Practice vs. Theory in Architecture and Construction

According to the American Institute of Architects:

“The theory of architecture may be defined as embracing the comprehensive and consistent organization of its facts and principles. In this sense any architectural activity whatever necessarily implies the use of theory. If the theory used is sound, thought and action will be more certain of success. Thus, every building design and every architectural curriculum presupposes an adequate theory and, in turn, inevitably reveals the quality of the theory on which it is based.”

Yet, Nikos Salingaros, a mathematician and polymath known for his work on urban and design theory, wrote “it is generally acknowledged nowadays that architectural theory has degenerated into a narrow point of view, neglecting architectural space and meaning.”

According to Salingaros, a building’s success should be judged by the quality of life within it, not by the theory through which it was achieved.

These two opposing views may leave today’s architect at a bit of a loss. Discarding theory entirely and creating buildings within the moment –without much thought to how that building relates to the past, present and future – would leave us without much more than a mindless collection of spaces. Meanwhile, holding too closely to hypothetical ideas and situations instead of directly focusing on the needs and problems of real people puts the architect out of touch.

So, how can architects and other design professionals continue to apply theory while remaining open to the constant fluctuations of today’s complex construction industry?

Well, just as in most areas of life, it all comes down to balance.

>> See all Lenmak products on our visual Project Map page <<

Finding Meaning

Upon graduating, students of architecture often find themselves in a disengaged state. What they were taught in school – complex and multi-layered theories blended with artistic expression – is replaced with real-world tasks. And while those real world tasks are important and enjoyable, the idea that architecture is primarily about infusing spaces with meaning can fade. Architects have come to be thought of as technicians, in charge of creating drawings and models that look “beautiful,” but remain disconnected from the physical realm.

On the flip side, holding onto a specific theory or school of thought when it is time to let go is often the greatest factor in the creation of unliveable spaces. Concepts and models only benefit a project when they apply to the project’s specific needs.

Doing something simply because “that is how it is done” is counterproductive. True innovation comes from casting aside theory and welcoming brand new ideas. Ideas that better reflect what is going on right now.

Balancing Theory and Reality

Legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright was a master at balancing theory and reality. By developing his own set of general principles to operate within, he then adjusted them to match the specific requirements of each building he worked on. And, while he held a steadfast belief in his theories, he was not unwilling to respond to client requests and to the constantly fluctuating design world.

Wright wisely said, “confusion arises because there is ‘doubt in some minds’ and ‘fear in some minds’ and ‘hope in some minds.’” What all of this doubt, fear and hope alludes to is a lack of a clear, concise role for architects and architectural theory in today’s world. An increasing reliance on technology and science has pushed the artistic side of architecture further away.

Architecture is a Practice

Much like doctors practice medicine and lawyers practice law – architects practice architecture. Practice implies not just theory, but the correct understanding and application of theory. And while fully understanding the entire scope of architectural theory sounds daunting, understanding the fundamental principles of design is both necessary and achievable.

It is the core concepts of architectural theory that give the constantly changing design and building industry something to revolve around. As Wright put it, “the circumference of architecture is shifting but the centre remains unchanged.” That centre comes not only from architectural theory, but from the core principles ingrained in each architect through careful study, analysis and experience.

The Freedom to Create

Certainly, the architect’s constant struggle is locating the balance, locating the core, and then using and modifying it to create and solve problems. But, of course, the battle is worth it. Diving into the centre and being certain of what lies there is what gives the architect freedom to feel uncertain in other ways. And it is through this uncertainty they are able to truly experiment and truly innovate.

The Lenmak Project Map: Your Ultimate Architectural Tool

At Lenmak Exteriors, our goal is to offer you superb products at affordable prices, acting as a one-stop shop for all your exterior finishing needs. Now, thanks to our newly optimized Project Map Portfolio, you can view our wide array of products and finished projects all within an easy-to-use, interactive online tool.

The Project Map is an ideal step in any new architecture or design project as its many visual features will help you to sort through our unique product lines and see completed buildings. Essentially, it’s a portfolio and a product guide all in one.

Within Lenmak’s state of the art, automated manufacturing facility, we provide architectural panels, cladding, insulated back panels, roofing and trim.

Our Project Map is the window to it all.

How does the Project Map work?

The first thing you’ll need to do is visit our Project Map Portfolio at Then, click on the box in the map’s top right-hand corner to expand.

As you will see, Lenmak projects are shown across the map using different icons. The icons indicate whether a project was commercial, residential or infrastructure. You can click on these icons to explore our portfolio, or you can use the search function if you’re looking for something more specific.


Search is located in the top left-hand corner of the map – simply click on the magnifying glass to access the search bar. You can search:

  • Projects by name
  • Projects by location
  • Specific Lenmak products by name

New To Lenmak Exterior Innovations Inc.? Click Here To Discover Why We’re Your One-Stop Shop, With An Aesthetic Punch, Made For Commercial Renovations!

What does the Project Map do?

The Project Map both organizes Lenmak’s portfolio, making it easy for you to view, as well as helps identify exactly what our products can do and what they look like in action.

Let’s use our product OmniClad™ as an example, which is a custom-made panel available in three different widths and a rainbow of colours.

  1. Type “OmniClad” into the search bar.
  2. Click on “See all results.”
  3. Select “Setters J T & Sons Construction.”

You can now see that on this particular building, we used both OmniClad™ (white panels) and StrataClad™ (black panels). You can follow the links to the product pages for more information, or you can click on the image and browse through several photographs of the finished building.

