Architect frustrated after Vancouver city staffer rejects wish for full "design rationale" of duplex project

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      Architects are artists.

      They create things of beauty.

      Like a lot of artists, architects are expressive.

      They are often thrilled to talk about their thoughts that went into the design of a work, whether it’s a palace, museum or a house.

      This typically takes the form of what is known as a ‘design rationale’.

      Robert Chester, an architect, wanted to do the same thing for a project in East Vancouver.

      The single-family home at 1749 East 28th Avenue will be demolished, and Chester designed a new duplex for the property.

      But based on a tersely-worded design rationale he submitted as part of a development application, Chester didn’t sound happy.

      It appears that he wanted to prepare a thorough explanation of his design, but Nicole Choi of the city’s development review branch supposedly didn’t want any of it.

      “We prepared a complete and comprehensive design rationale dated March 2, 2020, but it has been wholly rejected by Nicole Choi,” Chester wrote.

      The architect did not provide details about the rejection, but his next sentence talked about what Choi wants.

      “Nicole Choi has instructed us that in lieu of the complete design rationale that we wished to submit, she will accept only ‘just stating what you would wish to relax’,” Chester recalled.

      Meaning, if Chester’s account is correct, Choi wants it short and sweet.

      “We would wish to relax the FSR to 0.60,” Chester went on, apparently following Choi’s wish. [FSR is floor space ratio, which refers to how much can be built.]

      “We would wish to relax the building depth,” Chester continued in obedience.

      Still, Chester can’t seem contain what appears to be his disappointment about the whole thing.

      “If she will allow us to compose our own statement of rationale, it would be that the site has an unusually long depth, and the adjacent houses are longer,” Chester concluded his letter.

      The city will receive comments from the public about the duplex project until June 5, 2020.

      Chester’s projects include the Azora Group’s Brock Street development in East Vancouver.

      The project consists of eight luxury duplexes and two single-family homes.

      “Strong & Classic Architecture” is how the developer describes the design on the project’s website.

      According to the Azora Group, Brock House has a “warm and engaging street-side presence, complementing it's [sic] beautiful natural surroundings”.

      “The craftsman inspired architecture by Robert Chester Architects is both timeless and sophisticated,” the developer states.