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Contents

13 News

With its distinctive curving form and steel exoskeleton, a new 58-storey tower by Foster + Partners and Zeidler Partnership Architects catapults Calgary into the major leagues. TEXT Adele Weder

Call for submissions to the 2014 National Urban Design Awards; MSDL win com­pe­ ti­tion to design the Blainville Municipal Library.

52 Insites

34 Jasper Place Branch Library

This striking new facility in Edmonton by Hughes Condon Marler Architects and DUB Architects evokes the voluptuous fluidity that characterized the work of the late, great Oscar Niemeyer. TEXT Trevor Boddy

42 Fogo Island Inn Thoughtfully considered details by Norway-based firm Saunders Architecture result in a truly original cultural expression for this groundbreaking art and ecotourism destination in remote Newfoundland. TEXT Michael Carroll

48 Assiniboine Park Washroom Boxes A modest public washroom structure by Peter Sampson Architecture Studio in Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park skillfully moves beyond recycling to reinvention. TEXT W. Carson McCance

Two new developments in Toronto’s downtown core combine market and nonmarket housing to create good neigh­ bourhoods, by Julie Bogdanowicz.

57 Practice

Mark Busse emphasizes the importance of developing a brand in today’s competi­ tive market.

59 Books

 ecent publications are welcome additions R to the Canadian architectural spectrum.

65 Calendar

Layered Landscapes: Constructing Form and Meaning from the Sketches of Arthur Erickson in Calgary; Global South: Chandigarh and Casablanca in Montreal.

66 Backpage

G ow Hastings Architects’ new gallery at Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science opens, by Elsa Lam.

november 2013, v.58 n.11

A diagrid steel exoskeleton creates a dramatic envelope for The Bow in Calgary. Photograph by Nigel YOung. COVER

The National Review of Design and Practice/ The Journal of Record of Architecture Canada | RAIC

11/13 canadian architect

7


Elsa Lam

Viewpoint

ABOVE Succession planning was discussed at the recent AIBC conference held at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

With many baby boomer architects on the threshold of retirement, there’s never been a better moment to think about succession planning. The topic was addressed head-on in a panel discussion at the recent joint AIBC-AIA Northwest Chapter conference in Vancouver. The panel included Darryl Condon of Hughes Condon Marler Architects (HCMA), Becca Cavell of THA Architecture, and Ron Rochon of the Miller Hull Partnership. All three are second-generation principals of their firms, and have been involved in planning for a third generation of firm leaders. The alternatives to succession planning are stark: the death of a firm with the retirement of its founder, its buy-out by a larger conglomerate, or the continued dominance of a firstgeneration leader who may at some point go past her prime. A more predictable planned succession continues the legacy and repute of the firm by offering shares to young leaders as the firm’s original owners step back. “Owners are selling the past, and new owners are buying the future,” explains Cavell. Despite geographic disparity (HCMA is based in Vancouver, THA in Portland, and Miller Hull in Seattle), the trio found remarkable similarities in the challenges that their firms face in succession planning. The key is finding the right partners—people who have chemistry with the company’s culture and who share its core values. In most cases, these individuals are chosen from longtime employees, although one of THA’s current design principals was recruited from outside the firm. Choosing the right partners is crucial not only for the continued success of the firm, but also in navi­ gating the inevitable impact on other staff. Says Rochon, promotions at Miller Hull must pass an “unassailability test.” To avoid professional envy, it must be clear to all staff why someone’s skills and experience qualify them for advancement. In keeping their practices relevant for the next 8 canadian architect 11/13

generation of owners, two of the three firms have recently gone through name changes. This helped prepare clients for a shift in leadership within the firms: clients got used to trusting the firm’s expertise rather than expecting to see its founding principals on every project. As marketing expert Mark Busse elaborates in this month’s issue (see page 57), rethinking a firm’s brand creates value at many levels, with an added benefit of helping to attract talented staff. “Think about your name very carefully and don’t let your egos get in the way,” advises Cavell. Many firms can do more to identify and nourish future leaders. The most direct method, Condon says, is to tap promising individuals on the shoulder and tell them, “We want you to be a future leader in this firm.” This kind of statement must be followed up with concrete support. THA participates in AIA Portland’s Path Leadership Forum, a series of workshops that helps prepare architects for increased responsibility in their firms and communities. HCMA has undertaken in-house leadership training. Later in the conference, a separate interns’ forum discussed the challenges of licencing, suggesting other practical measures firms might adopt to encourage young designers. A little goes a long way in supporting the licencing of staff—a crucial step on the road to leadership. Young architects-to-be remarked on the significant incentive presented by time off for exams and prep courses, employer-defrayed licencing fees, and promotions and bonuses keyed to licencing. The cost of complacency can be more than a few days of pay: many bright interns leave firms after going through the licencing process and failing to gain acknowledgement for this milestone. Many resources exist to help firms structure a succession plan. The RAIC offers guides on firm valuation and ownership transition, and Peter Piven’s Architect’s Essentials of Ownership Transition (John Wiley, 2002) was also recommended by the panellists. For readers of this magazine, Elaine Pantel and Maj-Lis Vettoretti’s articles published a year ago (see CA, September and October 2012) provide a primer. Thinking 10 years out is not too early for succession planning, Condon noted. One young principal in the audience piped up with his story: a few years back he’d been offered a buyin from a firm looking for succession, did the math, and made a calculated decision to start his own practice instead. He wanted to be in a financially more secure place with his firm when it came time to share his leadership role. He was starting succession planning for his firm 20 years in the future. Elsa Lam

