PRACTICE

KRA is a Vancouver-based firm specializing in architectural design, planning, interior environments, and wayfinding strategies. KRA is a registered practice in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario with our active projects spanning across these five provinces. KRA’s physical office is located in Vancouver, however we have team members located in Edmonton, Montreal, and Glasgow.

While known for our proficiency and experience in designing healthcare environments, our focus is on delivering projects of all shapes and sizes where we can add value. The common thread in all of our projects are clients who share our values of trust, respect, and excellence. KRA’s approach to all projects is that of collaboration, clear and precise communication and, most importantly, fun.
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Expertise | Services

KRA works closely with clients, taking a consulting role to ensure a collaborative process that promotes innovation. KRA makes use of project specific evidence-based research to address real-world issues. With a deep understanding in purposeful placemaking, KRA is skilled in storytelling, and helping clients envision how design will enable them to achieve strategic goals.

Architecture

While our greatest skill is routed in public infrastructure with the design of hundreds of complex multifaceted healthcare environments, our work is interdisciplinary in nature. The common thread is less about typology and more about our commonality and alignment with our clients. It’s important to us that we can collaborate and build strong relationships so we can produce impactful work collectively. The focus of our work is on design and document quality, teamwork, and continual learning and transformation. This philosophy naturally creates a portfolio emerging from the diversity of our clients briefs and a range of projects from education, hospitality, office, retail and residential typologies.

Consulting and Planning

A successful project is one with realistic goals balancing scope, schedule and budget. We endorse early goal setting to ensure our mutual alignment with our client’s objectives from day one. As such KRA is skilled in initial project scoping to include developing feasibility studies, master site planning, functional programs, and a variety of supportive planning activities. Every project we do starts with space planning and conceptual block planning – we have prepared hundreds of such exercises which bring both clarity and direction for our clients prior to any large investment of time and resources.

User Engagement

We believe that great design is not created in a vacuum, stakeholder and user engagement is critical to our process. We are skilled in managing complex projects involving multi-faceted goals and multi-disciplinary teams, developing strategic service plans, utilization analysis, and space strategies and planning for our clients. KRA’s team has experience facilitating hundreds of sessions of stakeholder engagement with groups ranging from 5 to 200 people. The key is to listen, allowing stakeholders to share their opinions without judgment, and respond with design advice that supports positive project outcomes. Often projects get off track as they get lost in reacting to wants vs needs. Our job is to be the filter, overlaying Best Practices in design and project constraints such as budget and schedule to deliver a successful project.

Sustainable Design

KRA’s designs all begin with the assumption of sustainability – everything the firm does and makes must ultimately fit into a way of life that is in harmony with the world. To be truly successful our designs strive to strike a balance of environmental, social and economic contribution in an effort to support the overall goals of the communities they serve.

While KRA’s philosophy is holistic our current industry measurement tool in the design of larger infrastructure projects is the LEED rating system. We are knowledgeable and proficient with its use due to our experience and involvement in over 10 LEED Gold Certified projects, including the first USGBC LEED for Healthcare registered project in Canada in 2011.

Several team members are LEED Accredited, and one team member is a Certified Passive House Designer. We have in-house expertise to bring an innovative approach to projects with the latest standards in energy efficiency, passive heating and cooling methods, orientation, and form of the building, as well as potentials for renewable energy generation.

Interior Design + Wayfinding

We are a full-service design firm.  Our most successful projects seamlessly and holistically integrate architecture, interiors, wayfinding, and furniture.   We want to inform all aspects of the design.   Our interior design team focuses on an evidence-based approach, working closely with clients to fulfil their project objectives and functionality as well to inject energy into spaces by leveraging colour and texture in the material selection.  As part of our team’s integrated capabilities, bespoke environmental graphics often play a role in the interior design scope to transform a space and create a sense of place. We offer a unique perspective by integrating the environmental graphics design process into the architectural phase of the project so that the result is a fully cohesive, considered space.

Relationships

KRA's key strength is balancing service and design quality. Our goal is to forge long-lasting, trusting relationships with repeat clients. This can only be done through collaborative design, being adaptable and flexible, delivering on expectations, having a deep understanding of design objectives, and strong leadership skills.

“Collaboration is something that is extremely important for our staff and clients. KRA understood this importance and worked with us to meet our clinical and client experience needs. Their experience and expertise helped us make our vision a beautifully designed reality. The new office fully supports our culture of teamwork and collaboration.”

