11 Questions for Crystal Bueckert

A well designed space can enlighten us, make our lives easier and more functional. A poorly designed space can be frustrating, and stressful.
— Crystal Bueckert | BLDG Studio

Named Western Living Magazine's "One to Watch" in May of 2014, Crystal Bueckert of BLDG Studio has been quietly and confidently making a name for herself as an exceptional home designer in Saskatoon and Western Canada. She is also the designer of Phase 1 at Element Urban Village, our latest housing project in Riversdale. She's typically hard at work, relentlessly crafting floor plans at her drawing board. If she's not in her office, then you'll probably find her on-site at any one of her various projects, making sure that construction progress is on track with her plans.

Luckily, we managed to get a few minutes of her time and an opportunity to ask Crystal a few questions. Enjoy!

1. Who are you?

Crystal Bueckert of BLDG Studio. I have a keen interest in design of the vernacular, efficiencies of space, three dimensional thinking, building furniture, making books. And I am obsessive about floor plans.


2. In many cases, the work a person does in their professional life makes an imprint on his or her personal life. Has architecture and design changed the way you live, the way you think?

I think it was actually the opposite for me. I grew up on a self sustaining farm, working hard, building, solving, and making. I have always been interested in compacting things, creating things, and organizing things...my office being the perfect example of these ideas in action!


3. Do you believe that we are influenced by the environments we inhabit? If so, can you elaborate?

Yes! A well designed space can enlighten us, make our lives easier and more functional. A poorly designed space can be frustrating, and stressful. 


4. Speaking of environments, what is your hometown and where did you grow up?

I grew up mostly on a self-subsisting acreage outside of Waldheim, Saskatchewan. We lived in a custom house my parents built. I loved the 40-foot vaults and little cubbies in the angled roof intersections. We raised chickens, grew our own food, and worked hard every day to keep the little farm running.


5. What’s one of the things you enjoy the most about your craft, your work? 

Meeting clients who think outside the box. I also really enjoy working with people to design something that reflects their lifestyle; a tailor made environment that will enhance the way they live.


6. You designed Phase 1 of Element Urban Village, Shift's latest residential project in Riversdale. Was there anything in particular that guided your design process for it, either aesthetically, structurally, or both?

The river views played a major factor in the design right from the start. I also wanted to give a historical nod to the neighbourhood's vernacular architecture. There was also an initial desire to combine the traditional building elements of wood siding and brick with wood frame construction, and we used peaked roofs to reference the existing homes on the rest of the street. It's a modern structure designed to blend with its surroundings. 

I treated the second floor decks as ship prows pointing at the water, and angled the facades toward the river. This creates an undulating line in Phase 1 as a whole, much like ripples created in the sand by waves.  There's large glass facing the river and Victoria Park, and I paired these elements with protected decks that function as outdoor shelters from the elements. 

It has been satisfying process, and I am excited to see it all come to life!


7. Think fast: black or white?



8. True or False: Good design is human-focused.

Yes, if designing for humans. When I’m part robot I may feel differently.


9. Being in a prairie province founded on agriculture, "urban living" is a concept that not everyone is familiar with. Can you tell me three ways a person can make it work better for him or her, either inside the home or in their neighbourhood?

Be in the city, embrace it. There’s so many opportunities to enhance your life,  and to make someone else’s better. It’s all about being a good neighbour; a great person in the midst of other great people. 


10. Do you have a hidden or lesser-known skill? What is it?

Making artist’s books. 


11. What’s the last thing you DIY’d?

 Painted my filing cabinets white. They were grey. Unacceptable.

Element Urban Village is Shift Development's latest residential project underway in Riversdale. Developed as modern infill housing, it is comprised of two phases totalling 17 homes in all. Phase 1 construction is well underway and 6 units are available for purchase. To learn more about this exciting opportunity visit elementurbanvillage.com

Crystal Bueckert is the head of BLDG Studio in Saskatoon Saskatchewan, and the designer of Phase 1 of Element Urban Village in Riversdale. To learn more about her work, visit bldgstudio.ca

Phase 1 of Element Urban Village. Located at the corner of Avenue F and 17th St. West.

Phase 1 of Element Urban Village. Located at the corner of Avenue F and 17th St. West.