Marianne Amodio and Harley Grusko
Architects, MA+HG Architects
Sure, architecture power couple Marianne Amodio and Harley Grusko are serious designers, building intelligent, functional spaces throughout Vancouver, like the APT co-living space on West 12th, the upcoming low-rise Tomo House in South Main or the Hollywood Theatre renovation. That doesn’t mean they aren’t a little playful, too—bold colours and whimsical lines are their calling cards.
How would you describe your approach to design?
M: Working with homeowners, our approach is different from working with developers. Homeowners tend to be personal and more collaborative. H: We want to work with people as much as we want to work with buildings.
M: With developers, they trust our instinct. The approach becomes more about how we envision the site, how we think about the urban context, sustainability, et cetera. H: Our hearts lie in looking to aid in the affordability crisis. This leads us to projects that tend to be more about multi-family dwellings.
You focus on smaller, smarter living spaces in your residential architecture.
M: We’re responding to a real need. When I started, one of the first projects I got was the MAD (house), and that was the first inkling of this affordability crisis: eight members of a family deciding to live under one roof. We work this way because our spaces have to get smaller, and we need to unpack the idea of how much space we really need.
What is missing from Vancouver’s architecture?
M: There are a bunch of awesome young architecture practices out there, but a more youthful voice is missing. Vancouver is a very conservative city, and we want to show the city what we’re capable of—breaking down barriers of what we do and the way we always do it. Inviting firms like us and even younger practices has been missing for a while.
What impact do you think your work has had on how Vancouverites experience the city?
H: We feel we’ve created success when people find some whimsy in our buildings, even some relief from the daily rigours of life.