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STÉPHANE BRÜGGER

ADVANCES IN HEALTH

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CANADIAN ARCHITECT

OCTOBER 2015

9 NEWS Herzog & de Meuron’s design for the new Vancouver Art Gallery revealed; Professional Prix de Rome awarded to PUBLIC Architecture + Communication.

30 INSITES Brett Throop advocates for an enhanced connection to the natural world in our increasingly vertical cities by means of greater access to daylight, air, and generously planted terraces and green roofs.

33 CALENDAR

14 BRANKSOME HALL ATHLETICS & WELLNESS CENTRE A new addition to a private girls’ school in Toronto by MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects successfully knits together disparate components of the campus while achieving an extraordinary quality of lightness. TEXT Rei Tasaka

21 DUBROVSKY MOLECULAR PATHOLOGY CENTRE

Melvin Charney, Architect/e Photographe/r at the Maison de la Culture Côte-des-Neiges in Montreal; 2015 AIBC Annual Conference at Vancouver Convention Centre West.

34 LOOKING BACK Larry Wayne Richards revisits Diamond Schmitt Architects’ Metropolitan Central YMCA in downtown Toronto.

This new facility by NFOE et associés architectes supports oncology researchers in their mission to produce personalized cancer medicine. TEXT David Theodore

24 SECHELT HOSPITAL EXPANSION ANDREW LATREILLE

Collaborative engagement and a patient-centred perspective drove the design process for this new hospital on the Sunshine Coast in BC. TEXT Steve DiPasquale

COVER Branksome Hall Athletics & Wellness Centre in Toronto by MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects. Photograph by Shai Gil.

V.60 N.10 THE NATIONAL REVIEW OF DESIGN AND PRACTICE/THE JOURNAL OF RECORD OF THE RAIC

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VIEWPOINT

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EDITOR ELSA LAM, MRAIC ASSOCIATE EDITOR LESLIE JEN, MRAIC RYERSON UNIVERSITY

EDITORIAL ADVISOR IAN CHODIKOFF, OAA, FRAIC CONTRIBUTING EDITORS ANNMARIE ADAMS, MRAIC DOUGLAS MACLEOD, NCARB, MRAIC REGIONAL CORRESPONDENTS HALIFAX CHRISTINE MACY, OAA REGINA BERNARD FLAMAN, SAA MONTREAL DAVID THEODORE CALGARY GRAHAM LIVESEY, MRAIC WINNIPEG LISA LANDRUM, MAA, AIA, MRAIC VANCOUVER ADELE WEDER

A recent panel at Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science discussed the challenges facing female designers. From left to right, panellists included Sanaz Shirshekar MRAIC , Jennifer McArthur, Betsy Williamson MRAIC , Brigitte Shim FRAIC , Meg Graham FRAIC and Tania Bortolotto MRAIC. ABOVE

This summer, a young architect with a troubling story contacted me. Samantha Lin was applying for intermediate-level architecture jobs earlier in the year. From 30 applications, she landed three interviews and three rejections without an interview. With those three firms that rejected her, Samantha decided to embark on an experiment. She resubmitted her resume and portfolio with a different name—Sam Smith. It was still technically her name—the first name her friends call her, with her husband’s last name— if not the one she would typically use in a professional setting. “I know that name holds a different connotation in the header of a resumé,” says Samantha (her name has been changed to protect her privacy). Another reason for the experiment is that Samantha was in contact with a local architecture school, and noticed that some recent graduates were having trouble finding work. “The ones that remained unemployed for over six months after graduation were mostly visibleminority females,” she notes. By contrast, “many of the Caucasian males in the same class had jobs lined up before they graduated.” Shortly after reapplying, she heard back from all three firms, and scheduled two in-person interviews. She backed out of one of them, as she knew the interviewers and didn’t want to put them in an awkward position. For the other, she screwed up her courage and went. “The first statement from one of the interviewers was that they were expecting a boy, with a name like Sam,” she recalls. The interview carried on in a routine fashion, but left her hopping mad. “I can’t understand why I’d been passed over before with no interview. It’s the same portfolio as the one I’d submitted just weeks ago.” According to census data, women held about 29% of jobs in architecture in 2011, a 6% increase since 1991. But is this keeping pace? For over a decade, more than half of graduates in architectural Master’s programs have been

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ART DIRECTOR ROY GAIOT PUBLISHER TOM ARKELL 416-510-6806

women. At the current rate of change, we’ll be waiting until 2080 before we see a 50-50 split in the ranks of employed architects. We’re not alone in wrestling with gender equity. “The farther up you look in the world of architecture, the fewer women you see,” says Lian Chikako Chan, who recently analyzed the prominence of female architects in the United States. A crunch point is licensing: while 43% of architecture students are women, only 30% of those that applied for an NCARB record (a necessary step to completing the US registration program) are female. Twentyfive percent of working architects are women and only 17% of firm principals and partners are women. At the top of the pyramid, just one woman has won the AIA Gold Medal. By some measures, Canada is doing better. We have a higher percentage of women in architecture schools and employed as architects. The leadership positions in Canadian schools are split evenly between male and female. Three women have received the RAIC Gold Medal: Patricia Patkau as a joint recipient with John Patkau, Phyllis Lambert and Jane Jacobs. But Samantha’s story belies the underlying truth that gender equity (not to mention racial equity, a topic that would merit a separate discussion) is still an issue. For any number of reasons—maternity leave, perceived reluctance Member of to take on overtime, personal decisions to leave the profession—women simply aren’t being hired as often as men. As a profession, if we want to see change in this picture, we need to actively pursue it. We need to recruit employees in a more equitable manner. We need to nominate women for awards. We need to support females as they seek to grow and thrive as architects. There’s still a large gap, and it’ll take a concerted, collective effort to close it.

Inc.

Elsa Lam

ACCOUNT MANAGER FARIA AHMED 416-510-6808 CIRCULATION MANAGER DIANE RAKOFF 416-442-5600 EXT. 3636 CUSTOMER SERVICE SILVA TELIAN 416-442-5600 EXT. 3539 PRODUCTION STEVE HOFMANN 416-442-5600 EXT. 6757 PRESIDENT OF ANNEX-NEWCOM LP ALEX PAPANOU HEAD OFFICE 80 VALLEYBROOK DRIVE, TORONTO, ON M3B 2S9 TELEPHONE 416-510-6845 FACSIMILE 416-510-5140 E-MAIL elam@canadianarchitect.com WEBSITE www.canadianarchitect.com Canadian Architect is published monthly by Annex-Newcom LP. The editors have made every reasonable effort to provide accurate and authoritative information, but they assume no liability for the accuracy or completeness of the text, or its fitness for any particular purpose. Subscription Rates Canada: $54.95 plus applicable taxes for one year; $87.95 plus applicable taxes for two years (HST – #81538 0985 RT0001). Price per single copy: $6.95. Students (prepaid with student ID, includes taxes): $27.00 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. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Circulation Dept., Canadian Architect, 80 Valleybrook Drive, Toronto, ON Canada M3B 2S9. Postmaster: please forward forms 29B and 67B to 80 Valleybrook Drive, Toronto, ON Canada M3B 2S9. Printed in Canada. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced either in part or in full without the consent of the copyright owner. From time to time we make our subscription list available to select companies and organizations whose product or service may interest you. If you do not wish your contact information to be made available, please contact us via one of the following methods: Telephone 1-800-668-2374 Facsimile 416-442-2191 E-mail drakoff@annexnewcom.ca Mail Privacy Officer, 80 Valleybrook Drive, Toronto, ON Canada M3B 2S9 MEMBER OF THE CANADIAN BUSINESS PRESS MEMBER OF THE ALLIANCE FOR AUDITED MEDIA PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT #43005526 ISSN 1923-3353 (ONLINE) ISSN 0008-2872 (PRINT)