Photo courtesy of Google Maps

How is the Project Map categorized?

The Project Map shows Lenmak projects with one of three different icons – commercial, residential or infrastructure.

This feature becomes very handy when you want to explore a specific type of project. It also shows how versatile Lenmak’s products are; you can see how one product can be implemented into the design of anything from a business to an apartment building to a school.

Say you are an architect, contractor or designer interested in using one – or several – of our products on a new home. By clicking on each Residential icon, you can see which products have been incorporated into already built homes and in what way.

For example, if you click on the Residential icon for the Birkholtz Show Home in Edmonton’s Windermere neighbourhood, you’ll see our OmniClad™ panels once again – illustrating that the very same product can be used on both an office building and an upscale home.

How is the Project Map helpful?

Seeing many projects at a glance can be an extremely helpful tool for architects, contractors, property managers, business owners and homeowners.

Let’s say you’ve already looked through Lenmak’s product line and are interested in seeing our curtain wall system Envatherm® at work. Simply type “Envatherm” into the search bar and browse through our completed projects, such as Edmonton’s Medical Isotope and Cyclotron Facility, which is outfitted in black spandrel glass with EnvaTherm® panels insulating and safeguarding the building envelope within.

Photo courtesy of Google Maps

Or, perhaps you aren’t sure what product is right for you, but you’ve heard of Lenmak and want to see what we have to offer. Our Project Map offers you a closer look at our breadth of products such as NaturClad™ – unique paint finishes that pair our metal panel systems with the look of a natural material, Aluminaire™ – a sophisticated architectural panel system, or our standing seam metal roofing systems, which can be curved or tapered to suit your design needs.

Maximum Architectural Freedom

Our Project Map is just another aspect of our commitment to both products and service of the highest quality. If you’re ready to experience maximum architectural freedom and outfit your exterior with aesthetic punch, visit our Project Map today!
Lenmak Exteriors Innovation

Bonnyville Town Hall | A Cost-Effective, Sustainable Product Solution

Project: Bonnyville Town Hall

Timeline: 1 year for construction

Products Used: OmniClad™ and StrataClad®

General Contractor and Installer: Genmec ACL

Architect Firm: Manasc Isaac

Genmac ACL Architecture Manasc Isaac Architecture Design

In the past year, an exciting and big project has recently been completed in the town of Bonnyville: A revamped town hall.


New to Lenmak Exterior Innovations Inc.? Click here to discover why we’re your one-stop shop, with an aesthetic punch, made for commercial renovations!


With both Genmec ACL and Manasc Isaac heading the project, the design concept for the new and improved town hall was set to outfit the building with 11,500 sq ft of a cementitious siding product. However, initial cost estimates came back over-budget, and early mock-ups were disappointing to installers, designers, and owners.


Now what?


Lenmak was thrilled when both Genmec ACL and Manasc Isaac approached us to see if we could help reduce costs on the exterior. With value and feasibility in mind, and with a long service life and low maintenance attributes of paramount importance, we settled on OmniClad™.

We had the chance to speak with Tyler Kress, Project Manager at Genmec ACL and Emmett Gallagher, Architectural Technologist, of Manasc Isaac to discuss the completion of this project, and its final outcome.    


What was your role on this project?

Tyler Kress: I was the Project Manager. Our local firm, Genmec ACL was elected to take on this scope for the project.

Emmett Gallagher: I was the Architectural Technologist and then I did contract administration for the project, too.

What is the story behind the project and how your firm got involved?

Emmett Gallagher: We (Manasc Isaac) were engaged by the Town of Bonnyville in mid-2015 to carry out a feasibility study for a new town hall for them. That involved examining the  different options for sites as well preliminary massing to see what one would work best for the town’s needs.


When did Lenmak get involved with the project?

Emmett Gallagher: Early in the design phase we had spoken to Lenmak about some of their products that we were considering using. The product that was ultimately specified for the project was not a Lenmak product, as it was not within the Town’s specified budget at that time.

After the contract was awarded however, the Town of Bonnyville changed their mind about the original product as they were not happy with the appearance [after seeing mockups done on-site]. At that point, Manasc Isaac and GenMec ACL re-engaged Lenmak to see what they could do for for the project.


What desire or need did Lenmak’s product fulfill for you on this project?

Tyler Kress: We originally had a different wall finish system specified. When we looked into the finished details as part of the mockup process, we were unable to do it in this climate and for this building.

We went back to Manasc Isaac and talked about a few different finishing options. I believe they had used a Lenmak product in the past, and it was because of that that we were able to capture the old design with a different product in a better way.

Emmett Gallagher: The selected Lenmak product fulfilled both the aesthetic needs and the budget requirements set by the Town.

One of the comments that the town had was that they did not want to see the exposed fasteners on the cladding. Additionally, since Bonnyville is a small municipality, fiscal responsibility is of utmost importance. Thankfully, Lenmak’s products were able to get us within those two parameters.

Lenmak Exteriors Bonnyville Town Hall  Lenmak Exteriors Bonnyville Town Hall

“Lenmak came in within the client’s budget and basically gave them the design that they were looking for.” – Tyler Kress


So, Lenmak essentially found a cost-effective solution for this project?

Tyler Kress: Yeah, exactly. The product (OmniClad) was cost-effective, and the longevity of the product was superior to the product we were using before.

