principal. Deep within the philosophy of the company is a firm belief that design should never be siloed off from production. "Young architects learn the most by following a project from beginning to end. And even though this continuity can sometimes be difficult to maintain, given the stop-start nature of many projects these days, it continues to be a guiding priority in the management of our practice," adds Diamant. Today, leading the 30-person Teeple Architects' team alongside Teeple, Radigan, Diamant, and Guthrie are principals Myles Craig, Richard Lai, and Wes Wilson, as well as associates Rob Cheung and Darryl Biedron. Together they bring a diverse array of skills, dedication, and experience to the practice. Should you step inside the Teeple Architects' office in the converted 16-foot- wide, three-storey leather goods factory in the area of Queen West, Toronto, you would be struck by its non-hierarchical nature. At any given time people are working on many different project types – from university buildings, to office fit-outs, to new residential towers – and at every phase. Working so closely together presents an opportunity for people at all levels to gain hands-on experience across the myriad aspects of the practice of architecture. "I also feel it lends itself to a more organically-focused mentorship approach," adds Guthrie. When it comes to projects, Teeple Architects has a portfolio so large and impressive that it's difficult to pick just one that truly showcases the depth and breadth of talent in the firm. Take the Morgan State University Calvin & Tina Tyler Hall in Baltimore project whose scope of work was to create a beautiful, welcoming flow to student services both from within and outside of the building. The result was highly responsive to the stone architecture of the historic campus. Then there's the Langara Science & Technology Building in Vancouver, which has an innovative gateway siting and spatial flow that brings students from dif- ferent disciplines together in dynamic spaces of interaction. For Guthrie, the one project that stands out to her is the Stanley A. Milner Library project for which Teeple Architects created a dramatic visual/spatial connection between the community and the vast and diverse services offered by Edmonton Public Library (EPL). "The procurement process stretched almost six months and we were up against some of the stiffest competition out there, so we really pushed ourselves to think outside the box, which can be risky," says Guthrie. "The evening word came through from Edmonton that we had been success- ful, a number of us were having an after-work drink across the street from the office; and we literally jumped for joy. It was an incredible feeling of achieve- ment to have that hard work pay off." Last year, when Guthrie had the chance to stand in the library's amazing new atrium space as it neared completion, her heart swelled thinking about the efforts that brought it together. "Hearing the words of excitement and praise from the community when the building officially opened to the public brought me right back to our sense of possibility way back at the RFP stage. I had a huge sense of pride and gratitude to have had the opportunity to work with EPL to achieve their vision," she adds. Many of the larger projects these days are indeed a labour of love, especially considering the length of some of the projects. "Architecture is a slow-moving enterprise and it's not uncommon for a project to span five years from begin- ning to end. Over that long of a period, you form meaningful connections with new cities, clients, and collaborators. They become true friends and it's always bitter-sweet to celebrate the completion of a project and move on to the next adventure," says Diamant. As architecture and the construction industry continue to evolve, the team at Teeple is excited about the infinite possibilities that lie ahead, from the ongoing adaptation of wood construction in tall buildings and the emphasis on sustain- ability and eco-friendly practices (which have been at the heart of the firm since day one), to virtual and augmented reality in visualization, digital fabrication, and the alternative and increased efficiency in building materials and building resiliency. "All of these developments have the possibility to shape design and architecture in new exciting ways," says Lai. With new projects landing on the desks at Teeple Architects, the excitement within the office continues as the team sees each one as an opportunity to reframe questions – even if those questions have been asked many times before. And while Teeple Architects may be full steam ahead with work, there is some- thing that many may not know about the team, and that is they sure know how to party (outside of COVID-19 times, of course). In fact, they have become a little renowned for their partying antics, as Teeple explains: "A prominent moment for us was the third time our Alley Party got busted by the cops," he laughs. It's fun times at Teeple Architects. A Stephen Hawking Centre at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Waterloo, ON. Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Wembley, AB. Stanley A. Milner Library, Edmonton, AB. P H OTO G R A P H Y BY A N D R E W L AT R EI L L E P H OTO G R A P H Y BY TO M A R BA N P H OTO G R A P H Y BY S H A I G I L

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