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MAR/14 v.59 n.03

Architecture Firm: Robert A.M. Stern Architects


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total building envelope TORONTO-DOMINION CENTRE PRODUCT: Flynn Built-Up Green Roof System ARCHITECT: B+H Architects CLIENT: Toronto-Dominion Centre LOCATION: Toronto, ON Situated on top of the iconic TD Pavilion is Toronto’s first historical “living roof”, built by Flynn Canada. The TD Centre building was originally designed by architect Mies Van Der Rohe, using deep steel columns and a waffle-grid ceiling pattern. In order to preserve the heritage of the building, Flynn constructed a green roof reflecting this Modernist style. Planter boxes were laid out in a grid formation, using a native plant called Pennsylvania Sedge Grass – a grass chosen for both its vibrant colour and ability to grow without disrupting the overall pattern. This new vegetated living roof provides improved thermal resistance, reduces the urban heat-island effect, minimizes storm water run-off, and improves air quality. With climate change playing an increasing role in building envelope design, it is important to realize how green roofs can help provide efficiencies for both indoors and out.

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REusE & RENOVaTiON 11 NEws

williamson Chong Architects named one of the Architectural league of New York’s emerging Voices; call for proposals for RAIC foundation Bursary.


A recent symposium at Toronto’s Design exchange focused on critically assessing emerging modes of practice within the AeC industry.

37 CalENdaR

18 EquiNOx aNd mONTE ClaRk gallERiEs The adaptive reuse of an industrial building in east Vancouver spawns two remarkable galleries by Measured Architecture Inc. and D’Arcy Jones Architecture Inc. TExT Steve DiPasquale


Reality/Representation— architecture film screening at the Bloor Cinema in Toronto; Barcelona-based architect Benedetta Tagliabue lectures in Vancouver.

38 baCkPagE

Thomas Nemeskeri makes a pilgrimage to Italy, stopping by the famed Isola di San Michele, Aldo Rossi’s San Cataldo Cemetery, and Carlo Scarpa’s Brion-Vega cemetery.

Toronto-based DesignAgency has established an international reputation for its fresh take on hospitality design, seen in the chain of funky Generator hostels throughout europe. TExT Cerys wilson

30 guidO mOliNaRi FOuNdaTiON

Adrien WilliAms

This exhibition/archival centre in Montreal by _naturehumaine emerges from the shell of an old bank building and honours the late artist Guido Molinari. TExT Meredith Carruthers

COVER Monte Clark Gallery in Vancouver by D’Arcy Jones Architecture Inc. Photograph by silentSama Architectural Photography.

v.59 n.03 The NATIoNAl ReVIew of DeSIGN AND PRACTICe/The JouRNAl of ReCoRD of ARChITeCTuRe CANADA | RAIC


canadian architect

MARCh 2014


Editor Elsa lam, mRaIC AssociAtE Editor lEslIE JEn, mRaIC

sCott noRswoRthy

canadian architect 03/14


EditoriAl Advisor Ian ChodIkoff, oaa, fRaIC contributing Editors annmaRIE adams, mRaIC douglas maClEod, nCaRb, mRaIC

perkins+will designed an atrium addition to the Carnegie Gallery in Dundas, ontario —and also advised on fundraising for the project.


Do architects ever just trot out blueprints for buildings? As any practitioner knows, they invariably do much more: from shaping programs and seeking approvals to negotiating construction glitches. Occasionally, architects also help envision the financial framework that kickstarts projects and allows them to thrive in the long term. As Marianne McKenna of KPMB Architects noted in a recent forum on public interest design, “We start projects by asking our clients: ‘What are your sustainable ideas?’” She says, “If you don’t have an economic model that’s sustainable with a good bottomline strategy, you can’t go forward.” A handsome community project in Dundas, Ontario exemplifies the proactive use of this expertise by Perkins+Will. When Hamilton amalgamated with its surrounding municipalities in 2001, a list of surplus buildings for sale was drawn up. The list included an old Carnegie library, which had long served as a gallery for the Dundas Art & Craft Association (DACA). “When I heard the news, I thought, ‘That’s ridiculous,’” recalls Perkins+Will Principal Fred Vermeulen, who lives and works in Dundas. “The gallery was a viable venture—it had always been in the black.” Vermeulen drew from his long experience working on fundraising-supported hospital and university expansions, and suggested that DACA could offer to buy the building from the city. To do so, he joined with board members to create the Dundas Community Arts Foundation (DCAF), separating the ownership of the building from the operations of the gallery. The city agreed to hold a 10-year mortgage interest-free in exchange for the gallery taking on liability for the building. As part of the deal, every dollar that the gallery spent addressing deferred maintenance items listed by the City and upgrades to meet code would be deducted from the mortgage. After completing some basic repairs, the gallery embarked on a fundraising campaign to restore the building to its former glory. In the process, they realized that they wanted to go further in expanding the building’s use. Vermeulen sketched a narrow atrium addition,

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Account MAnAgEr built on an adjacent alleyway, that could faRIa ahmEd 416-510-6808 provide the extra space needed to host recepcirculAtion MAnAgEr bEata olEChnowICz 416-442-5600 ext. 3543 tions, display tall art pieces, open up a multicustoMEr sErvicE functional basement room, upgrade wheelchair malkIt Chana 416-442-5600 ext. 3539 production access and add a new office. JEssICa Jubb Nearby, the Dundas Valley School of Art grAphic dEsign suE wIllIamson and the Dundas Historical Society Museum vicE prEsidEnt of cAnAdiAn publishing were also in need of repair and modernization. alEx PaPanou prEsidEnt of businEss inforMAtion group To coordinate efforts, the DCAF enlarged its bRuCE CREIghton mandate to fundraise for all three arts facilihEAd officE ties. A high-powered group of philanthropists 80 vallEybRook dRIvE, toRonto, on m3b 2s9 got on board, and convinced federal, provincial telepHone 416-510-6845 and municipal governments to each contribute faCsiMile 416-510-5140 e-Mail editors@canadianarchitect.com 25 percent of a $12-million campaign. The Web site www.canadianarchitect.com balance was fundraised in the community. Canadian architect is published monthly by bIg magazines lP, a div. of glacier bIg holdings Company ltd., a leading Canadian information The School of Art renovation (the largest company with interests in daily and community newspapers and businessto-business information services. of the three projects) was finished in 2012 by the editors have made every reasonable effort to provide accurate and Invizij Architects, with the museum renovaauthoritative information, but they assume no liability for the accuracy or completeness of the text, or its fitness for any particular purpose. tions by McCallum Sather Architects and subscription Rates Canada: $54.95 plus applicable taxes for one year; gallery addition by Perkins+Will completed $87.95 plus applicable taxes for two years (hst – #809751274Rt0001). Price per single copy: $6.95. students (prepaid with student Id, includes last summer. taxes): $34.97 for one year. usa: $105.95 us for one year. all other foreign: $125.95 us per year. single copy us and foreign: $10.00 us. The gallery addition itself was also a Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: community effort. Perkins+Will contributed Circulation Dept., Canadian Architect, 80 Valleybrook Dr, toronto, on Canada M3B 2S9. services at cost, and both Vermeulen and propostmaster: please forward forms 29B and 67B to 80 Valleybrook ject architect Sandy MacIntosh volunteered Dr, toronto, on Canada M3B 2S9. printed in Canada. All rights reserved. the contents of this publication may not be reproduced off-the-clock time to attend weekly evening either in part or in full without the consent of the copyright owner. meetings, garden tours, and other fundraising From time to time we make our subscription list available to select companies and organizations whose product or service may interest events. Local manufacturer Aerloc discounted you. if you do not wish your contact information to be made available, please contact us via one of the following methods: the cost on silicone-sided, cap-free curtain wall telephone 1-800-668-2374 for the atrium, and ArcelorMittal (formerly facsimile 416-442-2191 e-mail privacyofficer@businessinformationgroup.ca Dofasco) donated funds to support the use of Mail Privacy officer, business Information group, 80 valleybrook dr, toronto, on Canada m3b 2s9 steel in the building project. Perkins+Will put MeMbeR of tHe Canadian business pRess these funds to use by designing minimalist MeMbeR of tHe allianCe foR audited Media publiCations Mail agReeMent #40069240 feature stairs that featured steel panels. issn 1923-3353 (online) The Art & Craft Association is thrilled issn 0008-2872 (pRint) with the results—they even threw a dinner party for the architects—and the project has infused Perkins+Will’s Dundas office with a Member of broader sense of purpose. “It’s helped create more of a culture around community support and philanthropy,” says Vermeulen. “We as architects have quite a unique skill set. We can make such a difference to a community group that has none of those skills. I take the philosophy that if we can make the difference, wE aCknowlEdgE thE fInanCIal suPPoRt of thE govERnmEnt of Canada thRough thE Canada PERIodICal we should give away that expertise to support fund (CPf) foR ouR PublIshIng aCtIvItIEs. the community.” Inc.

