Heritage conservation & adaptive reuse in our firm DNA
RATIO wrote this on May 17

The conservation of our region’s heritage buildings has always been part of our firm’s DNA. We believe in the conservation of heritage buildings for the economic, cultural and environmental benefits to communities.  The investment in heritage conservation — whether through preservation, rehabilitation, restoration or adaptive reuse —  leads to civic pride, a sense of place and architectural diversity.   RATIO has worked on a number of heritage projects that have turned into award-winning, much loved public facilities.


Sinclair Centre

Respect for history:

Our view on heritage restoration and adaptive reuse begins with respect for the site’s heritage, through thoughtful adaptive reuse of the existing structure.  An example is Sinclair Centre, where we undertook a significant renovation and adaptive reuse project. The heritage structures were preserved while creating a modern atrium space that linked them together to create the Sinclair Centre. Today, the buildings have been recognized for their heritage significance at both the federal and municipal levels and recognized through numerous architecture and design awards.


RATIO-designed Britannia Mine Museum

The Britannia Mine Museum on the Sea to Sky Highway on the west coast of BC had two key challenges: how to create a clear visual identity that would unify the entire facility, and pay respect to the site’s heritage through adaptive reuse of the existing structure. The design solution is the result of an inventive and modern approach to the planning and development of the facility. The Britannia Mine Museum,  an award-winning project, offers inviting spaces within the museum, and reinforces the gritty materiality of the surrounding environment.


Respect for stakeholders and BC history:

Successful heritage projects are the result of collaboration often between the local community, funders, government agencies and political groups. Solutions for heritage projects need to ensure the continued relevance of the historical location as well as capture the broader socioeconomic impact it had on the lower mainland of British Columbia.


Photo Britannia Heritage Shipyards


The Britannia Heritage Shipyards in Steveston, BC is a long-standing client of RATIO, and we’ve partnered with them for nearly two decades. It is an authentic representation of a once thriving community of canneries, boatyards, residences and stores. Every project here comes with its own unique set of challenges, but design excellence, adaptive reuse and historic preservation connect them all.

City of Richmond staff and dedicated volunteers work together to preserve and restore the shipyard and surrounding buildings as an active wooden boat centre and waterfront park. Visitors can tour the oldest shipyard buildings in British Columbia, and observe ongoing boat restoration projects as you experience a bygone time when fishing and boatbuilding were flourishing industries on the Fraser River.


Our work:

Our work in conserving some of British Columbia’s heritage sites has resulted in award-winning and nationally recognized sites that connect design excellence, adaptive reuse and historic preservation. These projects are testaments to the success of heritage conservation.

See RATIO’s portfolio of Heritage Redevelopment projects

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The Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre opens
RATIO wrote this on May 03

Updated May 9, 2017

A Replicable Model for Watershed Stewardship

The RATIO-designed Watershed Stewardship Centre at Kanaka Creek Regional Park in Maple Ridge opened to the public on Saturday, April 30 as part of the annual ‘Goodbye Chums’ release. More than 800 visitors visited the new Watershed Stewardship Centre and participated in the annual ‘Goodbye Chums” release. Partially funded by the local community, the Centre is designed as a replicable model for watershed stewardship, sustainability, education and grassroots engagement.

From KEEPS Chair Ev Fairbrother, “Managing stormwater is key to protecting the Kanaka Creek watershed. The outdoor classroom, including the ‘Roof to Creek’ water features and interpretive signage, create a powerful teaching environment. This Centre has been a long-time dream and driver for the stewardship organization who mustered support, donations and volunteers to help create this anchor for its successful education programs, stewardship projects, and outreach.”

  Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre view 3    Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre view   Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre view 3

Integration of Sustainable Design

The new, Ratio-designed Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre complements the Bell-Irving Hatchery built in 2013. By incorporating environmentally responsible design throughout the site and facility planning, the impacts of the overall development in this delicate watershed are minimized.   The natural tones of wood are emphasized project wide to balance and enhance the building against the rich verdant of the park like setting in the summer months while brightening the location up in the darker, winter months. The predominantly wood superstructure and cladding maximize the carbon sequestration for a small building while creating an affordable framework for project delivery. The  Watershed Stewardship Centre is in a campus-like setting where connectivity and circulation of the spaces are outdoors.  The site seeks to naturalize itself against the ebb and flow of Kanaka Creek floods it is susceptible to. Natural swales are utilized immediately around  the buildings to control and manage  the storm-water flow into the creek.

“The addition of the Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre will offer education and grassroots engagement on the critical importance of watershed stewardship and environmental sustainability,” said Heather Deal, chair of Metro Vancouver’s regional parks committee. “We are thrilled to officially open this Centre in Maple Ridge for the enjoyment of all Metro Vancouver residents and visitors.”

In the works for years, the Centre is intended as an immersive and highly engaging place for visitors with a strong connection to the natural environment. Project funding came from Metro Vancouver, Pacific Salmon Foundation, Shell FuellingChange, KEEPS, Vancity and a bequest from the late George Ross. Pacific Parklands Foundation, a non-profit society established to support Metro Vancouver’s Regional Parks system, played a key role in fundraising. RATIO

From RATIO principal, Mike Mammone, “The volunteers and stakeholders behind the Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre  are to be commended for their dedication and perseverance. The RATIO team is proud to have been part of the solution on the realization of this project. “


Learn more about RATIO’s work on this project

Opening celebration news story in the Maple Ridge News 

Read more about the organizations involved in this project:
KEEPS (Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society)
Pacific Parklands Foundation 
Metro Vancouver Press Release on Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre

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