VELD architect
  • Providing a unique rural perspective on design and agritourism
  • Using agritourism and good design to help farmers take back the food dollar
  • Implementing practical and cost effective sustainable technologies
  • Free inital project assessment. Reserve your place now!
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Welcome to VELD architect. We bring a unique contemporary rural perspective to your project. We specialize in agritourism design, but take on any project big or small, residential to commercial. We serve all of Ontario and beyond. We are a full service firm assisting you with your project from the early planning and feasibility stages through the permit phases and through to the end of construction. Browse our "services" for more information.

We are very easy to talk to and would love to hear about your ideas. So feel free to contact us if you have a question.

Feel free to browse our website for free resources. They are coming soon and will include "zoning review template", "the process of architecture", "how to hire an architect", and more!

View our portfolio below. Projects have included barns, kennels, community gardens, on-farm stores, regenerative agriculture, master planning, equestrian venues, restaurants, offices, etc. We can also assist with wineries, breweries, on-farm accommodations, adaptive reuse, barnk barn conversions, etc.

THE AGRITECT - a blog about all things rural and agritourism related
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VELD's Vrijdag Verses - 10

July, 25th 2014
The “whole foods” shopper feels that by buying organic he is “engaging in authentic experiences” and imaginatively enacting a “return to the utopian past with the positive aspects of modernity intact”. -Michael Pollan, Author. Excerpts from Omnivores Delemma ...

VELD's Vrijdag Verses - 9

July, 18th 2014
" for farmers themselves, they have long ago lost control of their destiny. They are no longer ‘independent farmers,’ subscribing to that ancient and perhaps indispensable ideal, but are the agents of their creditors and the market. They are ‘units of production’ who, or which, must perform ‘ef ...

VELD's Vrijdag Verses - 8

July, 11th 2014
"The character of the farm should be carried out as to express itself in everything which it contains. His structures of every kind should be plain, also, yet substantial, where substance is required. All these detract nothing from his respectability or his influence in the neighborhood, the town, ...

VELD's Vrijdag Verses - 7

July, 4th 2014
"The family farm is highly idealized in North America for upholding three valued traditions: the tradition of man-land relationships, the tradition of democracy, and the tradition of efficiency in making the most of one’s resources. The decline of the family-sized farm is viewed by many people, incl ...

Mark Shepard Event here in Waterloo Ontario!!

July, 3rd 2014
..and I am sooo excited!  For those of you who don't know Mark Shepard. He is "redeisgning agriculture in nature's image". He has a 110 acre forest farm in SW Wisconsin where he has been using his forest agriculture successfully for 18 years. I particularly like Mark Shepard as an example of industr ...

VELD's Vrijdag Verses - 6

June, 27th 2014
"The technological development, especially in agriculture, as well as increased contact with industrial cities, movement of people from rural communities to urban centers, and spread of urban beliefs and values due to the improved means of transportation and communication have radically transformed ...

VELD's Vrijdag Verses - 5

June, 20th 2014
"we accept these new farm buildings as we must accept the inevitable, but we look forward to their evolution in matters of design and material to the point where a comparison may be made with the barns of an earlier era in which beauty and surprising degree of efficiency emerged as a solution to the ...

VELD's Vrijdag Verses - 4

June, 13th 2014
"it is possible that millions now living in North America have never seen a barn, let alone been in one. In the foreseeable future there is more than a possibility that for many, the kind of barn illustrated in these pages will not be there to see." - Eric Ross Arthur & Dudley Whitney, A ...

VELD's Vrijdag Verses - 3

June, 6th 2014
"the science of agriculture, which is the only profession in the world which encompass all sciences and all the laws of the universe, but the realm of human philosophy as well"  - Louis Bromfield, Author. From My Experiences: the Pleasures and Miseries of Life on a Farm. ...

