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13 CLearVieW ChaLet inspired by the simple forms of Japanese agrarian sheds, a house designed by atelier kasteliC buffey presents a striking Contrast to the snowy landsCape in ontario’s ski Country. teXt penny tomlin

18 Centre ViLLaGe 5468796 arChiteCture inC. provides inner-City winnipeg with an ingeniously planned housing development geared to new immigrants and low-inCome families. teXt terri fuglem

23 La Cornette defined by a dramatiC soaring roofline, yh2_yiaCouvakis hamelin arChiteCtes’ rural home for two families explores traditional notions of the Country house. teXt thomas striCkland

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Contents

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neWs

lgonquin College unveils innovative A green building design for Student Commons in Ottawa; Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura named winner of the 2011 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

32 reVieW

37 CaLendar

28 FULLer terraCe susan and brainard fitzgerald follow a design-build approaCh for their latest residential infill proJeCt in halifax. teXt ian Chodikoff Clayton perry

The NaTioNal Review of DesigN aND PRacTice/ The JouRNal of RecoRD of The Raic

Architecture in Uniform: Designing and Building for the Second World War at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal; Mocked Up: In Footnotes—Beyond Office dA at the Eric Arthur Gallery in Toronto.

38 BaCKPaGe

april 2011, v.56 n.04

Courtney Healey discusses some intriguing contributions to WE: Vancouver —12 Manifestos for the City, an exhibition currently on show at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Australia-based artist Konstantin Dimopoulos transforms groves of trees into surreal blue forests that awe and inspire, by Kate Barron.

la Cornette in QuebeC’s Cleveland township by yh2_yiaCouvakis hamelin arChiteCtes. photo by louCas yiaCouvakis.

CoVer

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bornhoLMs reGIonskoMMune

viEwpoint

CuttInG-edGe sustaInabLe desIGn strateGIes Can be found In thIs deMonstratIon house LoCated on bornhoLM IsLand, denMark. the nordIC CountrIes are PoLItICaLLy and eConoMICaLLy CoMMItted to fosterInG InnovatIve Green IndustrIes and teChnoLoGIes as a reGIonaL Growth strateGy.

AbovE

The next time you find yourself arguing with a traffic engineer about the need to design excessively wide streets to make it convenient for cumbersome garbage trucks to move through the city, consider this: in Stockholm, garbage is sucked through underground conduits at 70 km/h while pedestrian-friendly streets restrict traffic to half that speed. Envac, the Swedish company that developed this underground vacuum technology, continues to sell their waste collection systems to cities around the world. This is just one of many significant innovations occurring in the Nordic countries that is making their urban centres more liveable and sustainable. In a globally competitive world, the governments of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland are investing heavily in the promotion of innovative green technologies while companies located in these countries are creating better housing, infrastructure and transportation systems not only for local populations, but for global export. The region of 25 million people is hoping that their “Green Valley” will be the sustainable design equivalent of Southern California’s Silicon Valley. Thus far, the results are contributing to socially progressive activities while bringing economic vitality to the region’s economy. CanNord 2011, a recent conference held in Toronto that involved the participation of business, government and research organizations from all five Nordic countries reinforced this fact. Cities like Copenhagen, Reykjavík, Helsinki and Stockholm have been reducing their dependency on fossil fuels since they faced the first major global oil crisis in 1973, but the commitment to greener cities goes back even further. For example, Helsinki began to build an energyefficient district heating network in the early 6 cAnAdiAn­ArchitEct 04/11

1950s. To piggyback on this investment in infrastructure, Pekka Sauri, the Deputy Mayor of Helsinki who is in charge of Public Works and Environmental Affairs and who attended the Toronto conference, discussed his city’s investment in large “computer halls” that enable businesses to lease portions of city-run servers as an affordable alternative to investing in their own IT networks. While this helps keep businesses located near the city centre, the significant amount of heat generated by these computer halls is recovered and transferred into Helsinki’s district heating network to produce net economic and environmental benefits. Elsewhere, byproduct energy from Helsinki’s district heating network is used to melt snow on the sidewalks of certain shopping districts, thereby eliminating the need for road salt while saving the shoes of stylish Finns. During the record-breaking snowfall in Helsinki last winter, Sauri and others began to look at burying vast amounts of snow into underground facilities to help boost the capacity of the city’s district cooling facilities when the warmer weather arrives—an old-fashioned idea of using ice to cool buildings with a 21st-century twist. Most Nordic cities are experimenting with planning sustainable communities, such as Helsinki’s Jätkäsaari and Viikki, and Sweden’s Hammarsby Sjöstad. These communities incorporate everything from sustainable materials, building technologies and practices to low- or no-carbon emissions. Some communities are going a step further to combine sustainable planning with strategic growth. With a population of 43,000 living off the coast of Denmark, the tiny “Bright Green Test Island” of Bornholm is promoting itself as a global centre for sustainable living. Lene Grønning, Director of Bornholm’s green strategy, demonstrated during her Toronto visit how the island’s approach to sustainable economic development is a driver for tourism, eco-conferences and test site facilities for electric vehicles and other green technologies. This has helped keep jobs from disappearing while resulting in a hopeful future for the island. Admittedly, there are systemic differences between Canadian and Nordic countries with respect to the powers of municipalities and the ways in which our governments spend money. However, the initiatives undertaken by Nordic countries in energy, transportation and construction are addressing the environmental challenges of global warming, pollution and dependence on fossil fuels while successfully incorporating these issues into globally competitive public-private partnerships, venture capital and entrepreneurial activities. Canadian politicians and building industry leaders should take note. Ian ChodIkoff

ichodikoff@cAnAdiAnArchitEct.coM

­Editor Ian ChodIkoff, OAA, FRAIC AssociAtE­Editor LesLIe Jen, MRAIC EditoriAl­Advisors John MCMInn, AADIpl. MarCo PoLo, OAA, FRAIC contributing­Editors GavIn affLeCk, OAQ, MRAIC herbert enns, MAA, MRAIC douGLas MaCLeod, nCARb rEgionAl­corrEspondEnts halifax ChrIstIne MaCy, OAA regina bernard fLaMan, SAA montreal davId theodore calgary davId a. down, AAA Winnipeg herbert enns, MAA vancouver adeLe weder publishEr toM arkeLL 416-510-6806 AssociAtE­publishEr GreG PaLIouras 416-510-6808 circulAtion­MAnAgEr beata oLeChnowICz 416-442-5600 ext. 3543 custoMEr­sErvicE MaLkIt Chana 416-442-5600 ext. 3539 production JessICa Jubb grAphic­dEsign sue wILLIaMson vicE­prEsidEnt­of­cAnAdiAn­publishing aLex PaPanou prEsidEnt­of­businEss­inforMAtion­group bruCe CreIGhton hEAd­officE 12 ConCorde PLaCe, suIte 800, toronto, on M3C 4J2 telephone 416-510-6845 facsimile 416-510-5140 e-mail edItors@CanadIanarChIteCt.CoM Web site www.CanadIanarChIteCt.CoM Canadian architect is published monthly by bIG Magazines LP, a div. of Glacier bIG holdings Company Ltd., a leading Canadian information company with interests in daily and community newspapers and business-tobusiness information services. 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: $53.95 plus applicable taxes for one year; $85.95 plus applicable taxes for two years (hst – #809751274rt0001). Price per single copy: $6.95. students (prepaid with student Id, includes taxes): $34.97 for one year. usa: $103.95 us for one year. all other foreign: $123.95 us per year. us office of publication: 2424 niagara falls blvd, niagara falls, ny 143045709. Periodicals Postage Paid at niagara falls, ny. usPs #009-192. us postmaster: send address changes to Canadian architect, Po box 1118, niagara falls, ny 14304. return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Circulation dept., Canadian architect, 12 Concorde Place, suite 800, toronto, on Canada M3C 4J2. Postmaster: please forward forms 29b and 67b to 12 Concorde Place, suite 800, toronto, on Canada M3C 4J2. 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 privacyofficer@businessinformationgroup.ca mail Privacy officer, business Information Group, 12 Concorde Place, suite 800, toronto, on Canada M3C 4J2 member of the canadian business press member of the audit bureau of circulations publications mail agreement #40069240 issn 1923-3353 (online) issn 0008-2872 (print)

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news Projects algonquin college unveils innovative green building design for student commons.

