International Women in Engineering Day

In celebration of International Women In Engineering Day on June 23, we are celebrating the incredible women on our team and sharing their experiences in the world of Engineering. Read more below about our Trailblazers, Collaborators and Thinkers.

Aishling Browne

Project Engineer | M.Eng, E.I.T.


How did you get into Engineering?
My decision to pursue a degree in Structural Engineering was down to a fascination with Architecture and an innate curiosity about how things are constructed. It was also a result of watching too much Grand Designs growing up. An internship eight years ago cemented my passion about the built environment and kick-started my career.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I was the only girl in my class for several subjects in high school – so working in a male-dominated environment was not an intimidating prospect. My experience in the industry has had minor challenges but learning to trust your instincts and use your voice are key to overcoming them.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
If you’re looking for a career that is both challenging and rewarding, Engineering is the way to go. It can be very varied – different types of projects, structural systems, materials – which keep it interesting. There is always something new to learn no matter how long you’ve worked in the industry.

Aishling Browne

Project Engineer | M.Eng, E.I.T.


How did you get into Engineering?
My decision to pursue a degree in Structural Engineering was down to a fascination with Architecture and an innate curiosity about how things are constructed. It was also a result of watching too much Grand Designs growing up. An internship eight years ago cemented my passion about the built environment and kick-started my career.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I was the only girl in my class for several subjects in high school – so working in a male-dominated environment was not an intimidating prospect. My experience in the industry has had minor challenges but learning to trust your instincts and use your voice are key to overcoming them.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
If you’re looking for a career that is both challenging and rewarding, Engineering is the way to go. It can be very varied – different types of projects, structural systems, materials – which keep it interesting. There is always something new to learn no matter how long you’ve worked in the industry.

Ilana Danzig

Associate | P.Eng., Struct. Eng., M.Eng., PE, SE


How did you get into Engineering?
Growing up, I had an affinity for math and physics. The rules and language just made sense to me. It’s obvious to me now that I was an Engineer-to-be, but I didn’t have any Engineer role models in my life and had no idea what Engineers “did.” In high school I received a scholarship that was offered to women to entice them to Engineering and I think that was the first time I ever considered the field. With a “why not” attitude, and still no clue what Engineering was, I took a leap into the field and I have never once looked back. By now I think I have figured out what (some) Engineers do.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
Being the only woman on a construction site used to be really awful. One of my university summer jobs was working on a site doing construction management, and the blatant and subtle sexism left me feeling as if I didn’t belong in Engineering. I hated that I had to develop a thick skin, laugh along with the jokes, and feel alone in my struggle and self-consciousness about my age and gender. Time has been kind to the industry though, and over the years, at least here in BC, I’ve seen a much better culture emerge on most construction sites.

Representation was another challenge. I can count on one hand the number of female senior Engineers who I’ve worked with in my career. Amongst Engineers, Technicians, and Architects, examples of women who were senior in their field were rare. Women who were senior in their field AND had kids were almost nonexistent. Representation matters so much more than people who’ve never lacked for it understand. I couldn’t see myself in senior roles, especially if I was a parent, and I worried that I would hinder my career by having a child. Today, I see so many more examples of women who are senior in their field, women in Engineering with kids and, so importantly, Dads taking on the kind of active parenting that traditionally used to be left to Mom.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
I have three messages to the girls/women entering the field:
1.  Know that the field of Engineering is stronger with you than without you. Engineering is primarily a field of creativity that happens to use the language of math and physics. Uniformity is the death of creativity, whereas creativity benefits enormously from diversity, broad perspectives, and people coming at problems in different ways.
2.  Seek out role models and mentors. Regardless of gender, seek out people you admire, can learn from, and you can draw inspiration from.
3.  You have power in your choices. When you choose a school, a job, or even a study group that explicitly recognizes the inherent value in diversity, you are casting a vote.