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PROJECTS

The Vancouver Art Gallery has unveiled Swiss-based international firm Herzog & de Meuron’s conceptual design for a new museum building in downtown Vancouver. The new 310,000-square-foot building features over 85,000 square feet of exhibition space—more than doubling its current size—with 40,000 square feet of galleries dedicated to the museum’s vast collection. It also features a new education centre that includes a 350-seat auditorium, workshops and a resource centre for research, library services and artist archives. The 230-foot-high building is comprised of seven publicly accessible floors, plus two below-grade levels for storage and parking, with additional space for future expansion. It combines low and high elements to create an intimate human scale that activates the street level, while embracing a bold verticality and solid sculptural form. The lower levels are mostly transparent, making many of the Gallery’s activities visible, while the upper levels, which primarily house exhibition spaces, are more solid and opaque. The architects’ intent is to use wood for the building, which is sustainable and evokes the architectural history of the region. The Gallery will raise an estimated $350 million from public and private sources, including a $50-million endowment to support the expanded cost of operation. In addition to private fundraising, it has received a $50-million gift from the Province of British Columbia and the generous donation of the Larwill Park site by the City of Vancouver. The firm, a winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, has designed a symmetrical upright building combining opaque and transparent surfaces, with larger volumes concentrated at the top and minimal mass at the bottom. By lifting the bulk of the structure high above the street, the design allows light and air to filter down to an active open-air courtyard below. The building includes a onestorey structure on the ground level that frames the courtyard and houses free exhibition space as well as a café, shop, and a resource centre for research, library services and artist archives. The expansive 40,000-square-foot open-air courtyard, which will be criss-crossed daily by museum-goers and neighbourhood pedestrians, will host art installations, performances, concerts, film screenings, and collaborative programs with other cultural organizations. In this way, the design will transform an underused site at West Georgia and Cambie Streets—the only block of vacant public land left in downtown Vancouver—into a vibrant new cultural destination. www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/future/

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© HERZOG & DE MEURON

Herzog & de Meuron’s design for new Vancouver Art Gallery unveiled.

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NEWS

ABOVE A view of the proposed Vancouver Art Gallery designed by Herzog & de Meuron. The architects aim to transform an underused site into a vibrant new cultural destination, achieved through a highly dynamic form, an expansive open-air courtyard, and an activated street level.

AWARDS Professional Prix de Rome awarded to PUBLIC Architecture + Communication.

The Canada Council’s Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture has been awarded to Vancouver-based firm PUBLIC Architecture + Communication. The $50,000 prize recognizes outstanding achievement in Canadian architecture, and is awarded annually to a young architect or architectural firm to develop their skills and creative practice as well as to work with specialists worldwide. The award will support the firm’s research mission to improve Vancouver’s public realm. Key to PUBLIC ’s win was identifying how Vancouver, as a geographically constrained and rapidly urbanizing city, could still achieve compelling public spaces. PUBLIC ’s winning submission pinpoints what is lacking in Vancouver’s current public realm and proposes a course of research to inform the types of gathering spaces that will best serve Vancouver in the future. With these issues in mind, PUBLIC ’s team will travel across the globe, immersing themselves in the urban fabric of Rotterdam and Tokyo, with secondary stops in Singapore and Oslo. PUBLIC ’s choice of Rotterdam and Tokyo is twofold. First, they are contemporary metropolises with contemporary urban issues— both are port cities that were substantially rebuilt after World War II, which makes them very relevant to a young Vancouver. In addition to being world hubs of innovation and design, the cities also gave rise to the design philosophies of the Structuralists in the Netherlands, and the Metabolists in Japan. Bold and creative thinkers, the PUBLIC team draws inspiration from the way both groups viewed city design as a positive force for cultural change.

Winners of 2015 Toronto Urban Design Awards announced.

From an impressive 90 submissions, jurors selected 13 projects for Awards of Excellence and seven projects for Awards of Merit in the 2015 Toronto Urban Design Awards. The awards pay tribute to architecture, urban design and landscape for the way they work in context—speaking to the built fabric of the city, establishing a sense of place, and creating a rich public realm. In the Elements category, Paul Raff Studio won an Award of Excellence for Mirage (Underpass Park). In the Private Buildings in Context—Low-Scale category, two Awards of Excellence recognized 60 Atlantic by Quadrangle Architects with Phil Goldsmith Architects, and Market Street Development by Taylor Smyth Architects with Goldsmith Borgal & Company. In the Private Buildings in Context—Mid-Rise category, two projects by Core Architects Inc. won Awards of Excellence—Fashion House and Five Hundred Wellington, while B. Streets Condos by Hariri Pontarini Architects claimed an Award of Merit. In the Private Buildings in Context— Tall category, an Award of Excellence recognized the Delta Hotel Toronto by Page+Steele/ IBI Group Architects, and River City 1 by Saucier + Perrotte Architectes with ZAS Architects. In the Public Buildings in Context category, three Awards of Excellence were given to: Centennial College Ashtonbee Campus Renewal by MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects, Fort York Visitor Centre by Kearns Mancini Architects with Patkau Architects, and the Goldring Centre for High-Performance Sport at the University of Toronto by Patkau Architects + MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects. An Award of Merit distinguished the Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy

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NEWS by Kohn Shnier Architects. In the Small Open Spaces category, Barbara Hall Park by thinc design took an Award of Excellence while an Award of Merit was given to the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences by Claude Cormier + Associés with NAK Design Group, and to the Shoreline Commemorative by Paul Raff Studio. In the Visions and Master Plans category, an Award of Excellence recognized Winter Stations 2015 by DM Studio (Daniel Madeiros), WMB Studio (Ed Butler, Daniel Wiltshire, Frances McGeown), Michaela McLeod, Nicholas Croft, Tim Olson, Lily Jeon and Diana Koncan. In the same category, two Awards of Merit were issued to: Eglinton Connects by the City of Toronto, Brook Mcllroy, planningAlliance, HDR Inc., Public Work, Antoine Grumbach & Associates, Swerhun Facilitation and Decision Making, ERA Architects, Public Workshop and N. Barry Lyons Consultants; and to Lower Don Trail Access, Environment and Art Master Plan by DTAH, AECOM, Public Space Workshop, Andrew Davies Design, SPH Planning & Consulting and Lura Consulting. And lastly, in the Student Projects category, Snowcone by Lily Jeon and Diana Koncan took the Award of Excellence while an Award of Merit was given to Pedestrianizing Blocks of Slab Towers by Dustin Sauder. The jury was com-

prised of Alex Bozikovic, architecture critic, The Globe and Mail; George Dark, partner, Urban Strategies; Stephen Teeple, founder and principal, Teeple Architects; and Sibylle von Knobloch, principal, NAK Design Group. www.toronto.ca/tuda

NWTAA launches inaugural Architectural Awards program.