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Toronto-based RAW Design is designing a new six-storey loft-style project located minutes from the Halifax Seaport. Dubbed Southport, it playfully borrows design elements from the nearby shipping container terminal and strives to be the south anchor to the main drag of the city at 1057 Barrington Street, close to eclectic shops, cafés, vibrant pubs, and Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s Universities. Half of the 150 units in the development will be sold as condominiums, which will comprise the uppermost f loors of the building—and the remainder will be rented out as apartments. Construction is slated to start in spring and should take about 18 months to complete. The amenities space is perched on the roof, centred around a repurposed shipping container that makes up the building’s design. Outdoor seating offers enjoyment of an industrial aesthetic in a serene park-like setting. Indoors, residents will enjoy a f lex space with a full kitchen and bar, lounge seating around a f ireplace, a pool table and theatre area, and an “extended living room” overlooking the city and port. According to RAW director Roland Rom Colthoff, “We have used the language of containers; the steel, the colours and the modularity, to create a living environment which takes pride in its setting and context. Southport has been designed to suit the lifestyle of urbanites who are proud of the industrial heritage of their city.” Hamilton strip club morphs into housing and cultural space.

Thier + Curran Architects recently unveiled the 95 King Street East Arts Centre and Lofts in downtown Hamilton, a handsome new addition that emerged from the shell of a former strip club. The City of Hamilton’s Housing Division engaged TCA to adaptively reuse this high-visibility century-old historic building and former strip club into an arts centre with a multi-purpose gallery/event space, eight artists’ studios, a meeting room and 12 loft apartments. Intended to contribute to the burgeoning downtown renewal well established nearby, this will be a catalyst for the renewal of the Gore Park area, a triangular park that forms the heart of downtown Hamilton. With a modest $3-million construction budget, 95 King is a bold and dynamic renovation that includes remarkable attention to inspirational elements and details for the artistic community it houses. TCA’s intelligent and passionate approach has yielded an exemplary model for affordable housing that far exceeds typical expectations. The sensitive preservation and integration of heritage features and the robust modern insertions have helped this adaptive reuse transform the building into a potentially

bob gundu

southport condo development to enliven Halifax’s south downtown.

ABoVe The House in Frogs Hollow by williamson Chong Architects, a Toronto-based firm that has just been named one of eight winners in the Architectural League of new York’s emerging Voices Awards program.

powerful impetus for further neighbourhood regeneration, and has created a new hub for Hamilton’s growing arts community.

AwArds williamson chong Architects named one of the Architectural League of New York’s emerging Voices.

The Architectural League of New York recently announced the eight winners of its Emerging Voices Award, and Toronto-based Williamson Chong Architects was the only Canadian firm amongst them. The practice was founded by Shane Williamson, Betsy Williamson and Donald Chong in 2011. Their work ranges in scale from furniture to master planning, and a particular interest is what the firm calls “incremental urbanism,” a strategy that mines the potential of often irregular urban building sites—evidenced in the Galley House and the Blantyre House, both in Toronto, as well as their current projects the Bala Line House and the Grange Triple Double multi-family dwelling. The firm’s work also includes the House in Frogs Hollow in Grey Highlands, Ontario and the Abbey Gardens Food Community master plan in Haliburton, Ontario, which begins construction in 2015. Both Shane and Betsy Williamson received their M.Arch. degrees from Harvard University. Donald Chong received his B.Arch. from the University of Toronto. All three have taught at schools of architecture in Canada and abroad, including the University of Toronto, where Shane Williamson is currently an associate professor and Betsy Williamson a lecturer. Recent recognition for the firm includes the Professional Prix de Rome from the Canada Council for the Arts, the IDS 2012 Gold Award, a Canadian

Architect Award of Excellence, and an Ontario Association of Architects Design Excellence Award, one of many for the House in Frogs Hollow. Shane, Betsy and Donald will discuss their work at 7:00pm on March 20, 2014 in the Scholastic Auditorium, located at 557 Broadway in New York. The Architectural League’s annual Emerging Voices Award recognizes North American individuals and firms with distinct design “voices” that have the potential to inf luence the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design.


call for proposals for the rAIc Foundation Bursary.

The 2014 RAIC Foundation Award is now open for applications to individuals and organizations. Preference will be given to members of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada but students are also welcome to apply. Applicants must submit one original and three copies of their proposal. The following information should be provided: name, address, telephone and fax number; brief curriculum vitae of applicant(s); relationship of project to the Foundation’s mission; project title; summary of project—maximum three pages and include a clear description of work product, who will be the beneficiary/audience and how will it aid them, and please explain if additional funding from other sources has been or will be obtained; plan for dissemination of results and attribution to the RAIC Foundation; time frame from commencement of effort to completion; and budget. The Foundation has funding for the 2014 fiscal year for an award in the amount of $2,500. The deadline for submission of proposals is April 11, 2014. The winner will be announced at the RAIC Festi-

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canadian architect 03/14


news val of Architecture in Winnipeg, taking place from May 28-31, 2014.

www.raic.org/raic/raic_foundation/awards-foundation_ submission_e.htm

Smith Vigeant Architects’ Allez-Up wins Project of the Year 2013 in the Grands Prix du Design.

The rock-climbing gym Allez-Up is at the heart of the revitalization project for Montreal’s southwest borough. Flanking the Lachine Canal, the site and silos of the old Redpath sugar refinery have been converted into a one-of-a-kind indoor rock-climbing facility. Developing the abandoned silos into a rock-climbing gym is a unique way to maximize the enormous potential of these historic vestiges from Montreal’s industrial past. The pure white angular climbing wall formations within the main building actually resemble sugar cliffs, reminding visitors of the original function of the Redpath silos. The multicoloured climbing holds speckled across the walls add to the dynamic charm of this unique interior space. The siding and outer metallic building envelope pay tribute to the industrial and monolithic character of this site, while the massive windows gaze far out onto St. Patrick Street. In long shafts, abundant natural light saturates the space, creating an effect of

crevasses and voids on the climbing walls and revealing the interior climbing surfaces—a truly colourful heart at the centre of a metallic exterior. The $5-million 1,220-square-metre project was completed in August 2013. KPMB Architects’ CIGI campus wins 2014 AIA Honor Award for Architecture.

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Waterloo, Ontario by Toronto-based Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects was recently announced as a recipient of a 2014 Institute Honor Award for Architecture by the American Institute of Architects. It was the only Canadian project recognized in this category. Located on a 3.9-acre site formerly occupied by the Seagram distillery, the campus is a reinterpretation of a traditional academic quad building based on the Oxford model, and also houses the Balsillie School of International Affairs. The client asked for a campus to last at least 100 years, a “vibrant sanctuary” to facilitate ref lection, collaboration and discussion. The solution consists of two three-storey interconnected buildings and an auditorium pavilion organized around a courtyard. The scale, proportions and materials of the brick elevations facing the street are a direct response to the 19th-century masonry industrial buildings in

the surrounding neighbourhood. In contrast, three-storey glazed elevations face the courtyard to promote face-to-face interactions among the students and scholars who frequent the Centre. Classrooms, offices and the auditorium are organized off a spacious continuous corridor. Much like a cloister, the corridor features f loor-to-ceiling windows facing the courtyard, and it is furnished with seating and fireplaces to invite chats and collaboration. The program also includes private spaces for work requiring quiet and concentration. A limited palette of local limestone and brick masonry, wood and glass was used to create a serene atmosphere for study and ref lection. The materials are natural and long-wearing, and they promote the local economy and identity. According the jury: “The scale, simplicity and richness of the entry, with its huge canopy, seem very appropriate for an international governance institution. The materials are wonderful—rich and warm—and every detail addresses the street. The building feels humble, yet sophisticated. It reinvents ways of using light; it uses the ref lection off of the white masonry walls to illuminate the space. The sustainable program and design are well integrated. The openness of the architecture ref lects the nature of the program— transparency of governance.” www.aia.org/practicing/awards/2014/architecture/

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Establishment of the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize announced.

