A Canadian Dream House That Took Three Architects to Build

When you build a home from the ground up, there’s one thing that’s more important than the concrete, the lumber, the steel or nearly anything else: patience.

For Jack and Araxi Evrensel, that became abundantly clear when they began start-and-stop work on a house that clings to a steep slope of granite at the edge of Burrard Inlet, in West Vancouver, Canada. By the time the house was completed, they had spent eight years working on it, with three different architects.

The couple tried to take each delay in stride. “We took our time, because we weren’t in any rush,” said Mr. Evrensel, a former restaurateur who sold his five upscale British Columbia restaurants in 2014. Although they were eager to see their dream house built, they were fortunate enough to be able to stay in their old home as long as they needed to, and were focused on getting things right.

“We were very lucky to find this spot,” Mr. Evrensel said. “I loved the idea of the waterfront and that it’s just an outcropping of pure rock.”

The Evrensels, who are in their mid-60s, bought the half-acre lot for about 2.5 million Canadian dollars (roughly $1.9 million) in 2004. To design the house, Mr. Evrensel initially turned to his friend Werner Forster, the architect who had worked on his restaurants.

They got off to a quick start, and construction began in 2005. “He developed it to a point where we started the blasting of the property, since it was all rock,” Mr. Evrensel said.

Shortly after blasting began, however, Mr. Forster became seriously ill and died. With little more than a clearing in the rock completed, Mr. Evrensel put the project on hold. “I wasn’t sure, at the time, I would build it without him,” he said.

Eventually, though, he began thinking about finding another architect. He had long admired the work of Arthur Erickson, one of the most decorated Canadian architects of the era, and had seen him at Mr. Forster’s wake. Although Mr. Erickson had dined in Mr. Evrensel’s restaurants on a few occasions, Mr. Evrensel felt intimidated to ask the architect about his personal project, as Mr. Erickson was known for high-profile buildings like the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia and the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Wash.

Nevertheless, he mustered the courage to introduce himself to Mr. Erickson, who was immediately receptive to the idea. They agreed that Mr. Erickson’s former associate, Nick Milkovich, an architect who had handled Mr. Erickson’s residential projects before opening his own studio, would lead the project, with Mr. Erickson serving as a consultant.

“When we first stepped into the project, it was tentative,” Mr. Milkovich said. “Knowing that Jack’s good friend had been working on the house, we wondered how much we could change.”

For months, Mr. Milkovich tentatively floated one small change after another, until Mr. Evrensel made it clear that he wanted his new architects to have full creative freedom. “He said,

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Robert Gutowski Architects designs minimal church interior in response to changes in modern worship

The Church of Pope John Paul II in Páty, Hungary, by Robert Gutowski Architects

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The Church of Pope John Paul II in Páty, Hungary, by Robert Gutowski Architects

The Church of Pope John Paul II in Páty, Hungary, is a crescent-shaped building featuring skewed angles and whitewashed concrete that aims to turn “passive observers” into active participants of worship.

Local practice Robert Gutowski Architects filled the church in the village of Páty in Budapest with modern takes on traditional aspects of Medieval, ecclesiastical architecture.

The intention was to shift the emphasis towards the altar and the congregation to make the act of worship more engaging.

a herd of sheep in a city: The Church of Pope John Paul II features an elliptical layout

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The Church of Pope John Paul II features an elliptical layout

Traditional churches typically have a rectangular floor plan and are made up of a nave – the central part of the church – and an apse – the semicircular or polygonal area at the end of the aisle, usually located behind the altar.

The Church of Pope John Paul II, however, has an elliptical layout, made up of the crescent-shaped building of worship that wraps around an adjoining oval-shaped outdoor space.

Therefore what would typically be the nave of a conventional church functions as the churchyard or garden, while the liturgical space is situated where the apse would be.

a wooden bench sitting in the middle of a room: The church interior features whitewashed reinforced concrete ceilings and walls

© Provided by Dezeen
The church interior features whitewashed reinforced concrete ceilings and walls

As studio founder Robert Gutowski explains, this layout was designed to place more emphasis on the communal experience of the Eucharist and to “invite people closer to the holy act” at the altar.