Ilana Danzig

Associate | P.Eng., Struct. Eng., M.Eng., PE, SE


How did you get into Engineering?
Growing up, I had an affinity for math and physics. The rules and language just made sense to me. It’s obvious to me now that I was an Engineer-to-be, but I didn’t have any Engineer role models in my life and had no idea what Engineers “did.” In high school I received a scholarship that was offered to women to entice them to Engineering and I think that was the first time I ever considered the field. With a “why not” attitude, and still no clue what Engineering was, I took a leap into the field and I have never once looked back. By now I think I have figured out what (some) Engineers do.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
Being the only woman on a construction site used to be really awful. One of my university summer jobs was working on a site doing construction management, and the blatant and subtle sexism left me feeling as if I didn’t belong in Engineering. I hated that I had to develop a thick skin, laugh along with the jokes, and feel alone in my struggle and self-consciousness about my age and gender. Time has been kind to the industry though, and over the years, at least here in BC, I’ve seen a much better culture emerge on most construction sites.

Representation was another challenge. I can count on one hand the number of female senior Engineers who I’ve worked with in my career. Amongst Engineers, Technicians, and Architects, examples of women who were senior in their field were rare. Women who were senior in their field AND had kids were almost nonexistent. Representation matters so much more than people who’ve never lacked for it understand. I couldn’t see myself in senior roles, especially if I was a parent, and I worried that I would hinder my career by having a child. Today, I see so many more examples of women who are senior in their field, women in Engineering with kids and, so importantly, Dads taking on the kind of active parenting that traditionally used to be left to Mom.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
I have three messages to the girls/women entering the field:
1.  Know that the field of Engineering is stronger with you than without you. Engineering is primarily a field of creativity that happens to use the language of math and physics. Uniformity is the death of creativity, whereas creativity benefits enormously from diversity, broad perspectives, and people coming at problems in different ways.
2.  Seek out role models and mentors. Regardless of gender, seek out people you admire, can learn from, and you can draw inspiration from.
3.  You have power in your choices. When you choose a school, a job, or even a study group that explicitly recognizes the inherent value in diversity, you are casting a vote.

Ellie Clark

Project Engineer | M.Eng., E.I.T.


How did you get into Engineering?
Whilst trying to decide which degree to study at university, I was torn between taking a creative subject as I loved design, or a mathematical degree as this is where I was academically stronger. A friend suggested that I look into studying engineering, as the skills required combine science, design and maths.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
As a female engineer, you will often find yourself as the only woman on site and in meetings. Having the confidence to speak up and get your point across can sometimes be challenging, especially when you are starting out.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
I have been lucky to have been taught by and worked with some great female engineers who have been wonderful role models for me.  I would advise young female engineers to seek out the same support as it is can be difficult to believe you can do something when you don’t see people similar to you achieving it.

Ellie Clark

Project Engineer | M.Eng., E.I.T.


How did you get into Engineering?
Whilst trying to decide which degree to study at university, I was torn between taking a creative subject as I loved design, or a mathematical degree as this is where I was academically stronger. A friend suggested that I look into studying engineering, as the skills required combine science, design and maths.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
As a female engineer, you will often find yourself as the only woman on site and in meetings. Having the confidence to speak up and get your point across can sometimes be challenging, especially when you are starting out.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
I have been lucky to have been taught by and worked with some great female engineers who have been wonderful role models for me.  I would advise young female engineers to seek out the same support as it is can be difficult to believe you can do something when you don’t see people similar to you achieving it.

Julia Fatkullina

Project Accountant


What do you enjoy most about working as a Project Accountant in Engineering?
Throughout my career I’ve worked in a variety of industries, and I am relatively new to Engineering. My favourite part from day one was the idea of being a part of something big – big projects that benefit so many people. It starts as an idea, drawing or a model, and then I can see it coming to life phase-by-phase. The whole process is transpiring in front of my eyes. After some time when I see pictures of the final result, it just blows my mind! Thinking that I was a part of this process, supporting the team of Engineers on the financial side of business, thinking of all these people that have new homes, schools, bridges, etc. makes me feel happy and fulfilled. I’m very proud to be a part of the team that makes the world a better place, one building at a time. And I truly admire women who choose this complex profession as their career.