The College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) recently announced the establishment of the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) and the MCHAP for Emerging Architecture to recognize the most distinguished built constructs of the North and South American continents. Directed by Dirk Denison, FAIA, the prize will be two-fold in nature to not only acknowledge exemplary built work but also to foster research toward rethinking of the metropolis. The author(s) of MCHAP’s winning built work will receive an award of $50,000 US, in addition to the MCHAP Chair at IIT during the subsequent academic year. The recipient(s) will conduct innovative research concerning the theme of “rethinking metropolis,” have the opportunity to conduct a series of public lectures, as well as engage in other forms of advanced academic research at IIT. The MCHAP for Emerging Architecture will be awarded to those who have harnessed the talent needed to devise a truly outstanding early built work. The author(s) of the MCHAP for Emerging Architecture’s winning built work will receive an award of $25,000 US, in addition to the MCHAP Research Professorship at IIT during the subse-

quent academic year, where they will have the opportunity to lead a research studio related to the theme of “rethinking metropolis.” The MCHAP will laud those built works that recognize the altered circumstances of the human condition. It will honour those projects that elevate the quality of the built environment by extending the interests beyond the proverbial four walls. It will endorse those who acknowledge the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary ventures. Above all, it will recognize those who have invested their work with the mystery and power of human imagination. The objective is to reward the daring contemplation of the intersection of the new metropolis and human ecology. Both MCHAP components will be awarded biennially, beginning in 2014. The inaugural prize cycle will consider built works of architecture completed between January 2000 and December 2013. www.mchap.org

CoMPEtitions Urban ideas Competition to reconnect toronto’s waterfront.

ULI Toronto, a District Council of the Washington DC-based Urban Land Institute (ULI), is seeking entries for an ideas competition to reconnect Toronto’s waterfront. Members of

the public, architects, designers, planners, artists, students, and members of the development community are invited to submit visionary ideas or design proposals to reconnect the city of Toronto with its waterfront. ULI Toronto encourages bold ideas and practical solutions that address this longstanding conundrum for the city, and it is looking for local, regional and international participation. A jury panel of well-known senior professionals with expertise in community building and land development will adjudicate and discuss submissions at an ideas competition awards event this spring. Jury panel names will be announced prior to the registration deadline. As a city, Toronto has become separated from its central waterfront. Over the years, numerous studies have been undertaken, and plans prepared, to “reclaim” Toronto’s waterfront. There have been plans to demolish the Gardiner Expressway, extend the PATH system to provide all-weather pedestrian access, extend the street grid, and delineate view corridors to the harbour. In addition, extensive redevelopment of the waterfront has taken place, including Harbourfront and several residential and commercial projects. However, none of these appear to address the continuing issue of “reconnecting” the city and waterfront. Entrants are invited to the urban ideas competition to consider issues such as community

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news accessibility, multi-modal transit and infrastructure, natural environment, sustainability, walkability, intensification, the functionality of public and private spaces, land uses, public entertainment, cultural uses, open spaces and linkages, all-season uses, tourism, funding/ feasibility, public art/private art, and public safety, among other important matters. Entry is open to any potential participant, and not limited to design professionals. Submissions by multidisciplinary teams are encouraged Anyone can participate, as long as the team lead is a ULI member. March 14, 2014 is the registration deadline; the submission deadline is March 28. 2014. http://toronto.uli.org/urban-ideas-competition

Montreal Space for Life Competition.

Montreal’s Space for Life has announced the launch of an international architecture competition focused on three major projects: the Insectarium Metamorphosis, the Biodôme Renewal and a new Glass Pavilion at the Botanical Garden. A $45-million budget has been allocated for the three projects, which will stand as legacies of Montreal’s 375th anniversary and are part of the Space for Life development plan. The two-stage competition is intended for multidisciplinary teams of architects, Living Building Challenge and

LEED certification experts, scenic designers, landscape architects and engineers. Each participant may bid on one, two or all three projects by submitting a proposal. The registration deadline is March 20th followed by a proposal deadline of March 26th, and a submission deadline of June 20th. In Stage 2, four chosen finalists will be invited to expand on their concepts and present them to the jury and the public in July 2014. Committed to a creative and participatory movement aimed at reinventing our relationship with nature, Space for Life intends to create living spaces that are permeable, ecological and evolving, while meeting the highest green building standards. Montreal Space for Life is Canada’s largest natural science museum complex and the first space in the world dedicated to humankind and nature. http://mtlunescodesign.com/spaceforlife

What’S NeW Construction to begin on second phase of Laurentian School of architecture.

Laurentian University’s Board of Governors unanimously approved the awarding of a $23.9-million contract for the construction of Phase Two of the Laurentian School of Architecture. Work on the 55,000 square feet of

new construction is expected to begin in March 2014. Designed by LGA Architectural Partners, the School of Architecture will be a unique building comprising two distinct and contrasting wings. The north wing, fronting Elm Street, will be a steel-framed structure containing mezzanines above the second f loor. The west wing will be a two-storey glulam and cross-laminated Timber (CLT) wood structure, and will be the first large-scale use of CLT in a public building in Ontario. The two new wings will house classrooms and studio space, a lecture theatre, lounges and office areas, while creating an inner courtyard and a public walkway. The first phase of construction consisted of renovating the two heritage buildings that currently provide faculty and studio space for the Laurentian Architecture program, which officially launched in September 2013. The Laurentian University School of Architecture is the first new school of architecture to open in Canada in 45 years. Major funding partners in the project are: the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities; the Government of Canada’s Regional Development Organization for Northern Ontario; the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund; the City of Greater Sudbury; the Centre for Research & Innovation in the Bio-Economy Laurentian University.


The leading voice of architecture in Canada

uPDaTe aT Te e

winter/spring 2014

Festival of architecture / May 28-31

learn, socialize, celebrate The Canadian Museum of human rights in Winnipeg, due to open in september, has graciously agreed to provide the venue for the opening reception of the 2014 festival of architecture.

RAIC Architecture Canada The national voice for architects and architecture in Canada, supporting the profession through:

among the highlights of the festival will be the opportunity to hear antoine predock and Bjarke ingels speak. They will receive honourary fellowships at the College of fellows convocation. Predock, of new Mexico, usa, is designer of the human rights museum and an american institute of architects gold Medalist. he will deliver the address at the opening reception.

Advocacy, influencing government policy at all levels The 2002 raiC festival of architecture in Winnipeg featured a 50-foot-high marker. it consisted of a scissor-jack platform draped with neon mesh. Lit from within at night, it was inscribed with quotations about urbanism. The marker was transported, erected and set alongside festival venues.

The winners of the prairie design awards for architecture and interior design, (Manitoba, saskatchewan and alberta) will be announced also at the reception. Ingels, founder of the Danish firm BIG, was named innovator of the year for architecture in 2011 by the Wall street Journal. he will give a talk at the fellows convocation. The plenary speaker will be Winnipeg scholar Frank albo. his discoveries about the symbolism hidden in the architecture of the Manitoba Legislative building inspired the 2007 book The hermetic Code.

For the first time, a competition has been held for urban markers of the events, open to Manitoba interns. The winner will be announced March 17. nearly 40 different continuing education courses and tours have been designed to satisfy professional development requirements, update knowledge and impart new skills. a complete schedule of events, speakers, and courses is available at festival.raic.org

The promotion of excellence in architecture Continuing education offerings and practice support

raic.org 330-55 Murray St. Ottawa ON K1N 5M3 613-241-3600 info@raic.org

This year’s festival – titled The Next Century | Go Flat Out – takes place May 28-31 at the fairmont Winnipeg. it is presented by raiC | architecture Canada in partnership with the Manitoba association of architects. register before april 30 to qualify for the early-bird rate.

editor: Maria Cook Masthead photo: Language TeChnoLogies


researCh CenTre aT universiTy of QuebeC in ouTaouais | Menkès shooner Dagenais LeTourneux arChiTeCTs / forTin Corriveau saLvaiL arChiTeCTure + Design | PhoTo: MiCheL bruneLLe

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Le principal porte-parole de l’architecture au Canada hiver/printeMps 2014

en bref

Festival d’architecture / du 28 au 31 mai

apprendre, échanger, célébrer IRAC Architecture Canada Le porte-parole national des architectes et de l’architecture au Canada, qui appuie la profession par :

son action de sensibilisation qui influence les politiques gouvernementales, à tous les niveaux; la promotion de l’excellence en architecture; des activités de formation continue et des outils d’aide à la pratique.

raic.org 55, rue Murray, bureau 330 Ottawa (Ontario) K1N 5M3

Le Musée canadien des droits de la personne, dont l’ouverture est prévue en septembre prochain, à Winnipeg, a gracieusement accepté d’accueillir la réception d’ouverture du festival d’architecture 2014. Parmi les faits saillants du festival, mentionnons les allocutions d’antoine predock et de Bjarke ingels qui recevront tous deux le titre de fellow honoraire lors de la cérémonie d’intronisation au Collège des fellows. antoine Predock, du nouveauMexique, aux états-unis, est le concepteur du Musée canadien des droits de la personne et un médaillé d’or de l’american institute of architects. il s’adressera aux délégués lors de la réception d’ouverture.

