thomson architecture, inc.

ecological, economical

We are a team of independent, licensed Architects, Landscape Architects, Interior Designers and Engineers working together to create high-performance, resilient buildings at competitive rates. We offer bespoke architectural services matched with a high level of responsiveness, professionalism and affordability.

About

We are a licensed, insured, professional Architectural firm. Our corporate motto is, 'Prompt, Affordable, Professional'. Good design is not a luxury for the few, but an essential part of a quality-assurance process that can reduce construction and operational costs over the life of the building. We serve the private residential and commercial sector, from small alterations and additions to restaurants, breweries and airports. Having learned the craft of architecture from some of the best firms in North America and Germany, we integrate structural and mechanical design and preliminary cost estimating from day one.

Services

Green Architecture

Since 1996 when Andy learned early Passivhaus standards and Baubiologie principles in Germany, we've been designing and building green, from R2000 homes to LEED towers, an approach we call ‘Ecotecture’.  From the best practices in building science, to healthy materials and design optimization through energy-modelling, you can count on us to bring you the most the most cost-effective, advanced, yet simplest design possible. As a member of the Ontario Association of Architect’s Sustainable Built Environment Committee, Andy has a unique overview of proposed changes to policy and codes for energy efficiency that serves to develop best practices for the OAA membership and the public.

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Commercial Buildings

From Tenant Fit-Ups to Commercial Air Terminals and 737 Hangars, we have the tools and capacity to deliver efficient, elegant and economical designs, including:

• Medical Clinics and Community Health Centres
• Rapid Deployment Structures & Work Camps
• Airports & Large Span Industrial Structures
• Remote & Extreme Climate Structures
• Churches and Parish Halls
• Community Centres
• Schools & Daycares
• Pharmacies
• Restaurants
• Breweries

Energy Modelling

We have been energy modelling our projects since 1995. As the energy standards have progressed, so have the thermal modelling platforms. We use ArchiCad EcoDesigner BIM thermal modelling (ASHRAE 90.1) for commercial projects and Hot2000, EnergyPro and EnergyPlus for Residential Projects. We can do full performance-path modelling for SB12 of the OBC if your home does not fit one of the prescriptive paths. We will also be using PHPP for all Passive House projects with our project partners.

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Ecometrics & Thermal Analysis

Heat-loss isn't just a waste of energy and money, it can also deposit unwanted humidity in your building's wall, floor and roof assemblies, resulting in premature failure, mold and avoidable damage.

We provide thermal imaging of your building inside and out to help determine the potential cause of condensation, rot and leakage. We can also undertake a review of your utility bills and establish a Total Energy Use Intensity (TEUI) rating based on your building's area, and compare this against a National Average for the age and type of your property. Our review includes a comprehensive report and suggestions for improvements and renovations for improved energy performance and reduced carbon footprint. We can also help you establish a pathway to make your building carbon-neutral, net-zero energy or both.

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Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality is routinely up to 5x worse than outdoor air. This can impact our health, worsen symptoms of asthma, impair cognitive function and affect the quality of your sleep. But how would you know? We offer a 30-day, comprehensive, multi-zone IAQ study that includes:

Temperature Distribution (ie. upstairs/downstairs) | Humidity | Pressure | Radon | CO2 | Oxygen | TVOC

We provide interval sampling up to 5 minutes on most of these measures, and provide you with a comprehensive report at the completion of the review that will help you to determine whether it may be prudent to undertake cleaning, balancing & maintenance of your systems, provide additional air filtration equipment and or Heat Recovery Ventilation. As we are not a reseller of these additional services or equipment, you can expect an unbiased opinion from us on your IAQ.

Community & Resorts

We have experience in community living and design, from ad-hoc student villages in Germany, to co-housing in Toronto and even developing an eco-village in Quebec. The growing trend of co-buying, co-habitation, and basically all forms of community organization and living bring opportunities to design for both social and spatial structures. Finding a balance between private needs and public amenities can be best discovered in a public design forum, with architect as mediator. Andy has led several teams in consensus-building exercises aka. ‘charettes’: multi-stakeholder design workshops where all input is considered, filtered and synthesized, resulting in a multi-dimensional functional plan where everyone feels heard and included. Contact us to learn more!