Julia Fatkullina

Project Accountant


What do you enjoy most about working as a Project Accountant in Engineering?
Throughout my career I’ve worked in a variety of industries, and I am relatively new to Engineering. My favourite part from day one was the idea of being a part of something big – big projects that benefit so many people. It starts as an idea, drawing or a model, and then I can see it coming to life phase-by-phase. The whole process is transpiring in front of my eyes. After some time when I see pictures of the final result, it just blows my mind! Thinking that I was a part of this process, supporting the team of Engineers on the financial side of business, thinking of all these people that have new homes, schools, bridges, etc. makes me feel happy and fulfilled. I’m very proud to be a part of the team that makes the world a better place, one building at a time. And I truly admire women who choose this complex profession as their career.

Ornagh Higgins

Project Engineer | M.Eng., E.I.T.


How did you get into Engineering?
I really enjoyed studying Maths and Science in school and I was looking for a career that involved these subjects. After completing a work experience placement in Engineering I knew it was what I wanted to do. I loved the problem-solving aspects and working within multi-disciplinary teams on the same project.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I started my career during the recession in Ireland so I struggled to find a graduate position and had to look further afield. While moving abroad for work was initially a challenge it opened up lots of opportunities and enhanced my career. I’ve been fortunate to work in the U.K., Austria and Canada.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
If you find an area that interests you, go for it! It’s an extremely rewarding and stimulating job. What I love most about Engineering is being involved in projects from the initial design sketches through to the built structure. Also, the industry is constantly evolving so you’ll never run out of new things to learn.

Ornagh Higgins

Project Engineer | M.Eng., E.I.T.


How did you get into Engineering?
I really enjoyed studying Maths and Science in school and I was looking for a career that involved these subjects. After completing a work experience placement in Engineering I knew it was what I wanted to do. I loved the problem-solving aspects and working within multi-disciplinary teams on the same project.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I started my career during the recession in Ireland so I struggled to find a graduate position and had to look further afield. While moving abroad for work was initially a challenge it opened up lots of opportunities and enhanced my career. I’ve been fortunate to work in the U.K., Austria and Canada.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
If you find an area that interests you, go for it! It’s an extremely rewarding and stimulating job. What I love most about Engineering is being involved in projects from the initial design sketches through to the built structure. Also, the industry is constantly evolving so you’ll never run out of new things to learn.

Raquel Fernandez

BIM Technician


How did you get into Engineering?
I got into Engineering thanks to my obsession with pretty drawings and inspiring architectural structures.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
Surprisingly, it is a constant challenge to keep communication skills up to par with technical skills, which we were not trained for in school and seems to be at the root behind most work problems. It is also a challenge to be singled out frequently based on my gender in this field, both for better and for worse, although it is improving with time.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
Associate yourself with great people who will stand by you. Work with people who you have fun with and share plenty of values with. Be stubborn enough to persevere through challenging problems, some of them systemic, which may be overwhelming at times. But whatever happens, don’t give up on being a girl.

Raquel Fernandez

BIM Technician


How did you get into Engineering?
I got into Engineering thanks to my obsession with pretty drawings and inspiring architectural structures.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
Surprisingly, it is a constant challenge to keep communication skills up to par with technical skills, which we were not trained for in school and seems to be at the root behind most work problems. It is also a challenge to be singled out frequently based on my gender in this field, both for better and for worse, although it is improving with time.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
Associate yourself with great people who will stand by you. Work with people who you have fun with and share plenty of values with. Be stubborn enough to persevere through challenging problems, some of them systemic, which may be overwhelming at times. But whatever happens, don’t give up on being a girl.

Eva Chau

Project Manager | P.Eng., M.Eng.


How did you get into Engineering?
Growing up, I was always interested in the built environment. Structural Engineering was a field that aligned well my interest and suited my skills in math and science. It is a choice that I have been very happy with.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
There have been times when some clients or contractors would look to a male colleague to corroborate a statement I made in order to trust what I have said. And, as I have recently become a mother, it is challenging me to think about how I can achieve my career goals and meet my goals within my family.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
Trust in yourself and be confident with your abilities.