Le festival d’architecture de l’iraC de 2002, à Winnipeg, avait un marqueur visuel d’une hauteur de 50 pieds. Il s’agissait d’une plateforme sur cric de levage drapé d’un filet néon. La plateforme qui comportait des citations sur l’urbanisme était surélevée en soirée. elle était également déplacée pour être érigée sur les lieux des diverses activités du festival.

Par ailleurs, c’est également au cours de cette réception que seront dévoilés les lauréats des prix d’excellence en architecture et en design intérieur des prairies (Manitoba, saskatchewan et alberta). Bjarke Ingels, fondateur de la firme danoise BIG, a quant à lui été nommé l’innovateur de l’année pour l’architecture en 2011, par le Wall street Journal. il prononcera son allocution lors de la cérémonie d’intronisation des fellows. Le conférencier de la plénière sera le chercheur et universitaire Frank albo, de Winnipeg. ses découvertes sur le symbolisme caché dans l’architecture du Palais législatif du Manitoba sont à l’origine du livre The Hermetic Code, publié en 2007.

Pour la première fois cette année, on a organisé un concours auprès des stagiaires en architecture du Manitoba pour choisir les marqueurs visuels des activités dans la ville. Le lauréat sera annoncé le 17 mars. Le programme comporte près de 40 activités de formation continue et des visites guidées conçues pour répondre aux exigences de perfectionnement professionnel des architectes, actualiser leurs connaissances et renforcer leurs compétences. Pour consulter le programme complet des activités, des conférences et des cours, visitez le festival.raic.org

613-241-3600 info@raic.org

Le festival de cette année se tiendra du 28 au 31 mai à l’hôtel fairmont Winnipeg sur le thème Les 100 prochaines années : À fond de train! il est présenté par l’iraC | architecture Canada en partenariat avec la Manitoba association of architects.

rédactrice en cheF: Maria Cook photo en cartouche de titre : CenTre De reCherChe en TeChnoLogies Langagières De L’universiTé Du QuébeC en ouTaouais | Menkès shooner Dagenais LeTourneux arChiTeCTes / forTin Corriveau saLvaiL arChiTeCTure + Design | PhoTo : MiCheL bruneLLe

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Inscrivez-vous avant le 30 avril pour profiter du tarif préférentiel pour inscription hâtive.


21/02/2014 2:51:51 PM


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industrial reVolution exciting new sPaces for two established galleries are the latest additions to an emerging cultural Precinct in a gritty east VancouVer industrial district. Equinox Gallery and Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia Measured Architecture Inc. for Equinox Gallery and D’Arcy Jones Architecture Inc for Monte Clark Gallery text Steve DiPasquale Photos Latreille Delage Photography for Equinox Gallery and silentSama Architectural Photography for Monte Clark Gallery Projects


Vancouver’s psychogeography has been drifting east for some time. Residents, businesses and institutions are finding here a kind of spatial and economic agency largely unavailable in the city’s developed west. Most recently, this story has been unfolding just off Main Street, in the area known as the False Creek Flats. Several prominent galleries that were once long-term occupants of South Granville’s art row have relocated here, strengthening the creative culture established in the mid-1990s by organ-

izations like the Grunt Gallery and 1000 Parker Street Studios: Catriona Jeffries resettled in the area in 2006, and more recently Winsor, Equinox and Monte Clark galleries have done the same. Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design is also scheduled to join the Centre for Digital Media as a key anchor in what has the potential to become a vital arts precinct. Located just southeast of the downtown core at the end of False Creek, The Flats describes a 308-acre swath of mainly low-rise industrial build-

OppOsite The colourful exterior of the Equinox Gallery boldly announces itself in its industrial East Vancouver context. AbOve Visitors are confronted with an expansive welcome in the entry zone of the Equinox. An unintimidating and informal reception is achieved through the visibility of staff functions at the central work table beyond a low wall. bOttOm The West Gallery at the Equinox is cleaved partially into two spaces, affording increased vertical exhibition surface area.

ings that is striated laterally by a SkyTrain line and three railyards. It stands as one of the few industrial areas in Vancouver with a rich and legible history of manufacturing, fabrication and repair. City zoning protects these uses for long-term economic resilience, but also makes provision for

other uses like galleries and studios—the area thus holds a cache of buildings ripe for imaginative repurpose. Together, Monte Clark and Equinox occupy one of the masonry structures built by Finning International in the early 1960s to service a f leet of Caterpillar backhoes and excavators, those

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ubiquitous yellow machines that forest, mining and highway construction industries deployed in reshaping the west. Architects disclose this building’s past in fashioning its present as a home for two remarkable galleries. The success of the Equinox and Monte Clark projects really begins at the urban scale, with the obvious pleasure the pair has taken in situating themselves as part of the post-industrial farrago of The Flats. Set back from any main thoroughfare, the galleries have forsaken the ease of South Granville’s pedestrian traffic for the greater possibilities of a destination venue. But with a few deft insertions in their new environs, the two have turned a circuitous route into a delightful uncanny trip. Visitors make an unexpected procession through the varied accretions of the district’s past and present, and enjoy a brief departure from the sameness of scale endemic to the urban grid. As we step off Great Northern Way and move past the BCIT forklift training yard, we confront the desolate expanses of the CN railyard, then glimpse the shipping cranes of the port far beyond. And so it’s entirely apt that positioned there, about 150 metres east of our destination, is a stack of two shipping containers painted a liminal red-orange, the gallery names and a supergraphic arrow stencilled in Caterpillar yellow—the first in a series of industrial-sized trail markers deployed solely for our wayfinding. In our final approach along a wide strip of road edging the railyard, we continue to be led along by these bursts of redorange—a few more shipping containers here, fortuitous bits of rusting equipment there—until we recognize the final swatch of colour in the distance as the building proper. We reach the front door of the Equinox Gallery first, after being funnelled through a little corner plaza carved out by the logistics of heavy machinery. The whole experience is just uncommon enough to prime us for a productive encounter with art.

Operating for about a year before the latest renovation by Measured Architecture, Equinox sought to reconfigure their original infrastructure to support more diverse forms of exhibition. The architects have bisected the former scheme by moving the front entrance farther east, and have revamped a coarser layout to include finergrained spaces of admirable f lexibility—all helping to shape new business operations in the impressive 14,500-square-foot gallery. The design team has thus crafted an expansive but considered entrance zone, generating a real sense of ease in arrival and orientation. Instead of being met with a typical work desk shrouded by a high privacy panel, visitors are asked to perceive only the most gestural notion of reception: a long white block set at table height that subtly demarcates entrance from open office, affording a clear view of the central work table and beyond. The designers have elegantly managed to drain reception of its officiousness while still allowing staff to attend to gallery-goers. Set as we are into the central valve of the project, we understand intuitively how to navigate ourselves from here: to the left, the smaller-scale west galleries; to the right, the larger-scale east gallery. As one moves through the various spaces in the project, the sense of ease established at the outset never dissipates. The scheme is arranged as a series of white cubic volumes, carefully placed to f loat within the existing masonry shell. These masses—nesting blocks carved out to allow for passage— hover just above the f loor by way of a thin reveal, and acknowledge existing outer walls, but give the most space to the building’s captivating ceiling. And although the heights of the cubes step from 16 feet to 12 feet, and then down to a more domestically scaled 10 in the private viewing area, the architects achieve a unified feel overall: they scribe a strong datum by painting the exposed columns and masonry

OppOsite tOp, left tO right Vestiges of the building’s prior industrial life are evident in the orange jib cranes affixed to the wood ceiling beams at the Equinox; a private viewing gallery conveys the intimacy of the pure white box. OppOsite middle The plan of the Equinox Gallery provides for a high degree of flexilbility, and the colour-coded circulation pathways illustrate that it is capable of hosting one large exhibition or, alternatively, five separate and concurrent shows. AbOve A highly evocative blend of past and present defines the Monte Clark Gallery. Its pocked and pitted concrete floor is a remnant of its former industrial life, enhanced by a robust material palette of steel, concrete block and unfinished wood dowels.