“If you like, we invite people into the apse, surrounding the altar, forming a community,” the architect explained. “It is also similar to the liturgy of early times, when Paleochristians simply surrounded a table in their own home – what is known as Domus Ecclesiae.”

a view of a box: The design aims to place more emphasis on the Eucharist and the altar

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The design aims to place more emphasis on the Eucharist and the altar

“The church clearly defines its purpose: while the Creator and the almighty God are at the centre of traditional liturgy, modern liturgical efforts have shifted emphasis to the recreator God, the image of a perpetually redeeming Christ,” Gutowski added.

“The Church of Pope John Paul II represents a conscious response to liturgical changes in recent decades, rendering it a model church experiment in contemporary church architecture,” he continued.

“Emphasis is shifted toward the active involvement of worshippers.The community is not a passive observer of events in a sanctuary, but rather actively experiences the holy act.”

a room with a brick building: The church building itself has a crescent-like shape

© Provided by Dezeen
The church building itself has a crescent-like shape

Several rooms lead off of the central, liturgical space, including a communal room, a service room and an office on the ground floor, and an educational room, guest room, the priest’s living quarters, and access to the bell tower on the first floor.

Each of these rooms are enclosed in one, whole elliptical floor plan – a form chosen to symbolise “perpetuity” and to create a holistic space.

“The concept is that when we say

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Meet the secret weapon for fighting the pandemic: Interior architects

Almost exactly 40 years ago, I got my first job in architecture: Not as an underpaid draftsman for some Pritzker Prize-winning architect or as an editorial assistant at a glossy design magazine, but as a lowly office clerk for an interiors and architecture firm in San Francisco.

One of my duties was to feed drawings into the blueprint machine. Noxious fumes would emanate from the machine, making my nose wrinkle. After copies of the blueprints came out, I would roll them up and deliver them, on foot, to nearby offices. Such was the state of architectural technology, circa 1980.

Yet my grunt work at the firm Whisler-Patri, and a later gig doing public relations for another San Francisco design firm, taught me a lesson that’s taking on fresh relevance as landlords and tenants scramble to remake offices in response to the coronavirus pandemic: Interior architecture matters.

What is interior architecture? In the world of office building design, it means taking blocks of raw interior space and planning the layout and design of everything from corridors and conference rooms to desks and stairs that connect floors. Architects tend to get the credit (or the blame) for building exteriors, but interior architects have enormous influence on whether an office feels capacious or crowded, mind-opening or mean-spirited.

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Understanding House Elevations And How Architects Draw Them

House elevations are scaled drawings that give you an idea of how your house will look like once complete. A good elevation should show the following:

  • Height and width of roof
  • Length and height of each wall
  • Visible part of foundation
  • Exterior features such as stairs, porches and decks
  • Window and door trim
  • Exterior wall and roof finishing
  • Eaves troughs
  • Complete ground level

How an architect draws an elevation

For the architect to draw a good elevation he/she undertakes a number of steps. Some of these steps include:

Drawing the main floor wall baseline: the professional starts drawing the floor plan from the extreme left end of the wall. The professional measures the horizontal distance of the wall putting into consideration the thickness of the sliding material.

The professional marks all the right areas and draws lines that represent the building. The architect continues until he/she has covered all the relevant areas and included all the walls of the house.

Determination of wall height: after drawing the floor plan the architect now determines the height of the walls. To determine the height of the wall the professional considers the height of the ceiling. If you are constructing a story building, the professional has to also consider the height of the sub-flooring.

Window and door outlines: with the height of the walls in place, the professional now makes outlines of door and windows. To make the outline the architect uses his/her accuracy scale and draws the door and windows in relation to the walls, roof and floor.

Roof: the roof is represented by lines which are usually of many styles including: shed, gambrel, gable and hip. Each style has its unique way of drawing. For example, a shed or gamble roof must drop lower than the area where it connects with the wall.

Basement: the architect has to show the basement areas that are visible above the ground. If the professional wants to show more details he/she uses cross-section drawings that tend to give more details.

Porch: this is the last information in the drawing. To ensure that the drawings are accurate, the professional makes use of his/her scale.


This is a guide on how an architect draws an elevation. You should note that not all professionals are able to produce accurate and high quality elevation drawings. To get a great drawing you need to research and find a professional with the right experience.…

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