The Culture of Outports program is about to start up again, for our very first winter community build, in Botwood, Newfoundland.
Culture of Outports is a series of projects that uses research, design, and planning to make modest interventions that engage with, and help support, livable communities undergoing economic and cultural change after the decline of the Northern Cod Fishery. Continue Reading This Post
Together with the Junction Commons Project Community Group, ERA Architects and Urban Metrics are working with the residents of Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood to envision and examine the feasibility of transforming a former police station into a community hub. Continue Reading This Post
This fall, ERA’s Philip Evans met with a delegation of architects, engineers and developers from Chongqing, China. The purpose of their trip to Canada was to strengthen the ties between China and Canada in the areas of culture, trade, and technology in both design and construction. Continue Reading This Post
Ground, the magazine of the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA), recently published a new article by ERA’s Michael McClelland entitled “Sites of Value: Designating Modern Cultural Landscapes in Ontario.” Continue Reading This Post
Oct. 3rd 2013, Tafelmusik held its first public concert in a transformed concert hall at Trinity-St. Paul’s. ERA worked with acoustician Bob Essert and other consultants to restore and repair elements of the space, and improve its sound. According to all involved, the result is a success. Continue Reading This Post
This past weekend, the ERA Toronto office paid a visit to their Montreal counterpart. With the sun shining and 22 degree weather in September, the stage was set for a fun-filled weekend exploring Montreal. (Scroll down for the slide show.)
The weekend began on Friday night with a late night tour of the new Montreal office. This summer, Jan Kubanek and Emma Greer relocated to the Belgo Building on Ste-Catherine Street West, in the heart of downtown and right next to the Quartier des Spectacles. The Belgo Building was built in 1912 by Finley & Spence as the Scroggies Department Store. In 1958, it underwent a major renovation and now houses a mix of art galleries, artists studios and other creative spaces.
On Saturday, the office was lucky enough to participate in a walking tour of Silo 5. ERA’s Jan Kubanek, who has presented tours as a volunteer guide for Heritage Montreal for many years, led the group through the site, which consists of a series of monumental silos, in the city’s Old Port. (Thank you to Heritage Montreal and the Canada Lands Company for making this tour possible.) Following the tour, the group relaxed on the other side of the canal, enjoying the view of the setting sun on the silos.
Sunday morning, the group met up in the neighbourhood of La Petite Patrie for a brunch feast, with fresh pastries and local produce from the nearby Jean-Talon Market. The neighbourhood is a perfect example of the Montreal typology of walk-up row houses, spiral staircases and lush vegetation lining the streets.
For majority of the weekend, the group was left to their own devices, allowing ERA Toronto to discover, and fall in love, with the beauty of Montreal.
Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat, Councillor Peter Milczyn, and panel participants. Photo by Garry Weiler, City of Toronto
On Sept. 30, 2013, ERA’s Graeme Stewart participated in a City of Toronto Chief Planner’s Roundtable, hosted by Jennifer Keesmaat. The Roundtable, entitled “The Shape of Toronto’s Suburbs,” is the first of three sessions devoted to critical thinking about the history, evolution, and future of the GTA’s suburbs. Participants included John van Nostrand, Leo deSorcy, Pamela Blais, Laurie Payne, and Leona Savoie.
The panel raised a number of issues, including employment, distance, transit, private vs. public investment, small-scale and large scale intervention, and zoning reforms that are about to change the way things are done in some communities.
Though the situation is far from simple, the sense coming out of this Roundtable is very positive: Toronto has an enormous resource in its suburbs (and in the apartment neighbourhoods that make up so much of their fabric). New design and policy approaches can help remove the false dichotomy of ‘suburban’ vs. ‘urban’, and help us imagine a healthy, vibrant metropolis for the entire region.
On Saturday, Sept 14, ERA’s Shannon Clayton and the Architectural Conservancy’s NextGen Group held their second annual Design Charrette in Toronto. The all-day event took place at the Parliament Interpretive Center (265 Front St. E).
