Let us green the earth, restore the earth, heal the earth.
- Ian McHarg
Sustainability is at the heart of our work. We are committed to ecologically responsible design and construction methods, and actively seek work that allows us to incorporate rainwater management techniques, appropriate construction materials, and habitat and biodiversity enhancement strategies. Our LEED-certified professionals work on celebrated green building projects across the country. But we’re also trying to do more than simply minimize our environmental impact; with each shoreline habitat restoration, living roof design, and sustainable community plan, we restore and regenerate ecological systems. Reconnecting people with natural processes opens up a world of sustainable, innovative, and joyful experiences.
Civic & Culture
Houses make a town, but citizens
make a city.
- Jean-Jaques Rousseau
Public places – places of and for people – are essential parts of the community landscape. They’re where we learn, celebrate culture, and maintain civic activities. PWL understands that such places are both symbolic and highly used, providing a sense of community and identity important to all.
Our many years designing elementary and secondary school grounds have evolved to include college and university campuses, all inspiring and functional learning landscapes. Our richly textured landscapes support the activities of many cultural sites, from community centres and sports complexes to museums and cultural centres. In all this work, we never forget who we are designing for: the people.
Commercial & Mixed Use
First life, then spaces, then buildings - the other way around never works.
We know that first impressions are important. That’s why we carefully consider the elements of our corporate campus, office plaza, and commercial landscape designs. These designs concentrate on identity and rich detail but never neglect usability and durability. Our clients appreciate our cost-effective and elegant solutions for the places that are often become the faces of the companies behind them.
Parks & Plazas
Perhaps a garden is best considered as a precise point of connection between a human and the earth.
From the civic plaza animated with public events, to the neighbourhood park where friends meet and children play, parks help make our communities loved and livable. PWL has decades of park design experience, notably our work on waterfront parks. Our two decades of involvement with Vancouver’s Coal Harbour waterfront makes clear our commitment to understanding local and regional character, creating fun and evolving spaces, and supporting community activities.
Planning & Urban Design
Meaning accrues over time.
- Marc Treib
What makes built, open, public and private places work together seamlessly? We believe it’s the planning and common vision that comes before a single stone is laid. PWL’s site planning work with municipalities, institutions, and developers involves an integrated approach with the client and project team to ensure success.
We find that a multi-disciplinary approach that includes the ecological, historical, and cultural aspects of the landscape produces the most robust and meaningful designs. As well as providing guidelines for future development, our work has grown to include streetscapes, greenways, and way-finding signage: all parts of well-planned and thoughtfully designed communities.
We must not build housing, we must build communities.
- Mike Burton
We proudly work with clients across the Lower Mainland on low rise, high rise, and mixed-use residential developments. Our focus on finely detailed design treatments and clever use of common materials result in highly usable landscapes that are sensory experiences at both the small and large scale. Whether for privacy, recreation, children’s play, or quiet garden enjoyment, our residential landscapes create a sense of identity for these developments and allow the residences to truly become homes.
Streetscapes & Greenways
The people of cities understand the symbolic, ceremonial, social and political roles of streets, not just those of movement and access.
- Allan B. Jacobs, Great Streets
Much of public life occurs in the street. In addition to their business, social, and recreational uses, streets play an important role in sustainable city planning by contributing to the urban forest, accommodating alternative transportation options, and providing for rainwater infiltration. At PWL we endeavor to create distinct streetscapes that capture and create a street character that is unique to the location – from the vibrant neon lined Granville Street in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown to the sustainable streets of Southeast False Creek.
We also believe in the need for safe and convenient infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists. The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create sustainable cities has brought this infrastructure to the forefront of many municipal and regional plans. Our extensive work on urban trails has improved the livability of streets and neighbourhoods throughout Metro Vancouver, and further developed our expertise in trail design, urban planning, public consultation, and construction.
Cities have a tremendous, and fleeting, opportunity to reclaim their waterfronts.
- William H. Whyte
People naturally gravitate to waterfronts. Around the world, urban waterfronts are being transformed from industrial brownfields to vibrant, active people places. PWL’s expanding experience in the planning and detail design of urban waterfronts has helped to reknit and reconnect the urban fabric of cities to their waterfront in Vancouver, the lower mainland and abroad. Because waterfront sites often have a rich industrial heritage, our innovative designs impart a sense of the unique history and culture of each site -- celebrating the past while looking toward the future.
We’ve created vibrant and inspiring spaces that capture the users’ imagination, allowing people to more closely and creatively connect with their waterfronts. In all our waterfront work, we strive to preserve and enhance important ecological functions and harmonize human use with natural systems.
What makes a place unique?
The small-scale spaces of a city are important to the quality of every day life. You should be able to relax—talk, sit, listen—in the intimate spaces of a city. There should be opportunities for people to connect, and for community to flourish. Once established, these spaces have a tendency to perpetuate themselves, and to add life and vitality to the city.
PWL Partnership has a way of getting extensively involved in the creation of community placemaking projects… Courtyards, parklets, wharves, public squares, you name it. In addition to providing design services, members of our team often volunteer their time to see these projects to completion. We like to really engage and connect with stakeholders on an intimate level, and these community placemaking projects allow us to do that.
This is just one of the ways we’re incredibly proud of our work at PWL Partnership.