Ottawa’s Algonquin College and the Algonquin Students’ Association (SA) have unveiled the winning proposal and design for the new $52-million 110,000-square-foot Student Commons, awarding the design-build project to the PCL Constructors and IBI Group Architects/ Teeple Architects. Anchored by a 700-seat auditorium for lectures and performances, the Student Commons will create a sense of place between the classroom and home, and will provide a grand atrium lounge area for students. The facility will offer a variety of choices for students to access student support services, attend lectures and performances in the 700-seat auditorium, use club and activity space, study quietly or in groups, or take advantage of a variety of purposeful green spaces nearby. The Student Commons will be built to the exacting standards of the Canada Green Building Council’s LEED Gold certification. Constructed adjacent to the existing home of the College’s Hospitality and Tourism programs, the building will serve as a gateway for visitors arriving via the eastern approach to the campus, including the College’s principal parking areas. The building is scheduled to open in September 2012. www.algonquincollege.com/expansion/ niPpaysage to design new Montreal urban park.

The Montreal-based landscape architecture firm NIPpaysage has won first prize for a new Montreal park to be named Place de l’Acadie. Sponsored by the Ville de Montréal, the winning design for this competition will be a welcome addition to the Borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville and will serve as an entry point to the neighbourhood. Entitled Mosaïques, the $850,000 design is set to begin construction in June 2011. Some of the features to be discovered in this small park include a series of “landscaped events” that punctuate the site, including entrance markers, visual screens, retention basins, play structures, sound barriers and sound-reducing berms. With a landscape particularly sensitive to issues of local biodiversity, the design of the park is inspired by the randomized pattern of tile fragments found in many foyers of buildings dating from the 1960s. Old street numbers will be inserted into the paving patterns, and each paving section will define a series of smaller micro-gardens comprising the park. Grassy beaches with fruit trees will help mitigate noise from the nearby highway. The heart of this new urban space will comprise three large stone benches and a series of water jets 8 canadian architect 04/11

The design for The new sTudenT Commons aT algonquin College in oTTawa by PCl ConsTruCTors and ibi grouP arChiTeCTs/TeePle arChiTeCTs. aBoVe a ConCePTual Progression of The design for PlaCe de l’aCadie in monTreal by niPPaysage. toP

emitting a fine mist into the air—a welcome addition during the sweltering summer months.

awards Portuguese architect eduardo souto de Moura named winner of the 2011 Pritzker architecture Prize.

Eduardo Souto de Moura, a 58-year-old architect from Portugal, is the jury’s choice for the 2011 Pritzker Architecture Prize. In announcing the jury’s choice, Thomas J. Pritzker, chairman of the Hyatt Foundation, elaborated, “This marks the second time in the history of the prize that a Portuguese architect has been chosen. The first was in 1992 when Alvaro Siza was so honoured.” The purpose of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, which was founded in 1979 by the late Jay A. Pritzker and his wife Cindy, is to honour annually a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture. The laureates receive a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion. As a student, Souto de Moura worked for Alvaro Siza for five years. Since forming his own office in 1980, Souto de Moura has completed well over 60 projects, mostly in his native Portugal, but he has also designed buildings in Spain, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. www.pritzkerprize.com

raic announces Bing thom as 2011 Gold Medallist.

RAIC | Architecture Canada has announced Bing Thom, FRAIC as the recipient of the 2011 RAIC Gold Medal. Thom has built a global reputation for innovative design on a wide range of projects ranging from single-family homes to large-scale mixed-use projects and city building. Prior to opening his own practice in 1982, Thom worked in the offices of Fumihiko Maki and Arthur Erickson, whose passions and drive for excellence deeply influenced his career. Among Thom’s successes are the master plans for the City of Dalian and the City of Yuxi in China; Surrey Central City; the Canada Pavilion for Expo ’92; the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC; Aberdeen Centre in Richmond, BC; the Pacific Canada Pavilion at the Vancouver Aquarium and Marine Science Centre; the Trinity Uptown Plan for Fort Worth, Texas; Vancouver’s Sunset Community Centre; and the recently completed Arena Stage theatre complex in Washington, DC. Thom has represented Canada on the world stage through numerous expositions and competitions and is a respected and outspoken advocate for urban and social change. He is an active volunteer and donates countless hours and resources to community initiatives. Thom’s studio is a laboratory of exploration into new materials and techniques, and his work is characterized by close collaboration with trades and industry, breaking down the isolation that often exists


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between design and construction and developing innovative and cost-effective solutions to unusual building configurations. The RAIC Gold Medal is the highest honour the profession of architecture in Canada can bestow. It recognizes an individual whose personal work has demonstrated exceptional excellence in the design and practice of architecture; and/or, whose work related to architecture, has demonstrated exceptional excellence in research or education. As part of this recognition, Bing Thom will be speaking at the 2011 AIBC/RAIC Festival of Architecture in late May in Vancouver. raic announces Montgomery sisam architects as the 2011 Firm award recipient.

RAIC | Architecture Canada has announced that it has selected Montgomery Sisam Architects as the recipient of its 2011 Architectural Firm Award. Founded in 1978, Montgomery Sisam Architects is a Toronto-based mid-sized architectural practice wholly owned by its seven principals. Working with a highly collaborative approach, the practice provides clients with a full range of services and boasts a rich diversity of project types and scales including health care, infrastructure, educational, recreational and residential projects. In choosing Montgomery Sisam

Architects, the jury noted it “recognized the service excellence that this Toronto firm has demonstrated, for over 30 years, in every sphere of its practice.” Montgomery Sisam’s reputation is supported by over 45 provincial, national and international design awards. taymoore Balbaa receives 2011 raic Young architect award.

RAIC | Architecture Canada has announced Taymoore Balbaa, MRAIC, as the first recipient of its Young Architect Award. Balbaa received his Master of Architecture degree from the University of Waterloo and won the RAIC Medal for Outstanding Thesis. In 2005, he became the inaugural winner of the Canada Council for the Arts Prix de Rome in Architecture for Emerging Practitioners, working and conducting research in Spain, West Africa, Greece and Egypt. Balbaa also holds a Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree from Waterloo, and took pre-professional architecture training at the Università Gabriele D’Annunzio in Italy. He is a licensed architect with the OAA, and in the European Union with the Technical Chamber of Greece. In 2010, he became a founding partner of Atelier3AM, a multidisciplinary firm actively engaged in the crossing of design and research. Since 2006, he has been the prin-

cipal of Taymoore Balbaa Design Studio. Prior to this he worked in the offices of Menis Arquitectos (Tenerife, Spain), and with the Toronto firm of Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects, as well as with firms in Italy and New York. He has taught at both graduate and undergraduate levels, including the University of Waterloo School of Architecture and the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto. The Young Architect Award recognizes an architect under the age of 35 for excellence in design, leadership and/or service to the profession. It is intended that this award will inspire other young architects to become licensed and to strive for excellence in their work. csLa Professional awards of excellence.

The Canadian Society of Landscape Architects has announced the results of the 2011 CSLA Professional Awards of Excellence. The annual awards program hosted by the University of Manitoba Department of Landscape Architecture recognizes excellence in Landscape Architecture in the categories of Design, Planning and Analysis, Research, Communications, Landscape Management, New Directions, and Residential Design. This year, there were 4 National Honour Awards,

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3 National Merit Awards, and 5 National Citation Awards. The recipients of the National Honour Awards are: Janet Rosenberg + Associates for RED: Research Evolve Design; Brook McIlroy for College Quarter at the University of Saskatchewan; Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram for Red River Floodway Greenway—A 100-Year Integrated Vegetation Strategy; and OPTION Aménagement for Réaménagement du Boulevard la Salle et de la Place de la Biosphere Manicouagan-Uapiska. www.csla.ca call for nominations for the heritage toronto awards.