Twenty-eight participants worked in five teams to develop schemes for an underutilized site along Mill St. between Trinity and Parliament St. The teams were made up of students and emerging professionals in the fields of architecture, planning, environmental design, and heritage. Continue Reading This Post
A new article in Satellite Magazine on Toronto Towers by ERA’s Graeme Stewart, Josh Thorpe, and Michael McClelland.
The article compares Toronto’s two high-rise housing booms, which have generated housing in volume and distribution unlike anywhere else in North America: first, the suburban tower boom in Toronto’s post-war period, and next the contentious condo boom of recent years.
In both cases urban form and infrastructure have changed radically in a short period for an immediate purpose. The challenge occurs in ten or twenty years’ time as the city’s needs change: Do these built forms have the resiliency and flexibility to be adapt?
Satellite is a Toronto-based biannual magazine focusing on cities, culture, and politics. Each issue features an in-depth look at a single city, alongside interviews, art, and nonfiction, but also brings in topics of international interest.
The current issue of Satellite features Noam Chomsky on drones, an interview with Matthew Blackett of Spacing, and many other articles of interest. It will be available at Word on the Street on Sept. 22, and at a launch party to be determined soon.
The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) is a US-based not-for-profit dedicated to increasing public awareness of heritage landscape architecture and design. Through education, advocacy, outreach, and collaboration, TCLF aims to better our understanding of cultural landscapes, and to maintain and protect them for future generations. Continue Reading This Post
This June, ERA’s Victoria Angel and Michael McClelland attended the Vernacular Architecture Forum’s annual conference “The Ebb and Flow of Religion and Economy in Gaspé Cultural Landscapes.” Victoria and Michael were part of a keynote panel discussing approaches to heritage conservation in smaller communities and rural settings.
Gaspé, Québec is located on the northern tip of the Appalachians just at the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The bilingual conference explored two major themes: religious expressions (beyond organized churches), and economic evolution in Gaspé’s cultural landscapes. Continue Reading This Post
This summer, construction began at GEMINI House, a collaboration in low-energy retrofit research between the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. Professors Kim Pressnail and Russell Richman are the research leads, and ERA is the architect of record. The project explores new approaches to low-energy housing design, with the added complexity of being executed within an 1880s Second Empire-style masonry home, located on the UofT campus. Continue Reading This Post
We smoked cigars, blew bubbles, told humourous anecdotes, ate, drank, chased after obstreperous children, and mopped our brows in thirty-plus weather.
On the menu this year: hara bhara kebabs (“full-of-green” kebabs), “new age” watermelon salad, and several competing varieties of gourmet potato salad. For dessert: Greek honey balls, Newfoundland blueberry puff, Trinidadian rum cake, and Persian sholeh zard, which, we are given to understand, means “sloppy yellow.”
Thanks to Sonya and Anusha for organizing, and Andrew and Tony for hosting. Until next year!
The book, published by Coach House Books in 2007, reconsiders Toronto’s large inventory of concrete buildings and infrastructure from the perspective of a diverse group architects, city planners, academics, historians, and journalists. Continue Reading This Post
The Culture of Outports program has just concluded its third year of “community build” projects in Trinity Bay North, Newfoundland. The project uses planning and design thinking to bring new ideas and energy to outport communities experiencing economic and social change post-fisheries.
This year ERAers Andrew Pruss, Alana Young, Shelley Ludman, Douglas de Gannes, traveled with Ryerson students Madeleine Craig, Ryan Giuricich, Mitchell May, Elijah Sabadlan, and Karl Sarkis to the Trinity Bay North communities of Catalina, Little Catalina, Melrose, and Port Union. Continue Reading This Post
This week in Trinity Bay North, Newfoundland, the 2013 Culture of Outports project got a great start on its community build process. The community is fantastic and we’re having a great time.
In its first week the team has toured the local landscape and architecture extensively, held several community engagement meetings, mounted a historical slide show in the street, and installed 1000 feet of Christmas lights along Main St. to commemorate an early electrical power station built in Port Union in 1917. Continue Reading This Post
The Culture of Outports program is about to begin again, this time in Trinity Bay North, Newfoundland. 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
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