Why He’s Top 40: He makes city space a better place.
As an architect at the start-up style firm, NEXT Architecture, Christopher vander Hoek looks at light, space and structure to see how his creations will affect their surroundings. And he doesn’t stop when the workday is done.
He’s exhibited his responsive light installations as far away as Ottawa, but vander Hoek directs most of his energy in Alberta’s capital, where he was born and raised. He’s a member on the Media Architecture Design Edmonton board and member of the Urban Interventions committee, where he and his collaborators bring their creations to life and change the way people view Edmonton’s urban spaces. Think of the Bollards brought attention to damaged and deteriorating cement sidewalk posts, simply by dressing them in kid clothes. He designed and curated the Secret Alley Gallery with wife and co-Top 40 recipient Stephanie Chai, and founded Makescape, a two-part urban intervention that brought the public, architects and city elections candidates together at the Centennial Plaza, to talk about unused space in the city centre.
For vander Hoek, Edmonton provides an advantage to young people trying to make a difference. “The opportunity in Edmonton is huge, because its current growth provides flexibility. There are established cities that don’t have that,” he says. “We’re building something here, and I get to be a part of it. I want to live in a place that’s interesting, and I love being in a place where I can contribute.”