OmniClad was specified by Manasc Isaac on the building, and they did the layout for cladding, too.

When it came to the main entrances, GenMec and Lenmak worked with Manasc Isaac to refine the design, since Manasc Isaac had originally specified metal flashings for the main entrances.

Working with Johanna at Lenmak, they suggested StrataClad® to highlight those areas a little bit [the two entrances] and with this product we were able to avoid dealing with traditional problems that come with just using flashing.


This product definitely exceeded our expectations.” – Tyler Kress


Was the Lenmak team helpful in guiding you with their products? What kind of role did Lenmak play in the completion of this project?

Tyler Kress: Lenmak came out and did a Lunch and Learn with us, and really any questions we had (since we were installing their products the first time), they were there to answer. Our project superintendent would call them from time to time, just on tips for installation.

We ran into a situation where we damaged a panel – they had a solution for that. It was great to see.

Emmett Gallagher: Ray Turner from Lenmak came to our office approximately a year prior to construction start, so we were aware of their products. Then, once the project got underway, we invited Lenmak to come into our office again, and give our entire team an overview of how Lenmak’s products work.

Lenmak Bonnyville Town Hall

Would you say sustainability is important when choosing exterior cladding?

Tyler Kress: Absolutely.

Any of the projects we do we like to look at the life cycle of the product and make sure our clients are not only going to be happy now with the product, but ten years down the line, twenty years down the line, and I think the team picked a good one for this building.

Emmett Gallagher: [Sustainability] is always one of the top items on our list. To minimize environmental impact, we always aim to source local products. The benefit of having a local manufacturer and contractor is that we can easily engage them, establish the parameters of the project early on, and work together to resolve them effectively.


>> See all of our products at a Lenmak Glance on our Project Map page <<


What is your opinion of the aesthetic of the finished project? Are you happy with the outcome?

Tyler Kress: Yeah, we were very happy.

It’s a very good looking building.

 It was relatively easy for our guys to install the products. You definitely have to look at all the details in it [the exterior cladding], and that was one thing I was very impressed about.

All of the [detailed] corners, all of the hard work they put into making a product that not only looks good, but also was…easy for our installers to [work with] was great. The guys did a great job installing and putting in time to make the joints and connections fit.

Emmett Gallagher: Yes, we are very happy that the town ultimately made the decision to go with Lenmak’s product, and I know the Town is very happy with the final product, too. [Lenmak’s product] definitely looks much cleaner from a detailing perspective, and it will last longer with less maintenance, too.



Based on your experience, would you work with Lenmak Exteriors again?

Tyler Kress: Yes, absolutely. We are actually now working with them now on other projects.

It was a very exciting project for us, we enjoyed working with Lenmak; they were very helpful suggesting ideas and looking at different areas for us.

Emmett Gallagher: I had a very positive experience working with Lenmak. Knowing that you can call their team to resolve any issues, and even go to their manufacturing facility to see how things are made; they were very helpful. I would certainly work with Lenmak again.


“…I’m really glad that the town made the decision to go with Lenmak’s product[s].” – Emmett Gallagher

Lenmak Exteriors Bonnyville Town Hall Project Lenmak Exteriors Bonnyville

Product Overview


The OmniClad™ product line from Lenmak Exterior Innovations Inc. is made to order and produced on demand to meet your needs – and your budget. Available in a rainbow of colours and finishes, three widths, and a standard depth of ¾”, this concealed fastener cladding system offers multi-dimensional flexibility with lengths up to 26’. A floating clip system allows free expansion and contraction for the best possible performance and value.


The StrataClad® product line from Lenmak Exterior Innovations is custom designed to order and produced on demand. This not only means a paneling system that is created specifically for your needs, it means efficiencies for your project on a number of levels.

Glass Skyscrapers Architecture City Sky Buildings

Curtain Wall vs. Window Wall: What’s the Difference?

With the allure of urban life only growing, designers and developers must find a way to accommodate an increasing population within the limits of existing cities. Space restrictions mean building up, not out, while still providing inviting and well-built condos, offices and commercial spaces.

Curtain and window wall systems are a popular choice as they add design interest to architecture, as well as allow for maximum light within a building’s space. Here’s a breakdown of the difference between the two wall systems, plus the positives and drawbacks of both.


>> Check out Lenmak’s exclusive Project Map page for your next renovation or project << 




What is a Curtain Wall?

A curtain wall is a glazed wall system hung off a concrete slab using anchors. Curtain walls are self-supporting and give a building’s exterior the look of top to bottom glass. Most often used on commercial buildings, curtain walls are typically installed from the outside of a building using cranes or rigs. Curtain wall installation is a complex process and can be more expensive than other systems.


Curtain Wall Lenmak Exteriors Renovations

Photo Credit: Wikimedia



What is a Window Wall?

A window wall is achieved by placing glazing between a building’s concrete slabs, using the slabs as structural support. Window walls have a break between the glass, with slab covers used to conceal the concrete. Window walls are often used in residential applications as they allow for more customizable sections such as windows and balcony doors. They are most commonly installed from the inside of a building, which is a safer, more efficient and more cost effective.


Curtain Wall Lenmak Renovations Architects



Curtain Wall Advantages

If installed correctly, curtain wall systems provide excellent structural integrity, as there are fewer mullions and joints required when compared to most window wall systems. Acting as a single unit, curtain walls are highly resistant to moisture, wind, heat and earthquakes. They require little maintenance.