Renovations & Additions

We help our clients to evaluate multiple properties, as well as review and inspect existing buildings. We create laser measured, 3D plans existing buildings. We also help to develop budgets and building cost estimates and complete design and construction administration services. From basement renovations to multi-storey additions, our software is specially designed to create drawings for existing, demolition and proposed conditions, facilitating your permit application drawings.

Advanced Geometry

Specialized in geodesic, platonic, polyhedral and otherwise rational, efficient and geometries that require advanced coding, custom scripting and research and design to construct digitally and test at full scale. Inspired by the always metaphysical R. Buckminster Fuller, our exploration of ephemeral design principles, prefabricated housing, load-balancing structures, the meta-mathematical geometry of nature as understood by Bucky is a constant theme in our projects.

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OAA Licensed

Architects and Architecture are protected terms in Ontario, and Architects are licensed professionals that are governed by the Architect’s Act. Members with good standing in the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) must have a graduate-level University degree at a certified school of Architecture, hold a mandatory insurance policy, and complete an internship and course of standardized exams. Additional commitments include adherence to a course of continuing education and to the OAA’s Code of Ethics, with oversight by the OAA.

OAA Listing →

Building Information Modelling

• Speed: 4x faster than 2D CAD workflow
• Quality: Parity and accuracy at 1:1 scale
• 3D: Coordination reduces errors and extras - conflicts discovered before construction phase
• Laser-measured existing buildings
• Change processing in real-time.
• 27 years of industry leading BIM experience.

Virtual Reality and Real-Time Rendering

• Apple pro 10-core Pro Hardware at 3.2GHz
• 3D imaging times have gone from hours to minutes
• 3D rendered images and 3D BIMx Virtual Reality (VR) • Explore your work in progress
• Lower IT costs with better security
• Rendering & VR Model at no extra charge

Client Kudos

Our customers have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by optimizing the construction and detailing methods used in our buildings. Based on a legacy of offsite prefabrication and prefab components, together with material efficiency, we offer unmatched value on any design.
• 5-star reviews on all social media platforms.

Cloud Based Project Management

• Active collaboration with the team
• Hosted file-sharing of all project documents and emails plus Gantt-scheduling of all contracted tasks and sub-consulant coordination
• Client input 24/7 from any device, desktop, mobile or other apps.
• Free integration on every project

Transparent Fees

• Our 28 years of experience has helped us define pre-set packages for a wide range of common designs.
• Even our basic packages are robust and complete sets
• We have broken these into categories that are easily priced, taking the mystery out of professional services and offering a range of value options

Low Overhead

• Networked professionals using virtual office technology • Reduced overhead means a lower fee for our clients without compromising professional service
• No low or mid-level staff = better control over the timeline and budgets
• Automated, enterprise-grade, cloud-based accounting
• Transparent workflow with monthly progress
• Greater focus on design

50+

Residential & Commercial Projects Built

28+

Years of Green Design, Construction & Architecture (and that's just Andy!)

4yrs

Licensed & Insured by the OAA & Pro-Demnity

39

Average TEUI in kWh/m2•yr (the Canadian Average is 203)

16,560

Cups Of Coffee

100%

Customer Satisfaction based on all social media reviews to date

Portfolio

With a focus on deep sustainability, Thomson Architecture projects strive for zero-carbon, net-zero energy, and Passive House levels of performance wherever possible. In order to meet these high performance targets, we are unique in Canada for our innovative approach to reduced building material and labour-saving detailing, resulting in exceptional construction cost savings. Click below to see more;

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Featured Gallery

Regent Park Block 14

Regent Park Block 14

Competition award winning entry by architectsAlliance with Andy Thomson as sustainability lead. Photo credit: Terrence Tourangeau

miniHome SOLO

miniHome SOLO

DX Award winning miniHome prefabricated travel trailer One of the projects that started the tiny home craze in 2006. The first in a long series of designs for Sustain Design Studio.

