Christopher Straka

BA HBOR BEd MEDes MCIP

Principal

chris@vertdesign.ca
613.244.9484
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Christopher Straka is dedicated to community building. His work involves transforming spaces into places that help people better understand themselves and the world around them.

Chris understands the need to balance social, economic, and ecological factors. He approaches planning, design and development projects with a wide scope of awareness. His significant experiences in the development and implementation of educational and recreational programs have sharpened his management skills. An ability to communicate effectively in graphic or written form is supplemented by his ability to speak both English and French.

Chris holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Design from the University of Calgary, which complements his undergraduate degrees in Urban Geography, Education, and Outdoor Recreation Parks and Tourism. Chris has been a member of the Ontario College of Teachers, and is currently a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners.

Chris’ academic training is complemented by the practical expertise he has gained while working with FoTenn Consultants in Ottawa; Calthorpe Associates in Berkely, California; the Town of Banff; Garibaldi Alpen Resorts in Squamish; the YMCA of Greater Vancouver, the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, and the Kawartha Outdoor Education Centre.

From deep roots in Toronto, Peterborough, Thunder Bay and Ottawa, Chris’ life path has also explored British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, California and Catalonia (Spain) for extended periods of time. His perspective is informed by observations made during annual multi-week expeditions abroad.

Equally comfortable in a design workshop, a Mexican market, a council chamber, or the stern of a canoe; Chris lives a dynamic lifestyle. Away from work, Chris enjoys chasing plastic, satisfying a penchant for black fingers, riding his steel steed, gentrifying his neighbourhood, eddying out, consuming culinary contrasts, eating powder, and making mental maps.

In addition to his professional endeavours, Chris enjoys contributing to community building efforts.  He is currently a member of the Board of Directors for Passive Buildings Canada.  He has served in the past as a member of the Board for the Canada Green Building Council’s Ottawa Region Chapter, an Ambassador for International Living Building Institute, and a technical reviewer for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Sustainable Community Awards.  Chris enjoys acting as a guest reviewer and lecturer in Algonquin College’s Green Architecture program and as an occasional public speaker.

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