Window Wall Advantages

Aside from advantages such as customizability, ease of installation and cost savings, window walls also require less engineering and safety considerations as the exterior wall is broken up by each floors’ concrete slab, providing built-in fire stopping. Also, because the separation of each window wall unit creates a sealed space there is less noise transfer and energy loss. Further, if a unit becomes damaged and needs repair that specific unit can be removed and replaced without affecting the adjoining units.




Backpans and Window Walls

When used in conjunction with curtain wall systems, insulated back pans are placed behind sections of the wall that do not require vision glass. In a curtain wall, the variances and design choices of the full assembly affect the backpan sections just as they will the glazing and other components. Because the backpans sit outside the floors, there is often variation in required height, leading to a more costly and variable manufacturing and installation process. However, in a window wall application this variation is eliminated. Pre-manufactured backpans rest between a building’s floors and are simply shimmed during installation to address any irregularities. Since most buildings are similar floor to floor, part repeatability is improved.


A Cost Comparison

For the comparable amount of glazing, window walls can be installed for half the cost – or even less – of curtain walls. Window walls are easier to install, which reduces the need for extra equipment, lifts, and handling time. Because the installation process is safer, fewer special precautions need to be taken, which further reduces cost as well as shortens the timeline of a project. Window walls also involve more repeatable components, improving efficiency during the manufacturing process. Further, a more rigid scope means most components can be assembled in shop rather than on site, resulting in fewer errors, less site disruptions and a higher quality product.


Taking Architecture to a New Level

Lenmak is proud to count EnvaTherm® and SpandrelTherm™ as part of our product lineup. Our EnvaTherm® insulated backpans can be used in window wall systems in conjunction with opaque glass panels or architectural panels when transparent glazing isn’t required. SpandrelTherm™, our foam-insulated metal spandrel panels, offer prefinished aluminium in a wide variety of standard and metallic colours. With our innovative automated manufacturing process and highly sustainable materials and methods, Lenmak products are as sensible as they are beautiful.

Lenmak Exteriors Innovation

The Biggest Architectural Trends For 2018 in Edmonton

2017 was a big year for Edmonton architecture. With landmark buildings such as Edmonton Tower and Enbridge Centre opening their doors, our city’s skyline is changing – for the better.

Lenmak Exteriors contributed to Edmonton’s architectural renaissance with The Oliver, a 12-storey high-rise with a layered facade and eye-catching “copper penny” accents. We also were honoured to be a member of the team that brought Constable Daniel Woodall Elementary School to life. Not just a building, the school is a memorial and a vibrant reminder that even in the face of tragedy, we as a city can shine through.

The Oliver

Architectural panels

Design Firm: Dialog

CST. Woodall Elementary School

Here are five architecture trends that will be on the rise in 2018 in Edmonton:

Photo Credit: Flickr

Open Spaces

Creating an open and free-flowing space within homes, offices, restaurants and beyond is one trend that isn’t going away.


Because open spaces blur the lines between different areas of a building’s interior, a characteristic that goes well with the evolution of how we live, work and play together. No longer are we sequestered in individual-sized spaces meant only for the task at hand. The idea of collaboration and flexibility have become huge in human interaction. We need versatility in our spaces to compliment and encourage versatility within ourselves. In particular, designers responsible for creating new schools are rethinking how children learn, as well as the tools they must acquire in order to function in our rapidly changing society.

Natural Lighting

Sometimes design trends just make sense. Such is the case with the increasing prominence of natural lighting in new buildings. Natural lighting is the most visually appealing type of light, and access to natural light contributes greatly to our well-being when indoors. Windows are also visually appealing architectural features on their own – both from the interior and exterior of a building.

Natural lighting is dynamic as it changes with the position of the sun in relationship to a building throughout the day. Colours and textures inside a naturally lit building take on different shades and layers as the sky clouds and clears and as the sun rises and sets. Sunlight is by far the most sustainable lighting choice as it requires zero electricity to power. Architects are now integrating natural lighting with new building designs as part of a holistic approach to sustainability.

Integrated Electronics

The last decade has seen such a rapid rise in the realm of electronics and smart devices that it’s hard to predict just what the future will hold. But one thing is certain – buildings with integrated electronics will continue to become more commonplace. Look for built-in charging stations to compliment new electronics with wireless charging capabilities. Perhaps 2018 will also be the year our devices begin to charge when we simply step into a room. Moving forward, electronic integration will no longer be an afterthought, but will be considered within the design process from day one.

Photo Credit: Virginia Duran

Colour Trends

The Pantone Colour Institute has revealed their expected 2018 colour trends and it looks to be a bold, playful and highly interesting year. Bright yellow, lime popsicle, turquoise, holly berry red – 2018 will be all about using dramatic colours used to convey emotion, as well as creating unusual colour combinations to catch eyes and start conversations. On the more subdued end, nature-inspired colours such as celery and berry-infused purples will be making an appearance. And continuing with 2017’s focus on metallics, expect there to be a lot more gold, brass, silver, copper and bronze in the new year.



As already mentioned, sustainability and architecture are already a focus of architects and designers and this trend is only set to grow in 2018. New governmental regulations and increasing public awareness about climate change has ushered in an era of mindful design – an era where it is our responsibility to engage with our planet in a respectful way. Further, the term sustainable also means security, safety and comfort. Even as the realm of architecture continues to innovate in unexpected ways, a link to the familiar will remain present. After all, there’s much we can learn from human history about using environmentally friendly materials and practices. Sometimes, it’s as simple as going back to our roots.