An Alternative Solution to Farm Severances

June, 4th 2014
Most farmers have encountered the restrictions in farm severances that have been enforced over the past years.  This planning policy requires that farms must be a minimum of 100 acres (40 hectares). And the result is that farmers have been unable to sever surplus houses from farms they purchase. ...

VELD's Vrijdag Verses -2

May, 30th 2014
The design, like a farmer, is one "whose sense of beauty and poetry is born of the Earth" - Louis Bromfield, Author. From my Experience: the Pleasures and Miseries of Life on a Farm ...

Free Guides @ VELD architect

May, 28th 2014
For those who haven't noticed I've added a few free guides to my website to assist you with your projects.  They are available free to download here.   The first guide is a Guide to hiring an architect! This guide will give you 10 tips on hiring an architect. What questions to ask, ...

VELD's Vrijdag Verses

May, 23rd 2014
I dug my thesis out today to remind myself of all the work, research, and knowledge that went into that book!  It's 1inch thick, 235 double sided pages, 3 professor advisers, 18 years of farm life, 1 years worth of work! For those who are curious, you can download it here. As I was leafing th ...

All Decked out!

April, 30th 2014
My brother-in-law is a carpenter with his own company Hulshof Carpentry and he told me the other day that his favorite thing to build is decks. Because everyone loves getting their new deck to have a party or enjoy the lovely weather! And since spring is finally here in Ontario many of you might be ...

A New Addition!

April, 25th 2014
For those who don't know I now have a little baby girl to look after alongside my clients! She is a bundle of joy and cuteness! And she makes a pretty good helper! We also finally got our new mailbox sign up. It's been a year in the works since we moved to our new location outside Stratford. We ...

"Do you do permit drawings?"

January, 30th 2014
This is a question I get asked a lot, but sometimes permit drawings are not what a client really needs. Of course I do permit drawings; it's a necessary part of the design/building process, but there is two things you should know. 1. there are thousands of decisions required to be made before a p ...

Happy Holidays from VELD architect

December, 20th 2013

Invest thought in farmyard renos

December, 18th 2013
Original Article online ...

Wilmot Township barn declared unsafe for gatherings

October, 23rd 2013
  The verdict issued by the Ontario Fire Commission on Tuesday is a complex issue and an important debate for agritourism in Ontario. It highlights the difficulties and often the rigidity of policy that townships must uphold, and the lack of discourse between residents who are the heart and ...

And you thought hills were bad for farms!

June, 7th 2013
Does this look like the future of farming? That was the name and goal of the architectural competition in Denmark that linked 6 farmers with design teams to create beautiful architecture for their farms. I don't think it looks too far into the future, in fact I was amazed at how simple and commo ...

Rural Revitalisation Idea #2 : farmer retirement village

May, 14th 2013
I'm sure you've heard it before from a farmer, If I retire I'll die.  Those farmers just don't know how to take a day off, let alone retire. Not to mention that most farmers don't want to move to town. So what options are left? move in with you on the home farm?!? If you're looking for an altern ...

VELD architect supports the Region of Waterloo's OMB appeal

April, 15th 2013
Being a farm girl and a city girl engaged in urban&rural design and sustainable design there is no way the VELD architect could not show their support for the Region of Waterloo's decision to appeal the OMB ruling to increase the develop-able land in the Region. Sustainable Waterloo has d ...

Rural Revitalization Idea #1 -tobacco kiln B&B

March, 27th 2013
  As many of you probably don't notice anymore, smoking in bars, entrances, and other places has mostly disappeared from Ontario. All you have to do is go to Europe and you will appreciate the smoke-free environments we enjoy in Canada. However, this industry shift took a very hard toll ...

Farmhouse Design Part III

January, 30th 2013
So you’ve decided you want to build a new farmhouse on your property. First you need to decide if the “Builder’s special” is the type of home you want or do you want something truly special. Check out this blog to help you decide if a custom home is right for you. Most of you probably want to kno ...