The Northwest Territories Association of Architects invites all owners, architects and other professionals and stakeholders to submit their building projects as part of its inaugural Architectural Awards. Three categories cover past and present projects in Canada’s three territories undertaken by current and former members of the NWTAA: Architecture, Interior Architecture and Public Spaces. Each entrant may submit up to five projects. Submissions must be received at the NWTAA office by 4:00pm on October 15, 2015. The jury is comprised of: Graham Livesey, Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary and regional correspondent for Canadian Architect; Terri Fuglem, Acting Head, School of Architecture, University of Manitoba; and Patrick Harrop, School of Architecture, University of Manitoba, participating juror in over 20 competitions.

First, second and third placements, as well as honourable mentions, will be selected within each of the three categories. All eligible submissions will be published in a book encapsulating the best of the built environment within Canada’s three territories. Winning entries and honourable mentions will be published in all three territories via newspaper and in Up Here magazine. A public exhibition of the submitted projects is scheduled for November 2015. http://nwtaa.ca/public/award/

Call for applications for 8th annual Phyllis Lambert Grant.

The Ville de Montréal invites young professionals trained in a design discipline to submit applications for the 8th annual Phyllis Lambert Grant by October 29, 2015 at 4:30pm. This distinction, awarded annually, aims to recognize and enhance the profile of emerging professionals. Created in honour of Phyllis Lambert, Founding Director Emeritus of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the $10,000 grant is awarded to a designer or architect (or a collective of such) with fewer than 10 years’ practice. The winning team will have demonstrated an exceptional quality of work as well as a marked interest in urban life in the city of Montreal. The award will enable

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the recipient to conduct a professional development project involving a design theme focusing on urban issues, such as a study trip, work internship, participation in a design competition, workshop or symposium in one of the cities of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. The jury is comprised of: Manon Asselin, architect and cofounder of Atelier TAG; Francis Brisebois, industrial designer and corporate advisor, Société de transport de Montréal; Annie Lebel, architect, Atelier In Situ; Benoît Gérard, designer and partner, Blazysgerard; and Andrew Goodhouse, writer, Canadian Centre for Architecture.

has also worked with the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (Engineers Canada), the Canadian Automobile Association and the Canadian Red Cross Society. Fully bilingual, Ciufo holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Ottawa and a Bachelor of Arts, Honours (English Literature) from Carleton University. She assumes her new role in December 2015.

concerns of our time: the social, environmental, aesthetic, technological and economic issues that shape the world we live in. Installations will be created in Millennium Park and other Chicago neighbourhoods to encourage all to explore the city as the canvas for a survey of architecture of the past, present and future.

Chicago Architecture Biennial launches this month.

The International Garden Festival, presented at the Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens in the Gaspésie region of Quebec, has issued an international call for proposals to select designers who will create the new temporary gardens that will be presented from June 23, 2016. The installations selected by the jury will have a special energy and connection to the natural world. The temporary gardens will have a degree of interactivity that encourages visitors to enter with enthusiasm. The goal is to intrigue visitors with the unusual and to impress by new ways of presenting what is common. This call for proposals is open to all landscape architects, architects and multidisciplinary teams from Canada and abroad. The deadline for submissions is November 16, 2015.

www.raic.org

www.designmontreal.com

WHAT’S NEW Jody Ciufo announced as new Executive Director of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

Jody Ciufo has been named as the new Executive Director of the RAIC, bringing extensive experience in the management of national nonprofit associations. Based in Ottawa, Ciufo is currently the Executive Director of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA), the national voice for affordable housing issues. During her 30-year-career, she

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The City of Chicago and the Graham Foundation have partnered to present the first-ever Chicago Architecture Biennial as the largest international survey of contemporary architecture in North America. The event includes robust public programming and exhibitions featuring the world’s leading architectural talent. Taking place from October 1, 2015 through January 3, 2016, thousands of architecture professionals, students and cultural enthusiasts are expected to attend and experience the largescale exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center and spaces around the city. These installations will feature the work of both established and emerging architects and address the major

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NEWS

www.grahamfoundation.org/newsletter/?blog_id=1530

17th International Garden Festival issues call for proposals.

www.projects.internationalgardenfestival.ca

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A WELL-ROUNDED EDUCATION BRANKSOME HALL’S ATHLETICS AND WELLNESS CENTRE NAVIGATES A TIGHT HERITAGE-AREA SITE TO DELIVER A GENEROUS ARRAY OF PROGRAM SPACES FOR ITS STUDENTS. Branksome Hall Athletics & Wellness Centre, Toronto, Ontario MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects (MJMA) TEXT Rei Tasaka PHOTOS Shai Gil PROJECT

ARCHITECT

Branksome Hall, an independent all-girls school founded in 1903, is located in the heart of South Rosedale’s Heritage Conservation District in downtown Toronto. Since its main building at 10 Elm Avenue was purchased over a century ago, the school has been forward-thinking in acquiring properties in the area. It now has accumulated 13 acres of land and a rich inventory of historic buildings. Over the past few decades, Branksome has delivered state-of-the-art facilities that adaptively reuse— and cleverly weave between—its collection of century-old traditional homes. The newest of these additions is the Athletics and Wellness Centre (AWC), completed by MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects (MJMA). The designers are known for their fast-growing portfolio

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of campus and community athletics buildings that are sound in architectural and aesthetic excellence. The AWC is no exception. As David Miller MRAIC, partner-in-charge at MJMA explains, quality athletic facilities are key attractors for student enrollment. Branksome’s principal, Karen Jurjevich, more fundamentally sees the AWC building as an “invitation to wellness,” promoting fitness and nutrition but also encompassing mental health. Well-being, in her view, is a critical element in Branksome’s education. To this end, the new facility boasts a saltwater training pool, shallow pool, gymnasium, fitness centre, dryland rowing room, dance and yoga studios, as well as a rooftop terrace, offices, meeting rooms, kitchen and dining hall.

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OPPOSITE Adjacent to a spacious atrium in Branksome Hall’s new Athletics and Wellness Centre, an intimate lounge offers views to the pool. ABOVE Clerestory glazing for the pool is fritted with a gradated pattern— denser at the bottom to block views and sparser at the top to allow for increased daylighting. Wooden screens conceal acoustic material, contributing to a serene spa-like atmosphere. BELOW Glimpses of activity within the Centre can be seen from busy Mount Pleasant Road.