As 2017 in Edmonton design suggested, our city is heading somewhere great. And we at Lenmak are more than excited to be along for the ride.

Lenmak Exteriors Innovation

The Evolution Of Modernism In Architecture And Its Impact on the 21st Century

From a movement that eschewed ornamentation in favour of function, to a solution for social issues, Modernist architecture has been influencing building design since before the Second World War.

Key principles such as anti-historicism, function, progress and social morality translated to high expectations, ones that often did not meet the real needs and wants of families and communities.

>> Discover why Lenmak is your one-stop-shop, with an aesthetic punch, made for commercial renovations! <<

In the 1970s, Modern architecture was declared “dead” and many Modernist buildings were demolished. Yet, to this day, Modern-era buildings such as English architect Maxwell Fry’s Kensal House remain celebrated prototypes of social housing solutions 80 years after being built.

Furthermore, the marriage of technology and design employed by Modernists gave us once-radical developments like the skyscraper.

What role will this famed, albeit flawed, architectural style play as we move into the future? Let’s explore


Characteristics of Modernist Buildings

Aside from the underlying principles of Modernist architecture, famously summarized by American architect Louis Sullivan as “form follows function,” the design style has a specific and recognizable aesthetic.

The mixed use of cubic and cylindrical shapes feel asymmetrical, while flat roofs and the absence of ornamentation or moldings create a clean and simplified look compared to previous heavily decorated styles.

As for materials, the use of metal, glass and exposed concrete gave Modernist buildings an industrial or utilitarian appearance. A fitting description based on Modernist architecture pioneer Le Corbusier’s declaration that a house is “a machine for living in.”

Stark, neutral colours like white, cream or grey were another mark of Modernist architecture.


 Modernist Architects

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

While Le Corbusier, widely regarded as the most important architect of the 20th century, is perhaps the most well-known Modernist, another architect was actually the first to put Modern design principles into practice.

Walter Gropius, founder of the famed Bauhaus design school, pioneered Modernist architectural features such as the glass curtain wall on his building Fagus Factory in 1911. By the late 1920s, Modernism had taken hold in Europe and begun to spread to America.

While Frank Lloyd Wright refused to be associated with any one design movement, his belief that buildings should live in harmony with their surroundings – illustrated by his iconic Fallingwater – became another highly influential faction of the Modernist movement.




Modernism in Edmonton


Photo Credit: Hip Architects


By 1951, Modernism’s influence on Canadian architecture was evident, and Edmonton saw its first curtain wall building: the AGT Building (now known as the Legislature Annex).

Modernist projects such as the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, the Northwest Utilities Building (Milner Building) and the CN Tower soon followed.

1967 saw the construction of one of Edmonton’s most famed Modernist buildings: the award winning Stanley Engineering Building. Designed by Hemingway and Laubenthal Architecture, the building includes an exposed steel structural frame wrapped on the exterior of a curtain walled glass box.

Postmodernism and Beyond

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Postmodernism, a reaction to the formality of Modernism, brought a shift from the flawed beliefs that one-size solutions could fit all.

The idea of progress – that we are gradually heading down a path towards a universal goal – was replaced by ideas of plurality and diversity. Not a path, but a network of connections and reconnections. Whereas Modern thought emphasized direction, order, coherence and stability, Postmodern thought emphasizes fragmentation, multiplicity and contingency.

Moving into the 21st century, Postmodernism split into several different architectural styles including:

  • High-tech architecture
  • Neoclassicism
  • Deconstructivism


However, no single architectural style claims prominence today, perhaps proof that the plurality introduced by Postmodernism allows for more freedom of expression

A Look Into the Future

Simply known as “contemporary”, the architecture of today encompasses dozens of different styles – some highly conceptual.

Often sculptural in form, recent projects – such as Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall and Philip Nikandrov’s Evolution Tower – employ advanced technology and new building materials to create buildings that often resemble works of art.

And, while many of today’s buildings were designed by architects already famous in the last century, a new method of creation via collectives and multinational agencies has begun to take hold. Furthermore, with increasing importance placed on sustainable design and building practices, the future of architecture looks to be filled with innovative, forward-thinking individuals.

Who We Are, Were, and Will Become

Design Credit: Douglas Sollows Architecture

Lenmak operates with the same innovative and forward-thinking initiative. Whether it’s our cladding, roofing, trim or curtain wall systems, we too believe that diversity is key.

As for sustainability, it’s at the forefront of our minds.

For example, our Aluminaire panel systems are 100 percent recyclable, contain no harmful chemicals and are custom manufactured to reduce waste and save energy. But it’s not just about the future at Lenmak – it’s about who we are now, who we were then, and who we will become.

*Cover Image Credit: Feather




Lenmak Exterior Innovation

Modernism Architecture Lenmak Exteriors
Lenmak Exteriors Innovation

5 Transferable Skills You Learn in Architecture School That Have Nothing To Do With Architecture

The goal of post-secondary education is to immerse yourself in a specific field of study.

Your resulting certificate, diploma or degree indicates the that you are now officially qualified to work in a particular area  – like architecture. But, the truth is, anyone who has gone through this process knows it’s really the transferable skills they’ve learned that will guide them forward.

Certainly, a doctor or nurse must know about human anatomy, but they also need to know how to make quick decisions in the midst of stressful situations.