Eva Chau

Project Manager | P.Eng., M.Eng.


How did you get into Engineering?
Growing up, I was always interested in the built environment. Structural Engineering was a field that aligned well my interest and suited my skills in math and science. It is a choice that I have been very happy with.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
There have been times when some clients or contractors would look to a male colleague to corroborate a statement I made in order to trust what I have said. And, as I have recently become a mother, it is challenging me to think about how I can achieve my career goals and meet my goals within my family.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
Trust in yourself and be confident with your abilities.

Meike Engel

Project Engineer | B.Eng., E.I.T.


How did you get into Engineering?
I chose to study Engineering simply because I was passionate about Math and Physics in high school. From a young age, I was always curious, and loved problem solving and so Engineering seemed like a naturally good fit for me.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I suppose confidence is a main challenge which I have faced early on. Thankfully, I have always been surrounded by amazing mentors, teachers, and colleagues who have helped and encouraged me to stand up and ask lots and lots of questions! The number of women entering STEM fields is increasing significantly and more and more businesses seem to be excited about seeing more female representation within their team. My Civil Engineering class was made up of nearly 40% women which was very exciting and encouraging to be a part of!

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
Engineering is an amazing field to be a part of! It is dynamic, exciting, and there will always be something new to learn. My advice to young women entering the field would be to never stop asking questions and to always stay curious! I would also recommend doing as many internships as you can during your degree to help guide you and find your passion within the field!

Meike Engel

Project Engineer | B.Eng., E.I.T.


How did you get into Engineering?
I chose to study Engineering simply because I was passionate about Math and Physics in high school. From a young age, I was always curious, and loved problem solving and so Engineering seemed like a naturally good fit for me.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I suppose confidence is a main challenge which I have faced early on. Thankfully, I have always been surrounded by amazing mentors, teachers, and colleagues who have helped and encouraged me to stand up and ask lots and lots of questions! The number of women entering STEM fields is increasing significantly and more and more businesses seem to be excited about seeing more female representation within their team. My Civil Engineering class was made up of nearly 40% women which was very exciting and encouraging to be a part of!

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
Engineering is an amazing field to be a part of! It is dynamic, exciting, and there will always be something new to learn. My advice to young women entering the field would be to never stop asking questions and to always stay curious! I would also recommend doing as many internships as you can during your degree to help guide you and find your passion within the field!

Julia Pham

BIM Technician


How did you get into Engineering?
I got into this AEC industry because I saw the work that my Dad and brother did in this field and wanted to be a part of the excitement too! I took a Structural CAD and Graphics program and started working part time at the company I had my practicum with, and transitioned to full time when I finished the bulk of the program. I love how I get to be a part of the built environment in my city and beyond, and learn how challenges are overcome to make structures stand and function.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I started out working in an office with little female mentorship or example. I didn’t know how to approach my career when I faced jokes or was treated differently than my male peers. The industry is changing a lot and I keep having more and more positive experiences as I blend in for being the person that I am and not the token female in the room. The other is balancing the desire to spend time innovating with the realities of time!

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
First, what a great field to be interested in! This is an amazing field to be in if you love solving puzzles! Know that exploring the “why’s” of the problems helps with the “how”. Know that the joy that comes from teamwork and the effort that goes into a well-done project is beyond calculation. If you are in anyway concerned that this has traditionally been a male-dominated industry – do not fear! Know that if you work hard and speak up, your work will be seen for the results and effort you put in. Some things that have helped me along my way have been getting to know my coworkers and finding commonalities vs. focusing on the differences (ie. they’re so much older, they’re all men etc.), joking back, speaking up, and finding great mentors within and outside of the workplace. If you are looking for resources, Girls in Tech and Holly Burton from Women in Male-Dominated Industries are great places to start. The industry as a whole is getting much better. This truly is an exciting time to be in the field!