BRANKSOME HALL CAMPUS ATHLETICS AND WELLNESS CENTRE

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Polished limestone lines a main staircase, while white oak handrails add to the space’s warmth; the fitness centre looks out to the campus and city beyond. OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Tall enough for competitive volleyball tournaments, the gymnasium includes ample glazing and skylights; the dining hall looks out to a ravine-side courtyard; a rooftop garden accommodates both casual daytime socializing and formal evening events.

ABOVE, LEFT TO RIGHT

The plan is efficiently organized in two parts: a two-storey linear volume along Mount Pleasant Road, and a single-storey wedge that frames a series of courtyard spaces around adjacent heritage buildings. From the exterior, the AWC is a clean-lined, low-lying charcoal grey box that looks unassuming and muted. That appearance is purposeful, subtly celebrating the two traditional materials—masonry and glass—that tie together a century of buildings on the evolving campus. Despite its extensive frontage along Mount Pleasant Road, the building expresses a sense of modern construction while remaining discreet. Branksome has personal significance, as I attended the school starting from Grade 5. Many of the classes took place in the various historic buildings across the campus. The hallways were beautifully detailed in dark wood, the classrooms filled with natural light, and the windows offered views toward expansive lawns, courtyards and trees. As a student, I was aware of the constant renovations to the older houses and lengthy construction periods at the new Junior School, which at times resulted in makeshift classrooms. Returning after almost two decades, one better appreciates the significant challenges inherent to campus planning within awkwardly shaped tight sites, adjacent to a ravine conservation area, and nestled in a tony residential neighbourhood. In addition to meeting conservation authority guidelines and heritage setbacks, site regulations for the AWC plot stipulated a 12-metre height limit. The second f loor also needed to align with an existing pedestrian bridge, crossing Mount Pleasant Road from the main campus. Integrating the two major volumes of pool and competitionheight gymnasium within these parameters was a challenge. The clev-

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er solution was to stack them—the heavy tank at the bottom and the gymnasium on top—which required only a minor variance from the site’s zoning. The two volumes, project architect Olga Pushkar explains, are “either elevated or down below, but never in street traffic.” This positioning ensures the privacy of the swimming pool, whose fritted clerestory glass faces busy Mount Pleasant Road, bringing light down into the space but obscuring views of the swimming girls. In contrast, the elevated gymnasium, fitness area, and dance and yoga studios are treated with expansive sections of glass curtain wall, putting the centre’s vibrant activity on display. The glass also affords students views of the traffic and adjacent historic buildings, strengthening their connection to the city and the campus. MJMA’s approach to the public realm around the building is logical and respectful. The landscaping highlights the existing ravine system through bioswale systems that clean the site’s run-off water. These swales wind alongside a walkway edged with pavers engraved with alumnae names, leading to the lower sports fields. The landscape is best appreciated from the AWC ’s rooftop garden, lush with flowering ground covers. A new courtyard tucked behind the AWC—an asphalt parking lot back when I was a student—feels intimate, the dark exterior masonry wall providing a sense of enclosure, with rooftop mechanical units carefully screened from view. In addition to athletic facilities, the AWC is also a place where students convene for lunch, and can grab snacks between classes. The kitchen and servery has a culinary show-kitchen feel: bright, open and

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equipped with stainless steel appliances. Warmth is given through thoughtful accents, such as a wood-burning pizza oven and wooden shelves displaying seasonal fruits and vegetables. A view opens towards the adjoining dining hall—its walls and ceilings beautifully clad almost entirely in white oak—and to the ravine beyond. “Food is a social endeavour,” says Branksome principal Karen Jurjevich, “and that is why students gravitate here.” I remember the cafeteria at McNeil House, the building that previously stood on the AWC ’s site: it was bright, with rows of large wooden tables and benches where we dined in groups. This sense of community is carried forward in the new dining hall, where a fireplace lounge acts as a hearth at the south end of the room. In Jurjevich’s view, the building as a whole creates an environment that can “promote calmness, the opportunity to feel the outside while you’re inside, through natural light.” Throughout the facility, the use of glass lends a sense of openness and constant connection to the community within. All the main activity spaces at the AWC are visible from a series of transparent walkways. These function in turn as the building’s circulation corridors, a viewing area for the pool and gymnasium, and as spill-out spaces for informal gatherings. Among these, the most lively is the community concourse, says MJMA principal David Miller, where an overpass crossing Mount Pleasant Road enters the upper level of a skylit foyer. On axis with the overpass entry, the main staircase—a durable, yet elegant combination of oak, steel and glass—traverses to a lounge area overlooking the pools. The concourse joins into the main corridor, while offering views to the heritage buildings and the courtyard spaces outside. Dark grey masonry along the foyer wall also brings the outside in, by wrapping the exterior finishes into the main space. There is much care taken in detailing and choice of materials to achieve an extraordinary quality of lightness, and also to maintain views without clutter—allowing users to see only the activities behind the glass. Materials and finishes consist mainly of a neutral palette of white porcelain tiles, limestone, white oak, concrete and glass. Jurjevich says that white was chosen consciously, as not only energizing, but having “a feminine quality…you feel that this is a women’s institution.” “Everything the student touches is warm,” adds project architect Pushkar, pointing to the use of white oak for seating alongside the gymnasium and the pool, the wooden f loors of the serene dance and yoga studios, and on stair handrails and steps. Soft light-grey limestone walls also lend a sense of coziness as students walk up and down the stairs. LEVE L 00 | A Q UATICS Much of my time as a 7Branksome student was spent engaged in team 1 Pool Viewing Junior Girls’ Change 2 Rowing C entre 8 Seniorwith Girls’ Change sports and athletics. Together the other girls, we nurtured team spir3 Teaching Pool 9 Pool Filtration it,4 developed friendships built self-confidence—through a good Mechanical Room 25M Lap Pool 10 and 5 Gua rd’s Room 11 Electrical Room morning’s practice in the rowing room, cheering loudly for the home 6 Aqu atic Staff Change Rooms team during swim meets, setting up badminton nets in the gym, and speaking to friends in the change rooms, hallway, study areas and cafeteria. This handsome new facility will surely continue to nurture the campus, with its LEVE ever-evolving spirit. It is a beautifully rendered L 01 | GROUND F container that celebrates the athletic activities it holds, into which 1 Ent rance oncourse powerful personal energy. C ommunity Branksome’s students2 will addC their Rei Tasaka is an

3 Atrium & Reception 4 Meeting Room 5 Viewing Gallery architect 6and urbanBridge designer (Above) Pedestrian

based in Toronto.

