Kaslo Passive House Frame Raising

The construction of Kaslo Passive House is well under way!

The frame is raised and the walls are being build.

A huge Thanks to Daphne Hunter for taking these pictures!

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Ecocentric Design moved to Vancouver Island

This fall Ecocentric Design relocated to Vancouver Island!

We’ve moved to Glenora, near Duncan, in the Cowichan Valley, halfway between Nanaimo and Victoria.

We’re looking forward to Building Sustainable Dreams on Vancouver Island!

Find our updated contact info here.

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Is a Passivhaus Building a “Hermetically Sealed” box?

Here’s a good article clarifying “air tightness’ and ‘breathable construction’ :

Is a Passivhaus Building a “Hermetically Sealed” box? – PASSIVHAUS IN PLAIN ENGLISH & MORE.

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New Logo

Introducing Ecocentric Design’s new logo…

Ecocentric Design New Logo

The new logo of Ecocentric Design: Turtle carrying the Sun.

The turtle is a creature living on land and in water, in harmony with it’s environment.

The turtle carries her house on her back, ready to retreat when there is a threat.

The turtle is an indicator species,  sensitive to a clean ecosystem.

The turtle is a Native American symbol for the Earth, as North America is often referred to as ‘Turtle Island’.

Many tribal creation stories tell that Earth was born on the back of a turtle.

Hindu mythology tells of the world supported by four elephants, standing on a giant turtle, just as Terry Pratchett’s Discworld in modern times.

In the far East Turtle is a symbol of heaven and earth, the round shell representing heaven and the square underside the earth.


The Turtle of Ecocentric Design carries the sun on it’s back.

The Sun, pure unlimited renewable energy and giver of Life – without the Sun there would be no life possible on the Earth.

The Sun brings Energy, Happiness and Joy.

The utilization of the Sun’s energy plays a crucial role in the sustainability of our homes, and our society.

“Turtles remind us that the way to heaven is through the earth. In Mother Earth is all that we need. She will care for us, protect us, and nurture us, as long as we do the same for her. [….] We must see the connection to all things. Just as the turtle cannot separate itself from its shell, neither can we separate ourselves from what we do to the earth.”  (Read more here.)

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Whole Earth Summit

Head on over to Whole Earth Summit to listen to some inspiring visionaries!
Replays are available at http://wholeearthsummit.org/replay/

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Passive House in 90 sec.

Learn about Passive House in 90 seconds with this neat video by the people at http://pinwheelbuilds.com/

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Kaslo Water Street Plan Approved


At last weeks’ council meeting (Dec 10, 2013), the above redevelopment plan of Water Street has been approved.

Curb and paving is set to happen in 2014, walkway and landscaping the next year.

Council had asked me to modify option 1 plan that the 2011 Water Street committee – in which I was involved – had proposed, reversing the parking on Water Street and incorporating safety recommendations of the June 2012 ICBC Road Safety Audit.
Also for safety reasons the parking pattern on 4th Street has been changed – to parallel parking.

The wide sidewalk, as a result of the parallel parking on 4th street allows for the installation of a few trees, which will cut down the wind that often blows up from the lake, and enhancing the view and streetscape simultaneously.

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Smart Stairs

Recently I had the pleasure to return to a set of stairs I designed about 7 years ago, when I just started out with my own design studio.

Then the Cathro family, expecting their first child, wanted to create a way to get into their basement from inside the house to feed the fire, instead of having to go around the outside (Who wants to do that in winter? -Let alone when the baby is crying!).

But there wasn’t a lot of room…

Snake Stairs

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Why you want to pay premium for design.

A recent conversation with a fellow dog owner the beach, on one of my morning walks with our puppy Shagga, prompted me to re-post the following ‘Designer’s Open Letter to His Future Clients‘, written by my friend and fellow Kaslovian, Blair Enns, a high profile marketing consultant for design firms.

He (the fellow dog owner on the beach) told me, after he learned I was ‘the Architect’ in town, that he would like to drop by and check out my work, as he was gearing up to renovate his house and that he had hired someone else, because he had heard I was very expensive…

“The more I charge you, the more pressure I put on myself to perform for you.

“The client who grinds me on price is the least satisfied. He gets less attention from me and is most likely to be pissed off at me. And I don’t really care, because to be honest, I resent him. The very fact that he is on my roster reminds me that I’m part prostitute. For him, I’m doing it for the money and as it isn’t very much money I’m not troubled by not doing it well. He pays me a paltry sum, I perform poorly, he gets angry and I resent him. We can have that type of relationship if you like.

“The client who pays me the premium gets my best work. He’s the one I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about, wondering if I’m doing all I can to earn his money. When he calls, I jump. Hell, I call him first. I take pride in moving his business. I try to make myself indispensible to him. I imagine that he winces when he opens my bill (he doesn’t say), but he thanks me for all I do for him. He’s the one I worry about.

“I’m great at what I do, but if someone hires me without giving me the resources (money, time, access) to do a great job, it’s easy for me to rationalize poor performance. When a client gives me everything I ask for, he removes all the obstacles to a high quality outcome. There’s no way for me to rationalize anything less than perfection.

“There is no greater pressure than the pressure I put on myself, and the only way you can add to my own sense of pressure is to pay me well. Yelling won’t do it. Neither will threatening to pull your business. My deep sense of obligation comes from you paying me well enough to dispatch all of the excuses. Then I have to prove to you, and, more importantly, to me that I am as good as I say I am.

“So, I’ve given you my price and it’s the price that I need to charge to bring a deep sense of obligation to the job. Will I work for less? Probably. Can you negotiate with me? Sure. We can have that type of relationship if you really want me to be that type of designer and you want to be that type of client.

“Let’s just understand each other before we get started.”

See the original letter on Blair’s website here.


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the Ridge: al.most.finished!

It has been a couple of weeks since I visited the site and took these pictures… The Ridge is almost finished!

Last week I heard the parging was being applied to the foundation. Would be nice to see that blue skin covered up!


the Ridge

view from the water


entry window inside



deck detail

see-through reflection

An architect friend of mine once said: great architecture is made possible by great clients. – Thank you F. and K. for being great clients!

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