Whitewater Brewing Company

Whitewater Brewing Company

Whitewater Brewing Company built his 7,200sf purpose-built brewery in 2016. The restaurant and brew pub areas have become the de facto community centre for Cobden, Ontario.

Moscow House

Moscow House

46,000sf luxury residence. TAI under subcontract to TREA Building Systems Inc., TAI’s role was to facilitate BIM for TAMMVIS of Moscow. Interior design & renderings by TGStudio of London, UK.

Container Prefab

Container Prefab

Modified shipping container prefab homes for remote locations. Designed for a 100 unit resort development near Lake Simcoe, Ontario, 2018.

WBC Restaurant

WBC Restaurant

TAI created a series of restaurant concepts to follow the successful launch of the original brew pub in 2016.

Huntsville House

Huntsville House

This single family R2000 residence in Huntsville Ontario from 2008 features extensive use of SIPS panels and passive solar heating and shading. Design by Andy Thomson as Project Architect for Altius Architecture.

Urban Mode Prefab

Urban Mode Prefab

Urban Mode asked Andy to design a prefab extension to their contemporary furniture store in downtown Toronto. We managed to find loopholes to get around a building permit by designing as a mobile storage unit parkied in the owner's parking lot. Andy Thomson architect for Altius Architecture.

OHOME Prefab Residences

OHOME Prefab Residences

Offsite prefabricated components designed for fast local assembly, OHOME commissioned Andy Thomson as lead architect to create the systems, designs, and marketing for this Napa, California based manufacturer.

Our Team

Andy Thomson

Andy Thomson

Architect, M.Arch, OAA, Eastern & Northern Ontario

Andy is the principal and founder of Thomson Architecture, Inc. A graduate of UBC's School of Architecture in 2003, Andy's 24 yrs of experience in Germany, the US and Canada in the field of green design & construction combined with his love of the outdoors, informs the work we do today. When Andy isn't glued to the computer, he can be found windsurfing, cycling, or riding electric skateboards. Andy speaks English, German and French.

Anastasiia Grygorieva

Anastasiia Grygorieva

Intern Architect

Nastia studied in post-soviet Ukraine and at the University of Milan SoA, and has worked internationally. With skills in interior design, furniture and décor, as well as in the digital design with ArchiCad, Lumion and other platforms, her mission is to make the world a better place by creating the ideal habitat that is consonant with individual style. She is intent on creating practical yet flexible designs with a timeless quality.

Nastia speaks Ukrainian, English, Russian & German.

Mark Ashby

Mark Ashby

Architect, M.Arch, AIBC, CPHD, Western Canada & Passive House Consulting

    Mark is principal and founder of Mark Ashby Architecture and a Certified Passive House Designer based in Victoria, BC. Mark has been an educator for Passive House Canada since 2016, building the foundation of expertise in Passive House design in Western Canada. Mark's practice includes both design and expert consulting for projects designed to the Passive House standard. Mark subcontracts to Thomson, Architecture, Inc. for our Passivhaus projects across Canada and collaborates with us for the region of Western Canada. link to Mark's website...

    Bradley Skinner

    Bradley Skinner

    Architect, OAA, Western Ontario

    Bradley Skinner is founder and Principal of Skinner & Skinner Architects Inc. For over 20 years, he has led his practice with a passion for creative design solutions. His portfolio of complex, highly visible, public and private buildings, has achieved recognition for design excellence across Ontario. Skinner Architects has been the recipient of several City of London, Urban Design Awards and delivered award-winning projects of all scales. SSA works collaboratively with TAI on projects in Western Ontario. link to Skinner & Skinner...