elam@canadianarchitect.com

­­Editor Elsa Lam, MRAIC Associate Editor Leslie Jen, MRAIC Editorial Advisor Ian Chodikoff, OAA, FRAIC Contributing Editors Annmarie Adams, MRAIC Douglas MacLeod, ncarb, MRAIC Regional Correspondents Halifax Christine Macy, OAA Montreal David Theodore Winnipeg Lisa Landrum, MAA,AIA, MRAIC Regina Bernard Flaman, SAA Calgary David A. Down, AAA Vancouver Adele Weder Publisher Tom Arkell 416-510-6806 Associate Publisher Greg Paliouras 416-510-6808 Circulation Manager Beata Olechnowicz 416-442-5600 ext. 3543 Customer Service Malkit Chana 416-442-5600 ext. 3539 Production Jessica Jubb Graphic Design Sue Williamson Vice President of Canadian Publishing Alex Papanou President of Business Information Group Bruce Creighton Head Office 80 Valleybrook Drive Toronto, ON M3B 2S9 Telephone 416-510-6845 Facsimile 416-510-5140 E-mail editors@canadianarchitect.com Website 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: $54.95 plus applicable taxes for one year; $87.95 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: $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 Dr, Toronto, ON Canada M3B 2S9. Postmaster: please forward forms 29B and 67B to 80 Valleybrook Dr, 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 privacyofficer@businessinformationgroup.ca Mail Privacy Officer, Business Information Group, 80 Valleybrook Dr, Toronto, ON Canada M3B 2S9 Member of the Canadian Business Press Member of the ALLIANCE FOR AuditED MEDIA Publications Mail Agreement #40069240 ISSN 1923-3353 (Online) ISSN 0008-2872 (Print)

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the department of canadian heritage.


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News Projects

Plans were recently unveiled to transform a downtown city block into a boutique hotel, condominiums, restaurant, office, retail, and public spaces with underground parking—all unified by an ambitious Mobius strip-inspired ribbon wall that meanders its way through the development, bringing together each component under a single architectural identity. The 500,000 square-foot twin-tower development will span the area bounded by Granville, George, Hollis and Duke streets in the heart of downtown Halifax. “Great architecture is the result of great clients, and the [Thiel family’s] commitment to high-quality legacy developments has motivated all of us to raise our game,” said lead architect Eugene Pieczonka, a principal at Halifax-based Lydon Lynch. The development will feature a proposed 96-suite boutique hotel; a 3,000-square-foot central public atrium that includes street-level plazas and allows pedestrians to connect with the development and each other; a restaurant and small conference centre in a restored Bank of Commerce Building; 88 condominium units that add significantly to Halifax’s downtown residential den­sity; 200,000 square feet of Class A Smart office space that will encourage businesses to stay in or move back to Halifax’s downtown core; street-level retail opportunities along Granville, Duke and Hollis streets; underground parking for 300 vehicles to encourage businesses, individuals and visitors to choose downtown Halifax; and hotel and condo valet parking that will incorporate Halifax’s first vehicle-stacking technology system that safely maximizes parking density. http://22ndcommercesquare.ca Superkül Inc. designs first Active House in Canada.

Toronto-based architects superkül designed Canada’s first Active House in Ontario’s Niagara region. Great Gulf, one of Canada’s largest home builders, selected superkül, a firm with a breadth of experience designing sustainable homes, to design Canada’s first residence that meets the construction metrics outlined by the Danish Active House program. The Active House program was initiated by a European consortium of academics, scientists, architects, engineers, and building manufacturers to promote a holistic approach to home design that marries environmental responsibility and energy efficiency with spaces that contribute positively to the health and well-being of its residents. superkül’s design strategy considered

Great Gulf

22nd Commerce Square to transform Halifax’s downtown core.

