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Allen+Maurer Architects Ltd., Okanagan Valley, Canada

Friday 18 Jan 2013
 

Allen+Maurer Architects design to complement natural surroundings

 
 
 
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This practice favours common sense, simplicity and values the economical 

Allen+Maurer Architects Ltd are a practice in the dry interior of Canada's Okanagan Valley, in a region of orchards and vineyards. In a context still dominated by the generic designs of urban North America, their desire was to let the buildings reflect its surroundings; particularly climatic and geographic characteristics.

The practice favours common sense over high-tech solutions: build only what is needed, let roof overhangs and natural convection do the job of cooling equipment, abstain from complexities and to save money for things of real value, such as photovoltaics and geothermal heating systems, to name examples.

Starting with the Maurer House they have put these ideas to work in small projects like the Oliver Agrispirit Pavilion, in houses like the Sloan Berkes House, and in larger projects such as the Askew's Shopping Centre in Salmon Arm, BC. Askew's wanted to breathe new life into a building type that is, in North America, largely neglected by all but the most bottom-line driven design culture. Its commercial success could give it a much needed new impulse.

Their construction management firm Artifex Design Build Ltd. was created to retain control over the often experimental aspects of their designs and offer their clients a higher degree of architectural involvement during construction. With Artifex they have now completed 5 houses, all under 250 sq m, all within few kilometres of their office.

An escalating concentration of wealth and power uses architecture increasingly to serve the vanity of governments and corporate behemoths. Only few can become "Starchitects", but many try. The resulting seeking of formal hyperbole and uniqueness has forgotten the profession's essential service to humanity. Allen+Maurer are resisting this temptation and chose to create form within the limits of commonsense and economic reason to fit the needs of the 21st century.

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Allen+Maurer Architects Ltd.
www.allenmaurer.com
 
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