    Tim Joyce

    Tim Joyce

    Structural Engineer, MASc., P.Eng, Contact Engineering

    With over 15 years of structural engineering experience working on projects of every size and scale, Tim brings a thoughtful and unique perspective to all his work. He believes that successful projects are the result of deep collaboration and he stops at nothing to deliver creative and efficient structures for his clients. link to Contact...

    Bucky’s Ghost

    Bucky’s Ghost

    Geometer, Cosmologist

    R. Buckminster Fuller’s presence in our office is palpable. Since ideas are beyond time, in his own way, Bucky continues to exercise influence here and now. Our project portfolio is a continuation of Bucky's ephemeral design principles, from our prefabricated housing solutions to our 'flattened tensegrity' large span timber structures that embody precession and load distribution. The meta-mathematical geometry of nature as comprehended by Bucky is a faithful and constant companion in all of our projects.

    Sam Thomson

    Sam Thomson

    B. Ark, Reception

      Sam prefers expansive spaces with ample use of natural materials, and while he tolerates our mid-century interiors, his greater interest is in keeping the team together, happy, and outside of the office whenever possible. Sam is typically quiet and fluffy, but does not enjoy the company of squirrels.

      Testimonials

      • As an industrial designer and construction professional, I highly recommend Thomson Architecture. They are professional, enthusiastic, and a pleasure to work with. We could not be happier with our home.

        Robert & Maria Iantorno
      • Like all other architectural visionaries of modern times, Mr. Thomson foresees not merely a radical building type, but also a new kind of human being to fit the built prototype. It may well be that the long-suffering environment will eventually turn on us in some catastrophic fashion — if global warming is not already such a calamity — forcing our conversion from wasteful people into more mindful folk. Should this apocalypse come upon us — or, better still, well before it actually happens — we should be listening to what designers such as Andy Thomson are telling us, and to what they have learned.

        John Bentley Mays, The Globe and Mail
      • Let me introduce you to Andy Thomson. He is a rock star. Andy works for two firms in Canada as well as his own. Since he does not sleep, he also has recently providing some assistance to our new reseller in Canada (Ardent). Andy’s passion is about design and how to implement ArchiCAD in large firms/large projects. To this end, he has put up a site to help the community to implement ArchiCAD on large projects. He is a terrific speaker with lots of big projects completed and I think he will be an excellent keynote speaker for the Nottingham (Archicad University 2007) Event.

        Dominic Gallello, Former CEO OF Graphisoft, Autodesk
      • As a fellow architect, Andy has been a valuable resource to our community in assisting with tools and expert advice over the years. His demeanor, patience and willingness to help should weigh heavily in your decision when seeking a building design professional.

        Forest King, Architect
      • Andy Thomson is one of the very few architects I would consider for doing anything green and modern.

        Anyone can put up a wall of glass and say they’re creating a beautiful living space by bringing the outside in. Anyone can slap on some solar panels, add fly ash to the concrete, and claim a house is green. The world abounds with such designs, but only a true professional can combine all the parts into an integrated whole... To be able to combine this with clean lines, a surprisingly spacious feel, and just enough funkiness to add character, is rare.

        I’d definitely recommend Andy for any low-impact modern design project.

        MIke Crawford, Maine Residence
      • I started working on a “fully sustainable family compound” design (for the Napa Valley) with Andy Thomson in the Fall of 2009. It was truly the most fun and productive collaborative project I have ever participated in. Each suggestion brought up an even better new idea and Andy’s extensive knowledge of “cutting edge”, “state of the art” architectural projects, innovations, methods, environmental standards and software made for an easy, exciting and productive adventure. Andy has a way of making an architectural design project a true collaboration, instead of just an idea forced upon his clients. We have as yet not fully finished our design, but the process has been fruitful and exciting. Andy is an architect with integrity, imagination, wisdom and courage. That is a total winning combination for any project!

