Personal Space: Don Vaughan

Power Plant

Through the 1970s and ’80s, he helped shape the region by working on the outdoor spaces (and master plans) for large developments like Concord Pacific Place, Whistler Village, and Expo 86, and by helping to design smaller venues like the Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Nitobe Gardens, and Bentall Centre plaza. His modernist touch surrounds us to this day.


Material World

He and wife Patty bought their Altamont home in 1980. The recently renovated western wing uses hemlock planks in line with his belief that sustainable design rests on local materials that are inexpensive and, to quote long-time collaborator Arthur Erickson, “appropriate.”


Down to Earth

“You’ve got to use the landscape to talk about the place.” The irises (“invasive-I know”), magnolia, bamboo, and strawberries (crops happily picked by four granddaughters) anchor the home in its Pacific Northwest setting. When Vaughan started his practice, local nurseries didn’t even stock indigenous plants like the sword ferns, salal, and kinnikinnick sprinkled across his .75-acre property.



Mementos include the dinner bell from his mother’s ranch (he grew up in coastal Oregon) and the front door, whose moulded panels he made while studying sculpture as a mature student at Emily Carr. After graduation, he created public art at Ambleside Park and David Lam Park. Today, he competes in weightlifting. This spring he won gold at the B.C. and Canadian Masters.