The Heritage Toronto Awards celebrate outstanding contributions—by professionals and volunteers—in the promotion and conservation of Toronto’s history and heritage landmarks. Heritage Toronto asks you to consider some of the more significant achievements during 2010, and invites you to submit a nomination for the 37th Annual Heritage Toronto Awards. The deadline for nominations is June 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm. This year’s Awards will be announced and presented in conjunction with the William Kilbourn Memorial Lecture, at a gala evening on October 4, 2011. www.heritagetoronto.org/news/story/2011/03/14/ heritage-toronto-awards-call-nominations

coMPetitions acadia 2011 design + Fabrication competition.

The ACADIA 2011 Annual Conference with the support of FLATCUT_ seeks proposals for innovative geometric forms that push the limits of design through the exploration of integrative material strategies for digitally fabricated assemblies. Proposals for inventive design will be accepted in the following three categories: Lighting, Partitions, and Furniture. The competition is open to all architects, artists and designers whether student or professional. All entries are to be submitted via the ACADIA 2011 conference submission site by midnight on June 1, 2011 PST. Winning designs in each category will be fabricated by FLATCUT_ and exhibited in the Integration Through Computation exhibit in Calgary from October 13, 2011 onward as part of the 2011 ACADIA conference. http://acadia.org/acadia2011/competition.html

what’s new raic | architecture canada—athabasca University program diploma receives approval.

RAIC | Architecture Canada and Athabasca University have announced the approval by the

Alberta Government of a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Architecture to be offered through the RAIC Centre for Architecture at Athabasca University. The existing RAIC Syllabus program will continue to operate in its current form while courses are developed for delivery through Athabasca University. Once the new program is fully operational, students will continue to have the option of pursuing the existing model of a workstudy experience-based path to practice while taking courses through Athabasca—or supplement this by taking additional courses resulting in academic credentials from Athabasca. www.raic.org annual national raic Festival of architecture will celebrate west coast style.

West Coast creativity will get special attention at the 2011 Festival of Architecture. The four-day festival, an Architectural Institute of British Columbia and Royal Architectural Institute of Canada | Architecture Canada partnership, will take place May 24-27, 2011 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Themed “Architecture on the Edge,” the festival will acknowledge the many ways in which the profession continues to push envelopes. Delegates will explore best practices, new challenges, and innovative ways in which architects are leaving their indelible mark on our built and natural environments. The four-day program will include six streams of professional development sessions, numerous feature speakers and a selection of professional recognition celebrations. The festival will culminate with the President’s Dinner & Awards Gala on Friday, May 27, where winners of the 2011 AIBC Architectural Awards and the RAIC | Architecture Canada Awards of Excellence will be celebrated. http://aibc.ca/vancouver2011/index.shtml carleton University researcher stephen Fai creates innovative model for Batawa.

Architecture professor Stephen Fai, three graduate students and members of the Carleton Immersive Media Studio (CIMS) have developed an innovative model for Batawa that leverages the capabilities of Building Information Management (BIM) software. The result is a navigable timeline that chronicles changes in the past and the future of this historic Bata Shoe company town. Fai points out that very little research has explored the value of BIM in the management of heritage buildings and heritage landscapes. CIMS, the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism, the School of Industrial Design and the Faculty of Public Affairs have been collaborating since May 2009 on an interdisciplinary project to help Sonja Bata turn Batawa into a model sustainable village.

Letters Editor Ian Chodikoff’s “Viewpoint” published in the February 2011 issue seems to want to banish the concept of the “critical” from architecture altogether. Notwithstanding his “sympathy” for parts of my 2004 text “Criticality and Its Discontents,” he cites Bruce Mau to deplore my continuing interest in the “critical.” What is more, one wouldn’t be able to tell from his commentary that most others writing about it noted how I also expressed my own “sympathy” for the potential of the alternative to the “critical” proposed by Sarah Whiting and Robert Somol in the article I was discussing, that is to say the “projective.” Indeed, to indicate just how complex this discussion is, note that one hero of the “projective” architecture Somol and Whiting called for in 2002 is Rem Koolhaas. This same Koolhaas is the focus of an admiring commentary by one of the “dusty” book authors Chodikoff disparaged as no longer relevant: Fredric Jameson (see F. Jameson, “Future City” in New Left Review, May/June 2003). As if this were not complexity enough, Koolhaas is also the former close collaborator of Bruce Mau (see SMLXL, Monacelli Press, 1995). It is on account of such “complexity” that I refuse to reject a “critical” dimension for architecture altogether. Indeed, I continue to admire Koolhaas’s stubborn commitment to an architecture that is both “critical” and “projective.” As for Bruce Mau’s by now rather familiar exhortations to architects to change their ways, it is not clear to me that they have had much positive effect. Indeed, compare Mau’s ongoing polemic with a parallel initiative in architecture: the Aga Khan Award for Architecture program. It was launched to combat two currents in global architecture: first, the unthinking proliferation of corporate modern buildings irrespective of their cultural, social or climatic suitability; and second, the sad efforts of some seeking to resist that implantation, producing only shallow kitsch instead. Today, the Aga Khan Awards rank in similar prestige to the Mies van der Rohe Awards and the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Interestingly enough, in the same issue as Chodikoff’s “Of Critical Relevance,” there appears a project in Saudi Arabia by Canadian firm Moriyama & Teshima Planners in joint venture with Buro Happold that received a 2011 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. The published commentary notes their “resistance” to such ideas as bringing in imported plants for the project. Ah, yes: “resistance,” that close correlate to the “critical.” Together with both “invention” and “theory,” they are still essential, in my view, to architecture today. —George Baird

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SwiSS Chalet the dark CarapaCe of thiS ontario getaway provideS a Strong ContraSt to itS pure white interior and the wintry landSCape. Clearview Chalet, Clearview township, ontario atelier KasteliC Buffey teXt penny tomlin photoS shai Gil proJeCt

arChiteCt

Set against a hillside in southern Ontario’s ski country, the black exterior of the Clearview Chalet contrasts sharply with the white, snowy landscape around it. Inside, the contrast dissolves as the white interior blends seamlessly with the white landscape. An homage to the wintry outdoor environment, this open contemporary space still manages to exude warmth, achieved through a number of trade secrets employed by project architects Robert Kastelic and Kelly Buffey. Kastelic and Buffey are the principals of AKB (Atelier Kastelic Buffey), an architectural firm in downtown Toronto. The two met while working at Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects, and opened their studio in 2004, specializing in high-end residential projects. As is the case with most aspiring architectural firms, their list of clientele has grown by word of mouth. Satisfied with their home renovations in the city, several clients have since contracted AKB to design and build vacation homes. This project is one of four country retreats that AKB have recently completed in the area. Both Kastelic and Buffey enjoy the freedom that comes with designing a project such as this. “Clients are more likely to give emerging practices an opportunity to do ‘ground-up’ buildings when they are outside the city,” says Buffey. “We are allowed more latitude in the country,” Kastelic adds. “It’s a proving ground. Clients allow us to take risks and be more creative. We appreciate that we are able to do that.” Married, the pair are partners in life as well as in business. Kastelic studied architecture at the University of Waterloo, and Buffey had a de-

gree in interior design and was working in that field when she decided to undertake a Master’s degree in architecture, which she completed in 2007 at the University of Toronto. Although an intern architect, Buffey designed and managed the Clearview Chalet project. Both agree that her strength lies in her ability to develop a conceptual vision and to focus on the details. She views a project from the exterior as well as the interior, and uses her attention to detail to blend the two together. “For example,” she says, “if the intention is to put a bed between two windows, then the windows must be placed an appropriate distance apart when designing the elevation.” Kastelic, on the other hand, has strong technical abilities. “We have different strengths,” says Buffey. “Together, we are a strong team.” The Clearview Chalet is a prime example of this partnership at work. The limited budget and compressed construction schedule of four months imposed by the clients presented real challenges, but simultaneously allowed a great deal of creativity. The pair cite the important role their builder, Wilson Project Management of Collingwood, played in completing the project within that four-month period, just in time for the client to host a New Year’s Eve party. The exterior of the chalet is fashioned after Japanese-style agrarian buildings, utilizing the application of pine board and batten in a vertical orientation. This inexpensive material enabled the doubling up of the number of battens, giving the illusion of a much higher-grade exterior. A coat of black paint to match the low-pitched overhanging metal roof unifies the exterior and gives it a bold presence. Below

the Clearview Chalet in ontario’s idylliC sKi Country.


