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Architects celebrate silver anniversary

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, June 23, 2010

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - The downtown Shoppers Drug Mart is one of the many projects PSAV Architects Ltd. designed during its 25-year presence in Yellowknife

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Darrell Vikse, a principal at PSAV Architects Ltd., stands outside the company's office in Yellowknife. The architectural firm is celebrating 25 years. - Jeanne Gagnon/NNSL photo

Last week, staff, clients, family and friends celebrated the firm's silver anniversary, reminiscing about early designs and old haircuts.

Chong Park founded Park and Associates Ltd. in 1985, a firm that would become Park and Sanders Ltd. when Keith Sanders joined in 1988. Three years later, Daniel Adam and Darrell Vikse joined the firm, making it Park Sanders Adam Vikse Architects Ltd. It would be known as PSAV Architects Ltd. in 1999.

Vikse attributes the success of the firm to the staff, many of which have worked there for close to 15 years, as he said it's challenging to find people who enjoy living in Yellowknife.

"If anybody can have them stay with them for 15, 16, 17 years, things work smoothly. Everyone knows what they should be doing. The corporate experience is there. You're not having to retrain someone every three years as to how things work," he said

Projects have gotten larger and better over the years as the firm learned from past mistakes, said Vikse.

"As the firm gets larger and more established and more experienced, the projects become more complicated and become larger. We are doing much larger work now than we were doing 10 years ago," he said. "Every project gets better because you're learning from all the past projects."

The Yellowknife projects that stand out in Vikse's are the ones people use a lot, such as the Multiplex and the Yellowknife Co-op.

"They walk in, they use it, they have something to say about it. They live part of their life in there," he said.

PSAV designed the Shoppers Drug Mart building located downtown about three years ago, having obtained the contract through a tendering process.

Daryl Dolynny, pharmacist and owner of the drugstore, said he worked primarily with Vikse from early 2007. The new store on 49 Street opened for business in October 2008.

"PSAV were the people that were probably the best prepared that came forward," Dolynny said. "They obviously did a great job in keeping the flavour and the theme of the Shoppers Drug Mart large format and added enough of that Northern flair to make this building stand out amongst them."

During a quarter century of working in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, Vikse said he's learned that things move at their own pace in both territories.

"Projects have their own pace and sometimes, you have to realize that that pace is going to be slower and that's just the way it's going to be," he said. "If you go in and try and push things along, you're viewed as being pushy and not being very respectful."

As to how Vikse sees the next 25 years, he said, "Better than the last 25. I see the firm continuing to grow, continuing to take on larger projects, more complicated projects."

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