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Grace Building – James Schouw & Associates_RonSombilonGallery (3)
Image by Ron Sombilon Gallery
James Schouw photoshoot by Ron Sombilon Gallery
Ron Sombilon is proud to photograph Vancouver developer James Schouw.
For more info on James and his current projects, please visit
About James Schouw
Award winning Yaletown developer James Schouw is a designer, green-minded builder, philanthropist, and community visionary. A building by James Schouw looks unlike any other, anywhere else in the world. James is influenced by early Vancouver architecture with neo-classical elements but his designs are truly original and eclectic.
James oversees all aspects of his developments, from conception, to design, to construction. His timeless design with attention to detail and cutting edge construction, has created a devoted following. His buildings are on the ‘must-see’ list of Vancouver architecture and it’s a common site to see people taking pictures of his buildings. The beauty of his buildings have turned them into Habitable Art, art that people live in.
Best known for the dramatic style of his buildings, James is changing the way buildings are built and raising the bar for environmental sensitivity with his innovative designs. His landmark Grace building, at 1280 Richards, is the first high rise in the city to have been conceived with energy efficient geothermal heating, a technology that saves on heating costs, produces minimal greenhouse gases and has set the standard for other high end projects. The carbon emission reduction for Grace is the equivalent of taking 100 cars off the road annually. In addition to the Geothermal heating system, his projects incorporate a rainwater recovery system. He has also installed a fingerprint recognition security system that ensures only inhabitants gain entrance.
Creating buildings with a reduced environmental footprint is a reflection of James’ overall development philosophy. He has sense of responsibility to enhance the community and give back to society. A minimum of 50% of each year’s net corporate and personal income will be donated to humanitarian efforts over a ten-year period. Charity work is ingrained into his company’s values and culture.
Born in Winnipeg and raised in Vancouver, James studied physics at university but became fascinated with construction after spending time helping his architect father at a construction site. A natural entrepreneur he left school to start a successful ice cream distribution business and to pursue his interest in design and construction. His own dissatisfaction with what he saw on the market prompted him to build his first multifamily development, Iliad. James is a long time resident of Yaletown and always resides in the projects he creates so that they have the liveability that he would expect in a home.
James’ Grace building was awarded the 2008 Georgie Award for High Rise of the Year, was a nominee for best multi-family housing for the national SAM awards, and was a finalist for the international SPARK design awards. James is a past winner of Business in Vancouver’s 40 under 40 Award and he has been featured on CBC Television’s “Living Vancouver”, HGTV’s Lofty Ideas, and CKNW’s “Adler Online”. He is an occasional contributor to Business in Vancouver Magazine, writing articles giving his thoughtful perspective on Vancouver’s housing industry.
steen eiler rasmussen, tingbjerg, 1950-1972
Image by seier+seier
tingbjerg social housing, copenhagen, c.1950-1972.
architect: steen eiler rasmussen.
many influences come together in steen eiler rasmussen’s postwar essay in urbanism, tingbjerg: his liking of urban spaces, repetition, and anonymous architecture bespeak his origin in nordic neoclassicism; there is the klint school’s reactionary insistence on local craft, masonry in this case; also rasmussen’s love of all things English shows itself in street scenes resembling at times a garden city and at times a mining town…finally, there is more than a hint of Italian rationalism.
but all that is invisible to most Danes, not because they don’t appreciate architecture, but rather because of the almost complete failure of tingbjerg as an urban experiment.
its 2000-3000 counsil flats have been used as a social dump by the copenhagen municipality for decades; together with the physical isolation of the neighbourhood this has created an endemic condition of unemployment, substance abuse, and crime. flats are abandoned, shops are boarded up.
steen eiler rasmussen knew full well that his major work was a failure and made no effort to hide the fact that a different approach had to be found for public housing. his legacy as a building architect was permanently tainted and his reputation today rests solely on his writings.
these days see the early stages of a huge reinvestment in the area. the basic architectural fabric is of a quality that should make change possible even if some of us remain sceptical about what landscape architects can do about social problems…
still, as the early modernists well knew, social problems are best adressed with education, jobs, and decent housing. architecture does play a part.