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Firm Profile

Checkwitch Poiron Architects Inc. (CPA) is an internationally recognized award-winning architectural firm with offices in Nanaimo and Vancouver, British Columbia. Its founding partners, David Poiron and Ben Checkwitch, met in 1990 while earning their Environmental Studies degrees from the University of Manitoba. CPA works closely with its clients to gain a well-rounded understanding of the challenges and opportunities within each project. Every project is designed by both partners, allowing clients to draw upon the unique skills that David and Ben bring to the table. Their hands-on approach with contractors and construction sites lets them fully engage with the building process in order to achieve the highest quality possible. Their attention to detail and administration of the construction process have resulted in a history of producing buildings that are on-schedule, on-budget, and serve as a source of pride for the clients and communities they serve.

Personnel

Ben Checkwitch

Bachelor of Environmental Studies, University of Manitoba 1993
Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies, Dalhousie University 1997
Master of Architecture, Dalhousie University 1999
Architectural Institute of British Columbia, Member(Architect AIBC)
Certified Passive House Designer

Ben Checkwitch developed a fascination with architecture while working on construction sites, which eventually lead him to pursue a degree from the School of Architecture at the University of Manitoba. After moving to British Columbia, he entered the field of Naval Architecture working as a draftsman designing yachts. It was in there that he further honed his construction skills while building a home on a small and relatively remote Gulf Island.

After earning his Masters of Architecture from Dalhousie University, and apprenticing in Oslo, Norway with the architectural firm Narud Stokke Wiig, Ben began his professional practice in New York with renowned architectural firms Rafael Viñoly Architects and later Gluckman Mayner Architects. It was in New York that he developed his expertise in the detailing of glass curtainwall and building envelope systems and the design of museum and gallery spaces. Ben has contributed to prominent projects including The Bronx County Hall of Justice, The Austin Museum of Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, a private gallery/studio for the artist Richard Serra, and several high-end residential projects. In 2002, he founded Ben Checkwitch Design (BCD), a Manhattan-based firm that designed a broad spectrum of residential, commercial, retail and furniture projects that earned him distinction in I.D. Magazine’s Annual Design Review in 2003. His work has also been recognized by the Architectural League of New York, where he has lectured and exhibited as a winner of the Young Architects Forum.

In 2008 he began collaborating with David Poiron on various projects, most notably the award-winning Nanaimo cruise ship terminal building, which led to the formation of Checkwitch Poiron Architects in 2012.

Ben currently serves as the Chair of the Advisory Design Panel for the City of North Vancouver.

David Poiron

Bachelor of Environmental Studies, University of Manitoba 1993
Masters of Architecture, RAIC Gold Medal, University of Manitoba 1997
Architectural Institute of British Columbia, Member (Architect AIBC)
Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Member (MRAIC)

David Poiron has been a registered architect since 2001. He opened his Nanaimo based practice, David Poiron Architect Inc. in 2002, and joined with Ben Checkwitch to form Checkwitch Poiron Architects Inc. in 2012. He studied architecture at the University of Manitoba where he obtained the University Gold Medal for his Bachelor of Environmental Studies Degree and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Gold Medal for the outstanding final project of his Masters of Architecture Degree. David also studied at the Technische Universität Berlin under Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects.

David is a mentor for intern architects from other local firms and is interested in expanding the role of younger practitioners in the Central Vancouver Island area. He helped form the Vancouver Island Chapter of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada where he serves as treasurer. He was on the steering and host committees for the RAIC national architecture festival held in Nanaimo in 2016.

David was a faculty member in the Interior Design degree program at Vancouver Island University, where he taught design and technical courses from 2001-2014. David also serves as a final project advisor for fourth year students.

Brett MacIntyre

Bachelor of Arts (History in Art) – University of Victoria 2008
Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies – Dalhousie University 2010
Master of Architecture – Dalhousie University 2012
Architectural Institute of British Columbia, Intern (IA AIBC)
LEED®AP BD+C

Brett’s interest in architecture is rooted in his work in the field of construction in his hometown of Fernie, BC. Moving to the west coast allowed him to re-connect with his Haida heritage and develop his fascination with Indigenous art and culture while studying Art History at the University of Victoria. This fascination carried through into his architectural studies, where his graduate thesis, “Memory and Myth: Storytelling as a Design Tool for a Youth Camp in Haida Gwaii” was awarded the Dalhousie School of Architecture Thesis Prize.

