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Brown Bag Lunch & Learn

VHF St Georges

Learn about the state of heritage and conservation projects in Vancouver today with experts in architecture and design, city planning and other related fields. The speakers will offer in depth illustrated talks followed by a Q&A. Bring your lunch and your questions to BCIT Downtown and learn about the issues, projects and topics that are relevant to the future of Vancouver’s historic neighbourhoods and buildings.

Check back here later in the year for Fall 2016 Brown Bag lectures.



Wednesdays, 12pm-1:30pm
$15 or $9 with a valid student ID (please phone our office for student tickets)
BCIT Downtown Campus at 555 Seymour Street

Double check the room number in the email reminder you will receive just prior to the talk or the lobby sign at BCIT for confirmed room assignments – room assignments can change at short notice.


April 27th - Robert Lemon, Architect, and Neil Piller, Director of Operations, St. George's School, discussed the award-winning 2015 restoration of the 1912 St. George's Preparatory Boys School located in Dunbar.

March 30th - Mitch Sakumoto, Architect at Merrick Architecture, discussed Taylor Manor, a 1915 Tudor residence last functioning as a long term care facility. Recently it was restored and rehabilitated to become supportive housing for homeless people living with mental health issues.

February 24th - Jonathan Oldman, Executive Director of the Bloom Group, and Naomi Brunemeyer, Asset Manager at BC Housing, discussed the process, costs and community benefits of the 2014-2015 adaptive reuse project that saw the former police station holding cells at 250 Powell Street converted into community housing.


November 25th - Architect Mitch Sakumoto from Merrick Architecture updated us on the status of the Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Housing Renewal Initiative and spoke about completed sites such as the Marble Arch Hotel, Gastown Hotel, Washington Hotel, Cordova Residences and the Rice Block, describing problems that have occurred while undertaking these extensive renovation projects.  At the time of the lecture, 5 of 13 buildings on the list have been completed, 5 more will be completed by early 2016 and all buildings will be complete by mid-2016 to provide housing for Vancouver’s low income and vulnerable populations.

October 28th - Architect Roger Hughes from HCMA Architecture spoke about how the Edwardian 1913 Fire hall No. 15 was saved through a combination of restoration and rehabilitation, in concert with a new building that accommodates contemporary fire fighting requirements. The project recently won a City of Vancouver Heritage Award.

September 30th - Architect Sean McEwen shared the story of how a City-wide coalition saved Mole Hill from the threat of demolition, to become one the West End’s most successful examples of heritage preservation. With an active lane filled with gardens and space to socialize, and a summertime Farmers Market on Comox Street, this high-density affordable and social housing project with a few privately owned homes is a successful model for creating livable communities.

April 22nd - Engineer Leonard Pianalto of Read Jones Christofferson Ltd. spoke about the engineering behind the restoration and roof replacement of the Bloedel Conservatory triodetic dome. In 2014, the iconic Bloedel Conservatory saw a major restoration involving the replacement of 1,400 individual acrylic domes. The $2.7 million restoration included some impressive scaffolding and took seven months to complete.

March 25th - House movers Nickel Bros. presented on aspects of moving a heritage home including engineering, costs and logistics. Adam Knipfel shared some of the experiences Nickel Bros. have had including the complex process of relocating the Dorothies and attempts made to relocate the Legg Mansion.

February 18 - Architect Sean McEwan spoke about the recent refurbishment of Kits Neighbourhood House, including the restoration and incorporation of the 1894 orphanage and home society into a childcare facility, the restoration of a 1909 church into a community hall, and the addition of newly constructed seniors housing into the completed project.

2014 COMPLETED TALKS (click to view)

November 19 - Mike Pistrin of BC Housing discusses the revitalization process of heritage hotels used as SRO low-income housing. Buildings discussed included the recently re-opened Gastown Hotel and the Marble Arch (re-named with its original title, Hotel Canada).

October 15- Keri Briggs from Vintage Woodworks discussed the challenges facing wood window conservation and common misinformation focusing on recent Vancouver projects at the Gastown Hotel, the Rice Block and the Captain French lofts.

September 17th - The Renovation of 564 Beatty St: Glen Stokes from Bruce Carscadden Architect spoke about the restoration of the historic warehouse and the construction of a dramatic, modern addition on top.

February 26th - The HiVE: This shared work space supports new and small businesses and non-profits in a heritage space, with founder Eesmyal Santos-Brault

March 26th - Yale Hotel: The restoration of the Yale and construction of the Ralston through an HRA and density transfer, with Brent Beatson, Rize Alliance

April 30th - Crofton School: The restoration of Crofton House as part of a larger project to upgrade the campus of one of Vancouver's oldest girls schools.

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