Dear Vancouver,

Dear Vancouver,


DIALOG founding principals, Joost Bakker and Norman Hotson have been celebrated by the AIBC with Lifetime Achievement Awards. 

Best known for the 2nd most visited site in Canada, the revival of Granville Island, Joost and Norm are design partners who have been working in tandem since the mid 70’s. As visionary architects and urban planners, they’ve successfully shaped portions of Vancouver and BC through their innovative approach to design; by grounding their executions in master plans that seek to promote urbanity in ways that enhance the social and economical experience of a place.

Nostalgic by nature, the built forms of their solutions celebrate the past with intention of enlivening a place’s future. Their work has bridged the gap between planning and architecture to create people places. Vancouver’s Granville Island is a prime example.

Much of what you see in Vancouver today is due to what Joost and Norm planned yesterday.

Their Greening Downtown Plan, done in collaboration with George Baird, set urban design concepts for the Georgia/Robson Corridor, a key area of the downtown Vancouver peninsula, comprising some 65-70 blocks of the core of the city. Street level views of the mountains to the West of the City and Stanley Park were maintained due to the Guidelines Norm and Joost set for Georgia street in the 80’s.


Georgia St., Downtown Vancouver

Norm and Joost’s endless desire to promote urbanity has animated the waterfront of the converging neighbourhoods along the water’s edge. This unlikely expression of land use has inspired other cities to re-imagine their waterfronts and market places. Joost and Norm’s past revival projects include Vancouver’s Olympic Village, The Forks in Winnipeg, the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, and North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Quay. They are currently working on the finishing piece to The City of North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Quay: Shipyards Lot 5.

Olympic Village on False Creek, Vancouver
View from the Pier. Lonsdale Quay’s Shipyards Lot 5 will have functional programming that brings people to the water’s edge.

A City is Not a Sculpture

Norm and Joost’s contribution to Vancouver’s rising is rooted in their passionate belief that urbs must act in the service of civitas. A city is not a sculpture. It is true that the visual quality of a building or a cityscape is dramatically important. However, their belief is that a deeper measure of a building’s success is whether it supports and enhances the lives of its users, of whether, through time, the design has an impact on the social and economical culture of the place. The design of Granville Island, which was the impetus for The Urban Magnets Theory, shows their belief system through quantifiable impact: employs 2500 people; is home to 275 businesses and facilities; generates $215 mil/year; is the 2nd most visited site in Canada, 1st is Niagra Falls.

Learn more about the rejuvenation of Granville Island through Evoke DIALOG

Comments (1)

  1. David Whetter

    Very pleased to see Joost and Norm getting the recognition that they so deserve. It has been a pleasure and honour to have worked with them on projects over the years. Cornerstone Planning Group also has a unique connection to the Granville Island story, having established our office on the Island in 1974 and therefore able to watch the island be transformed around us. Forty some years later and we still think it is a great place.
    All the best
    David Whetter
    Cornerstone Partner

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