MIZA Architects was cofounded in 2015 by Michael Wartman and David Zeibin. Cultivating a holistic approach to architecture, MIZA brings expertise in high-performance buildings to every project, while also consciously weaving in the social and cultural needs of the clients and the community surrounding the buildings it designs. “For us, high-quality architecture incorporates all aspects from design to materiality to the life the buildings support,” says Zeibin.
MIZA’s diverse portfolio encompasses educational, institutional, and residential projects at all scales—from a community centre renovation to laneway houses. Zeibin had been an early entrant in Passive House design in Canada, having taken Passive House training in 2011. That same year he started work on what would become the first single-family Passive House in Alberta. The experience was a crash course in an incredibly challenging climate.
Since founding MIZA, Zeibin has brought his Passive House expertise to each project he collaborates on. Only recently, though, have clients started asking specifically for Passive House performance. One such project is a dome-shaped house that is being prefabricated in France and Russia and then shipped to British Columbia for final construction on Salt Spring Island. The client wanted a resilient home that could coast through power outages, and the building inspector required the involvement of a local architect. MIZA was chosen. “We love projects like this that have complex structures and geometry,” says Zeibin.
MIZA is also working on a new 260-m2 single-family Passive House in Vancouver. The owner is a Vancouver builder who had worked on a few Passive Houses for other clients and became impressed enough by these homes’ performance that he also opted for Passive House when it came time to rebuild his own house.
Another project in the works is a design produced by MIZA for a competition hosted by the city of Edmonton to foster infill development. The firm’s 5.2-meter-wide Slimline Ecohouse won first place in the single-family house category and a special citation for best project. Although a developer immediately jumped on the design, financing issues have delayed the project’s construction.
MIZA has tripled in size since its inception, adding two more architects and two intern architects to the staff. One of the recent hires is also a certified Passive House Designer. Zeibin anticipates further growth to accommodate the in-house expertise needed for an even wider range of project types and sizes. Reflecting on the variety of projects the firm has already undertaken, he says, “We resist specialization a little. As a firm, we have broad interests and high ambitions.”