A design feature particular to AKB and evident in this chalet are its windows and doors. “We don’t paste doors on the elevation,” says Kastelic. “We’re not building a motel.” Consequently, he devised a technique that subtly projects the window mouldings outward from the elevation. The design provides texture, depth and relief to the elevation, as do clearly defined entrances. Visitors enter a sheltered entry alcove at the front of the building to access the front door. A shift in the scale of the boards’ width along with a change

14 Canadian arChiteCt 04/11

in orientation of the cladding from vertical to horizontal defines this entry alcove. Similar horizontal cladding defines the entrance at the back of the building, where the one-storey front elevation gives way to a two-storey structure, a consequence of the sloping site. Unfortunately, the client’s limited budget meant the planned exterior stairs and walkway that would have connected the front and back entrances could not be realized. And landscaping, which would have linked the exterior of the chalet

more intimately with the surrounding hillside, was ultimately dropped from the plan. A hot tub was added by the client post-construction, sited immediately outside the back entrance, an unfortunate decision which compromises the overall integrity of the project. The practical and economical design approach is apparent in the interior of this 2,600-squarefoot chalet. Here, the client’s request for minimal maintenance is met, in part, through diamondground radiantly heated concrete floors. The


main floor is comprised of a mudroom and adjoining laundry area, den, powder room, open kitchen, and a living room with a wood-burning fireplace. Large windows on both sides of the living area provide a visual connection to the landscape and a beautiful view of Nottawasaga Bay. Interestingly, the interior ceiling peak in the living room does not reflect the symmetrical exterior peak of the roof line. In order to keep the interior spaces clearly defined, the interior ceiling peak runs symmetrically down the centre of the living room, leaving the adjacent corridor and stairwell defined by a flat ceiling on the south side of the house. White oak stairs lead to the lower level, which features a master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom that can be closed off for privacy with a sliding partition, or left open for guests. One of the client’s requirements was that the home be able to accommodate plenty of guests. As a result, the children’s room was designed to fit three sets of bunk beds, allowing each of the three children to have a friend sleep over. Two guest bedrooms, a separate toilet and shower, and a small television room complete the ground floor. As the rooms on this level are relatively shallow in depth, natural daylight is able to penetrate fully into each. Deep windowsills in the bedrooms and mudroom imply thick walls and an “old notion” of warmth, according to Kastelic. The Clearview oppoSite top, left to right The chaleT appears as a simple bungalow on iTs fronT elevaTion; The sTark simpliciTy of The inTerior allows a simple sTack of firewood To read almosT as an arT insTallaTion; Two images of The crisp unadorned inTerior, a conTinuaTion of The blindingly whiTe winTer condiTions of The surrounding landscape. left The graphic simpliciTy of a black shed on iTs snowcovered sloping siTe.

Chalet is full of subtle design details like this— details that can be felt but not necessarily seen. And that “feeling of space” is precisely what Kastelic and Buffey strive for in their design process, something they’ve clearly achieved in this modest but carefully considered retreat. Ca

Client n/a deSign teaM kelly buffey, roberT kasTelic, arTur kobylanski, Terry sin, ebrahim oliazadeh StruCtural sTr engineering inc. MeChaniCal miT-con services inc. ContraCtor wilson projecT managemenT Budget n/a area 2,600 fT2 CoMpletion december 2010

Penny Tomlin is a freelance writer and the editor of Dimensions, the magazine of the Interior Designers of Canada.

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home away From home

a progressive winnipeg Firm adopts a sophisticated european approach in designing much needed public housing in the city’s downtown core. Centre Village, Winnipeg, Manitoba 5468796 arChiteCture inC. and CohlMeyer arChiteCture ltd. teXt terri FugleM photos 5468796 arChiteCture inC. proJect

architects

In downtown Winnipeg, in an area notorious for its high crime rates and visible poverty, a remarkable housing project has sprung up. Sandwiched between Balmoral and Kennedy Streets on a tiny plot of land, a 25-unit apartment complex offers affordable rental housing to recent immigrants and low-income patrons. Several features distinguish this project: first and foremost, the cheery minimalist design; the tiny size of the units; the abundance of windows; the private exterior entry to each apartment; and the attention to outdoor amenity space, both communal and private. In many respects, the project bears resemblance to contemporary European standards and sensibilities as opposed to what is typically found in North America. Its location in Winnipeg Centre, the second-poorest federal electoral district (the poorest is Vancouver East) in Canada makes its appearance here all the more noteworthy. Perhaps this is not surprising as the two founding partners of 5468796 architecture inc. are themselves immigrants: Sasa Radulovic, a political refugee from Sarajevo and Johanna 18 canadian architect 04/11

Hurme, an émigré from Helsinki. The two have staked their faith in Winnipeg’s downtown by residing, locating their office, and constructing many of their projects here. Winners of the Emerging Architecture Award from the Londonbased Architectural Review magazine and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for their CUBE project in Old Market Square, Radulovic and Hurme have already offered a substantial international perspective to Winnipeg. Steve Cohlmeyer, of Cohlmeyer Architecture Ltd., an equal partner in the design and completion of the Centre Village, is similarly multilingual. In addition to his work in Winnipeg, he has recently designed projects in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, Chile and San José, Costa Rica. This optimism can be attributed to not only an emergence of recent architectural talent, but also the behind-the-scenes efforts by community groups, concerned citizens, and municipal initiatives. Centre Village began as a joint discussion between the Knox Centre, a community outreach organization of the nearby Knox United Church, and CentreVenture Development Corporation, an arm’s-length public-private downtown development authority established under the aegis of the former mayor Glen Murray in 1999 to revitalize the languishing city centre. Knox United Church is a vital player in the community development of

a VieW oF Centre Village FroM balMoral Street reVealS the preSenCe oF a Multitude oF SMall WindoWS reMiniSCent oF le CorbuSier’S notre daMe du haut in ronChaMp. right nuMberS indiCate the Separate unitS Contained Within the SCulptural MaSSing oF the CoMplex. above

the Central Park district, a neighbourhood within the riding of Winnipeg Centre—bounded on its west side by Balmoral Street—which attracts 70% of all refugees moving to Winnipeg. As the most densely populated district in the city, Central Park accommodates a diverse and lively population of largely African, but also Arab, Vietnamese, Chinese, Ojibway and Filipino extraction. With a municipal vacancy rate of just 0.9% in 2009, the housing shortage for immigrants and refugees is especially acute. After community meetings at the Knox Centre


to discuss the possibility of a cooperative housing project and after a series of land swaps, CentreVenture was able to amalgamate eight residential lots. Central to the success of the project were the concerted efforts of development coordinator Phil Dlot (pronounced, appropriately, as “fill de lot”) of Hold Zone Inc., who worked diligently to calculate the minimum number of units for the project’s feasibility and to secure the grants, and the architects who performed endless permutations and combinations of apartment configurations to squeeze 25 units onto a small piece of land that was thought to hold a more reasonable 18 residences. After $1.65 million in contributions by the Canada-Manitoba Affordable Housing Program, Manitoba Housing’s HOMEWorks! program and the City of Winnipeg, ownership was assigned to CentreVenture. The cooperative ownership structure has been postponed indefinitely. Critical to the economic feasibility of the project were the number of units and floor area. Communal corridors and entrance lobbies were eliminated, thereby saving substantial land, construction and maintenance costs. Since the project was to be built with standard dimensional lumber, an intricate algorithm of 8-, 12- and 14foot minimum dimensions for various room types ensures a formal consistency to the project where no two conditions repeat themselves. Floor cantilevers of six feet extend the available space of the upper units, thereby minimizing the footprint at grade and providing solar shading and rain protection. 04/11 canadian architect

