Video producer Vanessa Ireson has recently made an excellent short documentary about one of ERA’s favourite projects: Sharon Temple. The Temple was completed in 1832 by the Children of Peace, a group of former Quakers who, among other things, advocated for peace and democracy and created the first credit union in Canada. The building is a masterpiece in wood and a monument to a fascinating part of 19th century Canadian culture.
In the video, curator John McIntyre and ERAer Jan Kubanek introduce viewers to the history of the Temple and its design, as well as the recent restoration and preservation project led by ERA.
Many thanks to Vanessa Ireson, who produced the video through the generous support of Co-op TV at the Co-operators.
ERA’s Sharon Hong was recently published in Transforming Asian Cities, a new book edited by Nihal Perera and Wing-Shing Tang for Routledge. According to Perera and Tang, Asian cities are too often thought of as “following global models” and “Western-dominated urban hierarchies and spatial structures.” This new publication, however, aims to provide “inside-out” interpretations of Asian urbanism. Continue Reading This Post
This April, ERA was pleased to co-host a special presentation by Erik Freudenthal, the Director of Information for Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm. In his discussion of this innovative “Symbiocity” approach to urban development, Erik demonstrated that low-carbon, sustainable communities really are achievable given a) the proper commitment and b) the appropriate strategies for material and resource management.
The event also brought to light some of the similarities between Sweden and Ontario: as regions with comparable sizes and populations, we can learn from each others’ efforts in northern urbanism. Continue Reading This Post
If there is a character that unites Canada across its many regions, says Shawn Micallef of Spacing, it could well be our huge stock of post-war modernist architecture.
From well-known innovations such as Montreal’s Habitat ’67, Toronto’s CN Tower, or Burnaby’s Simon Fraser University; to the thousands of lower-profile urban and suburban low-, mid-, and high-rise buildings that serve as our residences, universities, schools, malls, factories, and corporate headquarters, Canada is a nation stitched together with modernist fabric. Every urban area, it seems, has its share of brutalist concrete slab towers, curtain-glass minimalist icons, geodesic domes, and long elegant bungalows with exaggerated eaves. Continue Reading This Post
Having returned from a trip to Verona, ERAer Ryan Love recently presented to the office on his experience of the amazing Castelvecchio, a fine example of medieval Gothic architecture, completed in 1355. The castle was built as a fortified home for the Lord of Verona, Cangrande II della Scala,and has over the years seen many occupants and undergone many adaptations, the most recent in the 1960s by Carlo Scarpa. The result is an incredibly complex and subtle approach to heritage conservation and adaptive reuse. Continue Reading This Post
In February, Council for King City, Ontario voted to designate Richard Serra’s Shift under the Ontario Heritage Act. This represents a great step forward in formalizing the cultural significance of the work of art, and sets context to establish guidelines for its conservation. ERA wrote a letter in support of designating the work earlier this year. Continue Reading This Post
Last week the NFB’s Highrise: One Millionth Tower won a Canada Screen Award for “Original Program Produced for Digital Media, Non-Fiction.” ERA and the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal (CUG+R) had the pleasure of working with theNFB on this remarkable series, directed by Kat Cizek, which examines the current conditions and future potential of post-war high-rise living around the world. Continue Reading This Post
Recently, ERA Architects sponsored a silent auction and evening of drinks and hors d’oeuvres to raise funds for the continued construction of Oleleshwa Primary School in Kenya. The January 2013 fundraiser garnered over $14,000, making the total raised-to-date over $50,000, not including labour and in-kind donations, which have also been significant.
Culture of Outports is a series of projects that uses research, design, and planning to engage and help support livable communities undergoing economic and cultural change after the decline of the Northern Cod Fishery. Continue Reading This Post
Recently, ERAers Alana Young and Josh Thorpe took trips to investigate the fascinating city of Buffalo, New York. Less than two hours from Toronto by car, Buffalo is a city of major historical significance to the region and has some stunning work in planning and architecture. Continue Reading This Post
Monocle Radio recently interviewed ERA’s Graeme Stewart on The Urbanist, a weekly program on the people and ideas that shape urban life. In this week’s edition, Andrew Tuck speaks with Graeme about Toronto’s modernist legacy and the Tower Renewal program.
An article by ERA associate Joey Giaimo was recently published in the latest APT Bulletin of the Association for Preservation Technology International. The article, “Append & Tweak: An Approach for Preserving the Evolving Suburban Landscape,” asks us to re-evaluate how we regard and manage heritage resources in suburban contexts, and argues for a cultural landscape approach as we move forward. Continue Reading This Post
This summer and fall, as part of Heritage Montreal’s Architectours program, ERA’s Jan Kubanek presented four walking tours of Silo 5, a monumental grain elevator complex at the mouth of the Lachine Canal in Old Montreal. Continue Reading This Post
This November ERA principal Scott Weir led a Maple Leaf Gardens tour organized by the NextGen group of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO). NextGen is a branch of the ACO that provides educational and professional development opportunities for young architects, students, and heritage enthusiasts. Continue Reading This Post
Recently, as part of ERA’s ongoing interest in preserving and applying traditional building crafts, we were happy to be involved in heritage masonry workshops led by Dr. Gerard Lynch. Dr. Lynch is an internationally acclaimed historic brickwork consultant, master bricklayer, educator, and author. He is considered the world’s leading authority of gauged brickwork, and affectionately known by the historic term “The Red Mason.” Continue Reading This Post
This autumn, United Way’s Imagine a City blog is hosting a series of guest writers to discuss a number of important programs related to Toronto’s future as a livable city. Recently ERA’s Graeme Stewart blogged on his vision for Tower Neighbourhood Renewal, a program we have been working on in collaboration with partners including the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal (CUG+R), the City of Toronto, Province of Ontario, Toronto Public Health, and United Way Toronto.
