Archive for March, 2015

1_Union Square SF_social steps

1. They give us fresh perspective on the city. (Union Square, San Francisco)

2_High Line svk

2. They bring diverse people together. (The High Line, New York City)

Vancouver steps_LR

3. They are a great place to eat lunch. (Vancouver Art Gallery)

4_Pioneer Square Portland_social steps

4. You can be both alone and part of a group. (Pioneer Square, Portland, OR)

Metropolitan Museum of Art_main entrance

5. Your friends can more easily find you. (Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC)

7_Ryerson Student Centre_social steps 1

6. They motivate you to study. (Ryerson Student Centre, Toronto)

4 seasons centre_TO

7. They mix formal with informal. (Four Seasons Centre, Toronto) (photo source)

5_Robson Square_Vancouver

8. Some combine ramps + stairs (“stramps”). (Robson Square, Vancouver)

9_Philosophers Walk_crop5

9. They are a perfect venue for your brass band. (Philosopher’s Walk, Toronto)

_pillow fight 2015_social steps

TO City Hall_Spider Man

10. You might see a pillow fight or Spider Man on a very early Spring day. (City Hall, Toronto)

-Sharon VanderKaay



developer  questions

Public reaction to big new development schemes tends to focus on taste (likes and dislikes) or issues such as whether the style fits with that of nearby buildings. When a new “artist’s concept” appears in the media, what questions spring to mind?

Our questions might include: Is it a bold optimistic statement about the future…or a giant oppressive sculpture that will loom over us? Will it feed our souls, or make us feel less human?

What if we always asked an even bigger question: How healthy is this proposed scheme?

Such a fundamental question raises the issue of how the development will affect our state of mind and whether it will nurture human connections.

In terms of creating a long term ecological asset, it’s not enough to simply aim for technical sustainability. We must now assess the potential impact on sustaining and nurturing us as humans.

This means seeing big development schemes as they affect our total health—ranging from creating a cultural and social asset, to stimulating our brains and revitalizing our spirit.

It’s time to get beyond superficial criteria in evaluating developer and architect-proposed schemes. If what we build is not beloved today, it is at risk of being landfill tomorrow.

– Sharon Vanderkaay


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    We see our collaboration with clients and colleagues as providing a living lab for enriching the creative process. Farrow’s built work has been internationally recognized for leadership in human-centric design. This is where we come to discuss our ideas as they hatch and our experiences as they happen.
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