walls of the interior shell black, leaving the filigree of ceiling services and leftover industrial apparatus to itself. The project manages to really breathe as a result of these finely tuned offsets. But it’s more than just the interstitial space at work here. In the contrast between new and existing elements, the space is also charged with a quiet but unresolved tension: the muscular volumes exude a sense of permanence and belonging, yet their Platonic purity is everywhere set

against the variegated textures of the existing, lending the cubes the aura of alien visitors. The behaviour of light and sound in the gallery only enhances this preternatural character. Existing clerestory lighting is brought to full advantage in the large east gallery, where the high glazing and a new skylight provide a subtly capricious daylit space—augmented by a few f loodlights only when necessary. And for such a large space, the acoustics are extraordinarily

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A view from the rear office area at Monte Clark into the main space reveals a grove of wooden dowels along the entire east wall comprising the open storage system for the gallery’s collection; Monte Clark’s main gallery space is defined by a roughly irregular and grooved concrete floor below and a soaring ceiling above, accommodating even the most outsized and monumental works; natural light washes down from a skylight over the otherwise shadowy stair to the second-floor mezzanine.

above, left to right

controlled: I somehow expected to be walking around in that gentle reverent gait that galleries can engender, but instead felt entirely comfortable taking in the work on more casual terms. The manageable acoustics are perhaps explained by the fact that the gallery’s f looring, though not immediately registering as such, turns out to be painted plywood—the ruthless economies of former occupations yield surprisingly valuable material tactics. If the galleries share a common envelope that doubles as an urban-scale brand, their interior lives are distinctly their own: the 4,500-square-foot west end of the building occupied by the Monte Clark Gallery was originally built with a coffered concrete ceiling, and has no clerestory glazing, for instance. These and other given conditions confer a much different attitude to the space, and have catalyzed in the project a different set of design protocols. Our introduction to the spirit of this gallery, however, occurs even prior to entry, when we first reach for the front door—a pane of glass set in a deep frame of mild steel pivoting 180 degrees. No standardized pull. No lockset. No attempt to remove the evidence of fabrication. The door is, quizzically, just the architectural idea of a door. Throughout, the gallery offers itself up in this same mode of selfassured transparency—of business procedure, of past occupation, of construction necessity. Immediately striking is its open storage system, a grove of wooden dowels running f loor to mezzanine underside where art can be safely stowed—without being stowed away. Flipping the back of house inside out is, first, an affable gesture, and works to create a sense of welcome, but according to owner Monte Clark, this move has also shaped a new sales culture in the gallery: having the entire inventory ready to hand has helped facilitate a more casual rapport between staff and client. Moving into the space proper, one becomes increasingly aware of the extraordinarily haptic quality of the surfaces—the masonry walls, the stair-

case, the f loor—and then how this tactility operates as part of a larger dialogue between old and new, rough and smooth, dark and light. And yet, it doesn’t feel as though this nuanced set of relationships fell out wholesale from behind a desk; the project’s confidently permissive moments make it feel like architect D’Arcy Jones and his team also moved by responding to idiosyncrasies they uncovered as they worked. Windows were placed to avoid interference with masonry bond beams, doorways were brought to full height to circumvent the need for the labour and materials of a lintel, and a few irregular holes and smashed-in bits of masonry have been left alone to express past necessities of production. The gallery’s f loor—or, perhaps more appropriately here, the ground plane—is the strongest and most charming of these found personalities: gouged, pocked and stained by years of maintenance on heavy machines, the building’s original concrete is a delightfully varied terrain excavated from beneath several inches of industrial paint. One also gets the sense that the finely rugged character of the steel stair and mezzanine owes its kinship to its weathered, work-hardened cousin below. This whole metal assembly bears the stamped markings of its original milling, the conspicuous seams of its site fabrication, and a few of the hasty chalk equations scrawled out by its makers. All this is not to suggest that this component hasn’t been carefully considered—the designers have elegantly concealed its structural support system, for instance—but its laissez-faire countenance works because of its accord with other elements in the scheme. These two projects demonstrate the value latent in the industrial building stock of the area, and point the way to what The Flats could become: at every scale, a set of compelling encounters between differing spatial and material agendas. The district, however—and especially the southern portion home to Equinox and Monte Clark—stands as contested territory, equal parts street-level creativity and top-down infrastructure planning.




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Galleries, art studios and recording studios are littered throughout the area and its fringes; nearby, a decommissioned school bus in a gravel parking lot is the epicentre of large all-night parties; immediately to the south, two condo towers are under construction, part of the Comprehensive Development zoning helping to finance the resettlement of Emily Carr; and a proposed SkyTrain line, if mobilized into action, promises to run straight through the site. Future settlers and current strategists would do well to see that there is value in the f lexibility furnished by the structural grids of these utilitarian buildings, in the possibly unforeseen synergies of economy and performance, and in the uncanny delight of industrial-urban space. Handled with the same sensitivity to the idiosyncrasies of place, The Flats could continue to develop into a welcome complement to the city’s tyranny of the new.









steve DiPasquale is an intern architect at hCMa in vancouver. together with bryan beça, he is also at work on the space of Difference, a site-specific video installation





sponsored by the surrey art Gallery. Please visit www.operativeagency.com/ 2

surreyurbanscreen/ for more information.


CLIENT equinox Gallery | arChITECT TEaM Clinton CuDDinGton, Piers CunninGton, katy younG, MaGali bailey, luCy sMith | STrUCTUraL fast + ePP | INTErIOrS MeasureD arChiteCture inC. | CONTraCTOr l.D.h. installations ltD. | CODE CONSULTaNT lMDG builDinG CoDe Consultant | arEa 1,350 M2 | BUDGET $400,000 | COMPLETION sePteMber 2013

CLIENT Monte Clark Gallery | arChITECT TEaM D’arCy Jones, aManDa keMeny, DouGlas Gibbons, Matthew ketis-benDena, CraiG bissell, Matti saar | arChITECT OF rECOrD M. saar arChiteCture | STrUCTUraL Dan wiCke, wiCke herft Maver struCtural enGineers | INTErIOrS D’arCy Jones arChiteCture inC | CONTraCTOr larry halvorson | CODE CONSULTaNT Jean buMen, buMen arChiteCture & CoDe ConsultinG inC. | arEa 4,337 ft2 | BUDGET withhelD | COMPLETION february 2014


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high-Design hostels A toronto firm refurbishes olD builDings with Design-sAvvy interiors for An exPAnDing chAin of euroPeAn hostels. Generator London, UK; Generator Venice, Italy; and Generator Berlin Mitte, Germany DesignAgency with Orbit Architects (London), Progetto CMR (Venice), Ester Bruzkus Architects (Berlin) and WAF Architects (Berlin) text Cerys Wilson Photos Nikolas Koenig unless otherwise noted Projects


When Generator Hostels was founded in 1995, it had just two properties to its name: a former office building in the Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood of East Berlin and an old police station in the backstreets of London’s then seedy King’s Cross. Following an acquisition by real estate investment firm Patron Capital in 2007, it has become the fast-

est-growing hostel group in Europe, with eight properties open, two under construction, and a further eight planned for 2015. Unlike the party hostels of yore, Generator has taken a different tack: luring mature travellers with its design-conscious brand, centred on memorable interiors crafted by Toronto-based studio DesignAgency.

Pod enclosures create semi-private zones within the open-plan main floor of Generator’s London location. The playful structures house café seating and a small travel shop. OppOsite BOttOm, left tO right Glass block exterior walls retained from the original police station form a backdrop to the bar area; a slick reception desk greets visitors; standard dorm rooms are enlivened with colourful geometric murals. ABOve The lounge includes tiered seating, cozy nooks, and a projection wall for film screenings. OppOsite tOp

three of the property’s six f loors, giving ample light to the central interior stairway. Beyond the clichéd red double-decker bus that protrudes from a wall—a seeming concession to the backpacker demographic—the spacious lobby offers tasteful and inventive solutions. A sophisticated reception desk blends brick, wood and steel elements. Old fire extinguishers are ingeniously refashioned into lamps. A wall of glass bricks, adapted to shelve bottles of liquor, is one of the few telltale signs of the building’s former life as a police station. Small enclaves throughout the ground f loor anticipate various activities: a café has both individual and communal seating areas,

The driving force behind each hostel design is the city itself, notes DesignAgency principal Anwar Mekhayech, who spent much time sourcing locally made furniture and fixtures, as well as the work of local artists. Regional architects are brought on board for each project, ensuring a fresh palette of ideas and materials. They also contribute their expertise in local building codes—crucial given that all of Generator’s locations involve the adaptive reuse of centrally located older buildings. Take the case of the London hostel, which reopened earlier this year after an extensive renovation. A window over the main entrance spans



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1 office 2 screening room 3 lounge 4 lobby 5 travel shop 6 breakfast lounge 7 games area 8 bar area 9 café 10 kitchen



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left, top to bottom Generator’s Venice location is housed inside a 1850s granary; Tom Dixon’s bronze lights and Marcel Wanders’ New Antique Stool by Moooi add contemporary touches to the lobby; original stone columns and timber ceilings were restored on the main floor; dorm rooms nestle within the brick-and-beam grid of the upper floors. opposite, clockwise from top A handcrafted stone fireplace equipped with an ironic neon sign forms a centrepiece for the lobby; the chandelier-lit vestibule to the luxe hostel; a private room on the top floor welcomes mature travellers; a view of a standard dorm room facing the canal.

