Archive for ‘Designs’

August 7, 2020

Paint Structure

Last month I designed an open-air steel structure where Othy was planning to produce paint for his business. The objectives were to cover the small triangular area completely, allow for sunlight and air to enter, allow for efficient storm-water run-off, and have the flexibility to be disassembled and remounted elsewhere if needed. Unfortunately it is looking like it won’t get built because Othy has found a more flexible space for future growth. I am still happy to have gained some more knowledge of costs and availability of steel in Kinshasa. It also gave me more practice working with Blender, an amazing open source modelling and rendering tool that I am appreciating more by the day.


Existing site condition

structure ortho_allbutfence-edited



July 18, 2020

Cardboard Crib

One challenge about having a baby in Congo is that there isn’t a market for used stuff. I think that if we were in Canada we would have many used baby things thrown our way as friends and relatives declutter their homes post-having children. Or else we could look for used stuff on Craigslist, Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace. When looking at new cribs we found that the options are either cheaply made or super expensive (we need a middle ground option here like IKEA!). We chose a third option of designing a wood crib to get made, but because of the pandemic we had to post-pone our plans. But we have a growing baby that we can’t hit the pause button on and so I had the idea to design a temporary cardboard crib. I thought that even after he is done with it, we can use it as a play item.

The design uses a strategy of cuts and folds so that one single piece of cardboard can form one side of the crib with very little waste. Then I added internal reinforcing with layered cardboard on the inside of all of the junction points. I used the cardboard we had leftover from our freezer purchase, but only had enough for three sides. To still make it work we have the crib pushed up against the headboard of the bed. It will serve until Moses is able to pull himself to standing. I am very happy with the results! One change I would make is to add additional layers of cardboard on the inside of the top and bottom rung for additional lateral support. It took me a few weeks to make because I had to cut and score everything by hand (and I am a busy mom with many other things to do!), but if drafted in CAD the design could be laser cut in a matter of minutes.


Final result!


Sketch of flat sheet with cuts and scores (solid vs dotted lines)


Card mock-up

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August 18, 2019

Plastic Nave


A few months back I submitted an entry to an architectural competition hosted by Young Architecture Competitions (YAC) called Plastic Monument. It is a proposal for a monument meant to embody the problems that plastic waste is having on our oceans and planet. The project brief as well as the selected winners can be found on the YAC website.

I thought I had a chance at winning, but my entry was not selected. I think once again I was probably too ambitious. The winners were either meshes filled with plastic waste to make a desired shape, or else a representation of how plastic is filling our oceans or how many plastic bottles are produced each minute. My project was a nave constructed using a plastic bottle space frame detail that I developed. The bottles are easy to assemble and disassemble making it easy to involve the community and recycle the bottles afterwards. The nave is a an open space of awe and light and side aisles host a photography exhibition about plastic and our planet. The space frame structure is paired with a scaffold that holds a clear modular container that is suspended above the nave and collects the plastic waste collected during the monument’s tour. The container is designed to be lowered and new wall extension pieces added so that it can hold more over time. It can even fill up so much that the whole nave is full and the visitors can only walk through the side aisles.

I think that my proposal is more impactful than others as it would involve the community in the collection of bottles and construction of the nave, impacting their perspectives and using local plastic that may otherwise end up in a landfill. Secondly, a monument that changes physically and takes away the light and beauty of the original construction has more meaning to visitors than a metaphorical sculpture. And finally, the space frame detail, if developed further, could become a construction detail used to make improvements to precarious housing, for temporary constructions like pavilions during festivals, or for refugee housing, a construction that has practical uses in many parts of the world where there is no infrastructure for plastic waste. Even though this competition has ended, I am super excited to develop this prototype further on my own. In a few months Othy and I will be moving to Kinshasa where I hope to collect more used bottles and build a larger prototype.

I would love to hear your thoughts about this competition proposal and the prototype. Feel free to leave comments below! Check out for more of my design work.





A3_25803_PM 6


July 16, 2019


Title: Billow

Date: June, 2019

Medium: Folded paper on card


Random first placement of pieces


Groomed to form a wave


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May 22, 2018


Over the last few years I have begun experimenting with embroidery as an artistic medium.  I like how it reduces expression to lines and colour. The work is inspired by my Grandma who would often do embroidery on the cards she would give to friends and family on special occasions. The last time I did embroidery was for a set of Christmas cards. This time I made the two cards below as a gift for Philip and Rolf and they depict views from the 2 Fraser adaptive reuse project that I worked on for almost two years.