– Client, Project Manager, Copeman Healthcare Centre


“Kirsten and the team at KRA were great to work with. Professional, experienced, and thoughtful with timely communications and updates. KRA helped us at VGH ED in the cross-disciplinary stakeholder team planning, design, and presentation of a renovation project to the hospital foundation and some of our senior leaders. Perhaps one of the most unforeseen benefits of working with KRA was the time they took to listen to us and help nail down our vision into something concrete and more tangible that will improve patient care and staff work flows.”

– Client, Department Head and Medical Director, Emergency Medicine Vancouver Acute Community of Care, Vancouver Coastal Health

Negotiating with Municipalities

KRA has extensive experience in navigating various municipalities’ Development, Building, and Sustainability targets. Our aim is to engage the municipality team as early as possible in a project. This early engagement encourages a collaborative approach to the requirements for the site. This experience has given us the ability to anticipate the potential “asks” from the municipality. By anticipating this, we are able to prepare and present solutions on behalf of the Client which demonstrate our knowledge and willingness to engage with the municipality’s team. By utilizing our past experience of working with a variety of municipalities through various Development, Building Permit, and Rezoning applications, our approach is to facilitate early engagement and foster relationships with the municipality and community groups. This allows us to carve out a road-map for our projects which encourage transparency, community, and garner support while we work to meet the built form and environmental targets set out for a project.

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211005_Expertise - Markets
211005_Expertise - Markets
Expertise | Markets

KRA’s approach to design is holistic and considers all projects from the perspective of human experience, exploring how the built environment impacts people. The KRA team has extensive experience designing spaces to support working, learning, living, and healing.

Healthcare

We are experts in healthcare design and have worked on some of the largest and most innovative healthcare projects in Canada. The team is skilled in creating designs in compliance with building codes, healthcare design guidelines, and best practices. We believe strongly that patient-centered design begins with efficient and effective staff who are able to spend more time caring for the patient. KRA’s focus is on creating healthcare environments where safety, confidentiality, and respect is at the forefront for patients, staff, and visitors.

Education

KRA has a deep understanding in the design of workspaces for academic programs. The team has worked with several post-secondary institutions in Canada and on some of the most innovative centres for advancement, collaboration, and education.

Commercial

KRA has extensive experience several aspects of commercial design to include office, retail, hospitality, adaptive reuse and heritage. We love transforming dated buildings into new designs that are aesthetically appealing and functional and pay attention to retaining the existing character of the building while integrating modern design elements that breathe new life into the building. KRA has worked in collaboration with a number of other Architects and Interior Designers on the development of several unique commercial applications from restaurants to fully bespoke interior retail fit-outs.

Residential

Our approach to residential design is unique due to our intensive experience in more technically challenging buildings. This knowledge brings acumen in both design and construction processes, as well as a more integrated design focus with our extended team of structural, mechanical and electrical consultants. We see this as a benefit to our clients as we can streamline and clarify the design process however we recognize that designing a house is very personal and our approach is focused on enveloping the client with a supportive and intimate environment so we can customize the design to fit their lifestyle and aesthetic.
Blueprint
Our Blueprint

The KRA blueprint illustrates our set of values representing how we life our lives and perform our work as a connected enterprise system.

01 Excellence

The strong foundation of the KRA blueprint is formed upon the basis of Excellence. We live in an ever-evolving continuum of learning and understanding to enhance our knowledge and design. Our commitment to excellence lays the groundwork for absolutely everything we do.

02 Integrity

The structure of KRA’s blueprint is built from Integrity. We are responsible, genuine, and we build relationships based on trust. These are fundamental values which shape who we are and provide strength and solidity in our work.

03 Inclusivity

The walls of the KRA blueprint are derived through Inclusivity. Togetherness is an important aspect of who we are. Inclusivity unites us, provides security, and creates a sense of belonging. This surrounding system provides strength and a surface for building connections.

04 Inspired

The applied finishes of the KRA blueprint are Inspired. We are attentive to detail, we are focused on quality, we are technical, and we search for ways to enhance the ordinary. The inspired finishes represent some of the first and last impressions of who we are and what we do.

05 Accountability

We are driven by results and share the responsibility to protect the foundation, the structure, the walls, and the finishes with our roof. Constructed with Accountability, our roof represents our drive to succeed and achieve the highest level of performance.

Blueprint