As for the world of design, the best architects know the ins and outs of the history of architecture, but they can also envision the future – thanks to transferable skills such as the ability to think outside the box.


>> Discover why Lenmak is your one-stop-shop, with an aesthetic punch, made for commercial renovations! <<


Here are five more highly transferable skills acquired while studying architecture.


Problem Solving


Problem Solving_Lenmak


Architects and other design professionals are taught from day one to examine a problem – from all angles – both literally and metaphorically .

Not only is this skill important in itself, but it’s also an umbrella for a whole set of skills. Problem-solving involves researching options, comparing choices to past and existing precedents and making thoughtful decisions.

Most importantly, it requires an open and innovative mind, one that doesn’t stop at the simplest solution unless it also happens to be the best one.


Presentational Skills


Presentational Skills

What use is a great idea if you can’t properly explain it to others?

Showcasing anything from a design to a new piece of equipment to a work of art all takes presentational skills. Not only does this mean becoming comfortable speaking in front of others – something you do a lot in architecture school – but it also means believing in yourself and your idea.

This means taking the passion that led you to an idea and channeling it into an effective and moving presentation.




Lenmak Exteriors Innovation


Taking Criticism


Taking Critisism

As you make your way through your education, you’ll quickly learn that you won’t get an A on every project, and not every professor is going to love your work – and that’s okay.

In fact, it’s normal.

Most comments that might be perceived as “negative” about your work aren’t really negative at all – they’re suggestions on how you can improve and ultimately become a better student and architect. The more you embrace criticism as constructive, the easier it will be to tackle the “real world” and the criticism you will face there as well.

Ideas and designs are always changing, and ultimately you’ll be sent back to the drawing board more than once. 

Much of the time, criticism comes from those who are there to help you learn who see your work as something worth lending their opinion to help you improve. That being said, there’s a difference between respectfully listening to a constructive critique and letting someone walk all over you.

Having the confidence to both listen quietly and speak up when necessary is a two-sided skill that will serve anyone in any field.


Relationship Building


 Relationship Building

It’s no secret that architecture school involves more than a few group projects, discussions and collaborations with peers that you don’t know that well. Frustration and annoyance are only two of the many emotions you’ve more than likely felt when one group member doesn’t pull their weight or doesn’t listen to the group’s opinions – we’ve all been there.

Look at these situations as training rather than an inconvenience. You’re always going to have to work with people you might not get along with or agree with. Having to build and maintain positive relationships with other people doesn’t end once you graduate.

Embracing the chance to work with others in school, and actually committing to making those relationships work for the sake of your joint project or end goal helps give you the lifelong skill of relationship building.

Aside from how your connections can benefit you, it’s also worth considering how a connection to you can benefit others. With business and design heading in a much more collaborative direction, the ability to become an integral member of a community is an essential skill.


Breaking The Rules


 Breaking the Rules

There’s nothing easier than falling into the “cookie cutter” stencil of what is expected of you as you go through school.

It’s true – professors like when you conform to their rules, but many like it even more when you go above and beyond what they expect, and deliver them something a little more radical or out of the box than they were expecting.

“Breaking the Rules 101” isn’t a course students of architecture are required to take, but maybe it should be. In design, there is rarely one answer. And, if you’re determined to find it, you’re likely to miss out on all the other potential solutions.

School is your chance to think critically and come up with new and interesting ideas that you can bring to your job outside of the classroom. Master the rules, but don’t be afraid to test the waters with something new.

For those who have a hard time going against what is expected of them, remember – breaking the rules isn’t about eschewing the status quo just for the sake of it. It’s about asking “why”? And then asking it again, until you are satisfied with the answer.


From Great Architects to Great Leaders

With those already involved in Canadian architecture launching innovative projects every day, our country needs to continue to produce individuals that are just as forward thinking. And while those graduating with brand new architectural degrees and brand new design ideas will possess all the necessary skills to be great architects, the most important skills they’ll bring with them are the ones that will help them become great leaders.

These are the skills that are transferable and far-reaching, because the best careers aren’t the ones that follow a straightforward path. Instead, they branch off in infinite directions – infinite pathways.

Which one will you take?

Lenmak Exteriors Innovation

Upcoming Innovative Architectural Projects in Canada

From groundbreaking passive building design to redefining the affordable housing model, Canadian architecture has never looked so good – or been so exciting.

From east to west, every city has its own needs, styles, and initiatives. What we build here is a reflection of who we are, and these six current and upcoming projects illustrate that we care about our people, our environment and creating a human-made landscape that’s as varied and beautiful as our natural landscape.

Most importantly, we care about the community.

What’s the point in having amenity-filled neighborhoods and sky-high towers if we can’t enjoy them together?


>> Discover why Lenmak is your one-stop-shop, with an aesthetic punch, made for commercial renovations! <<


East Village Revitalization (Calgary, Alberta)

Photo Credit: Calgary Municipal Land Corporation


Most individuals in the design and construction industry know the mark of a vibrant city is a “happening” downtown core, which is why investors from both the public and private sectors are coming together on Calgary’s East Village revitalization project.

Intent on turning the city’s business-oriented core into an accessible, bustling community, the project covers a 120-acre area.

With a master plan that includes the development of condo towers, a museum, a library, pedestrian bridges, public art and more, East Village is already well on its way to becoming a Calgary hot spot.


