Spring Gillard

How Green is Your Landlord?

aptbldgHere’s a great offer for landlords and property managers who want to green up their buildings. Spotted this item in the Greenest City newsletter this week. Here it is in full.

There is now a convenient way for even more landlords to increase the value of their properties while reducing operating costs. The new Multi-Unit Residential Building Program, offered by BC Hydro Power Smart and FortisBC, offers personal expertise and support by an energy advisor, access to financial incentives through existing utility programs, in-suite incentives exclusive to this program, and communication materials.

Need proof that it works? Recently, a 48-unit low-rise building in the West End participated in a case study that proved they could save energy, water and money with energy conservation measures (such as boiler upgrades, pipe insulation, and high efficiency washing machines, toilets, faucet aerators and showerheads). The landlord was impressed by the expected reduction to his energy bill and anticipated increase in building value upon upgrades.

This was just one of 23 buildings that participated in this case study. Ninety-six per cent of participating buildings had opportunities for cost effective retrofits.

If you live in a market rental building with 15 suites or more in Vancouver, ask your landlord or property manager to visit this webpage for details. The offer expires on March 1, 2015 or when all the funding has been allocated.

Do you have a new neighbour? If someone is new to your building and to Vancouver, consider sharing Growing Roots: A Newcomer’s Guide to Vancouver with them. Here they can find green tips alongside interesting tales from Vancouver’s locals and loads of other fantastic information.

Desert Breath

desert06This art installation in the Sahara Desert took my breath away. Desert Breath as it’s called was created by Danae Stratou (installation artist), Alexandra Stratou (industrial designer & architect) and Stella Konstantinidis (architect) in 1997. The land art project extends over an area of 100.000 m2 and touches the Red Sea, the two vast spaces evoking infinity. The installation has been decaying over the years, becoming “an instrument to measure the passage of time.” Check out the artists’ website for some amazing pictures and a video. To view Desert Breath on Google Earth go to coordinates: 27°22’54.59″N, 33°37’48.46″E or click here.

Dance Walk

dancefeetSpace is shared by both dance and architecture as a medium either to frame or to express conceptual, emotional and also very concrete ideas. How do artists and architects experience, understand, consider, think, use space?

Mirna Zagar, Executive Director, The Dance Centre, Dance Aesthetics: The Significance of Space

I did a presentation today with my school buddy Tim, and Pierre, one of our very flexible profs. It was for our department research day. Tim takes students on expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. Pierre is involved in ecotourism in Asia. I take people on more urban expeditions.

Tim’s pictures were far more dramatic than mine. But, we attempted to give our participants an experience that showed them that you can turn any site into a powerful and educational tour, event, moment, expedition, whatever you want to call it.dancecentrebest

We called our session: Going out there: Using a dance metaphor to investigate two pedagogical approaches to sustainability education.

We used the dance metaphor because the event was held at the Dance Centre and we presented in an actual dance studio. So being in (and around) a beautiful building (which this one is) and mingling with dancers, invites a discussion of space and aesthetics, which is not a stretch when you’re on tour in an urban setting, pondering sustainability.

transformerFirst Pierre had participants do a little warm up and rehearsal at the barre. He said he was much better at bar than barre, but he did an admirable plié. That was followed by two very brief presentations of our research, kind of a pas de deux. Then we tried a little “choreography” outside. We had charted a route along Granville Street, through a parking lot, down a back alley and winding up in Emery Barnes Park.

Along the way, we asked people to describe the place, say what they found beautiful and how the space made them feel. We had a wonderfully rich conversation and wound up in the park. The only rule here was that they had to play. It could  involve pirouettes or hopping across the rocks in the water feature, or rolling in the grass. Most people chose to play in the designated alleywalkplay area, climbing, swinging and sliding. After a brief cool down, we chasséd back to the Centre.

It is end of term, so it felt appropriate to close with such a happy dance walk.


Tropical Art Tour

postcardsHwaiI had some time between meetings up at UBC yesterday, so I popped in on two art exhibits. The first one is called Hawaii Beyond the Wave, Hawaii Beyond the Postcard. The travelling exhibit is an ethnographic field study on land use, food production and genetically modified foods on the island of Kauai. Artist Mascha Gugganig encourages visitors to send postcards with commentary about the exhibit which are then incorporated into the next stop of the art tour. Find out more on their blog. The exhibit is on at the Liu Institute for Global Issues through May 2nd.