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April 14, 2018

Queen West SCS

This past year I had the opportunity to work on a small project with Philip Beesley and Rolf Seifert called the Queen West Supervised Consumption Site (SCS). Several SCS have opened up in major cities across the country to reduce the impacts of substance use on individuals and communities. Health Canada has a helpful website that explains the reasons, goals, and how the sites work. The project was a good opportunity for me because it was small and I was able to do everything for the project under the supervision of my boss including the bidding and negotiation process and contract administration. I learned a whole lot from working on this project, am proud at how it turned out, and am excited for the impact it will have! Photos are the property of Philip Beesley Architect Inc. and Rolf Seifert Architect. The photographer is Alex Willms.






April 1, 2017

When the Vernacular Fails

I recently contributed an article to the Site Magazine’s issue 36: Vernaculars. The article is called When the Vernacular Fails and describes the disaster response work I did with EMI in Nepal a few months after the 2015 earthquake. The work relates to the idea of the vernacular because we were outsiders working in a foreign context and had to listen and work with locals and also apply our outside expertise. In the development of a training manual for the rebuilding of more seismic resistant homes, we opted for a hybrid solution that incorporated a few modern construction techniques where needed with the traditional methods that we discovered were very common in the region.


October 1, 2016

Icelandic Trekking Cabins

In July and August my colleague Joe and I prepared a design for a trekking cabin in Iceland that we submitted to a competition put on by Beebreeders. The design proposes a truncated pyramidal form that is lifted off the ground so as to stand lightly on the diverse and fragile landscapes that can be found in Iceland. The form is then carved away to create openings that frame the sky and the landscape. Cabins are clustered together with a canopy between them to frame the view of the uninterrupted horizons and form an exterior sheltered area where groups can informally gather. The cabin is designed in prefabricated pieces that can be easily assembled on each site, can function off grid, and is well insulated to protect against the elements.  On the inside there is a storage and mechanical space in the first half level, a small kitchenette and washroom one story up, and bunk beds that are staggered up the sloping walls to make the space as dense as possible. At the scale of a whole trail, the cabins can be clad in materials that compliment the landscape, and the cabins can serve as beacons for the purpose of way-finding at night or in bad weather.

It was a fun project to work on because it had to be functional and iconic at the same time, and I also enjoyed learning about the many different types of terrain that Iceland has. Now I definitely want to travel there at some point! Although we did not place in the competition, we are still very proud of what we came up with. I welcome any feedback you may have about the design!





August 21, 2016

Canada Bread

I have been working for the past year at Philip Beesley Architect who is working in association with Pucher Siefert. The main project I have been working on is the adaptive reuse of the old Canada Bread Factory in Liberty Village into commercial space. It has been a great project to sink my teeth into as an intern architect. The project was already under construction when I started, but because it is following a design-build process, we are working on design changes as the construction progresses. I am fortunate that the project is so close by and that I get to go to site every week or two to see the progress and watch the things that I helped draw get built! The building has a lot of historic character that includes large swaths of horizontal spaces with beautiful timber ceilings and beams, brick walls with arched doorways and windows, and light steel trusses. One major move we did in the design for reuse was to create an interior double-height avenue space that cuts through the building, offering a place that the employees and the public passing through can enjoy. To create this space, a new structure and roof were created that extend from the old structure. One of my favourite moments of construction was when the old roof was removed as soon as the new structure and roof had been installed a level above it. In a day the space was completely transformed and looks very close to what we envisioned! Check out some of the photos that I took during construction that show the evolution of the avenue.


Installing the new structure for the Avenue


The new roof is on!


The old roof is gone!


Installing the garage doors


Skylights installed!

August 31, 2015

Final Construction Handbook

After returning back from Nepal I spent about three weeks working half-days to finish up the final document to provide to our partner Tearfund UK. There were several changes to be made based on their feedback that included drawing the stone with rubble infill more accurately, providing alternative wood details in the place of concrete and steel, preparing a one page poster that summarizes the information for homeowners, and preparing versions of both documents with no text so that they could later create a Napali version. The handbook is too large to include here, but I have attached the poster below. The techniques are summarized into six key points: (1) build with a strong foundation; (2) use horizontal reinforcement (ring bands at the foundation, lintel, and roof); (3) use vertical reinforcement (tie the foundation to the walls and to the roof); (4) connect the floor system to the walls; (5) provide junction and through stones to connect the walls together, and; (6) provide a gable that is wood instead of stone. The proposed techniques offer a hybrid solution that works with existing building methods in the region so that people can rebuild fairly independently and move back into homes as soon as possible. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to witness Napali architecture and way of life, and learn more about building in stone!