Londonderry Affordable Housing Redevelopment (Edmonton, Alberta)

Photo Credit: Alberta Government


Affordable housing remains a concern in every major Canadian city. However, with its fresh, modern exterior and a new approach to integrating affordable homes with community-friendly amenities, the Londonderry Affordable Housing Redevelopment is set to redefine the concept of “social housing.”

Edmonton’s Capital Region Housing Corporation has planned a project that could act as a template to update rundown affordable housing complexes. Set to open in 2019, the revitalization includes 240 suites, a large public outdoor courtyard, indoor community space and amenities for the whole neighbourhood. To the design’s credit, not a single community member has stepped forward to oppose the project and instead feedback on the proposal has been wholly positive.


The One (Toronto, Ontario)

Photo Credit: blogTO


A building would have to be pretty special to live up to a name like “The One.” Thankfully, the proposed 306.3 metre Toronto skyscraper will earn that title by becoming the tallest building in all of Canada upon its projected 2022 completion.

Located at the intersection of Yonge and Bloor and designed by London-based architectural firm Foster and Partners, the tower will feature an elaborate zigzag design up its glass-ensconced exterior. The first seven storeys will be designated for retail, while the remaining floors leave room for a variety of residential units – with suite sizes ranging from 581 to 5700 square feet.


Sapperton Green (New Westminster, British Columbia)

Photo Credit: New Westminster


 A 38-acre site in southeast New Westminster is about to get a lot more eco-friendly with the construction of a sustainable and transit-oriented master planned community. Sapperton Green is touted as compact, with public areas such as a large park and commercial/retail hub acting as integral parts of the design.

An emphasis on pedestrian and cycling connections to surrounding green areas and active streets will help keep carbon emissions from vehicles down. And access to surrounding natural environments, like the Brunette River Greenway, further the goal of the design team – which includes Vancouver-based architects MCM Partnerships – to create a neighbourhood that is as connected to nature as it is to the rest of the city.


Stantec Tower (Edmonton, Alberta)

The Stantec Tower, Edmonton

Photo Credit: Edmonton Journal


The 250 metre tall Stantec Tower has had Edmontonians buzzing since the project was first announced. Not only will the building house the headquarters of Stantec, a company that has grown from a one-man operation to a multi-billion dollar international organization, but will also consist of retail space and 454 condominium units.

The building, which is designed achieve LEED to Gold standards, employs eco-conscious features such as the use of greywater, passive design strategies and a high-tech system to monitor optimization of energy and water consumption performance. With architecture by Stantec, set to open in 2018, the 62-storey, 800,000 square foot tower has already been labelled as an iconic Edmonton landmark.


 Tower 2.0 (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Tower 2.0 Vancouver, BC

Photo Credit: Vancouver Sun


This two-tower project is positioned to become a beacon for passive high-rises in Canada. Tower 2.0 aims to take the skyscraper model Vancouver has become known for and elevate it to the next level. Passive buildings must pass rigorous benchmarks in order to achieve certification by the Germany-based Passive House Institute – including an airtight envelope and effective use of sun and shade.

Architectural firms Robert A.M. Stern and MCM Partnerships designed the towers to pay homage to two of the city’s most notable buildings – the Marine Building and Hotel Vancouver. Once constructed, Tower 2.0 would be the tallest passive building in the world.

Lenmak Exterior Innovation

Lenmak Exteriors Innovation

The 3 Best Layouts for New Elementary Schools

Picture long hallways, metal lockers, neutral colours and self-contained classrooms – schools haven’t changed much over the last few decades. However, education reformers are now encouraging architects and designers to rethink the traditional school layout, particularly the “double-loaded corridor.”

Why? Think back to your old high school or elementary school. The typical hallway you frequented, accounting for up to one third of a school’s square footage, moved you from one classroom to the next without actually adding to your academic growth.


>> Discover why Lenmak is your one-stop-shop, with an aesthetic punch, made for commercial renovations! <<


Here are three school layouts that reimagine the double-loaded corridor, and beyond.


Vertically Oriented School Layout

Vertical School Layout Lenmak Exteriors

Vertically oriented school layouts take inspiration from the current vertical building trend. Not surprisingly, this trend accommodates higher populations using less land, and means schools are built up instead of out. Aside from being a more sustainable way to design buildings, vertical structures have many benefits. Several of these positives, such as optimal daylight, are highly compatible with learning.

In Seattle, a new vertically oriented school is set to open in 2018. Offering 74,289 square feet of usable space, the building will serve as the middle school for the Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences. The classrooms are spread out over five storeys, one for each grade the school accommodates, and are organized around flexible shared living spaces.

Although some schools use the mixed-grade format, where students from different levels are taught either together or in close proximity, there are still convincing arguments for building a school with a layout that allows for grade separation. Students the same age and placed in the same grade often perform better academically, while students taught in mixed-grade classrooms develop strong socio-emotional skills.


Open and Transparent School Layout

Open Transparent School Layout Lenmak Exteriors

While those who design, build and run schools have long been concerned by open spaces creating distractions, brain-based research shows otherwise. Both children and adults learn best when all their senses are engaged. Further, the opportunity to problem-solve and interact with others in a space that is properly lit and ventilated stimulates our need to learn in a multi-modal fashion.

Three new schools in New Hampshire use the concepts of openness and transparency not only to create physical spaces, but also to create the mindset required to foster learning amongst young children. Instead of boundaries such as walls and doors, classrooms and shared areas are subdivided by short partitions, furniture and an abundant amount of glass.