Farmhouse Renovation - Part II

January, 9th 2013
So you’ve decided to preserve a bit of rural history and renovate your brick farmhouse. Here are a few items that you should know. Yes, generally renovations cost more (approximately 5%). But the results are often more appreciated than building new and many of the large expenses are already t ...

Farmhouse Design or Renovation Principles - Part I

January, 3rd 2013
My Dad, was born, raised, had his own kids, and will probably die in the same old red brick farmhouse. As you can imagine it needs some updating! My mother, like most farm wives has great visions of what the house should look like, but it is usually a lifelong project to update the house from th ...

Happy New Year

December, 31st 2012
Good luck with all your 2013 projects! Check out my guest post at Rural Futures Lab talking about my story and my visions for a healthy rural culture! The RUPRI Rural Futures Lab aims to create a new future-oriented narrative for rural America. They focus on the economic drivers that will ...

Greenhorn's Green Dreams

sustainable farm proposal
November, 22nd 2012
Woven Lea Farm - the ideal sustainable farm proposal - VELD architect 2008 4 years ago my brother made a deal with his environmental professor at Ridgetown Agriculture college.  In exchange for guest lecture in her class about my thesis work, he was allowed to skip class to come to my architectu ...

Rural Relics - A Foundation for Possibilities

October, 24th 2012
I was recently introduced to a bit of Waterloo Region's history. Black Horse Corners, a once bustling small town with an Inn, tannery, fueling mill, pump shop, shingle mill, shoemaker and blacksmith shop, all of which are no longer present except for some remains of the old Inn which burnt dow ...

One-handed drafting

broken collarbone
October, 1st 2012
I recently broke my collarbone while playing soccer. It was a painful first week full of drugs, now its just inconvenient my arm tied up in a sling. Being one-armed has definitely gotten me out of lots of house chores (I have a wonderful husband who has looked after me and the house), but I ...

Barn Raising... I mean Watching

September, 24th 2012
This week my region hosted the International Plowing Match in Roseville, a small rural intersection town I often cycle through during the summer. This year the Mennonite Disaster Relief organization hosted a barn raising demonstration for which I volunteered for many months ago. As the day drew ...

to LEED® or not to LEED®...

July, 4th 2012
...that is the question I get all the time. But first, what is LEED®. LEED® stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a process of third part certification that determines the energy performance of your building. Based on a scoring system you can achieve a number of differen ...

Who moved my cheese?

June, 6th 2012
That's what I felt like after biking 35km to the Fifth Town cheese factory in Prince Edward County. Designed by Lapointe Architect, it has been on my architecture bucket list for many years for a few reasons; it was designed by an architect; it gave me hope that an architecture career in agr ...

Farmer meet Building Code, Building Code, this is Farmer...

Ontario Building Code
May, 16th 2012
I can just image how the conversation would go after that introduction...Farmer; "why do I need to put a sprinkler system, fire alarm, washrooms, in my building? its just a barn! With all this red tape and regulation your going to put me out of business!!" Building Code; "The requirements are a he ...

Inside-out Hay Barn

March, 28th 2012
When would a farmer ever think to turn his barn inside out?  Sometimes it takes an outsider to rethink, reinvent, and make something beautiful.  That is exactly what SPF architects have done. This horse barn has been turned inside out.  The architect used the hay bales themselves to create walls fo ...

One man's waste is another man's landscaping material

site from roof 1
March, 21st 2012
In 2012 I took a slight delve into landscape architecture (while Job Captain at John MacDonald Architect inc.) and the Recycling Centre project brought out some great green ideas to their parking lot. The parking lot&#39s first aim was to divert all the water run-off away from the combined stor ...

"Healthy agritourism is like having a factory in your economic community"

March, 12th 2012
This quote by Vance Blackmore was the introduction to a conference dedicated to agritousim in hosted by Tourism Middlesex last month. The event was aptly called 'Beyond the City Lights' originally initiated by OMAFRA. He was referring to the equine industry in Middlesex County and ...

