The 'Groovin the Couve' mural in front of Vancouver, Washington's Aria building.


Key Takeaways from LSW’s Second Quarterly Meeting, 2021

May 05, 2021 by LSW Admin

The team recently gathered for LSW’s Second Quarterly Kickoff meeting of 2021, which featured an ever-so-slight increase in staff members logging in from our office in Vancouver, with more to come as conditions allow.

After a busy start to the year, the afternoon’s program offered teams a platform to gather, put our tools down for a moment, and swap notes with one another. It also provided the space to discuss goals across the firm, from our big, bold 10 year plans to the nitty-gritty items on our checklists for the next three months. The point is to put plans in action and continue making LSW a firm where people design with their hearts and do meaningful work that connects with their values.

Positively Focused

As the changing season beckons us outdoors, there are many hopeful signs around us: flowers are blooming, the sun is shining a little brighter, and people are taking cautious steps toward something resembling the world we once knew. By all accounts, though, we’re carrying invaluable newfound perspective and an appreciation for little things that make a big difference. 

Building on this positive momentum, our efforts through the upcoming quarter will continue to flow in 3 main areas: 

Our people: Ensuring teams are supported and equipped for success as we continue to prioritize their health and safety at work. 

Our clients: We’re continuing to partner with like-minded clients who inspire us to do great work, and dig deep to tell their stories through interesting, articulate design choices - and to make sure every experience with LSW is meaningful and life-giving. 

Our Community: We’re excited to get busy on a range of volunteer and community-centric projects this spring/summer. 

AIA’s 2030 Commitment

The team leading our sustainability efforts at LSW reached another milestone in Q1 of 2021, by submitting all our 2020 project data to the American Institute of Architecture’s (AIA) 2030 Design Data Exchange. 

In 2018, LSW became a signatory to AIA’s 2030 Commitment. In 2019, we successfully submitted all our major 2019 projects to the AIA 2030 Design Data Exchange for the first time. By submitting all of our projects from 2020, we are expanding our reporting and continuing our commitment to the 2030 challenge.


25th Avenue School

Rendering of the front entrance to VPS's 25th Avenue School, designed by LSW Architects.

25th Avenue School

The design team on Vancouver Public School’s (VPS) new 25th Avenue School has submitted an impressive set of documents to the county and we are very excited to see this project move into a new phase, one step closer to opening for staff and students. This has been a really energizing and inspiring school to work on, as is evidenced by this note from Project Support member, Regan Dyer. 

Last week, as the 25th Avenue Elementary Team said their final goodbyes before exiting the check-in call, it was clear that we were all sad to be leaving. The team dynamic of our group was special and ultimately led to not just a strong final design, but a very enjoyable design process for both our team and client. Naturally, when something works, the first thing you ask yourself is, 'why did that work so well?' In the case of 25th Avenue, that’s just it – teamwork made our team work.

From the start, we understood that our project’s overall success was directly tied to how strongly we supported each other. Experienced designers took on mentor roles for new LSW team members, sharing the ‘why’ behind design choices. We were all quick to offer support or jump in to finish tasks, helping to divide the work and bring fresh ideas and solutions to the design. There was a strong sense of comfort knowing that your team had your back and that we could count on each other. Everyone was truly listened to, and their opinions and input were valued. 

Hard work and efforts were seen, appreciated, and celebrated. When teammates truly care about each other and share a strong vision, great design happens naturally. By working together, we were able to design a welcoming learning environment that will invite students to dream big and positively shape the world of tomorrow. As a team, we look forward to sharing 25th Avenue Elementary School with you all…and working together again soon!” 

Vancouver Innovation, Technology, and Arts (VITA) Elementary School

left VITA Site
Construction at VITA, one of Vancouver’s most exciting new elementary schools, is underway and has made a major milestone with the building’s structure completed (photo above: Kyle Rogers). In conjunction with stakeholders from Vancouver Public Schools, this project brought our architectural and interior studio teams together to produce a design that speaks volumes about the district and its dedication to our city’s youngest learners.

right VITA

VITA Team working at the site

(The team at VITA during last week's topping off event | Photo: R&O Construction)

Navalia Apartments 

Navalia Apartments

Navalia Apartments, Vancouver, designed by LSW Architects for Hurley Development.

Navailia, one of our local mixed-use housing projects with Hurley Development, wrapped up schematic design and will move into construction this summer. This 72 unit building forms part of the continued revitalization of Vancouver’s Uptown neighborhood, which utilizes and adds to a local structure on the corner of Washington Street. With the city’s continued pattern of growth, there is an ongoing need for housing and at a range of price points. These chic, elegantly designed units will offer accessibly-priced housing for sub-market-rate leasing in a highly desirable location, at time when options are often scarce or expensive for renters.

Artists from Riff_Creative painting the 'Groovin the Couve' mural in Vancouver, Washington.

Forging Ahead 

Our creative partners at Riff are painting the town (literally) and cooking up great content to lighten the mood. The new 'Groovin' & Couve'n' mural on the corner of 6th Street between Esther and Grant is a great reason to take a safe stroll. Meanwhile, Design Vancouver’s digital offering, Roadcast, continues to impress and inspire viewers while connecting our communities, doers, and makers. The most recent conversation with the team from Kaiser + Path is an important one that highlights the potential of Cross Laminated Timber as a sustainable resource and true path toward creating spaces that are both equitable and life-giving.

There is some more great news locally, as the City of Vancouver’s “Street Eats” parklet program was renewed for an additional three years. To recap, the program was created by a group of community and business leaders in Vancouver to help restaurants increase seating capacity as they reopened under the Governor's Phase 2 Safe Start guidelines.

Given the popularity and efficacy of Vancouver’s parklets, the City is continuing to support the program during this extension. “Parklets have been discussed for a long time and if it wasn’t for the pandemic, I don’t think we would have had the opportunity to experiment with them in such a practical way,” said Michael Walker, Executive Director at Vancouver’s Downtown Association. “The opportunity in all of this has been to show the public the value of tactical urbanism in transforming an urban space into one that’s more cohesive, pedestrian-friendly, and connected.” 

He went on to explain why local businesses are in support of the initiative. “It really expands their real estate and offers a lot of value - more than just two or three parking spaces in front of their businesses. By changing that perspective, the core constituency that really advocates for these things downtown and has the strongest say is behind the initiative… it has created a leverage point which, I believe, will continue the flexibility of the way we think about the downtown district and ways of activating it."

In a related win, the "Street Eats" program was featured in the Urban Land Institute’s latest global publication, Pandemic and the Public Realm, which features great works of tactical urbanism in cities around the world.