        Christine Remy, San Francisco, CA
      • I first met Andy during architecture school. He really stood out and brought years of experience to the studio, which we all learned from. His experience in Germany, I think was invaluable as they are the culture that cares the most about quality, timeless buildings and they are at the forefront of sustainability. He applies this experience and knowledge to his Canadian projects. Andy truly practices what he preaches and has a ton of experience living a sustainable lifestyle. I rely on Andy whenever I have a question about architecture, details, or if I just want to toss around ideas. He’s the best. He’s literally an encyclopedia and his energy and excitement for what he does is infectious. Andy is hungry for knowledge and is constantly seeking out best practices and innovation. His mastery of technology and cad programs also ensures that he works efficiently. I strongly recommend Andy for any scale of project and clients are lucky to have access to his creative and rigorous approach.

        Julie B, Architect & Planner
      • Andy Thomson is a forward thinking innovator in building design. His work causes you to expand your notion of sustainable living, while simultaneously still ‘thinking inside the box’. Andy is an indispensable resource as an architect for anyone wishing to consider their environmental impact in new builds in our Canadian climate.

        Violet Shearer, Toronto, Ontario
      • Andy is intense and passionate about going low-impact with a strong sense of design. He has lived his own creed, experimenting with his own dwellings, and knows what he’s talking about on an experiential level. Yet Andy is also adept at listening to his clients and finding ways to implement their goals, even if they don’t share all his passions. That’s a combination we’ve appreciated while working with Andy on a number of designs.

        Mike Crawford, Maine Residence

      Our Rates

      1hr Consultation
      FREE1hr at our Barrie Office
      • Determine Budget
      • Determine Construction Method
      • Determine Construction Delivery/Contract
      • List of Requirements ie. Geo-tech, Survey, Engineering
      • Space Program Review
      • Portfolio & Materials Review
      Pre-Design Study
      $600per Report
      • Zoning Review
      • Site Plan Analysis
      • Quick OBC Review
      • Building Area Options
      • Construction Budget
      • Sketch Layouts
      Measured 3D Plans
      $1.75per Square Foot
      • Floor Plans - All Levels to 1:50 Scale
      • 2 Sections to 1:10 Scale
      • 4 Elevations to 1:50 Scale
      • Free 3D Viewer Output
      • Free PDF Output
      • Free Printed 20 Page 11x17 Drawing Set
      SCHEMATIC DESIGN
      $5per square foot
      • Design for OBC Permit c/w. OBC Matrix
      • Floor Plans - All Levels to 1:50 Scale
      • Elevations - All Elevations to 1:50 Scale
      • Sections - 6 Sections to 1:50 Scale
      • 4 Wall Sections to 1:10 Scale
      • Basic Door & Window Schedules
      • Construction Assembly & Finish Schedules
      • Basic 3D & BIMx VR Model
      • Free Printed 20 Page 11x17 Drawings Set
      PLATINUM DESIGN
      5%based on construction cost*
      • Schematic Design Package plus:
      • Interior Elevations
      • Electrical Plans
      • Reflected Ceiling Plans
      • 20 Detail Drawings
      • 3D Framing & Structural Diagrams
      • Unlimited 2D Coordination between all subconsultants
      • *defined as all costs excluding land and subconsultant fees.
      PLATINUM+
      8%based on Construction Cost*
      • Platinum Services Plus:
      • Extended Design Development Services
      • Extended Construction Document Services
      • Extended Design Iterations
      • Prequalification & Tendering
      • Construction Administration
      • Unlimited 3D Coordination between all subconsultants
      • Unlimited project administration
      • *defined as all costs excluding land and subconsultant fees.

      Download a sample of our Schematic Plans and Elevations

      Superior attention to detail, means more accurate builder quotes and less hassle during construction

      From Our Blog

      Architecture, Entropy, Anatomy

      Image top: Seawolf skin-on-frame Kayak, image by Oliver Ludlow I’ve been struggling with an idea for a good thirty years.…

      Air is Life

      While the current debate over the human diet seeks to settle the question of optimal health, both for the individual…

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      Contact Info

      +1 647 607 7920
      art@andythomson.ca
      104 Shirley Avenue
      Barrie, Ontario L4N 1N4
      Canada