Farmer's share of the Food Dollar

farmer's percentage of the food dollar
March, 2nd 2012
If you been in farming for a long time or exposed to the farm life you are aware of the economic struggle that the farmer encounters daily. In fact, the economics of the food dollar don&#39t look good for farming. From 1910 to 1990 the percentage of the food dollar has been consistently dec ...

Farm Community & Culture

February, 22nd 2012
The world is becoming very multi-cultural and globally connected. The scale of communities is drastically changing. How can rural maintain a distinct culture and connected community.  If we look back at the farming community it has traditionally be centered around a few key pieces of infrastructure ...

Farm Size Infographic

February, 10th 2012
The following infographic describes the average size of farm in Canada, taken from stats Canada. copyright, VELD architect 2008 ...

The Desirable Food System : 2025

February, 6th 2012
In November, I attended a discussion on Sustainable Food Systems the Arts and Cookery Bank(a great venue and enterprise) in West Lorne. Hosted by Roxana Roshon and Tom Schell and the London Training Centre working on an amazing research project on Food Systems. They are taking an cross-system (rathe ...

Farm Yard Design

January, 30th 2012
When the helicopter photographers come knocking at your door each year asking if you would like a photo taken of your farmstead from the air. Do you shudder at the mess and disorganization of the yard, or are you proud to see the life you have built. If your like most farmers, its a combination of b ...

Suburban Seeds

January, 23rd 2012
  I met a wonderful lady this week in a pursuit to win an equestrian design project. She is from Albany, New York and she had a great saying about suburban development. as we drove though many suburbs along Highway 410 she stated "look as all the house seeds growing." and I might add... 'ther ...

Simple Practicality

January, 16th 2012
This beautiful project looks expensive and complicated, but it's so not. This wood storage barn takes the need to store pallets and uses them at the exterior wall of the shed. A steel frame provides insert pockets for each pallet to create a wall of storage. Designed by Gray Organschi Archit ...

Hay and Straw Storage as Insulation?

January, 9th 2012
I'm sure you've heard of straw bale houses, but did you ever think that you could use your straw and hay storage as insulation for your farm buildings? Straw and Hay makes a great insulator because it is full of air pockets, air being a great thermal break that does not allow heat to be tr ...

Home for the holidays or the chores?

January, 4th 2012
Inevitably when you go home to the farm for any length of time you get recruited to help with chores. Not that I mind, and in many cases it is a way to spend time with my Dad. So during Christmas break I helped with cleaning out the chicken barn. This involves a retrofitted lawn mower with a scraper ...

I will walk 500 miles ... to get a glass of milk?

December, 31st 2011
The diagram above illustrates the scale of milk production in Southwestern Ontario. Only 67 processing plants process all the milk in Ontario for delivery to grocery stores and your table. Imagine your neighbour is a farmer, even if this neighbour is just outside of town. Your milk travels at least ...

Mason Lane Farm, Kentucy

November, 30th 2011
This farm, designed by de Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop is a great example of modern design, and rural culture coming together. The farm is located in Goshan, Kentucky.  The 2000-acre farm is used for agriculture, conservation, and recreation. The design is LEED Gold cert ...

Rural Sprawl

November, 24th 2011
A bit of irony...honorable mention for the Emerging Terrain banner competition. ...

Capturing 'Farmer Thinking'

November, 23rd 2011
At a recent conference for Sustainable Food Systems in West Lorne 2025"(see post) I was introduced to the work of Dan Needles, a playwright who has self proclaimed the title of keeper of 'farmer thinking'. Dan describes farmer thinking as three things; absolutely practical, humble in the f ...

About the Agritect

November, 20th 2011
They say you can take the girl away from the farm, but you can't take the farm away from the girl.  I left the family farm in 2002 to pursue a career in architecture and came full circle in 2008 when I started my master's thesis on architecture and agriculture: agritecture. A few def ...

VELD's Vrijdag Verses - 10

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