If school is a place in which children learn how to function in the world once they become adults, then the buildings in which they learn need to echo the buildings where they will work. Today’s workplace is much more concerned with open-minded, collaborative and community-driven employees who are able to tackle problems than with employees who keep their heads down and voices quiet.


Activity-Oriented School Layout

Activity Oriented School Layout Lenmak Exteriors

Following the model of activity-oriented learning, activity-oriented schools are designed to teach students not by lecturing to them, but by encouraging them to engage. As each student is unique and excels in different areas, creating a space for each child to explore and develop his or her strengths – alongside peers – is much more conducive to learning.

Activity-oriented learning extends beyond the classroom and into the school as a whole. Traditionally, areas such as sports fields and playgrounds are placed on the perimeter of the school. This separation of area – work from play – once again reiterates that classrooms and school buildings are thought of as places for quiet learning. However, educators are beginning to see that skills learned through activities have their own place in the curriculum.

Schools such as the proposed Siheung Elementary School in South Korea place the outdoor sports field at the centre of the school – much like a courtyard. This layout allows for physical activities to be visible from administrative and work areas, while also letting sunlight into the offices and classrooms.


Every Point a Place to Learn

To rethink how schools are designed is to rethink how children – and all humans – think and grow. Research has proven time and again that our surroundings greatly impact our emotional, physical and spiritual states. Armed with this knowledge, it only makes sense that schools provide the newest generation with spaces that are calming and stimulating, welcoming and challenging. It’s about more than creating buildings designed to move children from point A to point B; these spaces should encourage students to both work hard and play hard. Every point within a school should be thought of as a place to learn.  

Lenmak Exterior Innovation

Lenmak Exteriors Innovation

Woodall School Lenmak Exteriors

When a Building is More than a Project: Constable Daniel Woodall Elementary School

In life, every ending is the start of a new beginning.

In 2015, the City of Edmonton lost a public service hero, husband, and father. Constable Daniel Woodall was killed in the line of duty, but his memory will continue to live on, not only in the hearts of his family and friends, but in our community and its generations to come.

Edmonton’s newest elementary school has been named in his honour. Constable Daniel Woodall Elementary School opened this September, and it is has been Lenmak’s honour to have contributed to such a significant building in our community.


>> Discover why Lenmak is your one-stop-shop, with an aesthetic punch, made for commercial renovations! <<


The Story Behind the Project

Constable Daniel Woodall served with the Greater Manchester Police for four years before moving his family to Edmonton, where he served with the Edmonton Police Service for eight years. However, on June 8, 2015, Woodall was killed in the line of duty while serving on the hate crime unit. He and his partner were executing an arrest warrant when the situation turned. Over 53 gunshots were fired that evening, killing Woodall and injuring other officers.

No one was prepared for the events of this evening.

If you were a member of the greater Edmonton community at the time, you will remember how the shock that followed this tragedy bled throughout the city and surrounding tri areas. What could have so easily resulted in fearful families seeking safety instead brought the city closer together. The greater Edmonton community came together as a family to support one that had been broken. Claire Woodall and her two sons felt the warm embrace of hundreds of thousands. Blue ribbons hugged lampposts on street corners, car antennas, and front yards, and the High Level Bridge was lit blue in Woodall’s honour and memory.

Woodall School Lenmark Exteriors Architecture.


Constable Daniel Woodall and his heroism would not be forgotten.

Thousands of people came from across and outside of the country to attend Woodall’s regiment funeral. It was clear he was passionate about police work and mentored students interested in pursuing careers in the police force. Woodall believed in the value of diversity and defending the community from abuse, hate and extremism. Everything a true hero stands for.

A fitting testament to live on, in the greater Edmonton community.

Dan Woodall School Lenmak Exterior

Constable Woodall is also remembered in the naming of a City park.


Constable Daniel Woodall Elementary School

The Constable Daniel Woodall Elementary School is a testament to the goodness of people. There is more love than hate in this world. There are individuals, and children no less, who want to be the best versions of themselves. There are children who want to learn and grow to be better, and this is exactly how Daniel Woodall lived.

Edmonton students attending this school will be privileged to learn and to know the spirit of Woodall and take it with them throughout their education. Our hope is that these students will take the heroism of Woodall and allow it to push them to work hard, persevere, and make a difference in this world. Woodall’s life and work was and stays proof that no matter how big or small, we can all have an impact.


Lenamk Exterior Woodall School


Working on such a significant project was a unifying process for us and our fellow business associates unlike ever before. Though we have been privileged to to work with a number collaborative teams on many of our cladding projects, all of us who worked on the Woodall school were proud to be building a memory for an Edmontonian hero. There is an intrinsic sense of justice you want to serve to ensure every aspect of the project reflects who Woodall was, and what he did for our community.

This time, we weren’t just building a building, we were creating a memorial. A building to be filled with vibrant minds and all the potential in the world, named after a man who believed in every single one of them.

Thanking Constable Woodall

Contributing our part to the Constable Daniel Woodall Elementary School has been an absolute honour. There are not enough words to describe what it means to contribute to one of the city’s most valued structures. The Woodall family will forever be in our hearts, and we, like the City of Edmonton, are eternally grateful for the sacrifices Constable Daniel Woodall made for our community and home.


Credits to our Partners:

Lenmak Exteriors Innovation

1 2