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The resulting rental-unit complex assumes a playful, almost organic, configuration that was initially determined by designing the rooms first, then recombining them as if they were Lego blocks. The form is an intimate assemblage of six separate buildings on an L-shaped lot that creates a well-protected communal courtyard and a lane that links Balmoral and Kennedy Streets. The limiting height of the buildings is three storeys and many units occupy three floors, while others are one and two storeys respectively. Every unit is unique: the smallest one-bedroom unit is 375 square feet on the ground floor, and the largest four-bedroom units comprise slightly less than 1,000 square feet over three floors. Each unit enjoys a private grade-level deck, a balcony and/or a roof deck. The most striking feature is the fenestration pattern; its composition and variety enliven the façades. The window openings are elaborated with an engine-inspired “cowling” of 1/8-inch welded aluminum of varying depths, powder-coated in bright orange paint in order to bounce warm, vibrant hues into the units. Units possess an astonishing eight to ten windows (most developer-built one-bedroom rentals in Winnipeg offer two, or at most three, windows per unit) that not only extend the space of the tiny units with light and views, but also enhance the defensible space of the street, courtyard and lane. With 16 units looking onto the courtyard and over 200 carefully placed windows, friendly surveillance of the property by the inhabitants is ensured. A series of external staircases to the upper-level apartments also serves to animate the laneway and courtyard while extending more semi-private spaces for the upper units. Since amenities such as groceries, daycare, medical clinics, public transportation and schools are within walking distance, only six parking stalls were necessary, allowing for more outdoor social space in the lane and courtyard. Construction was completed in the fall of 2010, and 5468796 architecture inc. have since continued to work with CentreVenture to provide post-occupancy guidance. The architects are watching closely to see how well their experiment with high-density, high-design housing serves newcomers to Canada, and what the activities of the inhabitants themselves will add to the communality of their little village. ca Terri Fuglem is an Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Manitoba.

a Central Courtyard oFFerS reSidentS prized outdoor SpaCe and a SenSe oF CoMMunity; aluMinuM triM painted bright orange enliVenS WindoW openingS, bounCing WarM Vibrant hueS into the unitS’ interiorS.

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client CentreVenture deVelopMent Corporation architect team 5468796 arChiteCture inC: Sharon aCkerMan, Mandy aldCorn, ken borton, MiChelle heath, aynSlee hurdal, Johanna hurMe, grant laboSSière, Colin neuFeld, zaCh paulS, SaSa raduloViC, Shannon Wiebe. CohlMeyer arChiteCture ltd: SteVe CohlMeyer, Stephanie aaStroM, daniel ennS. landscape Cynthia CohlMeyer landSCape arChiteCt ltd. structural laVergne draWard & aSSoCiateS inC. development coordinator phil dlot, hold zone inC. contractor CapStone ConStruCtion (1998) ltd. area 10,600 Ft2 budget $3.7 M (inCluding land, ConStruCtion, proFeSSional FeeS, Fit-up) completion Fall 2010

04/11 canadian architect

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NuN Of The AbOve

La Cornette, CLeveLand township, QuebeC Yh2_YiaCouvakis hameLin arChiteCtes TeXT thomas striCkLand PhOTOs FranCis peLLetier unLess otherwise noted PrOJecT

ArchiTecT

Somewhere in the roll of field and forest in southern Quebec sits La Cornette. Its strangely formed—but all the same familiar—roof peaks over the very top of a soft green bump as though the building might be engaging one in a whimsical game. This view from the road leading to the residence foreshadows a refined playfulness that underpins the country house by Montreal-based YH2_Yiacouvakis Hamelin Architectes. Designed for two families, the purpose-built rural escape “tries as much as possible to free itself,” according to the architects,

“from the world of the machine.” For Loukas Yiacouvakis and MarieClaude Hamelin, who co-own La Cornette with close friends Philippe and Stéphanie, the curious structure manifests the promise of kinship and the inversion of everyday life. The idea of leaving the labours of city life behind is implicit in the residence’s siting. Located two hours east of Montreal, La Cornette’s nearest equivalent is an abandoned ancestral barn just down the slope; beyond this, only the vague outline of a neighbouring farm is visible through the home’s generous glazing. Here, Yiacouvakis explains, there are no computers. This is an impressive commitment that belies the building’s social context and its place in the history of country houses. In the 21st century, to free oneself from the machine implies leaving behind e-mail, word processing and, for architects, the primary site of design and production. For many, computers and internet access mean

Loukas YiaCouvakis

A rurAl reTreAT fOr TwO fAmilies delivers AN irONic TwisT ON The TrAdiTiONAl NOTiON Of The cOuNTry hOme.


The soaring peak of The roof of La CorneTTe is inspired by The headgear worn by nuns, as suggesTed by iTs name. AbOve bunk beds in The ChiLdren’s rooms on The Top fLoor offer enTiCing views inTo The disTanT LandsCape. PrecediNg PAge

work has increasingly become a component of life in the home, filling every room with the potential for a panicked e-mail from the office. But for Yiacouvakis and Hamelin, whose studio is a converted garage at the end of their yard, work is also literally built into their Montreal home. To get away for the weekend is not only a means to escape city noise and activity, but an opportunity to leave home well behind. The combination of building and countryside 24 cANAdiAN ArchiTecT 04/11

has long been a means through which notions of escape, recovery, kinship and home have been explored. Indeed, aside from the island, the countryside has been embraced as the opposite to the city as the ideal place to manifest utopian visions. Often a small or at least unadorned cottage structure is involved—Henry David Thoreau’s one-room shack on Walden Pond is a famous example. It is certainly easy to see how rural settings are continually favoured, given the gentle

sway of the trees, the birdsong and the distant views. These experiences can embody a sensorial and emotive shift from the clogged streets, elevators and e-mail inboxes of the post-industrial urban landscape. Architectural historian Anthony King explains that the concept of country as inverse to city emerged in the late 16th century as urban populations increased. However, the modern practice of escaping to a country retreat is largely a product of the industrial revolution. As discussed in King’s book Buildings and Society, the 19th-century marketplace created a surplus of income and leisure time. Looking for a reprieve from the industrial city, benefactors built second homes which were often organized around large central rooms with expansive windows to integrate the outdoors. A retreat to the country was a time to reconnect with one’s core identity and re-establish familial continuity. Activities such as chopping wood and fishing were a way for the wealthy to engage with traditional values. After the turn of the century, with greater dispersal of surplus income, the institutionalization of leisure time and the arrival of the mass-produced automobile, the once semi-private rural realm of the élite became accessible to the urban middle class. Embracing the countryside in the 1930s, the middle class established prized country residences from repurposed workers’ cottages, left behind as rural labourers migrated to the city for work in shops and factories. These buildings embodied, for the weekender, the simple life of an agrarian past. By the end of the Second World War, the family car and the weekend were North American institutions, and the second home a widespread ambition. La Cornette is a purpose-built escape inspired by the image of the traditional family house, “the kind of house we never had but wanted,” explains Hamelin. Fieldstone-faced structures with a third storey tucked under the roof were, according to the architects, places for extended family to gather for holidays and special occasions. While this image is emotionally charged, program requirements for two families required upto-date spatial practices. Following International Style Modernist planning principles, the design integrates the two families according to function. Sleeping occurs on the top level, where the adults have private rooms, but children can sleep in either of two large bunk rooms. The middle level is an open plan in which spaces are differentiated by millwork and changes in level rather than walls, thereby maximizing visual connections to each other and the outdoors. On the lower level, the rec room is for the children. One functional decision that might incite panic for some is the provision of only two water closets for nine people, revealing the comfort and intimacy amongst the group.