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CLIENT BRANKSOME HALL | ARCHITECT TEAM DAVID MILLER, VIKTORS JAUNKALNS, ROBERT ALLEN,

ANDREW FILARSKI, TED WATSON, OLGA PUSHKAR, JEREMY CAMPBELL, SIRI URSIN, JASON WAH, TARISHA DOLYNIUK, TIMOTHY BELANGER, KAI HOTSON, LUIS ARREDONDO, AIDA VATANY, JEDIDIAH GORDON-MORAN, ANDREW NG, TAMIRA SAWATZKY, RAZMIG TITIZIAN | STRUCTURAL BLACKWELL ENGINEERING | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL SMITH + ANDERSEN | CIVIL MGM CONSULTING | LANDSCAPE PMA LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS | INTERIORS MACLENNAN JAUNKALNS MILLER ARCHITECTS | CONSTRUCTION MANAGER GILLAM GROUP | PLANNING &CO | HERITAGE ERA ARCHITECTS | KITCHEN CINILITTLE INTERNATIONAL INC. | AREA 72,000 FT2 | BUDGET WITHHELD | COMPLETION JANUARY 2015

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SLICK SCIENCE A PRECISE USE OF COLOUR, TRANSPARENCY AND BORROWED VIEWS GIVES A SLEEK LOOK TO A MONTREAL CENTRE FOR PERSONALIZED CANCER MEDICINE. Dubrovsky Molecular Pathology Centre, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec ARCHITECT NFOE et associés architects TEXT David Theodore PHOTOS Stéphane Brügger PROJECT

Why do we spurn laboratories? Seen as relentlessly technical and constrained projects, laboratory commissions do not have the glamour of museums, libraries or single-family homes. The same disdain goes for hospitals, surprisingly few of which are in architecture history books despite how many there are in our cities. Put together, the hospital laboratory has a dual disadvantage. So why would an architect want to design one? Maxime Pion, design architect at NFOE architectes et associés in Montreal, has a commonsense answer. “We had a good budget,” says Pion, “and our client, Dr. Alan Spatz, was very open to new ideas.” He’s

ABOVE, TOP TO BOTTOM A cherry red alcove adds a bright accent to a hallway in the research centre; oversized glass doors pivot open to the centre’s main conference room.

talking about the Dubrovsky Molecular Pathology Centre, affiliated with the Segal Cancer Unit at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital. The privately funded, 12,000-square-foot facility opened early last year. It provides workspace for 30 doctors-in-training and 30 technicians in a playful and lively design akin to offices for a tech startup: crisp white cabinetry, writable walls and bright colours. The Centre’s mission is to produce personalized cancer medicine. Doctors send a tissue sample from a cancer patient to the Centre, where researchers then analyze its genetic components: DNA, RNA and proteins. In five to six days, the team can create a profile of the tumour’s

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genetic mutations at the molecular level, which doctors use to prescribe custom-designed drugs. This personalized treatment, the hospital says, ensures that patients can be spared unhelpful drugs and therapies. The challenges for NFOE were complex. The building itself gave the architects little to work with. The Centre is on the sixth f loor of an existing building, and one-third of the floor area had to be kept free for future facilities. As well, the f loors above and below had to remain in operation throughout construction. There is ample floorto-floor height—almost 4.5 metres—but half of it is needed for a bewildering array of HVAC ducts and equipment. Pion says that the planning came from a thorough consultation process. NFOE aimed to lay out rooms and machines in a way that would optimize the time required to analyze samples. The tissue samples move through the laboratory stations from tissue preparation to analysis in a sequence that involves as little doubling back as possible. The arrival from the elevators is rather ordinary. But once the Centre’s users turn left towards the security doors, they are met with a precise and bright environment. The design becomes quite sleek at moments where door and window frames are reduced or eliminated. A pair of full-height pivoting glass doors, for instance, transforms a simple conference room entry point into an event. Both imposing and festive, they allow equally for privacy or parties. Colour gives two kinds of visual cues to users. First, it identifies different activity zones. An apple green covers the entire kitchen and entrance area. The waiting area sports a large mural with similar bright green tones, while two neighbouring conference rooms share a curved wall with blue murals. Second, when surfaces are opened or cut, they reveal saturated colours. For instance, a corridor bench set deep into an interior wall is painted cadmium red, while cabinets open to reveal cobalt blue interiors. “We had fun with the composition,” says project architect Dominic Daoust. One particular colour choice seems to be working well. Inside the workrooms, the architects used cobalt

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blue vinyl safety flooring. “Colour on the floor is very efficient,” says Daoust. “It makes the room less cold without adding distraction.” The design also emphasizes borrowed light and shared views. Where possible, labs have windows to the exterior. Offices facing the street include glass interior walls, allowing natural light to filter in to a connecting corridor. “We tried to give everyone a hint of the weather outside,” adds Daoust. This idea is carried out in a number of design elements; one is an enfilade of glass set into the interior partitions of the administrative offices. Another consists in creating borrowed views from one laboratory into another, sometimes across corridors. These design elements are not readily visible in the plan or in photos, but they affect the quality of the users’ everyday life. Whether in a lab or in an office, all workers have vistas beyond their own workspace. Note that patients do not visit this part of the hospital; only their tissue samples do. Contrary to popular opinion, the challenge of hospital design is not strictly about patient care, but rather—and often primarily—about providing appropriate settings for hospital workers to do their jobs. A patient may only be in the hospital for a few days; an oncologist might spend her entire career there. For the architects of the Dubrovsky Molecular Pathology Centre, the space’s most important role is not treating patients, but rather supporting the health-care professionals who do. And those professionals are discerning well-educated clients, with an eye for detail and every bit as much design-savvy as high-tech entrepreneurs. Laboratory design might just be more glamorous than we think.

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A laboratory workspace set in the middle of the floorplate is brightened with cobalt blue underfoot and generous glazing; a colourful mural lines the curved wall of a meeting room; fritted glass office fronts allow for daylight penetration to the corridor. ABOVE A green mural inspired by cellular forms envelops a waiting room, which doubles as an employee break area. OPPOSITE, TOP TO BOTTOM

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CLIENT JEWISH GENERAL HOSPITAL | ARCHITECT TEAM ALAN E. ORTON, DOMINIC DAOUST, MAXIME PION, JONATHAN BURKE | STRUCTURAL SDK ET ASSOCIÉS | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL CIMA+ | INTERIORS NFOE ET ASSOCIÉS ARCHITECTES | CONTRACTOR CONSTRUCTION BRALTEK INC. | AREA 1,100 M 2 | BUDGET $3.5 M | COMPLETION JANUARY 2014

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HEALTH AND HEALING A BRITISH COLUMBIA HOSPITAL EXPANSION EMBRACES PROGRESSIVE IDEAS—INCLUDING THE NOTION THAT BEAUTIFUL PLACES MAKE FOR BETTER HEALTH. Sechelt Hospital Expansion, Sechelt, British Columbia Farrow Partners in association with Perkins+Will TEXT Steve DiPasquale PHOTOS Andrew Latreille PROJECT

ARCHITECTS

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With any luck, the architecture of our public institutions will come to ref lect—and help shape—the most progressive social and cultural initiatives of our day. The recent addition to British Columbia’s Sechelt/ Shíshálh Hospital (renamed from St. Mary’s) evinces these hopes. It tests its ambitions across a wide spectrum of concerns: espousing meaningful involvement from area First Nations, pursuing the first Lean design process on a new build by Vancouver Coastal Health, providing only singlepatient rooms, reaching for net-zero energy targets, and producing a level of delight uncommon in North American health-care facilities. Home to some 10,000 residents, the District Municipality of Sechelt is located about 50 kilometres northwest of Vancouver. Sechelt is the largest community on the Sunshine Coast, an area that’s part of British Columbia’s mainland but only accessible from Vancouver by ferry or plane. Around 1,200 locals identify as members of the Sechelt Indian Band or Shíshálh. Owing in part to their donation of 11.2 acres of land in 1962 for the purpose of building a local hospital, these First Nations interests are inextricably bound to the site. Before conferring the land, however, the

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ABOVE Modelled after a First Nations bentwood box, the Sechelt Hospital engaged its local community through an extensive consultative process in the design phase. The extension includes emergency facilities on the ground floor, topped by two wings of single-patient rooms.

