Elegance & Efficiency
Based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Ankenman Marchand Architects is a diverse and award-winning architecture firm. For nearly 25 years, they’ve been bringing new ideas to their industry through a variety of work ranging from urban planning, master planning and commercial developments, to heritage restoration, multi-residential, and public consultation.
Never shy of a challenge, AMA have taken on projects such as micro-breweries and distilleries, to co-housing, sensitive heritage restorations, large scale resorts and floating homes
A key point which sets AMA apart from their competition is their attention to their clients, listening carefully and delivering exactly what they want. By overseeing all projects themselves, PrincipalsTim Ankenman and Francois Marchand ensure that the client has their voice heard, and provide detailed information about the work.
“Francois and myself manage each project,” Tim Ankenman says. “We’re always in touch with our clients personally. We always represent the projects at design panels, public hearings or during public information meetings. I think that opposed to a lot of firms where clients feel like they’re being shoved down the ladder, they’re always in contact with the principals. “
The open lines of communication allows AMA to swiftly and succinctly handle any challenges that may arise, which aides in creating long-term relationships with their cliental over the years.
“If there’s a problem, we deal with it immediately and our clients really appreciate that,” says Tim. “We have clients with us since the day we opened, and there’s no better testament in my mind in terms of keeping clients happy than coming back repeatedly.”
In delivering their top-notch architectural and planning work with their staff of 18, AMA have cultivated a strong workplace which values fresh ideas and diversity. It’s this and the continual learning opportunities the firm offers which make it an exciting place to work.
“Our office is unique and interesting because we probably have staff from just about every single country on the globe,” explains Tim. “We find that bringing different cultures and different backgrounds to the practice brings a whole different set of parameters because these people have all learned different techniques and styles. To bring that here is tremendously powerful for us. As a whole I think it creates one very strong internal culture within our firm.”
Tim adds that the variety of the work and constant learning curve in the industry makes for an enjoyable workplace. “I think that’s how we keep our staff engaged and interested, they’re not constantly working on one building typology or one component of a building. They’re always being exposed to fresh ideas and fresh parts of the building and new project typologies. I think that keeps them focused and interested in their work.”
In 2014, AMA (with Gair Williamson Architects) had their hard work recognized by the Vancouver Urban Design Awards, taking home the Innovation Award for their work on The Paris Block . For the firm, the award signifies the uniqueness of the project, and the dedication required to complete it. The Paris Block is an ambitious refurbishment project which involved the heritage conversion of 29 incumbent luxury lofts plus street level retail within a 100-year-old commercial building.
The project included upgrading the infrastructure, refurbishing the facade and retrofitting a new function. Exposed steel beams, high ceilings, original brickwork and exterior signage were preserved to retain the historic feeling of the old shoe factory.
“It’s nice to be recognized,” says Tim. “We do a lot of heritage work, and it demands an awful lot of attention to detail just to restore these things back to their former glory and get innovated with how you replicate pieces that were hand-carved 100 years ago.”
“It’s a real art to try and recreate a lot of these heritage components and do them in a meaningful manner, while still using today’s materials and methodologies. To be recognized with an award is always nice,” he says.
With their heritage work, AMA is continuing their focus on the environment with Building Recycling. Striving to prevent structures from being demolished and thrown away, AMA redesign spaces for both residential and commercial purposes.
“In my mind there’s nothing more we can be doing for the environment than saving unnecessary construction debris from our landfills,” says Tim on recycling buildings. “You can put on a creative hat and understand what’s there, understand the meaning of what’s there, and the environmental consequences of simply tearing it down, which I think we do too much of as a society.”
Continuing Ankenman Marchand Architects
When it comes to attracting new clients, AMA rely on their reputation for adding value to their projects with stunning and creative designs, as well as their diverse range of work.
“Normally people come to us because we’ve done a very similar project in the past that’s unique,” explains Tim. “I think we’ve gained a reputation for adding as much value to real estate as we possibly can, we understand the system and how important it is for our clients for their projects to be economically sustainable.”
“We have a real diversity in terms of our project typology,” he continues. “That’s what we enjoy, because I am a big fan of constantly learning about different project types. And that’s how we get our work, our reputation based on our past projects.”
When looking to the future, Tim places an emphasis on educating their staff and continue moulding Ankenman Marchand Architects into a firm of success for many years to come. “My goals are to continue to train those who are younger than me to learn more about what my position is, and what my partner Francois’ position is, so that we can create a legacy and the firm will be here after we’re gone,” he explains.
“We think that we’ve created a wonderful architectural culture here,” Tim continues. “We’d love to see the firm continue long after we’re gone.”