Jamie Smith

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while a partially secluded breakfast room is divided into smaller zones by a snaking origami-like partition. An adjacent lounge, with a police-tapeyellow ceiling and tiered seating, doubles as a f ilm-screening room. Patron Capital partner Josh Wyatt stresses the importance of narrative in their roster of hostels. “We look for unique buildings, with a true character that ref lects the city,” he says. “We want to help bring back certain stories. Often the best way to do this is through a building which has had its own history.” When scouting for properties, Wyatt is partial to former residences or offices: buildings whose layouts meet Generator’s needs and standards. “Having beautiful windows also helps the cause,” he adds. That is certainly the case with Generator Venice. The city’s only hostel, it is located on the small island of Giudecca, a short water-bus ride across the lagoon to Piazza San Marco. Canalside rooms boast spectacular views of the domes of the Santa Maria della Salute and San Giorgio churches. The palazzo was built as a granary in 1855 and was first converted to a hostel in 1950, run by the International Youth Hostel Federation. Subject to the Venetian Fine Arts Committee’s strict regulations, the building’s exterior remains unaltered to this day. Generator Venice opened its doors last September after a complete interior refurbishment. Those who remember its previous incarnation— with its vast, inhospitable dormitories and strict curfew—will find little besides the façade that remains the same. A grand lobby with full wraparound bar has six distinct seating areas, from a cozy quartet of armchairs to a high wooden table ringed by vintage metal stools. Long tables encourage communal dining. Sources of natural light are intentionally limited: velvet drapes, a carved stone fireplace and a walnut-toned, herringbonepatterned f loor welcome the darkness. Together, they create a rich dramatic atmosphere that speaks to Venice’s former decadence. Touches of Mekhayech’s cheeky humour also enter the design: a neon sign in the fireplace reads fuoco (Italian for fire) while off to the side, a four-poster bed is a hat tip to the notorious Venetian lothario Giacomo Casanova. Above, small glass clowns swing from a Murano chandelier, and a faded yellow sign—a last remnant of the old order—perches on a nearby shelf. White marble stonework has been refinished throughout, as have wooden beams that run alongside metal pipes. The hostel’s 240 beds spread over three f loors offer a mix of sleeping arrangements with en-suite facilities. Like most hostels, Generator’s standard dorm rooms 1





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A comfortable breakfast room is one in a series of spaces encircling a courtyard; a site-specific art piece animates the reception area ceiling; the chic bar features copper wall cladding, mirrored ceilings, and a glow-in-the-dark mural by Berlin arts collective The Klebebande; graffiti art lines the upper-floor corridors; the basic dorm rooms include design elements from the main floor.

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are equipped with basic comforts, with little in the way of shelves and hanging space. The exception at Venice is a cozy and private third-f loor attic room, complete with closet and quilt. Generator Berlin Mitte, the newest of two locations in Berlin, sports a minimalist aesthetic that stands in stark contrast to Venice’s luxe atmosphere. Many of the building’s rougher elements have been showcased. A web of pipes above a ground-f loor communal area are not only left exposed, but painted red as part of an on-site art installation; dorm rooms are topped by exposed concrete ceilings. A generous use of copper and mirrors gives the lobby bar an elegant edgy feel. Suitably, the library exudes a softer old-world-meets-rec-room atmosphere, with tan leather sofas and a dove-grey shag carpet. The breakfast room similarly has a casual feel. Metallic ducts wind overhead, while at eye level, an exuberant collection of houseplants fills several windows. Picnic-style tables with wooden seating cubes add a warm touch. Berlin arts collective Urban Art Clash occupies a permanent studio space on Mitte’s sixth f loor, hosting regular open nights for the general public. Street art informs the upper f loors, with graffiti-style murals lining the corridors. Creatively tiled washrooms—including some with trafficbarrier-stripe patterns—enliven the dorms and suites. Quirky oversized wayfinding graphics add punch to every elevator, stairwell and room door. Similar details are shared between all Generator properties, helping to solidify the brand by creating a community that can move with ease between locations. The number of luxury and design-led hostels in Europe has increased in recent years, as has the championing of reuse over new builds. SafeStay Hostel in London’s Elephant and Castle is the former Labour Party headquarters, and Amsterdam’s Cocomama was once a brothel. Generator distinguishes itself by its particular brand of dynamicity. It is at once local and international; its unique designs appeal to an array of tastes and needs; it attracts younger and older travellers alike; it accommodates large groups and individuals on business. Generator has not only created inviting spaces encouraging travellers to linger, but is now actively drawing the city at large through its doors with projects aimed at public engagement. A residency program for emerging artists is currently underway in Venice, providing studio and living space for a period of two to six weeks. Similar initiatives in Berlin Mitte and London are planned, with the goal that all works created on site will become part of Generator’s adaptable design concept. For Mekhayech, work on the London, Venice and Berlin properties is all but done. “At a certain point, we hand over the keys,” he says. “How the space then changes is really up to the guests.” Cerys Wilson is a visual artist, writer and researcher, specializing in spatial design and image-making. She is based in london, UK.

aBoVe The lower level of Generator Berlin Mitte includes a storage area that has been scrubbed and repurposed as a gallery space.







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Generator london Client Generator/Patron CaPital | arChiteCt teaM orBit arCHiteCtS—PHiliP atKinSon, llinoS HUGHeS | struCtural eVolVe | MeChaniCal/eleCtriCal BWB | interiors DeSiGnaGenCY | ContraCtor CoUntY ContraCtorS | art installations/ConsultanCy aCrYliCiZe | liGhtinG FD CreatiVe (CHriS PeaCH) | area 6,000 M2 | BudGet WitHHelD | CoMpletion MarCH 2014

Generator VeniCe Client Generator/Patron CaPital | arChiteCt teaM ProGetto CMr—roBerto BorSaro, roSSana CiColella | struCtural/MeChaniCal/eleCtriCal ProGetto CMr | interiors DeSiGnaGenCY | ContraCtor ConSta | projeCt ManaGeMent eC HarriS | area 26,000 Ft 2 | BudGet WitHHelD | CoMpletion SePteMBer 2013

Generator Berlin Mitte Client Generator/Patron CaPital | arChiteCt teaM eSter BrUZKUS arCHiteCtS—eSter BrUZKUS, UlriKe WattenBaCH, aleXanDra SPieGel, lUKaS De PelleGrin, Martina ZeYen, Zlatan KUKiC, liSa PlÜCKer; WaF arCHiteCtS—MarK aSiPoWiCZ. | struCtural inGenieUrBÜro aZaDVaten | MeChaniCal/eleCtriCal inGenieUrBÜro SaWKa | interiors DeSiGnaGenCY WitH eSter BrUZKUS arCHiteCtS | ContraCtor HaGenaUer GroUP, iMMenStaDt | liGhtinG PSlaB StUttGart | area 5,500 M2 | BudGet WitHHelD | CoMpletion oCtoBer 2013

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new molinariSmeS an exhibition and archival centre dedicated to the legacy of guido molinari reflectS the late artiSt'S Playful exPerimentationS with line, maSS and volume. Guido Molinari Foundation, Montreal, Quebec _naturehumaine text Meredith Carruthers PhotoS Adrien Williams unless otherwise noted Project