Resonant in the architecture of La Cornette is an ironic approach that infiltrates any seriousness of purpose brought forward by the image of the traditional country house. This was perhaps inspired by Hamelin’s childhood visit to her grandmother’s friend’s house. “The house,” she explains, “was big, traditional, and it seemed to me like a marvellous playground, a place where we could get lost for many hours.” Hovering over La Cornette is the great peaked roof that is its namesake. At once alluding to the region’s barns and rural houses, this intriguing canopy was in fact inspired by the wimple and starched veil of a nun’s headgear. Yet, rather than signify modesty, for Hamelin the wimple recalls the spry character from the popular 1960s sitcom The Flying Nun. This soaring roof integrates the outdoors by drawing in the elements around it with such force that the tip of its peak is tied down to prevent actual lift-off in high winds. Beneath the hood and inside the house, the engagement with nature exceeds the views to the landscape, and a fantastical interpretation of the outdoor experience is animated by the architectural finishes. Throughout the space, oversized images of fireflies, fish, and frogs are cut into the surface of aluminum sheets. The sheets are lit from behind, illuminating the creatures who act as playful guides on late-night treks to the refrigerator and, perhaps, on journeys to one’s inner child. At La Cornette, the notion of a single family gathered together for a rural holiday, upheld by the iconic image of the country house, is nuanced. The slightly offset roof suggests flight rather than stability, and the backlit panels emphasize the magical qualities of the outdoor experience rather than an idealized and simple rural life. While La Cornette is embedded in the tradition of retreating from urban life, the architecture pokes fun at the purposefulness of inherited beliefs and buildings, and proposes instead a whimsical place to foster kinship and accord. With the increasing spatial overlap of work and home life, this retreat for friends suggests that rather than building second homes, we should create playgrounds of wonder in which to discover ourselves. cA Thomas Strickland is a J.W. McConnell Doctoral Fellow at the McGill University School of Architecture.

righT, TOP TO bOTTOm The imposing La CorneTTe on iTs sLoping siTe in CLeveLand Township; waLL surfaCes are embeLLished wiTh The ouTLines of fauna CuT inTo aLuminum sheeTs and LiT from behind To ampLify The ouTdoor experienCe of This house in The CounTry; The CLean moderniTy of The residenCe is evidenT in This view of The Top-fLoor Corridor and sTairweLL.

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clieNT sTéphanie ChevaLier, phiLippe béLanger, marie-CLaude hameLin, Loukas yiaCouvakis ArchiTecT TeAm marie-CLaude hameLin, Loukas yiaCouvakis sTrucTurAl rafik maTTa cONTrAcTOr emmanueL yiaCouvakis millwOrk ébénisTerie gasTon Chouinard, ébénisTerie ébène pLus AreA 280 m2 budgeT n/a cOmPleTiON 2010

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Fuller liFe A HAliFAx live-work project AcHieved tHrougH A speculAtive design-build process Helps contribute to A denser And more vibrAnt urbAn FAbric.

Fuller Terrace, HaliFax, Nova ScoTia SuSaN FiTzgerald arcHiTecTure text iaN cHodikoFF pHotos JameS STeeveS, uNleSS oTHerwiSe NoTed project

ArcHitect

Even in the most design-conscious areas of the country, there never seems to be enough clients willing to hire an architect to design their dream homes. But there are alternatives to educating and growing a design-conscious clientele. In Halifax for example, many architects have experimented with the design-build process to proactively raise the quality of

residential design in this conservative local housing market. One of these architects is Brian MacKay-Lyons, who has chosen the design-build option throughout his career. He built a multi-unit residence on Creighton Street and a live-work building on Maynard Street, receiving a Governor General’s Award for Architecture in 1990 for the latter. His


mike­dembeck

recently completed live-work studios situated behind his offices on Gottingen Street represents the firm’s latest foray into design-build territory. Elsewhere in the city, architect Susan Fitzgerald together with her contractor husband Brainard have undertaken several of their own designbuild residential projects over the past several years while engaging in a dialogue about urban intensification and vernacular form. Having once worked for MacKay-Lyons, Susan is currently a partner at Fowler Bauld & Mitchell, a 20-person Halifax-based architecture firm that has been in continuous practice since 1917. Her husband runs Brainard Fitzgerald Developments, a thriving construction firm. Beyond her role as a partner at an architecture firm and her collaborative design projects with her husband, Susan also teaches at Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Architecture and Planning. To offer students an opportunity to gain some construction experience, the Fitzgeralds hire them during the summer months and for their work terms. Completed in 2010, Fuller Terrace is one of the Fitzgeralds’ latest speculative residential developments. The project is located in Halifax’s North End, an eclectic working-class neighbourhood characterized by turn-of-the-century houses and largely comprised of rental properties. The North End has become increasingly attractive for university students while artists, musicians and writers continue to live in the area. A textbook example of infill housing, Fuller Terrace shares many similarities to other infill projects across Canada where designers have come to recognize how their respective markets maintain an interest in smaller and more affordable live-work buildings that may either be sited on narrow lots or facing laneway conditions. Fuller Terrace is essentially two stacked volumes with a total area of 1,750 square feet. The upper volume corresponds to a secluded living area, while the lower volume comprises the home office and presents a more public face to what is essentially a quiet residential street. Similar to the designers’ own residence on nearby Elm Street, Fuller Terrace blurs the distinction between public and private spaces. However, in the Elm Street residence, the family room and spaces for everyday life are situated on the ground floor, ­A­ground-floor­office­mAkes­A­ very­public­stAtement­while­the­upstAirs­ living­quArters­Are­much­more­privAte­ by­compArison.­ rigHt, top to bottom­despite­ the­nArrowness­of­the­lot,­the­house­ is­enhAnced­by­deck­spAces­on­three­ sides;­the­neighbourhood­context­is­ dominAted­by­homes­clAd­in­wood­ siding­And­lots­set­tight­to­the­street­ edge;­the­detAched­gArAge­And­mAin­ building­Are­buffered­by­A­smAll­but­ AttrActive­courtyArd.

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maintaining a strong visual connection to the street. Conversely, Fuller Terrace’s living quarters on the upper levels are more private yet still include third-floor decks that provide ample semi-private and private outdoor spaces. The rear garage, clearly visible to passersby, could easily be converted to a granny flat once the City of Halifax changes its by-laws to permit such uses. The project maintains the typical setbacks, overall height and general

site plAn

30­cAnAdiAn ArcHitect­04/11

massing typically found along this downtown residential street, while the cedar shingles and wood decking that comprise the cladding elaborate upon the vernacular expression of the neighbourhood’s shingle-clad housing stock. Wood siding, so typical of many Maritime buildings, is an effective material given the region’s wet and cold climate. Here, the wood siding is detailed as a rainscreen wall for added longevity. When the development was placed on the market, prospective buyers immediately understood the value of its contemporary design. Instead of commissioning a house from an architect, projects produced through a speculative design-build method allow clients to immediately visualize architecturally designed living spaces. Moreover, a design-build home might cost a client $500,000 but if that same client were to commission an

