Last edited 04 Jun 2019

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Spotlight on the Americas Centre

Fire station Canada.jpg
Lethbridge fire headquarters in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, designed by FWBA Architects.

Contents

Introduction

Similar to the other centres, the Americas Centre was established in May 2015 and currently has 42 members covering three distinctive areas: Canada, USA and the Caribbean Islands.

This spread of membership creates its own unique set of challenges, but in some ways, they are similar to other Regions/Centres, with a vast area covered with different regional and national approaches to architectural technology. Canada recognises architectural technologists as a profession, and already has its own local governing professional bodies within each provincial jurisdiction, whereas the USA and the Caribbean Islands do not recognise the roles of architectural technologists as a profession. CIAT is currently aiming to make inroads and connections with local and professional bodies and educational establishments to raise its profile and future promote its role as architectural technologists in these countries. CIAT currently has collaborative agreements with the Association of Architectural Technologists of Ontario (AATO), which is a self-regulating professional body in Ontario, Canada, and the American Institute of Building Design (AIBD) in the USA. AIBD is a professional organisation committed to providing quality continuing education to ensure that their members remain current with technology, materials and building codes.

Peter Drew MCIAT is the current Chair of The Americas Centre. Peter started his career in architecture at the beginning of 1987, working as a junior technician with W.D. Stirland Architects, a small practice in Nottingham. By 1992, Peter had completed both his ONC and HNC Certificates in Building Studies on a part-time basis at Nottingham Trent Polytechnic.

Following the retirement of his employer, and after a couple of takeovers, Peter finally ended up working for Stephen George and Partners, where he stayed until his departure to Canada in 2007, completing a successful UK career in housing design.

In 2005, Peter and his family decided to relocate to Canada. Architectural Technologist’s appeared on the list of skilled workers required in Canada and therefore an application was made under the Skilled WorkersProgramme. This type of application is a points-based system dependant on age, financial stability, language skills, work stability, family commitments and medical history. It is aimed to try and identify applicants that would be stable, and likely to remain in the country once they have relocated. The application took two years to process and after completion Peter and his family were finally approved, receiving permanent residence status.

Peter moved to Canada at the end of 2007 and started work as a Lead Senior Architectural technologist (referred to as a Job Captain in Canada) with FWBA Architects in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, leading design teams from concept to completion on site. Peter’s first project in Canada was the design of a new fire headquarters in Lethbridge, which went on to win Fire Chief magazine’s 2012 award for best-designed integrated station style. With this first project, there was a steep learning curve to learn new codes, requirements and procedures, but the experience gained from working in the UK industry was more than enough to fit well into the working environment in Canada. Since moving to Canada, Peter has had the good fortune to work on many projects of various sizes and complexity in a range of sectors, but his main work is Government, local authority and commercial based.

In 2009, Peter continued with his training to qualify as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-accredited professional in the sustainability field, and in 2013, he became a chartered member. He also became a Canadian citizen with dual nationality status, and in 2014, became an associate at FWBA Architects.

The new downtown Lethbridge fire headquarters facility was designed and built to replace the existing Lethbridge No.1 fire hall, and to collocate everything into one facility. An aluminium bar-grate screen marks the three-storey entrance structure at the facility’s southwest corner and serves to shield this large, transparent, circulation core from the intensity of the south sun. This screening element serves a dual function by also using the strong west winds to allow operable windows in this core to assist in passively, and gently, ventilating the building. A large, fully-glazed third floor provides an abundance of daylight and expansive view of the coulees.

Peter was involved in a role as the project manager and played a pivotable role in delivering the Fire Headquarters’ project that meets the client’s design requirements. As one of the technical leaders, he was tasked with working independently and cooperatively in conducting research, preparing drawings, developing architectural models, managing specifications and contracts, tendering the project, as well as supervising the construction project. His responsibilities formed the link between the architect’s concept and the completed construction.

The Americas Centre is eager to welcome other members to play a proactive role in its expansion, development and running. It is only with an active membership that we can reach our full potential and begin to reap the benefits of the wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise we have as members.

Readers with any ideas or comments or who wish to help develop The Americas Centre, are kindly asked to contact any member of the Committee, as listed on the website. Alternatively, Peter Drew can be contacted via email at [email protected]ciat-centres.org.uk

More information about the Centre and its members will be in part two to follow shortly.

About this article

This article was written by Peter Drew MCIAT, Chairman of the Americas Centre. It was first published in AT Journal, issue 128, Winter 2018-19 and can be accessed here.

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External references

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