Toronto Neighbourhood Renewal aims to build healthier, happier tower neighbourhoods by researching and documenting local urban issues, advocating for social justice in city building, and effecting policy changes that can bring new life to these communities.
Jan Kubanek presented on Sharon Temple, a fascinating project ERA has had the opportunity to work on for several years. Jan’s presentation focused on the importance of working collaboratively with an interdisciplinary team. In this project, ERA was able to make the best use of our multi-disciplinary team’s combined expertise in traditional construction carpentry and wood conservation. The team included a structural engineer specializing in heritage preservation and a carpenter with extensive experience at the Temple site. Continue Reading This Post
Following up with more masonry-related topics in honour of an upcoming visit by our friend Gerard Lynch, today’s post is on a distinctive masonry tradition used internationally: polychrome brickwork, the use of usually two, but sometimes three, colours of brick, generally red with buff accents (but the opposite in the image above). Continue Reading This Post
This month we are posting on a few masonry-related topics in honour of an upcoming visit by our friend Gerard Lynch, who is leading heritage masonry workshops at Evergreen Brickworks, from October 23 to 31. Today’s post is on an ingenious but little-known art called tuckpointing. The term tuckpointing is often used today as a synonym for repointing, the replacement of old mortar in brickwork. But historically, this term in fact refers to a less common subtlety of the mason’s practice. Continue Reading This Post
Selection of photos by Lara Herald, Scott Weir, Alana Young, Sydney Martin, Graeme Stewart, Jordan Molnar, Julie Tyndorf, Alec Ring, and Brent Wagler.
Recently a large group of us here at ERA spent a weekend exploring the amazing city of Detroit, Michigan. Founded in 1701, Detroit became a huge industrial and economic engine from the mid-19th century through the automobile boom of the early 20th century. During the 1920s and ‘50s especially, a great deal of stunning modernist architecture was constructed and many of these amazing buildings still stand today. Continue Reading This Post
Over the past few months, ERA has had the pleasure of working with the Riverdale Hub on a community revitalization strategy for the Gerrard Bazaar/Little India neighbourhood. The Riverdale Hub is an innovative model for community revitalization that integrates environmental sustainability and social enterprise in order to provide training for new Canadian women and create opportunities for local economic growth and investment. Continue Reading This Post
In partnership with United Way Toronto and Toronto Public Health respectively, these reports further research, policy development, and practical strategies to help achieve the potential of Tower Neighbourhood Renewal.
ERA is pleased to announce that Jan Kubanek’s Montreal office has moved to Complexe du Canal Lachine on Rue St. Ambroise in the Saint-Henri neighbourhood. The building was constructed in the late 1800s and was once home to the Alaska Feather and Down company and Simmons Ltd. mattress manufacturers.
One of the projects we have been involved with for several years is the ongoing masonry conservation of Soldiers’ Tower, a monument built just to the west of University of Toronto’s Hart House. An interesting aspect of the project has been to catalogue and document hundreds of lines of engraved text on several stone faces within and adjacent to the Tower. Continue Reading This Post
Recently ERA’s Brendan Stewart gave a talk at Toronto’s Metro Hall, sponsored by LEAF and Park People, on the design potential of trees in cities. After setting the context of modern landscape design, beginning with André Le Nôtre’s French tradition and William Kent’s English tradition, the talk moved on to survey several interesting historical and international projects, including… Continue Reading This Post
Beginning in early July, six youth from the Kingston-Galloway-Orton Park community were hired for a five-week period by the East Scarborough Storefront to continue work on a series of community-oriented landscape improvements. These features were designed as part of the Community Design Initiative (C.D.I.) program, to which these youth have previously volunteered hundreds of hours.
Currently on show at Toronto’s Urbanspace Gallery is a compelling exhibition on Ontario Place and its future. Ontario Place was designed in the late 1960s by Eberhard Zeidler and launched in 1971 as a spectacular architectural innovation that attempted to rethink our relationship to the lake.
Progress on the East Scarborough Storefront’s (ESS) soon-to-be grapevine pergola is running on time. We have just completed some 50 trellis modules which will form the roof structure for the grapevines to grow on. The youth spent weeks building these modules and have become confident measuring and cutting wood, along with many other skills.
As part of this ongoing learning process, our youth landscapers recently presented on the transformations the community could expect at ESS, including the pergola and deck, which the team has been working on since early July. Participants were surprised and inspired to see the impressive projects community youth are working on.
Over the past couple of years, ERA has been working with The East Scarborough Storefront (ESS) on the Community Design Initiative (CDI), where Scarborough youth are educated in architecture and design by mentors from ERA, Sustainable.TO, and ArchiTEXT. In the current phase, we are working to bring more shade and plant life to the site. This will include several garden and landscape features, a pergola structure for grapevines, and a green-roof pavilion known as the Sky-o-swale.
Beginning earlier in July, five youth from the Kingston-Galloway-Orton Park community, who have cumulatively dedicated hundreds of hours to the CDI program, were hired by the ESS for a five-week period to physically build an exterior deck for public use (located under the Sky-o-swale), as well as 50 trellis modules that will form the roof structure for the grapevine pergola.