Band first fought and won a court battle to secure legal title to the site, a parcel that was once the learning farm for the local residential school. Narratives from the period are all too familiar: degradation, abuse and malnourishment—particularly egregious in this case since food produced by the students was either sold or consumed by staff. Vancouver Coastal Health and the design team thus aimed to make sure that area First Nations were recognized as important stakeholders in the project, organizing a series of consultations with Shíshálh representatives, and commissioning interior and exterior artworks of substantial scale from native communities. Architects Farrow Partnership in association with Perkins+Will devised a T-shaped parti for the 5,400-square-metre addition. The volume to the east—a double-height glazed entrance and lobby—is distinguished by its transparency, while two adjoining bars form an L-shaped volume that incorporates inpatient rooms above and the diagnostics and emergency departments below. With all wings terminating at a single nexus, the designers were able to successfully separate out publicly accessible areas, helping to preserve the dignity of gown-wearing

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patients who invariably find themselves ambling along the corridors at some point during their stay. And where the deep floor plates in conventional hospital designs often result in a sharp falloff of natural light and a disorienting layout, the elegant planning and narrow volumes of this project make wayfinding refreshingly easy. Part of the scheme’s surety is the consequence of a unique, highly participatory design process. The hospital marks the first new build for which Vancouver Coastal Health implemented Lean planning procedures, an efficiency paradigm originally developed by Toyota and since adapted to domains including health care. By organizing rigorous design exercises that included architects and end users, the Lean team—in this case, comprising experienced nursing professionals and a civil engineer— aimed to optimize logistics, clarify staff roles, and ultimately craft a project that would support improved systems of care. To address the problem of conveying to future users the real-world implications of potential layouts, for instance, hospital personnel were invited to an airplane hangar for “live” trials. There, full-scale mockups of entire floor plans allowed

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staff to test work environments for sight lines, operational flows and task ergonomics. A formidable undertaking to be sure, but superlative in establishing the confidence to make critical design decisions. Collaborative engagement, however, does not mean easy consensus. The designers found themselves lobbying for contentious positions—most significantly, a commitment to the merits of private inpatient rooms, which are comparatively expensive to construct. The architects argued that single-occupancy rooms reduced the number of disruptions during sleeping hours, reduced the likelihood of patients receiving medications in error, and reduced spread of infection. In the end, the design team was successful in their bid for single-patient rooms—all of which are unusually bright, well-sized, and feature operable windows. Apart from the quantifiable benefits, the inclusion of private facilities has also helped catalyze more systemic advantages. If single-patient rooms discourage the spread of contagion, they also discourage the spread of an agitated mood: one staff member contends that nurses working the night shift see a much calmer environment overall, and thus administer fewer sedatives to help settle patients. Another staff member goes further still, suggesting that the new addition has sparked a wholesale improvement in worker morale where “everyone is more accommodating with one another.” In touring the facility and talking with its architects, it’s apparent that they’ve brought a level of sensitivity—and courage—achievable only with a strong sense of purpose. One of the project leads, Tye Farrow FRAIC, has thought a good deal about subtly reframing the aspirations of hospital design, pledging that the litmus test of any viable strategy is its capacity to “cause health.” If this seems a strange formulation, it’s because it is. This neologism and its cognate “salutogenic”—literally health-causing—work, in part, by provoking some rumination. The odd reversal asks that we replace the negative question embedded in codified systems of harm avoidance—“But how might this affect our health?”— with a much more ambitious, positive challenge—“Are we doing everything we can to effect health?” This is the more restless and possibly productive question, and could be rightly folded into popular practice as yet another layer of concern. The lofty entry volume certainly bears the impress of this directive, offering an attractive alternative to the default appeal of the standard elevator lobby. Warm-toned wood plays through a sprawling sculpture, the curtain-wall backup system, and the straight-run stair. This binds the lobby space together and draws people in. One can watch as visitors of all ages enter the building, then gravitate toward the stair and climb its steps, likely never realizing they might have taken the lift. Continuing on through its myriad departments, the most striking aspect of the project is that, at every turn, spaces are bathed in daylight. This is certainly the case in anticipated areas like public corridors, patient rooms, and the family gathering room—but sunlight also beams into less likely spaces. Where the designers actively reshape health care’s reigning gestalt is in their brave insistence on making places out of what are often a hospital’s most utilitarian zones. The elevator area becomes an inviting, even contemplative refuge by way of a well-placed skylight and a radius-edge wood bench. Two more skylights in the emergency room (one immediately outside the psych room) proffer an atmosphere more conducive to coping. A ribbon of tall clerestory windows illuminates the usually dim recesses of imaging, CT scans and ER alike. The architects battled for these features, fighting not only a tangle of mechanical runs, but more impressively, facing off with entrenched cultures of work disposed to prefer conventional environments. (Project

PATIENT ROOM DIAGRAM WORKSTATION: THIS ALCOVE GIVES NURSES PROXIMITY TO PATIENTS THROUGH SMALLER WORKSTATIONS WITH LAPTOP, SINK AND FILE STORAGE.

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NURSE SERVER: WITH INSIDE AND HALLWAY ACCESS, THIS STORAGE AREA ALLOWS NURSES TO STOCK SUPPLIES FROM OUTSIDE THE PATIENT’S ROOM, THEREFORE MINIMIZING PATIENT DISTURBANCES. WASHROOM: WASHROOM ENTRANCES ARE PLACED FOR THE MOST DIRECT ACCESS FROM THE BED, REDUCING THE POTENTIAL FOR INJURIES. CARE ZONE: THE CARE ZONE ALLOWS DOCTORS AND NURSES SPACE AND ACCESS TO THE PATIENT THAT IS SEPARATE FROM VISITORS. FAMILY ZONE: THIS ZONE GIVES FAMILY AND FRIENDS A COMFORTABLE AREA TO VISIT WITH PATIENTS OR REST BETWEEN VISITS. VIEWS: THE SIZE AND PLACEMENT OF WINDOWS ARE DESIGNED TO BE AS ENERGY-EFFICIENT AS POSSIBLE WHILE ALSO MAXIMIZING VIEWS.

Patient rooms are efficiently planned to include zones for family and staff members, as well as having operable windows; corridors are flooded with natural light; diagnostic and treatment rooms throughout the facility include clerestory windows. RIGHT A wood mural in the main lobby references traditional motifs from the local First Nations band.