Gina Sheppard

Principal


How did you get into Engineering?
The truthful answer is: randomly – I picked a CAD Program and got “stuck” with the structural option. The real question is why did I stay? I’ve always enjoyed both math and visuals, and the field is the perfect blend of numbers and creativity – using rules to effect aesthetics. My passion for beautiful, well-communicated designs was sparked the day I got out of school and it just keeps getting stronger with every project I see come to life. One defining moment was when an engineer explained how he had used the golden ratio to layout the tight fit pins on an exposed glulam brace – I was hooked! The subfield of drafting, as well, has evolved so much – gone are the days when the technicians were locked in the closet and worked in a silo. I saw how different people on the team contributed in a collaborative way, found my place in that team, and never looked back.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I’ve been in meetings where there is that awkward pause when people wonder if they should shake hands with the one female in the room.  I’ve had to learn to navigate the very unfamiliar territory of being an advocate for myself, which I think many young women find unintuitive.  I believe imposter syndrome is something many women struggle with and it’s definitely been a theme for me over the years.  Thankfully, throughout my entire career I’ve worked with people who were constant allies for me, and women in the field in general.  I feel particularly lucky to say that it was rare to feel isolated due to my gender within the office, and am so proud to see that it is becoming less and less of an issue future generations will face.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
It’s not as scary as you think!  Yes, women are still underrepresented, but that is constantly changing for the good.  Diversity is the secret ingredient that makes a good team into a strong team.

It’s um, like, super fun.  It’s a path that allows you to flex both sides of the brain. It continually offers new challenges and learning opportunities and is full of rewarding experiences as you work through the design and construction process – from concept to finished structure.  The field never gets boring as there are always new problems to investigate and solve.

Finally, and importantly, individual success is the product of exposure, encouragement, advice, and instruction from a variety of perspectives so draw on mentorship and community from a diverse range of people both in out of the field.

Julia Pham

BIM Technician


How did you get into Engineering?
I got into this AEC industry because I saw the work that my Dad and brother did in this field and wanted to be a part of the excitement too! I took a Structural CAD and Graphics program and started working part time at the company I had my practicum with, and transitioned to full time when I finished the bulk of the program. I love how I get to be a part of the built environment in my city and beyond, and learn how challenges are overcome to make structures stand and function.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I started out working in an office with little female mentorship or example. I didn’t know how to approach my career when I faced jokes or was treated differently than my male peers. The industry is changing a lot and I keep having more and more positive experiences as I blend in for being the person that I am and not the token female in the room. The other is balancing the desire to spend time innovating with the realities of time!

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
First, what a great field to be interested in! This is an amazing field to be in if you love solving puzzles! Know that exploring the “why’s” of the problems helps with the “how”. Know that the joy that comes from teamwork and the effort that goes into a well-done project is beyond calculation. If you are in anyway concerned that this has traditionally been a male-dominated industry – do not fear! Know that if you work hard and speak up, your work will be seen for the results and effort you put in. Some things that have helped me along my way have been getting to know my coworkers and finding commonalities vs. focusing on the differences (ie. they’re so much older, they’re all men etc.), joking back, speaking up, and finding great mentors within and outside of the workplace. If you are looking for resources, Girls in Tech and Holly Burton from Women in Male-Dominated Industries are great places to start. The industry as a whole is getting much better. This truly is an exciting time to be in the field!

Gina Sheppard

Principal


How did you get into Engineering?
The truthful answer is: randomly – I picked a CAD Program and got “stuck” with the structural option. The real question is why did I stay? I’ve always enjoyed both math and visuals, and the field is the perfect blend of numbers and creativity – using rules to effect aesthetics. My passion for beautiful, well-communicated designs was sparked the day I got out of school and it just keeps getting stronger with every project I see come to life. One defining moment was when an engineer explained how he had used the golden ratio to layout the tight fit pins on an exposed glulam brace – I was hooked! The subfield of drafting, as well, has evolved so much – gone are the days when the technicians were locked in the closet and worked in a silo. I saw how different people on the team contributed in a collaborative way, found my place in that team, and never looked back.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I’ve been in meetings where there is that awkward pause when people wonder if they should shake hands with the one female in the room.  I’ve had to learn to navigate the very unfamiliar territory of being an advocate for myself, which I think many young women find unintuitive.  I believe imposter syndrome is something many women struggle with and it’s definitely been a theme for me over the years.  Thankfully, throughout my entire career I’ve worked with people who were constant allies for me, and women in the field in general.  I feel particularly lucky to say that it was rare to feel isolated due to my gender within the office, and am so proud to see that it is becoming less and less of an issue future generations will face.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
It’s not as scary as you think!  Yes, women are still underrepresented, but that is constantly changing for the good.  Diversity is the secret ingredient that makes a good team into a great team.

