As some of you are aware, Shelterbelt is merging with Group2 Architecture as of October 15th. We’re knee deep in boxes and material samples as we purge this space in anticipation of our move to 124th street. Some have lamented the loss of another small firm in Edmonton, but I’m not sure it is a loss. We’re still the same people, with the same values, just in a different location and with greater resources at our disposal. We have struggled with the small firm perception - no matter how much we espoused the virtues of having a partner with experience working on the project from start to finish and directly responsible for the design + execution, it didn’t sell. There’s a percieved comfort with a larger firm and its associated horsepower. Sometimes you have to know when to concede.
I think the occasion warrants a greatest hits retrospective.
April 28th, 2007 Partnership Agreement Signed
James + I worked from home for this year while Heather attended to her newborn on maternity leave. I alternated between the home office and the dining room table. I became extremely adept at multi-tasking during this period, juggling concentrating on Revit models + Quickbooks with repeated requests for attention from my children + pets. It was not a terribly productive existence, but it sure kept me connected to my elementary aged boys and their activities!
I had the pleasure of working with my friends Glenn + Carolynn on the renovation of their house. I’ve since spent many pleasant hours in this kitchen with a glass of wine in hand.
June 15, 2008 Move into Cloverdale office space
Our office allowed us to actually act on some of the hopes we had for our new environment – music playing, wine drinking, Bodum brewing, collaborative conversation. We debated the wallpaper (James vetoed the monkey pattern), fussed over the right dimension to plane the studs down to for the screen wall, assembled endless quantities of IKEA furniture and installed our cukoo clock. We’ve learned to live with the mud splashing on the windows from the too-close 98th avenue, watched the spring blooms emerge on the trees in the park across from us, laughed at the 12-year-old gardener watering the outdoor planters from the second floor patio and survived a flood, an epic caterpiller infestation and heaving sidewalks.
We started work on the Trapezoid house this year – never imagining it wouldn’t be finished until 2012 – and completed the first project at the Derrick Club.
After the stock market fun of 2008, 2009 was a quiet year while the market waited to see what would happen and construction slowed down. Nerve wracking for a fledgling company. Still, we soldiered on. We were sucessful in getting the first of our City of Edmonton projects – the canopy replacement on Sir Winston Churchill Square. It’s still holding up well and it’s one of the projects still near-and-dear to us. We also won an Urban Design award of merit for our facade improvement on 118th Avenue.
This year marked a change in scale with the Villa Marguerite Dementia Ward - a 77 bed addition to the exisiting care facility. Work with Chandos Construction was a pleasure – especially on a project that had extremely tight deadlines + budgets. Trapezoid House was under construction, the Strathcona Washrooms and the Millcreek House were in development and the Residential Tenancies Dispute Resolutions Office tenant improvement was completed.
A very busy year – a planned assisted living addition to Villa Marguerite, a collaboration with Rockcliff Pierzchajlo Architects on Ottewell Terrace Seniors Apartments and the Hoang Long Noodle restaurant in West Edmonton Mall that showcased Heather’s interior design talents.
Was the year we started dating Group2. We collaborated on two school projects and got to know each other. There was enough synchronicity in spirit, culture and values that it seemed a good match. We also started work on the Callingwood Washrooms, opened the Strathcona Washrooms in time for the Canada Day long weekend (a stress test if ever there was one) and handed both the Trapezoid and Millcreek Houses over to their owners.
I am thankful that Shelterbelt allowed me:
- flexibility during my children’s formative, snot-filled, primary school years
- seven years of working with friends
- Thursday wine + design sessions
- the Trapezoid house
- an extended playlist
I am grateful for everyone’s support – clients, friends, families, followers. Thanks for joining me on this ride for the past seven years. It’s been a fun one!