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28 designers also pushed for a planted atrium in the ER , but were unable to win acceptance.) As one of the team’s architects, Kirsten Meissner, puts it, “We’re pushing to design hospitals that don’t look like hospitals.” Which is to say they’re aiming to realize a new institution shaped by a fuller empathy for patients, staff, visitors and community stakeholders. Impressively, given the breadth of their aspirations, they have largely succeeded. Perhaps in only one instance, the design falls short. In landing on an exterior design language to countenance their hopes, the architects might have resisted abstracting the wood tones of their inspirational form driver—the bent cedar box of the Coast Salish peoples. This design decision does set off an intended dialogue between the earth tones of the cladding and the feathery grasses of the adjacent landscaping. However, somewhat to its detriment, the cladding also competes with the wood elements of the lobby space. Leaving the warmth of the entry volume to itself might have allowed it to speak even more clearly of the propitious changes taking place in contemporary health care, exemplified here in Sechelt. Steve DiPasquale is an intern architect at HCMA Architecture + Design in Vancouver. He is currently working on an essay for the next Twenty + Change publication.

CLIENT VANCOUVER COASTAL HEALTH | ARCHITECT TEAM FARROW PARTNERS—TYE FARROW, VER-

ABOVE Totem poles crafted by local artisans greet patients and visitors at the entrance to the new hospital addition.

ONICA RODRIGUEZ, CAROL PURDU, MARTA BELCOURT, JOHN KARPOV, STEPHEN BLACK. PERKINS+WILL—SARA BERGEN, PETER BUSBY, BOB GREIG, ELKE LATREILLE, ROD MAAS, SANAZ MANI, TAVIS MCAULEY, KIRSTEN MEISSNER, BENJAMIN MERKLE, GEORGE MIU, KIRSTEN REITE, KATHY WARDLE, LIAM WOOFTER, PATRICK YUE. | INTERIORS FARROW PARTNERS | STRUCTURAL FAST + EPP | MECHANICAL INTEGRAL GROUP | ELECTRICAL ACUMEN CONSULTING ENGINEERS | CIVIL STANTEC | LANDSCAPE SHARP & DIAMOND | GEOTECHNICAL GEOTACTICS MEDIA ENGINEERING | ENVELOPE RDH ENGINEERING | CODE CFT ENGINEERING | SUSTAINABILITY PERKINS+WILL | QUANTITY SURVEYOR ALTUS GROUP | COMMISSIONING CES GROUP | CONTRACTOR GRAHAM CONSTRUCTION | AREA 5,400 M 2 (EXPANSION), 1,500 M 2 (RENOVATION), 7,300 M 2 (EXISTING) | BUDGET $27 M | COMPLETION OCTOBER 2013

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CANADIAN ARCHITECT 10/15

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HEALTHIER HIGH-RISES TEXT

Brett Throop

GREEN SPACES AND DAYLIGHT ARE GIVING A BOOST TO LIVING AND WORKING IN TALL BUILDINGS. On a hot day last May, I was searching for the sprawling Sempione Park in Milan, when I got sidetracked in that ancient city’s modern business district. Among the glittering new towers stood a pair of high-rise apartment buildings that would have blended in well enough in the park: some 800 trees and 14,000 plants were present on every ledge and balcony. Called Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest), the project designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti offers a novel way to imagine green space in the world’s increasingly vertical cities. Nearby Sempione Park, laid out in the English garden style in 1888, came to be as a part of that era’s response to urban malaise. In the late 19th century, the pressures of industrialization and urbanization drove cities worldwide—from Milan to Vancouver—to set aside patches of prime real estate as green spaces for the benefit of public health. Bosco Verticale blurs that old boundary between city and park and brings a bit of green up to the great heights at which many of us now live and work. On top of being beautiful and good for the environment, making cities more park-like also offers psychological benefits. In the 1980s, biologist Edward O. Wilson popularized the idea that humans are innately attracted to nature. Building on his work, a growing pile of evidence links doses of nature—through such elements as green walls, views

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CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE LEFT Stefano Boeri’s Bosco Verticale creates a highrise forest in Milan; Moshe Safdie’s Marina Bay Sands in Singapore includes a sky-high rooftop garden and pool; the green roof atop the TD Centre’s banking pavilion in Toronto.

of natural settings, exposure to daylight and even artwork that mimics natural patterns—with everything from stress reduction and enhanced cognitive function to lifted moods. As green building moves into the mainstream, a new design challenge is emerging: how to bring natural features and amenities up to the world of the high-rise. I recently stopped by the Mies van der Rohe-designed Toronto Dominion Bank Tower (1967) in Canada’s largest city to see how it is transforming into a healthier place to work, in a retrofit led by HOK. “Sustainability’s all of a sudden evolving to human health and productivity,” says TD Centre general manager David Hoffman, sunlight streaming in through the floor-to-ceiling windows of a south-facing boardroom on the 23rd floor. That sunshine, perhaps the most basic natural amenity a building can offer, is a precious commodity in the world of wellness-centric design. It’s helping TD Bank in its bid for certification under the WELL Building Standard, the equivalent to LEED for well-being. Optimal lighting is one of the criteria for achieving WELL, which is administered by Green Building Certification Inc., the same body in charge of LEED. WELL cites research showing a range of benefits from sunlight exposure (and optimal artificial lighting), including improved sleep and higher productivity. Essential as it is, high-rise cities have a tough time evenly distributing sunshine to their inhabitants. US office workers tend to sit 14-16 metres

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from a window, writes Juriaan van Meel in The European Office: Office Design and National Context. Deep floor plans often result in office workers placed at desks under fluorescent lighting, while forests of towers cast each other in shadow, limiting the light that makes it inside buildings and down to sidewalks. In China’s hyper-dense cities, lack of sunlight is enough of an issue that rules dictate the minimum amount of daylight buildings must receive. Meanwhile, extensive labour regulations in northern Europe have led to office buildings that are naturally ventilated and slim, in order to give every office a window and access to fresh air. German workers have the luxury of usually sitting within a car’s length of a window. Back in Toronto, Hoffman says that TD Bank’s current fit-out does away with closed offices on the perimeter so light can reach those at workstations deeper inside the building, in keeping with WELL’s criteria. Across North America, TD’s high corporate standard for renovations already includes many health-centred initiatives, and WELL certification is a natural extension of these efforts. On top of lighting, WELL stipulates several other requirements for certification: air and water quality that exceeds most municipal standards, policies to promote healthy eating, and a layout that ensures workers’ comfort and mental well-being. To achieve these latter two goals, TD’s retrofit will give employees access to a variety of furniture groupings placed to offer outdoor views, including vistas of the creek sedge grass carpeting the banking pavilion’s roof. There will be choices between private and social workspaces. Even the artwork will be selected to soothe the mind with natural images. TD Bank has budgeted a premium over what a standard renovation would cost in order to reach WELL Silver certification. The hope is that the investment will pay off in productivity gains. The project is on track to be one of Canada’s first WELL projects, and is the first registered in the program’s Tenant Improvement category. The big