It’s um, like, super fun.  It’s a path that allows you to flex both sides of the brain. It continually offers new challenges and learning opportunities and is full of rewarding experiences as you work through the design and construction process – from concept to finished structure.  The field never gets boring as there are always new problems to investigate and solve.

Finally, and importantly, individual success is the product of exposure, encouragement, advice, and instruction from a variety of perspectives so draw on mentorship and community from a diverse range of people both in out of the field


ASPECT + Business Continuity + Public Health

On March 14th, 2020 ASPECT Structural Engineers adopted a work-from-home policy for our offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Switzerland.

What this means for our clients and how have we changed our day-to-day practice:

  1. We've leveraged our existing IT systems to make this transition (relatively) seamless and anticipate little-to-no interruption in our service.
  2. Aspect will attend all coordination meetings as scheduled digitally. We are happy to facilitate digital meeting spaces; please reach out if you would like assistance with this.
  3. We have suspended all business-related international travel and will work with you to ensure that our participation in meetings and design charrettes carry out digitally per above.
  4. Site reviews for local projects will continue as normal. Plan for our engineers to reach out beforehand to ensure appropriate health precautions and social distancing.
  5. Site reviews for non-local projects will be performed on a case-by-case basis.  We will continue to rely on digital inspection methods, and engage local consultants as needed to ensure limited impact on construction schedules.
  6. The Aspect offices will be closed to all non-staff. Enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures have, and will remain, in place for the foreseeable future.

We are committed to these measures in the interest of public health and will monitor the appropriate channels and provide an update once we are able to revert to the "old normal".

We hope this message finds you safe and healthy and we look forward to continuing to work on amazing projects for our amazing clients!

We are here to help. Please feel free to Contact Us with any questions.

Sincerly,
Team ASPECT


ULI Toronto: Mass Timber Construction MasterClass

Join Aspect Principal Bernhard Gafner at ULI Toronto for a Mass Timber Construction MasterClass, February 25, 2020. This class is designed for those interested in building with mass timber who want to explore the advantages as well as the procedures:

Planning, designing and building a mass timber building is radically different than a conventional structure. Understanding how it is different, advantages, constraints, timelines, risks etc. are key to market adoption in order to realize the benefits. This session is designed to be a master class by Bernhard Gafner that will provide attendees with an intimate knowledge of what it means to plan, design, procure and construct a mass timber building.

Register at ULI Toronto

 

Cover image is Dream/CityScape mass timber Distillery Ribbon building designed by SHoP Architects & Quadrangle. 

Side Walk Talk: Exploring the Future of Mass Timber Building

Sidewalk Toronto is a proponent of mass timber, a sustainable new building material with great potential for efficient factory production. The Aspect team is proud to be part of the engineering team on this state of the art project. Learn all about the Sidewalk Toronto Proposal, a new approach to inclusive urban growth.

We also invite you to explore Side Walk Talk a blog where technologists and urbanists discuss the future of cities:

We think timber buildings could be even taller, so we spent the past year working with a world-class team of architects, engineers, and environmental designers to create a mass timber "proto-model" at 35 stories  — a height yet to be achieved in practice. We call this project Proto-Model X, or PMX. What's a proto-model, you ask? Associate Director of Development Cara Eckholm explains that and more in a PMX mini series on the Sidewalk Talk blog.