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architect to build a project on an empty parcel of land, she may not be able to finance the construction budget. Arranging an affordable construction loan is far more difficult that negotiating a traditional mortgage for a house being put up for sale. Just a couple of months after it was completed, the Fitzgeralds sold Fuller Terrace to a local businessman who owns and operates several rental properties in the area and who needed a ground-floor office to manage his real estate portfolio while maintaining the garage as a storage facility for the various furnishings used in his properties. At the level of urban design, Fuller Terrace addresses some of the longrange planning goals that encourage compact development, improvements to streetscape design, and which enhance the public realm. Led by the Halifax Regional Municipality’s (HRM) Urban Design Manager Andy Fillmore, the City has been focusing on improving services in its downtown over the past decade while defining a greater sense of place for the region through architecture that reflects the history and heritage of the city and its residents. Fuller Terrrace is certainly emblematic of the HRM’s urban design objectives. Currently, the Fitzgeralds are contemplating what to do with a seven-acre site they recently purchased near Wolfville in the Annapolis Valley. The property is only a 10-minute walk from the centre of town and the Fitzgeralds are imagining that this next project, the couple’s most ambitious to date, can eventually become a community building complete with a farming component, not just a multi-unit residence. Their Annapolis project may hold the key to the couple’s next phase in their careers; however, building at a scale larger than residential infill is a slow and complex process. With the Fuller Terrace project, the Fitzgeralds are certainly continuing to do their part to ensure that higher-density housing in the Halifax community remains liveable and viable. cA

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mike­dembeck

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client­brAinArd­And­susAn­fitzgerAld structurAl­AndreA­doncAster contrActor­brAinArd­fitzgerAld­developments AreA­1,750­ft2­(house/office),­550­ft2­(workshop/studio) budget­n/A completion­september­2010

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review

the goodweAther collective

we Built this city

A provocAtive exhibition tAckles the history of Architecture And development in vAncouver in hopes of inspiring current And future generAtions of culturAl production in the city. teXt

courtney heAley

It has been one year since the Winter Olympics, 25 years since Expo 86 and 125 years since the incorporation of the City of Vancouver, making 2011 a perfect time for the city to take stock, reflect and maybe even speculate on its future. WE: Vancouver—12 Manifestos for the City, an exhibition being held at the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) until May 1st, tackles the built environment as its subject and gives space to ideas that challenge the conventional practices of architecture and development that have dominated Vancouver in recent decades. The exhibition—part survey, part provocation, part catalyst—captures a feeling floating around the local design community; that is, searching for the forms and processes that will define the next generation of cultural production in the city. The exhibition includes more than 40 works by local artists, architects, designers, landscape architects, planners and activists as well as eight written manifestos printed on broadsheets that are plastered to the gallery walls and throughout the city. VAG senior curator Bruce Grenville and associate 32 canadian architect 04/11

curator Kathleen Ritter assembled a range of ideas and approaches loosely bound within a framework of 12 verbs or themes such as See, Listen, Activate, and Remember while maintaining focus on projects that display a “desire to affect change.” They cast a wide net, and exhibited works range in scale and complexity—from the Van Dusen Garden Visitor Centre by Busby Perkins + Will and Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, the UniverCity Childcare Cen­ tre by Hughes Condon Marler, and Mountain View Cemetery by Birmingham and Wood, to Propeller Design’s Mycologic Chandelier, Pivot Legal Society’s Red Tent Campaign, and SOLEfoods’ Urban Farming Initiative. A few projects stand out—not only for their ideas and execution but also for the way they tease and upend conventional readings of the spatial, psychological and industrial processes shaping the city today. Red Flag Design’s Banner = Bag challenges standard modes of production by interrogating the meaning of “recycled.” Shape Architecture’s Strathcona Projects illustrates the gap between Vancouver’s desire for density and its own policies that stand in the way, while Robert Kleyn’s The Kingsway suggests latent potential in the urban grid by drawing out its spatial structures and incongruities. The Goodweather Collective’s Roundabout Vancouver is particularly striking and is also one of the only works created exclusively for the exhibition. It subtly manipulates the perceived relationship between nature and infrastructure in


eric scott robert kleyn

the city and has elicited strong reactions from its audience. Throughout the exhibition, one becomes increasingly aware of the bottleneck that occurs between hatching an innovative idea and implementing it on a meaningful scale, and the simple fact that desired change is different from actual change. Red Flag Design’s Banner = Bag project attempts to close this gap. First approached by the curators to exhibit some of the tote bags they have manufactured from VAG promotional banners, co-founders Barnaby Killam and Stuart Sproule were more interested in using the occasion to reverse the banner-to-bag recycling relationship and to develop an exhibition banner that was better suited to recycling in the first place. While this may seem simple on the surface, anyone who has tried knows that even minor changes to conventional fabrication processes brings pushback from the most affected parties. When asked if this is how the gallery banners will be produced from now on, Grenville smiled and said, “We’ll see...” Shape Architecture’s Strathcona Projects illustrates a similar issue within the practice of architecture. Their large photographic panorama directs our attention to the gap that exists between one of Vancouver’s desired new forms of density—laneway housing—and the encumbered progress toward its actual realization. Beyond realized projects, the exhibition also contains a number of speculative design works. Robert Kleyn’s project, The Kingsway, presents a long strip of tiled and offset figure-ground studies, a series of abstract geometric drawings, and a large spine-like sculpture that extends diagonally through three axes. Kleyn has studied the Kingsway for several years—a major arterial thoroughfare that cuts a diagonal swath through the city grid, leaving a number of spatial anomalies in its wake. Kleyn’s work carefully maps these irregularities, and while the project is rooted in a decades-old architectural

the goodweAther collective’s thought-provoking And deceptive imAge entitled Roundabout VancouVeR: WiRes, ciRca 1914 hAs been digitAlly Altered to include A fictitious old-growth tree in the middle of An intersection. tOP shApe Architecture’s stRathcona LaneWay house furthers A discussion on the potentiAl of urbAnizing vAncouver’s lAnewAys. aBOve robert kleyn’s figure-ground study of the kingswAy provides A reinterpretAtion of intersections And street edges. OPPOsite tOP

obsession with intersecting grids, it is within the context of We: Vancouver that Kleyn’s research assumes new potential. The Kingsway evokes a desire for new spatial readings, development models and interpretations of the city. In his precise and beautiful study, Kleyn uncovers the potential for the city to flirt with transgression and perhaps see promise in spatial inconsistencies. The figure-ground study and the way it unravels an unspoken understanding of the relentlessness of the grid and the impenetrable nature of the street edge is perhaps the most successful component. Another project that finds potential in Vancouver’s street grid while overlaying the broader local obsession with nature is the Goodweather Collective’s Roundabout Vancouver, a piece of self-described “retroprojective urbanism” that challenges our perception of nature in the city while drawing heated debate from viewers. Creators Michael Lis, Daniel Irvine and Chad Manley were struck by the number of roundabouts scattered throughout the city, and according to Manley, the collective began thinking that “aggregating the roundabouts creates a significant amount of space.” Around the same time, they came across a photograph in the City of Vancouver Archives describing a streetcar driving down West 4th Avenue, but what the image actually depicted was a streetcar 04/11 canadian architect

33


rAchel tophAm the goodweAther collective robert kleyn

An instAllAtion photo of the pivot legAl society’s Red tent campaign, An event thAt involved hAnding out red tents to street people in the hope of AttrActing Attention to the problem of homelessness in vAncouver during the 2010 olympics. most importAntly, it sought to convince federAl Authorities to estAblish A nAtionAl housing strAtegy. Middle the goodweAther collective’s Roundabout VancouVeR: east VancouVeR, ciRca 2010. aBOve robert kleyn’s interpretive figure-ground explorAtions, pArt of the KingsWay project.