Have never been a p art of the Automatiste group—Stop—Therefore cannot be its theoretician—Stop—I am the theoretician of Molinarisme. —Guido Molinari responds by telegram to a statement in the Petit Journal considering him to be among the theoreticians of the Automatiste movement in Montreal, 1954. Montreal-born Guido Molinari’s artistic practice extended beyond the edges of his canvases. At the age of 21 in 1954, he pronounced himself the lone theoretician of “Molinarisme.” A year later, he founded the experimental art space L’Actuelle with Fernande Saint-Martin. He exhibited widely, notably taking part in The Responsive Eye exhibition at MoMA in 1965 and representing Canada at the 34th Venice Biennale in 1968. In 1999, he created a dynamic scenography of geometric forms for string works by R. Murray Schafer, performed by the Molinari Quartet—a musical group founded in homage to the painter. He hosted vivid conversations and debates in his studio, was a mentor to a young generation of artists at Concordia University, and actively participated in the international dialogue on avant-garde art. Molinari’s catalytic role in a rapidly evolving downtown art scene is particularly relevant today, with art’s renewed interest in interdisciplinarity. The Guido Molinari Foundation, which opened its doors last fall, is poised to imagine what a new “Molarinisme” might be for today. Headquartered within the 1920s bank building that Molinari used as a home and studio, the exhibition and archival centre’s mandate is to promote and perpetuate the creative legacy of the late artist. An early start to this venture has begun with the award-winning renovation of the foundation headquarters by local architecture firm _naturehumaine. Guido Molinari purchased the simple two-storey former bank building located at the corner of rue Sainte-Catherine and rue Darling in East Montreal in 1982. For all who have helped to reinvent the space, the project has been a labour of love, spanning nearly a decade. Lead architects Stéphane Rasselet and Marc-André Plasse launched the renovation in 2006 with a site analysis involving close reading, acute observation and sustained conversation with the artist’s peers, colleagues and collaborators. Of significance to the project was Molinari’s everyday use of the main f loor as his studio, and his engagement with the space’s large dimensions, proportions, and quality of light. Working from this research, they crafted a strategy that would result in a nuanced backdrop for new explorations of Molinari’s legacy. This included the conversion of the top f loor (Molinari’s former residence) to an exhibition project room, conference The Guido Molinari Foundation has converted the artist's banking hall-turned-studio into an exhibition space. oPPoSite toP, left to right A view of the artist against the backdrop of paintings arranged in his studio; the gallery's moveable walls can be configured in various ways. right

RichaRd-Max TReMblay

canadian architect 03/14


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guy l'heureux, courtesy of fonDation guiDo molinari

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A view of the main studio before renovation, with some of Molinari's last gestures and movements captured in the space; two works by Guido Molinari exploring figure and ground—Binoir (1955, oil on canvas) and Quadriblanc (1956, car enamel on canvas); the restored bank vault opens to house special exhibitions. opposiTe, CLoCKWise FRom Top LeFT Mono-frequency lighting creates a surreal atmosphere in the washrooms; a glass-enclosed viewing platform projects visitors into Molinari's side workspace; playful graphics animate a unisex bathroom door. Above, Top To boTTom

space and residence for artists, the creation of a ground-f loor exhibition space, and the preservation of a paint-speckled workspace adjacent. Windows run along the north and east façades, f looding the interior envelope of the building with natural light. On close inspection, every surface of the seemingly unadulterated former banking hall has been lavished with attention—decorative mouldings have been repaired, the marble f loor received a deep cleaning, and existing walls, ceilings and multiple sections of wood f looring have all been refreshed with a palette of subtle greys, with each unique tone chosen for its luminosity. A suite of sculptural volumes ground the main space. Mounted on sturdy castors, they invite a new spatial configuration with each new exhibition. These moveable walls are _naturehumaine’s most visible intervention. They provide ample surface area for exhibiting artwork while also doubling as storage: their short ends open to receive canvases set on edge. They’re sized to hold the largest paintings in the collection, which are too large to be stored in the basement, where the majority of the collection resides. Calibrated to the site, the volumes extend the display surfaces into the height of the building and create a dynamic relationship between f loor and ceiling. While each of the volumes appears to be rectangular, in plan

they f lare at slight angles. Molinari often used similar proportional shifts in his paintings. His canvases slant to throw viewers slightly off balance, consciously engaging their entire bodies in the act of looking. When fitted together end to end, the mobile volumes create a single oblique block that recedes into space. When broken apart, the oblique lines are multiplied. This choreography of volume and mass parallels Molinari’s black-and-white compositions from the mid-1950s. Each new spatial configuration suggests a different dialogue with the volume of the banking hall, and a different play with visitors’ perceptions. With their quiet angular resistance to the rectangular-tiled marble f loor, and their unobtrusive troubling of the square corner, the moveable walls encourage a spatial awareness that will no doubt play a subtle—but crucial—role in future exhibitions. Molinari treated the banking hall as a quasi-gallery space, arranging his paintings for critical viewing in the open naturally lit space. But to create smaller canvases and mix colours, he would retreat to a cramped adjacent studio room. During the process of renovation, _naturehumaine recognized this workspace’s value. Rasselet and Plasse preserved the charming mess that provided the backdrop for Molinari’s production of pristine

Marc-andré Plasse Marc-andré Plasse

hard-edged paintings. Scrawled phone numbers of friends, colour-laden palettes, and balls of paint-edged tape (used but never discarded) glitter with frozen potential under Molinari’s special brand of artificial light. This off-kilter colour cast was reinstated by Rasselet and Plasse after a conversation with a former studio assistant. Emulating Molinari, they deliberately installed mismatched lights—one warm incandescent bulb, one cold f luorescent tube. Eschewing the preciousness of velvet rope-cordoned rooms, the architects have created a path for visitors into the space. They crafted a platform enclosed by ½”-thick glass plates, which are punctuated by circular holes of varying heights and diameters. Visitors are at once held at a distance and invited to share the living and breathing space of the working area from a variety of points of view. Throughout the renovation, _naturehumaine carefully manipulate symmetry, asymmetry, colour and effect. Their inventive approach to the building’s renovation is encapsulated in two modest bathrooms. A f irst cubicle serves as a place to refresh your vision. Lit by subdued, yellow mono-frequency light, the space exists in a sort of visual colour vacuum. But upon approaching the mirror, a sensor triggers a focused beam of white light that brief ly reveals the visitor’s face—in full colour. The second

bathroom playfully doubles as a screening room. Documentary interviews with Molinari are on view at sitting height. Through the full-scale renovation of Molinari’s residence and studio, _naturehumaine has resolved a delicate program by providing a framework for new interventions. The resulting space deftly balances between display and storage, restoration and renovation, originality and authenticity. The architects extend the dynamic spirit of Molinarisme—a movement that may in the future find multiple definitions, and whose proponents might end up being many. Meredith carruthers is an independent curator and artist based in Montreal. she worked with italian artist andrea sala on the first artist-in-residence project at the Guido Molinari Foundation, msm: Molinari, sala, Munari. she is currently the associate curator of the 2014 istanbul design biennial. Client Fondation Guido Molinari | arChiteCt team Marc-andré Plasse, stéPHane rasselet, oliVier laJeunesse-traVers, aMelie MelaVen, KéVin PinVidic | liGhtinG cs desiGn | interaCtiVe teChnOlOGY esKi | area 370 M2 | BudGet $300,000 | COmpletiOn sePteMber 2013

canadian architect 03/14


AlAn HAmilton



LeeAnn pallett, Kathryn Douthart and Antonio Cunha

A student-oRgAnized symposium At RyeRson univeRsity highlights the use of computAtionAl tools in emeRging design-ReseARch pRActices.

Above Denegri Bessai Studio used digital fabrication to craft kid-friendly storage cubbies for Huron public School in toronto. bottom left Structural engineers from AKt II lead a workshop with Architectural Association students in London, UK. bottom Right SHop Architects and sister firm SHop Construction collaborated on the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

SHoP ArcHitectS

[e]Merging realMs

AKt ii

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“Innovation comes from the bottom up,” says Stephen Kieran, a founding partner of KieranTimberlake, an inf luential practice operating out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “This is where students change the profession. As an employer, if you don’t embrace the tools they use, they won’t want to work for you. It starts in the schools and the profession catches up.” Kieran was one of four panellists who participated in ar.chi.tect [redefined], a recent symposium organized by Ryerson University’s Master of Architecture class of 2015. Held at Toronto’s Design Exchange, the evening event aimed at critically assessing emerging modes of practice within the AEC industry. The panel also included Tom Bessai of Denegri Bessai Studio, Hanif Kara of London-based structural consultants AKT II, and Jonathan Mallie of New York-based SHoP Construction and SHoP Architects. Throughout the discussion, a common theme became apparent: today, students and young professionals are fundamental drivers of change in the architectural profession. Critiques of the architectural discipline have periodically pointed to a disconnect between academia and professional practice. The perceived formal whimsy of academics and the stale pragmatism of practice sit at opposite ends of the spectrum. The panellists considered how recently, that divide is being bridged with a mutual acknowledgement of relevance between academic and professional realms. KieranTimberlake is one of an expanding swath of cutting-edge practices that centre on research and inquiry. A central element of their office organization is a multidisciplinary research team. A number of specialists, from material scientists to software developers, engage with the design process for not only buildings, but also a range of products. The practice has successfully developed building technologies and software, including Tally™, a Revit plug-in that allows architects to monitor the performance of their projects well into the occupancy period. Innovations like these are poised to redefine how we conceive and construct. This is evidence of the multidisciplinary potential of architecture firms today: some are not only designing buildings, but also crafting tools for design. This design-research methodology has also found its place in Jonathan Mallie’s work at SHoP Architects and SHoP Construction. Mallie says successful practice is about “unlocking value”—taking a critical approach to design and asking why and where inefficiencies exist, in order to achieve superior quality and value. These critical inquiries, traditionally bound to the confines of postsecondary institutions, have now become core values in practices such as SHoP. Kieran makes note of an “arms race” in shop culture throughout North American schools of architecture, where students are increasingly apt to design through making. In schools such as Ryerson, academic