Their blog will take you through this project and the potential of mass timber building:

  • Introducing PMX: Our model for how tall timber buildings could work in cities (Introduction)
  • How to design a timber building that can reach 35 stories (Part 1)
  • How to design a timber building that's easy to make in a factory (Part 2)
(Image: Michael Green Architecture and Gensler)

Tall Wood Buildings Hoped to Boost Lumber Sector

Check out the Global Okanagan News footage of our associate Ilana Danzig discussing the future of Mass-Timber buildings in BC.

The story covered the The Wood Design Luncheon Conference in Kelowna. These annual conferences in two BC locations feature presentations on current topics in architecture, engineering, design and construction with wood by experts in wood design and building while suppliers are on hand with their exhibits to answer questions about wood products and systems. The same three presentations are given in each location. Learn more about the conference...

This year Ilana presented on:

Tall Wood Case Studies in Canada
Ilana Danzig | P.Eng., M.Eng., PE, SE | Associate – Aspect Engineering
Review and discussion of two tall mass timber buildings: A 12-storey building and a 30+ storey building. Discussions will included the structural system, fire requirements, lateral load considerations, opportunities for prefabrication, and the new 2020 NBCC Encapsulated Mass Timber construction type.

Go to the 12:45 mark of this video to see the Mass-Timber story:


The International Wood Construction Conference (IHF2019)

Join our principals Bernhard Gafner and Mehrdad Jahangiri at the 25th International Wood Construction Conference (IHF), December 4th–6th 2019 at Innsbruck, Congress Centrum
Practical experience – Practical application
The International Wood Construction Conference (IHF2019) provides architects, engineers and builders with an opportunity to report on experiences, processes and goals related to wood structures and construction. At the same time, the conference provides an opportunity for architects, building officials, builders, craftspeople, practitioners and educators to learn about the latest developments and to exchange experiences.

Bernhard Gafner a principal at  ASPECT Structural Engineers will present on the friday morning:
Practical experiences with respect to bracing concepts for 12-storey wooden high-rise buildings under consideration of wind and earthquake loads.

Learn more about the conference...

 

 


New mass timber projects a glimmer of hope for B.C. forestry industry

Our Associate, Ilana Danzig was featured on CTV News to discuss the possible growth of the BC forestry industry because of changes to the building code:

Starting in 2020, the national building code of Canada will allow for mass timber buildings to be constructed across the country. Currently, buildings made of wood are only allowed to stand six storeys high. After the mass timber policy change next year, buildings will be permitted to stand up to 12 storeys tall.

The increase in size and scale of wooden buildings could help revitalize the forestry industry, according to professionals in the field.

Ilana discussed one of our current projects, Terminus and Tallwood in Langford, BC:

"There's an explosion in mass timber projects right now that we're seeing in B.C. and all through Canada and all throughout the U.S.," said Ilana Danzig, a structural engineer for Langford's upcoming Tallwood 1 building.

"Mass timber is a very hot item. There's going to be very high demand both on the design side and the supply side," said Danzig.

Read the full article by Adam Chan... 


Oakville Firestation No.8 CLT Install

Oakville Firestation No.8 CLT install in progress. ASPECT is the specialty mass timber engineer working under Element5 Co. who is responsible for the supply of the mass timber package. is providing the install.

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Cardinal House: A Healthy, Resilient, Mass-Timber Home For First Nations Communities

https://youtu.be/27z6t3eKK7A

ASPECT is proud to be part of the team that developed the Cardinal House. A new home designed to meet the specific needs of First Nations peoples and constructed to withstand the harsh climates where their communities are situated.

The issue of insufficient and sometimes unsuitable housing is one that has plagued Canada’s First Nations for decades. It is a complex problem beset by environmental, logistical, infrastructure and governance challenges. It’s clear that innovative ideas and new ways of thinking must prevail.

ASPECT is the engineer of record for this project and is also responsible for all the mass timber engineering:

The benefits of mass timber construction go far beyond their aesthetic and environmental attributes. Mass timber offers a versatile, high-performance building solution that can meet even the most demanding requirements. The innovative, affordable, energy-efficient home is built out of cross-laminated timber, with high-performance cross-laminated insulated panels (CLIPs) for the building envelope. Prefabricated in a controlled factory setting off-site and shipped on a single truck, the structural panels and roof for the prototype Cardinal House were assembled in a fraction of the time of traditionally built, light frame homes.

