Begin with Community

Architecture begins with community awareness. It's about engaging in everyday projects and finding solutions that enrich the wellbeing of our neighbours, families, and friends.

Welcome to the website of Karen Wan-Gauthier — Vancouver based architect and community engagement specialist. Karen is a down-to-earth and caring architect who enjoys finding simple solutions to projects and making them accessible. Have a look around and feel free to say hi or send a note about any projects on your mind.

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Karen Wan-Gauthier

Architect AIBC & Community Engagement Specialist

Karen is an architect and community engagement specialist based in Vancouver, BC. Since establishing her firm in 2012, she has steadily built a reputation for delivering client projects in a way that brings a greater sense of culture, history, and ecology to the communities in which she works. Through her work in planning and policy, public engagement, and volunteerism, her career has centred around the simple idea that architecture is an opportunity to enrich public wellbeing.





Responsive & Respectful

We are always more inclined to trust an architect or consultant who is willing to show up on site and deal with problems first hand. That's Karen. Never one to shy away from conversations with a contractor or explain realities to a client; the backbone of her business is trust, reliability, and taking action. Whether metaphorically rolling up sleeves at a meeting, or physically lacing up steel toes; Karen believes successful architecture comes from devoting yourself to the project.




It's important to work closely with the people who will eventually use my work as their own space



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Listening to client ideas
Turning ideas into concepts
Promotion of client involvement through design
Design development
Preparing construction documents
Construction administration
LEED® Accredited

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Community Engagement 

In-depth listening
Developing Engagement strategy
Producing engagement tools and events
Stakeholder consultation
Workshop facilitation
Translating knowledge and information
Mitigating cultural differences
Connecting diverse user groups
Creating partnerships

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Project Management

Working with clients and contractors
Coordination of consultants
Sourcing unique and sustainable materials
Maintaining and tracking budgets
Upholding schedules and timelines
Organization of volunteer builds
Field review


Helping others is what helps us be better at the things we do

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Have a project in mind?

Karen enjoys working on pretty much any project that benefits the greater community — whether dealing with high level visioning projects or building small scale community amenities. Her belief is that an architect's role extends beyond design and aesthetics. That an architect should facilitate in knowledge translation and building relationships. She does this by understanding the goals of clients, and ensuring that the needs of people in the community are being met. Making solutions accessible by jumping on whatever task needs to be taken care of to free up time and resources for other members of the team to contribute their own best skills. If you have a project in mind, send a note and start the conversation. In particular, she enjoys public consultation, visioning and legacy projects, projects related to healthcare, heritage, and social or environmental stewardship,