Following graduation, Brett was awarded the Canada Council for the Arts Prix de Rome for Emerging Practitioners, enabling him to travel to Northern Scandinavia to study with the Saami, an indigenous group native to the area. His exhibition, “Lessons from Lappland: Pragmatism, Temporality and the Challenge of Icons in Indigenous Architecture” further developed his goal of fostering meaningful discussion around the creation of sincere modern indigenous architecture.

Brett has worked in offices across Canada, from PWGSC in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Architecture ATB in Edmonton, Alberta, and Perkins + Will in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has experience with a wide variety of commercial, residential and institutional projects, as well as large scale master planning. Brett currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia and is registered with the AIBC as an intern architect.

Tai Adler

Bachelor of Arts (History/SHAPE) – Vancouver Island University 2008
Masters of Architecture – University of British Columbia 2016
Architectural Institute of British Columbia, Intern (IA AIBC)

Born and raised in Lethbridge, Alberta, Tai Adler moved to the west coast in 2003 to pursue undergraduate studies in history and outdoor education at Vancouver Island University. Since completing those studies he has traveled extensively internationally, studied, lived and worked in several cities across Canada including Halifax, Montreal and Vancouver. While in Halifax he studied fine wood working and metal sculpture at the Nova Scotia College of Art Design (NSCAD), and architecture at Dalhousie University.

Most recently, he completed his Masters of Architecture degree at the University of British Columbia and was awarded the Ray Cole Scholarship for his thesis project. His project “k w e y u l u t s t u n [ k w e y u l - u t s - t e n ]: Regenerative Ecotones in Anthrome Ecologies” explored the role of architecture in neighbourhood-scale regeneration of ecological and cultural systems. He is passionate and knowledgeable about ecology-minded design practice and is certified by Permaculture BC in homestead design and drafting.

Tai has contributed to several exciting design and research projects including the Regenerative Neighbourhoods Project at The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) in 2012, and a design-build seasonal staff cabin at Camp Fircom on Gambier Island in 2015. His specific interests include neighbourhood-scale integration of socio-ecological design strategies through Regenerative Design practice, working with indigenous communities and the role of architecture in fundamental questions of truth and reconciliation. Tai currently lives in Nanaimo, British Columbia and is registered with the AIBC as an intern architect.

Trish Harder

Bachelor of Interior Design – Vancouver Island University 2012

Trish’s work encompasses a wide range of interior design including retail, commercial, residential, office and educational projects with a special emphasis on the design of healthcare and aging in place facilities. She is a graduate of the Interior Design Program at Vancouver Island University where she is a faculty member teaching a variety of courses including interior design history, critical thinking and research, and construction detailing. She is also a thesis advisor and a mentor to many students.

Trish strives to understand how interiors work for the people they serve and her designs emphasize functionality, safety and human factors. She is a talented problem solver and enjoys creating spaces that surpass the expectations of her clients. She is detail oriented and her attention to all aspects of design, no matter how small, can make a project go from great to spectacular.

Awards

Nanaimo Cruise Ship Terminal Building

2013 North American Wood Design Awards – Citation
2012 Shaw Contract Design Is... Award
2012 Canadian Wood Works! Award – British Columbia – Best Commercial Wood Design
2012 World Architecture News Awards – Transport Long List
2012 Vancouver Island Real Estate Board – Best Office
2012 Glass Magazine – Most Innovative Curtain Wall

Edgewater Apartments

2008 City of Nanaimo Award for Design Excellence – Multi-family Residential

Publications

Double High House

YAM Magazine – Issue 47, January/February 2017, Cover, p.30-39

Harbour Road Sail Loft

Boulevard Magazine – March 2015, p.66-71

Nanaimo Cruise Ship Terminal Building

Canadian Architect – March 2016, p.18
Award Magazine - April 2016, p.7
2012-2013 North America Wood Design Award Winners, p6-7, p54-59.
2011-2012 North America Wood Design Award Winners, p108-113.
Shaw Contract Group Design Is 2012, p.86.
Svenskt Trä! (Swedish Wood) 2012 #4, p.27-29
Award Magazine - June 2011

Cabin on Secret Island

Young Architects 5, Inhabiting Identity, p.126-131