Then I meandered over to the Belkin Gallery to take in The Spaces Between which features contemporary artists from Havana in various media: video, photography, paintings and more. I found it humorous and engaging. This one runs through April 13th, so better hurry if you want to see it.

It was a very pleasant way to while away an afternoon. On such a sunny day, it wasn’t hard to imagine myself in one of these tropical climes.

Itsy Bitsy Yogi

spidertrapA teeny spider joined me in my restorative yoga class yesterday. He (or maybe she) was hogging the bolster. I pushed the bolster away, only to find he’d moved onto the second bolster nearer to me a few minutes later. OMMMMM MY GOD. I shoved that bolster away with a little more force, almost taking out the Japanese rice screen I was lying beside. Hearing the commotion in the corner, my yoga teacher came silently to my rescue. She gently lifted the bolster, carried it to the door and brushed it onto the sidewalk, all without causing a ruckus. Normally, I would do the same, but I was reluctant to get up from my very restorative position under blankets and pillows. Also, I didn’t have my super duper Lee Valley Tools trap that keeps spiders at arm’s length. My yoga teacher said that a spider in your life means you are weaving a new web. Let’s hope that eight-legged yogi helps me spin some magic into my thesis this year.

Prelude Preview

lawler-fadoul-lounge-252x300I’m going to a concert tonight at a friend’s home. Lawler + Fadoul arrange and perform a prelude repertoire on flute and marimba. The duo “offers audiences an unexpected mélange of classical virtuosity, lively commentary, theatrical flair and a small dose of indie rock sensibility.” At least that’s what their website says so eloquently. They have performed in the Kennedy Center, Strathmore, the Cerritos Center, the Kravis Center, Trinity Wall Street, and the Tribeca Performing Arts Center.

In addition to my friend’s beautiful home, they will also be performing at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown at 10:30 tomorrow morning in a “Pitch/Perform” session for the annual conference of the British Columbia Touring Council. More information here.

They have also just released a CD called Prelude Cocktail. Very excited to be getting a preview tonight.

Hollywood Calls

hollywoodA dedicated group is trying to save the iconic Hollywood Theatre in my neighbourhood. They need support. You can start by signing the petition. Here’s the latest call out with several ways you can help.

We have recently presented to the City a document called “Reinventing the Hollywood” that shows our vision for this heritage landmark and much loved cinema house. We want not just to preserve it, but transform it into something even better than before – a vital and dynamic hub for cinema, music, performances, film festivals, lectures and forums, and much more.

If you agree with it, we need you to email the Mayor and Councillors and tell them that you support this vision and want them to act on it. Please share this message with anyone you know who cares about keeping Vancouver a vibrant, visionary and culturally dynamic place.

A Wise Perspective

Eagles1The best indicator of your level of consciousness is how you deal with life’s challenges when they come. Through those challenges, an already unconscious person tends to become more deeply unconscious, and a conscious person more intensely conscious. You can use a challenge to awaken you, or you can allow it to pull you into even deeper sleep.  – Eckhart Tolle, Present Moment Reminders

Unlearning Walking Club

walkingI came across this cool walking series called the Unlearning Walking Club. It’s part of Spaces of Contestation at the Unit/Pitt Project (formerly the Helen Pitt Gallery) on Pender in Vancouver. The moving exploration runs through April 20 and is led by Zoe Keye and Catherine Grau. There’s a walk this Sunday. They’re also running a walk on Saturday at a related art and education exhibit at the UBC Audain Art Centre. You have to register for both. And check out their blog for more cool pics like the one above.

Smokers’ Poll

smokerspoleGone are the days of designated smoking sections and rooms. UBC is making it clear that smokers are unwelcome. They’ve been relegated to a smoking pole. Looks like a few smokers have missed the mark. The smokers’ pole is located well beyond the six required metres from the door of the Scarfe building. Not that I’m complaining. Now we just have to walk by a ring of smoke instead of through a wall. I won’t be surprised to see a smokers’ poll pop up though.