Above left KieranTimberlake’s design for the American embassy in London includes a photovoltaic curtain wall developed through over a decade of research. Above Tally™ software measures the embedded energy and pollution potential of building designs.

projects are no longer necessarily culminating in two-dimensional drawings and representational models. They are becoming more experimental and are increasingly informed by an iterative dialogue between the virtual and the physical. Issues of communications, economics, legal structures, logistics and performance are now common considerations in student design explorations. The wide availability of advanced computational and fabrication tools, along with an aptitude for how to effectively use them, have made it possible for students to engage these complex issues. In the process, they become better equipped to address the kinds of challenges that many ambitious design firms are now undertaking. Hanif Kara notes that the increased access to advanced computational tools is levelling the playing field. Small firms can now offer comparable if not superior services to medium-sized firms. It is through this window of opportunity that recent graduates have a high potential for success. Tom Bessai’s studio is exemplary in this regard, with its focus on using digital design and fabrication in an in-house lab to experiment with new methods of making. From the education side, Ryerson University’s “zone education” initiative capitalizes on students’ f luency with digital tools by facilitating sustained connections between interdepartmental student groups and industry partners. Together, these collaborators develop innovative student projects into real-life entrepreneurial ventures. The Design Fabrication Zone, a joint initiative between the Department of Architectural Science and the School of Interior Design, is one such incubator for ideas. It aims to strategically propel digital design and three-dimensional production into the worlds of construction and business innovation. The boundaries between pedagogy and practice are blurring as research, design and construction become equally relevant in realizing both academic and professional projects. It is students and young professionals—the people that Kieran refers to as those at the “bottom”— who are redefining the profession. As the critical discussion concluded, a member of the audience asked the panellists where they find joy in practicing architecture. As Master of Architecture students, we find joy in bridging a narrowing gap, knowing we have the potential to transform architecture into a discipline of [e]mergence. LeeAnn Pallett, Kathryn Douthart and Antonio Cunha are Master of Architecture candidates at Ryerson University.

canadian architect 03/14


canadian architect 03/14


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Gregory Henriquez lecture March 10, 2014

Gregory Henriquez, principal of Vancouver’s Henriquez Partners Architects, lectures at 6:00pm at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Reality/Representation March 13, 2014

This film pairing of Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman and Mock-ups in CloseUp: Architectural Models in Film screens at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto. http://bloorcinema.com

Bing Thom lecture March 17, 2014

Award-winning architect Bing Thom delivers the Margolese National Design for Living Prize Lecture at 6:30pm at UBC Robson Square in Vancouver. Adriaan Geuze and Jelle Therry lecture March 18, 2014

Adriaan Geuze of West 8 and

Jelle Therry deliver the Bulthaup Lecture at 6:30pm at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto. BUILDEX Edmonton March 18-19, 2014

BUILDEX at the Edmonton Expo Centre is the city’s premier trade show and conference for the AEC industry. www.buildexedmonton.com

Light + Dark = Architecture March 24, 2014

Mark Major, Principal of Speirs + Major in London and Edinburgh lectures at 6:00pm in Room G10 of the Macdonald-Harrington Building at McGill University. Cristina Moreno + Erfren Grinda lecture March 24, 2014

Cristina Moreno + Erfren Grinda of Madrid-based AMID (Cero9) Architects lecture at 6:30pm at UBC Robson Square in Vancouver.

One of a Kind Spring Show March 26-30, 2014

Featuring over 450 Canadian artisans and designers, this show at Toronto’s Direct Energy Centre features a wide array of offerings such as furniture and textiles.

at McGill University’s School of Architecture lectures at 6:00pm in Room G10 of the MacdonaldHarrington Building at McGill University.


Quebec Association of Landscape Architects Annual Congress

Chris Matthews lecture

april 4-5, 2014

March 27, 2014

Chris Matthews of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc. in Brooklyn lectures at 6:30pm at Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science. Benedetta Tagliabue lecture March 31, 2014

Barcelona-based Benedetta Tagliabue of Miralles/Tagliabue Architects and professor at Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona lectures at 6:30pm at UBC Robson Square in Vancouver. Housing for Spatial Justice March 31, 2014

Ipek Türeli, Assistant Professor

The Quebec Association of Landscape Architects’ Annual Congress takes place at the Centre des Sciences de Montréal. http://aapq.org

Smart Cities Summit april 9-10, 2014

This event at One King West in Toronto convenes leading minds in the public and private sectors to discuss challenges and solutions that maximize efficiencies and service delivery to communities. www.smartcitiescanada.com

for more information about these, and additional listings of canadian and international events, please visit www.canadianarchitect.com

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canadian architect 03/14



Places of RemembRance TexT and PhoTos

Thomas Nemeskeri

Est modus in rebus, there is a balance in all things. With this maxim in mind, I found myself travelling through northern Italy last May, a pilgrimage prompted by the recent loss of a family member. In between drawing, visiting galleries and improvising meals from local foods, I visited a number of memorials, cemeteries and tombs—places of remembrance that I had studied under the guidance of my former teacher, mentor and advisor, Marco Frascari. After taking the train to Modena one morning, I made my way to the San Cataldo cemetery: the “City for the Dead.” Aldo Rossi’s massive unfinished project, composed of stark abandoned forms, was populated by those few visitors who came to whisper to their departed—the “residents” of the city, ordered along the endless corridors, entombed within the walls of otherwise vacant buildings. The overall effect was akin to the unsettling magical realism of a de Chirico painting. The following week I drove to Castelfranco to visit the Brion-Vega cemetery, arguably Carlo Scarpa’s masterwork. There I stood and stared at length, observing the contrast of

The haunting San cataldo cemetery by aldo Rossi; a view of the chapel at the intimate Brion-Vega cemetery by carlo Scarpa; overgrown foliage covers the tombs at Isola di San Michele in Venice.

above, lefT To righT

a Pilgrimage To memorial siTes in iTaly recalls lessons from The laTe marco frascari, former direcTor of The azrieli school of archiTecTure and urbanism aT carleTon universiTy.

materials—some durable and others ephemeral, and volumes—some f luid and others monolithic. Combined, they formed a meditation on the mediation of opposites. Informed by Frascari, who had been a student and later an assistant of Scarpa’s, I knew that during the realization of the project, Scarpa had kept a copy of Locus Solus nearby. Raymond Roussel’s novel conveys the experience of walking through a labyrinthine garden of increasing complexity. At the Brion-Vega cemetery, Scarpa provided an opportunity for quiet ref lection on this metaphor for life and death. Later, in Venice, after taking a boat to Isola di San Michele, I wandered through processions of tombs, burial grounds and memorials. Roaming across the island, my gaze turned to the patina covering and altering every surface. Monuments had succumbed to decay; their slow transmutation to the earth was heralded by moss on stone, the overgrowth of foliage, the staining of glass and the corrosion of metal. Under the eventual passing of light and shadow, these materials bore an uncanny resemblance to the stuff of memory. It was with this perspective that I returned

to Canada, where only shortly afterward I would learn of Marco Frascari’s passing. His presence is still felt through his tremendous legacy to the field of architecture, both built and theoretical. With his passion for narrative, supported by his extensive knowledge of etymology, Marco encouraged students like myself to understand and pursue architecture as a binding element in our daily practices that affects and shapes our cognition, mental health and overall well-being just as much as— if not more than—we, as architects, shape it. My recent experiences in Italy reinforced those lessons. Confronted by loss, I was able to embrace a balance between the past and the present, through architecture. The 2nd Frascari Symposium on storytelling in architecture will be held from March 28-29, 2014 at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Thomas Nemeskeri is a Toronto-based architect. His photographs are available to view through www.nemeskeri.ca.



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Canadianarchitect mar2014 de  

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada’s only monthly design publication, Ca...

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Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada’s only monthly design publication, Ca...