Visit Element5's website to learn more about this project.


Meet the Associates – Duncan Bourke

We are proud to announce that Duncan Bourke (P.Eng., B.Sc) has joined the ASPECT team as an associate in our Toronto office. Duncan has over a decade of experience working alongside industry leaders with a focus on timber design-build projects. With a sound foundation in consulting on a wide variety of structures, Duncan also has extensive experience managing timber design-build operations. By taking projects from inception to completion, Duncan has a true understanding of what it takes to provide an efficient, practical and effective design.

Since graduating from Dalhousie University, Duncan has worked on several high-profile projects in Canada and Australia. His experience as a Design-Build Project Manager provides insight into the sourcing of innovative, effective and efficient materials, connections and fasteners. Duncan’s ability to foresee design, fabrication and installation challenges consistently results in complete, accurate and achievable designs.

To compliment his unique set of skills in timber design, Duncan also has experience working in concrete, steel and masonry, understanding that a combination of materials often provides the best structural system. Duncan’s experience in mass-timber design and project management compliments ASPECT’s reputation as an industry leader.

Duncan is registered to practice in British Columbia and Ontario. His extensive design portfolio includes mass timber mid-rise, schools, university buildings, community centres, botanical gardens, indigenous centres, commercial buildings, museums, art installations and a wide variety of residential projects.

When away from the office, Duncan enjoys spending time with his young family exploring the great outdoors and traveling.

 

 

SELECTED PROJECTS

2019
2019

The RMIT Garden Building*

The RMIT Garden Building is a 4-storey multi-purpose greenspace in the Central Business District campus of RMIT University in Melbourne. The primary structure consists of square glulam columns and long primary glulam beams. Spanning between the primary beams are long TCC panels with glulam beams and concrete topping. A 3D structural analysis of the lateral load resisting system including a combination of glulam bracing and a masonry core was performed to ensure all elements were detailed effectively to resist the lateral loads.

 

NMBW | Melbourne, Australia
2019

The Ribbon Building

The Ribbon Building

The Ribbon building is a new development in the Distillery District that runs nearly the full length along the southern border of the district. A 29-story tower with a “heritage feel” and timber interior that creates the feeling of an old industrial warehouse. Learn More…

 

ShoP Architects | Toronto, Canada
2019

Sea to Sky Elevated Tree Walk

Sea to Sky Elevated Tree Walk

This iconic structure has been designed to integrate into nature from all angles and viewpoints. The tree walk will gently wind around a structure that draws visitors from the base, through the treetops, and up high into the clouds. The spiral architecture will not only offer panoramic open-air views, but will also provide cover over the walkway for a year-round. Learn More…

 

Sea to Sky Gondola | Squamish, BC
2019

Musqueam Pavilion*

Musqueam Pavilion*

Built for 2010 Olympics, this pavilion’s brilliant architecture was inspired by the traditional woven cedar hat used by Indigenous people across the region.

 

Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden | Vancouver, BC
2019

Van Dusen Botanical Gardens*

Van Dusen Botanical Gardens*

Designed to meet the Living Building Challenge, the most rigorous set of requirements of sustainability. Formally and functionally, it encompasses the goals of environmentally and socially conscious design. The building is an undulating landscape of interior and exterior spaces rising from ground to roof level and providing a vast surface area on which vegetation could grow, thus reoccupying the land on which the building sits with the landscape. Learn more…

 

Perkins+ Will | Vancouver, BC
2019

Swinburne University Factory of the Future*

Swinburne University Factory of the Future*

A two storey high timber ball in the centre of the Factory space acts as a divider, and accommodator of interactive collaboration. Manufactured from a curved timber substructure covered with a panelised curved timber ply skin creating a seamless appearance for this unique timber structure. Learn more…

 

H2o Architects | Melbourne, Australia

*Work performed prior to joining ASPECT

 

 

ASPECT is thrilled to have Duncan as a key member of our team. Our Associates are some of the best in the structural engineering business, learn more about our Associates.