May 12, 2017
by Canadian Architect
Completed last year, the Okada-Marshall House is located in East Sooke, B.C. Photo: D’Arcy Jones.
D’Arcy Jones Architecture
D’Arcy Jones Architecture (DJA) is a nine-person studio that was founded in 2005 by D’Arcy Jones, MRAIC. A graduate of the University of Manitoba and Dalhousie University, Jones worked on his own from 2000 to 2005. DJA’s projects are largely residential, but also include commercial spaces, art galleries, renovations and interiors.
Vancouver’s raw-edged Monte Clark Gallery was carved from the shell of a derelict industrial building. Photo: Sama Jim Canzian
At a time when nearly 1,000 demolition permits are issued annually in Vancouver, DJA embraces the adaptive re-use of older buildings as an opportunity for architectural innovation and recycling. For example, in the Waddell-Kunigk Renovation, the studio brought new life, light, and views to a 1940s Vancouver bungalow by lifting it eight feet, turning the base-ment into the main living space and the former living area into a bedroom level. For the Monte Clark Gallery, which occupies two rough-and-tumble bulldozer repair bays in an industrial warehouse, DJA designed a modular and re-mountable system of drywall-clad plywood and steel panels. The new space’s character is determined by the existing industrial grit and patina, revealed and featured in quirky ways.
Design decisions often flow from a motivation for clients to inhabit their projects with ease. Raw steel, exposed concrete and untreated wood are preferred as finish materials, since they are complete once they are installed. At the Friesen-Wong House in Coldstream, B.C. the Japanese-style charred wood exterior siding will never need stain or paint. The house’s long cantilevered concrete slabs have a custom-designed thermal break that maintains a complete insulation plane enveloping the whole building. Even in hot summers, the house is comfortable without air conditioning.
The Friesen-Wong House cantilevers outwards from a rocky ridge overlooking a river in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley. Photo: Martin Tessler
Sustainability is also integrated in DJA’s design process, which favours craft-intensive details with common building materials over exotic non-local materials. The heights of parapets and exterior walls is often set by the longest available siding board lengths, or a module that can be cut with no waste. DJA strives to leverage skilled regional labour, contributing to keeping the craft of construction alive.
Satisfied clients for the Abenbare House in Toronto, a 1950s bungalow renovation, described their experience this way: “There was a personal touch, an openness to incorporate all ideas and thoughts with no presumption that there was only one answer. What impressed us, beyond Jones’ visionary design, was just how cost-conscious he was with our money.”
DJA has current and completed projects throughout British Columbia, as well as in Ontario, Switzerland, California and Washington. Through competitions, design panels, teaching, lectures and juries, the studio strives to be a critical contributor to contemporary architectural culture.
The firm has won numerous awards, including a 2016 Vancouver Urban Design Award, two Canadian Architect Awards of Merit and the inaugural Arthur Erickson Memorial Award. In 2014, Jones won the Ronald J. Thom Award for Early Design Achievement from the Canada Council for the Arts, which recognizes outstanding creative talent and potential in architectural design early in a career.
:: Jury ::
The work demonstrates a thorough understanding of construction. The projects are carefully and intensely detailed. They show thoughtful attention to creating spatial variety, and reflect a good command of the creative selection and execution of constructed materials. The skillful integration of interior and exterior spaces is particularly well-executed, resulting in an architecture that is poetic.
In Toronto, the streamlined Abenbare House builds on the foundations of a 1950s bungalow. Photo: Bob Gundu
For the Waddell-Kunigk Renovation, DJA lift-ed a bungalow up eight feet, converting the former basement into living spaces and the attic into an office and playroom. Photo: Martin Tessler
The 430 House retained the foundation and structure of the previous home, revamping its exterior skin and interiors. Photo: Sama Jim Canzian
Built for an extended family, the Yan Residence combines three autonomous living units on a one-acre lot. Photo: Ema Peter
The Brown House includes a 1,200-square-foot cabin, woodshed, and courtyard built across from an existing log cabin on Hornby Island, B.C. Photo: Sama Jim Canzian