tOP

34 canadian architect 04/11

driving through dense forest. Irvine described the image as the embodiment of “frontier west and the memory of Vancouver,” and the collective began to imagine the space of the roundabouts as a “distributed park or forest.” Nature as subject is inescapable in Vancouver and the Goodweather Collective capitalizes on this phenomenon by creating a project that hovers on the periphery of truth while remaining open to interpretation. Irvine describes Roundabout Vancouver’s position on nature as a “complex interplay between the picturesque and the sinister.” Lis takes on the approach of renegade filmmaker Werner Herzog, who he sees as “understanding the profound darkness of nature, the otherness in nature.” Roundabout Van­ couver, while clearly indicative of this desire, tempers it with humour and irreverence. Organized as a loose triptych, Roundabout Vancouver begins with a dizzying projection that spins us, stop-motion style, through 10 roundabouts that each appear stuffed with the trunk of an old-growth tree. Next to this projection is a digital slideshow beginning with a map of Vancouver. Green dots emerge to mark the location of existing roundabouts, and then continue to gradually appear in every intersection with the final slide illustrating how the entire city could become equally treed as Stanley Park. The third and final element is the subtlest, and in many ways, the most provocative. It is a series of nine photographs depicting historical Vancouver cityscapes including the presence of enormous conifers in the centre of a traffic intersection, a back lane, or down the middle of a busy street. The aesthetic of the images depict periods that include the late 19th century, the ’30s, and the ’70s, leading up to present day. One constructed image captures an imaginary moment where a few large, yet-to-be-felled, old-growth trees dot a sparsely developed neighbourhood. The overall result is that the spinning film is first taken as fact; the digital slideshow introduces the possibility that this is an urban design proposal, and then the photographs lay a blanket of ambiguity over the experience that something is not quite right, that something doesn’t make sense. Traffic roundabouts in a turn-of-the-century cityscape feel sort of preposterous, but the collective memory of Vancouver as a frontier wilderness seems to allow for this kind of unconscious overlap between nature and city. The real effect of Roundabout Vancouver can be measured by the heated discussions amongst visitors, or amongst historians, artists and architects. They argue the historical accuracy of the images, testing what appear to be empirical artifacts with their own knowledge and memory of the city. They struggle to place the photograph using its assumed age and buildings as visual cues. They tend to walk away either convinced of the photograph’s authenticity or somewhat defeated at their inability to cope with the historical uncertainty. Irvine sees this uneasiness as the effect of “decoupling image fact from historical memory.” Wall text, added later by VAG curators out of concern over properly crediting the images, reads “Original Photographs: City of Vancouver Archive.” This effort to achieve clarity enhances the ambiguity. Irvine describes the work as an “action on the imagination,” and the viewer is left wondering when and why the trees were removed. Were they ever there in the first place? Are they actually still there as shown in the projection? What if they were to blanket the entire city? Wait a minute... they once did...before the streetcar. While We: Vancouver gives space to a number of provocative ideas and may serve as a benchmark for discussions on visual culture in coming years, it remains a somewhat hastily assembled exhibition between two larger shows. Despite this drawback, Robert Kleyn, Shape, Red Flag, and the Goodweather Collective span a generation of Vancouver designers and architects and achieve an imaginative balance between reflection on the city and critical speculation on its future. ca Courtney Healey is the Director of the Lodge Think Tank and an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.


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Calendar It Takes Everyone to Know No One

April 8-May 21, 2011 This exhibition at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery in Toronto brings together works by seven artists who propose a re­ contextualization of institutional methodologies. By analyzing the institution’s archived history, func­ tionality, organizational strategies, and physicality, the artists equally acknowledge the emergence and usage of a virtual landscape in which information and data could be newly mined, archived, and shared across geographical boundaries. www.jmbgallery.ca

demonstrating that the war served as an accelerator of technological innovation and production that would lead to the supremacy of Modernism in architecture. www.cca.qc.ca/pdf/CCA_aiu_eng.pdf Mocked Up: In Footnotes— Beyond Office dA

April 23-July 15, 2011 This exhibition at the Eric Arthur Gallery, Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto includes the various mock­ ups, fabrications, and installations in the practice of Office dA. nato thompson lecture

Architecture in Uniform: Designing and Building for the Second World War

April 13-September 18, 2011 Taking place at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, this ex­ hibition investigates the work and achievements of the architects and designers active during World War II across the political battle lines,

April 28, 2011 Taking place at 7:30pm at the Prefix Institute of Contempor­ ary Art in Toronto, Nato Thompson, chief curator of Creative Time in New York, speaks about his recent art and activist projects such as Experimental Geography, a travelling exhibition that explores humanity’s engagement with the earth’s surface. www.prefix.ca

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insulated rammed earth introduction Course

May 21-22, 2011 Held over two days on Salt Spring Island, participants will make rammed earth samples to take home, explore aspects of de­ sign and engineering for the best use this new material, compare ap­ plications around the rammed earth world, and learn how to participate in moving this technology forward. www.sirewall.com/courses raiC Festival: architecture on the edge

May 24-27, 2011 Held over four days at the Vancouver Convention Centre West, this annual event will bring together architects and allied professionals from around the province and across the country to explore best practices, new chal­ lenges, and innovative ways in which architects are leaving their indelible mark on our built and natural environments. http://aibc.ca/vancouver2011/index. shtml

2011 Spring noise Conference

May 24-27, 2011 Taking place at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, this event provides a forum for the dis­ cussion of innovations in noise control and noise control manage­ ment technologies. Topics include architectural acoustics, low­ frequency noise, noise regulation, noise control technologies, acoustic ecology and industrial hygiene. www.springnoiseconference.com doors Open toronto 2011

May 28-29, 2011 Over the last week­ end in May, 150 buildings of archi­ tectural, historic, cultural and/or social significance will open their doors to the public. This year, the theme of this popular event is “photography.” Admission is free. www.toronto.ca/doorsopen/ For­more­inFormation­about­ these,­and­additional­listings­oF­Canadian­and­international­events,­please­visit www.canadianarchitect.com

3/9/11 11:39:12 AM 04/11­­Canadian arChiteCt

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Backpage

Brilliant trees

AustrAliA-bAsed KonstAntin dimopoulos trAnsforms groves of trees into surreAl blue forests thAt Awe And inspire. teXt

KAte bArron ClAyton perry

phOtO

Standing in Garden City Park in Richmond, British Columbia, a woman asks Australian artist Konstantin Dimopoulos where she can pick up a blue tree for her yard. Smiling, he chuckles and lets her down gently as he begins to tell her the story of his electric blue trees. For two years, the Vancouver Biennale has brought Vancouver some of the best public art that the world has to offer to their self-titled “open-air museum.” Their latest and final installation leading up to their auction and gala on April 30th is Dimopoulos’s Blue Trees. Art lovers, environmentalists, and even some critics are just a few of the people who have been drawn to the brilliant blue forests that have sprung up in three BC cities. The reactions are overwhelmingly positive, especially after speaking with Dimopoulos and learning about his mission to highlight the trees we pass by daily and 38 canadian architect 04/11

fail to notice. Dimopoulos is engaged in “social art action.” Onlookers typically stare intently for a period of time as they visibly struggle with their perceptions of a strange new environment in which they find themselves. Blue trees don’t exist, but here they stand. Contemporary art often questions the way in which we view the world, and public art directly challenges the built environment that we have become accustomed to, asking us to pause and take note of our new environment. “Colour is a powerful stimulant, a means of altering perception and defining space and time. The fact that blue is a colour that is not naturally identified with trees suggests to the viewer that something unusual, something out of the ordinary has happened. It becomes a magical transformation,” says Dimopoulos when asked why he chose the blue for his trees. The beauty of Dimopoulos’s trees is the fact that the biologically safe pigmented water he applies will gradually fade over time, and those same onlookers who have come to terms with this surreal blue forest in their community will slowly observe the trees reverting to their natural state.

otherwise ordinAry trees in riChmond, british ColumbiA, CAptivAte with A brilliAnt blue hue, whiCh will grAduAlly fAde over time.

aBOVe

With children literally running up to the trees shouting, “Wow, they’re real!” as they wave their families over, Dimopoulos’s happiness is evident. “I know I’m not going to solve our global deforestation issues or cure cancer, but maybe one of the kids who play amongst my blue trees will. Art inspires people—that cannot be underestimated.” Born in Egypt, world traveller Dimopoulos now resides in Australia and is often caught referencing the prophetic Joni Mitchell as he explains his installations. His growing body of work continues to be seen around the world, and he has no plans of slowing down anytime soon. ca Kate Barron is the co-founder of theartmarket.ca, the newest and most comprehensive online source of information for Canadian art. She currently works with the Vancouver International Sculpture Biennale and is a freelance arts contributor for multiple publications.


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Canadian Architect April 2011  

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

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