question is whether the standard will bring wellness-centric architecture into the mainstream, as LEED has done for green building. Access to nature has been a constant theme in the work of Bostonbased architect Moshe Safdie, FRAIC. In designing Habitat 67 at the beginning of his career, he wanted to bring the amenities of suburbia— access to the outdoors and light-filled spaces—to the city. Safdie’s motto for the project was “for everyone a garden.” Several of Safdie’s subsequent buildings, particularly his recent highrises, feature fractalized exteriors designed to maximize sunlight exposure and openings in the façade. These allow light through to neighbouring spaces. Oversized terraces and balconies are another key feature of his residential projects. In a recent presentation in Toronto, Safdie critiqued his peers for too often designing high-rises to service their egos, rather than people’s need for natural features such as daylight. “I think the trouble with our profession today is that the high-rise building is being seen as the greatest opportunity for ego-trip sculpture,” he said. Safdie argued for increased regulation of the built environment to ensure quality-of-life concerns make it onto the architectural agenda. “It’s time to recognize that the marketplace is a terrible city planner,” he added. “There ought to be a much more rigorous regulatory mechanism [for building high-rises].” Before our cities went vertical, the urban parks movement of the 19th century revolutionized city life by opening up large tracts of often private land for public use—Sempione Park in Milan was formerly the hunting ground of the Visconti Royals. Horizontal patches of green aren’t enough today. The 21st-century challenge is to get nature onto the vertical plane.

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CANADIAN ARCHITECT 10/15

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Brett Throop is a Master of Journalism student at Carleton University. He is currently completing a research project on winter-city design considerations.

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Toronto 2020: Where Will We Live? July 28-November 28, 2015

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Melvin Charney, Architect/e Photographe/r September 5-October 18, 2015

Curated by architectural photographer Alain Laforest, this travelling exhibition stops at the Maison de la Culture Côte-des-Neiges in Montreal, and features the work of Montreal artist and architect Melvin Charney (1935-2012). http://maisondelarchitecture.ca/?cat=36

Let’s Talk About...Home October 8, 2015

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October 13-18, 2015

October 23-26, 2015

October 27, 2015

The ADFF will return to New York City, opening at the iconic SVA Theatre and continuing at the Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas, welcoming an audience of architects, designers and film buffs.

Now in its 16th year, Art Toronto—Canada’s international fair for modern and contemporary art— presents important artwork from leading Canadian and international galleries alongside a variety of engaging accessory events.

Anne Bordeleau, architect and associate professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture lectures at 6:00pm at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Architecture. http://umanitoba.ca/faculties/architec-

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October 14-18, 2015

October 26, 2015

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Taking place in various locations throughout Toronto, this conference of the American Society of Architectural Illustrators celebrates 30 years of excellence in architectural visualization and

Susannah Drake, principal of Brooklyn-based dlandstudio, delivers a lecture at 6:30pm at the UBC Robson Square Theatre in Vancouver.

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Siamak Hariri, founder and principal of Hariri Pontarini Architects in Toronto speaks at 6:00pm at the National Gallery in Ottawa.

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Chris Lasch, cofounder of New York and Tucson-based architectural studio Aranda/Lasch delivers the Siew Fang Chan lecture at 6:00pm in Room G10 of the Macdonald-Harrington Building at McGill University in Montreal.

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Siamak Hariri lecture

October 26, 2015

Architecture + Design Film Festival

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This exhibition at the Goethe Institute in Toronto illustrates and illuminates filmmaker Wim Wenders’ broad international practice and the six-part Wenders cityfilm retrospective screening now at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

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Wenders in the Cities September 10-November 28, 2015

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CANADIAN ARCHITECT 10/15

CALENDAR

Canadian Architect 80 Valleybrook Dr Toronto, ON M3B 2S9 www.canadianarchitect.com

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LOOKING BACK

FIONA SPALDING-SMITH (REPRINTED FROM THE CANADIAN ARCHITECT, APRIL 1985)

CANADIAN ARCHITECT 10/15

34

METROPOLITAN CENTRAL YMCA TEXT

Larry Wayne Richards

My first visit to Toronto was in 1972 when, as a young professor, I brought a group of architecture students from sleepy Indiana to progressive Canada, to see “real cities” and bold new works of architecture such as Moshe Safdie’s Habitat, Eberhard Zeidler’s Ontario Place, John Andrews’ Scarborough College, and Diamond and Myers’ York Square. On that trip, the students and I stayed at the Young Men’s Christian Association on College Street, near Bay. Completed in 1912, it was a no-nonsense structure by Toronto architects Burke Horwood & White. All that solidity came tumbling down in 1985 when the aging Y was demolished to make way for a grandiose Postmodern police headquarters. That same year, the new Metropolitan Central YMCA opened two blocks to the north on Grosvenor Street. Well before the ribbon was cut, it was heralded by Vancouver architect Bruno Freschi as “worldclass architecture” when in 1982, he and fellow jurors gave it a Canadian Architect Award of Excellence for its design. The Y was authored by Jack Diamond and Donald Schmitt, when their firm had about 15 people. Now Diamond Schmitt Architects is an international practice with 170 people. The firm has completed projects in 14 countries on four continents. Looking back, the YMCA is a small modest project that could easily be “just one more” on Diamond Schmitt’s long project list. But this is not the case: the Y continues to endure, resonate and inspire. Walking through the building with Greater Toronto YMCA administrators, I was struck by their genuine admiration of not only the building but also the architects, whom they characterized as practical, ethical and dedicated to furthering a social dimension through design. Property manager Alex Versluis spoke glowingly about the Y’s “big scale and good bones”—an underlying physical structure which has allowed for f lexibility and change. (Most changes have been minor and on the

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interior. On the exterior, a glass-box meeting room was extended over the main entry a few years ago, and the forecourt was renovated to improve accessibility and functionality.) There have been challenges with upgrading mechanical systems and reducing energy consumption, but solutions have been found. The sophisticated Louis Kahn-inspired geometry continues to provide conceptual integrity, and the “exercise stair” that rises magnificently through the building looks the same as it did 30 years ago, when I first reviewed the building for Canadian Architect. Attention to the circulation armature of a building was (and still is) among Diamond Schmitt’s most admirable traits. They understand circulation as an opportunity for social engagement. As well, the robust materials—brick, manufactured stone, terrazzo—have held up remarkably well. The building transcends matters of style. Although the label “world class” might seem like a stretch now, the awarding in 1986 of a Governor General’s Medal for Architecture to Diamond and Schmitt for the YMCA still seems fitting. The only disappointing part of my visit was my walk along the east laneway, where the building wraps around Toronto Fire Station No. 314. The laneway is shabby—overrun with weeds and graffiti. Looking north, there are mundane glass towers a few blocks away, some finished, some under construction. It is the junky side of Toronto, the down-atthe-heel public-realm side of Toronto. It reminds me of how far the city’s architectural and civic aspirations have plunged since my first visit in 1972, and how extremely difficult it is today to achieve something of enduring quality like the Metropolitan Central YMCA. Larry Wayne Richards is Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto. He is cofounder of Toronto think tank WORKshop Inc.

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Canadian Architect October 2015  

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