ABOVE Located in Ontario’s Niagara region, Canada’s first Active House by Superkül Inc. has been designed according to comprehensive principles of sustainability.

the environmental impact of the entire lifecycle of the home from concept to performance as well as the impact on its users. The house is oriented with the long roof slope and major glazing facing south to maximize the efficiency of the solar hot-water system and passive solar gain. The multitude of skylights and windows create naturally light-filled spaces and minimize the need for artificial light. Two intersecting axes guide the open plan of the interior to maximize cross breezes. By removing visual barriers between living spaces, the open plan also creates the impression of a larger home. To promote the comfort of the residents, superkül ensured that each room featured exterior views without compromising privacy. The patio that aligns with the width of the living room reinforces the visually seamless extension of the interior spaces. The Great Gulf Active House boasts fully integrated systems designed to optimize natural lighting and air quality while reducing its dependency on non-renewable energy sources. The prefabricated exterior walls, roof and floor systems enabled the house to be erected in only one week, reducing material waste, energy use, and risks of onsite accidents while increasing the accuracy and quality of construction. Acton Ostry Architects celebrate opening of the new Cactus Club Coal Harbour in Vancouver.

Occupying prime real estate in downtown Vancouver with dramatic views of the harbour and North Shore Mountains, the new 20,000square-foot Cactus Club Coal Harbour fourlevel flagship restaurant weaves together inter-

ior design, architecture and urban design in a unified manner that functions as a living part of both the city and the waterfront by framing the city’s largest public urban space—the iconic Jack Poole Plaza that houses the Olympic Cauldron— with panoramic views of the urban cityscape and stunning natural setting. Located within the Vancouver Convention Centre complex, the building is integrated into the LEED Platinum Convention Centre’s highly efficient systems. The restaurant also employs a green roof, which is accessible by both stairs and a glass-sided elevator. The Globe and Mail Centre soon to rise.

A new office tower is set to transform Toronto’s downtown east side. The 500,000-square-foot Globe and Mail Centre will be the new home of Canada’s national newspaper and will anchor the emerging St. Lawrence neighbourhood as a hub of urban activity and corporate offices. The 17-storey building designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects presents a sequential stacking of alternate-sized floor plates interlaid with terraces that give the structure a distinctive and contemporary profile. A high-performance building envelope and advanced glazing system supplies the energy-efficient LEED Gold candidate tower with daylighting deep into the core. Ten-foot-high windows offer views to the waterfront and city skyline. For developer First Gulf, the Globe and Mail Centre represents a bold addition to its commercial real estate portfolio with a flagship anchor tenant. The tower occupies a block defined by King, Front, Berkeley and Princess Streets, with a public mid-block 11/13­ canadian architect

13


connection between King and Front with retail amenities at grade. The site is on the original 10-block grid of the former Town of York, where Toronto began. Artifacts and foundations discovered on an archaeological dig from the 18thcentury Berkeley House will be on display in the public areas to enhance this connection with the past. The media company will occupy Levels 13 through 17 connected by a convenience stair. The building’s core design allows for flexible workspace configurations to meet current and future needs of a dynamic 24/7 work environment. Level 17 has 15-foot ceilings, floor-toceiling vision glass and a 300-seat multi­purpose room with adjacent direct roof terrace access. Occupancy is scheduled for 2016. Design of the new Queen Charlotte/Haida Gwaii Hospital revealed.

Residents of Haida Gwaii recently got a firsthand look at the new designs for the Queen Charlotte/Haida Gwaii Hospital replacement project, an important investment for British Columbians. Perkins+Will is a member of the Bouygues Building Canada team that is currently working with Northern Health to finalize a design-build agreement to deliver the project. The new $50-million hospital, with a reconfig-

Awards

cated in Canada that have contributed to the quality of life in our Canadian cities and their sustainability. There are six different categories: Urban Design Plans, Urban Architecture, Civic Design Projects, Urban Fragments, Community Initiatives Award, and Student Projects. One award will be bestowed in each category and in 2014, there will be two special jury awards selected from the submissions received: the Sustainable Development Award and the Small or Medium Community Urban Design Award. Entry forms must be received before 4:00pm on February 13, 2014. http://raic.org/honours_and_awards/awards_ urban/2014call/index_e.htm

Call for submissions to the 2014 National Urban Design Awards.

Winners of the 2013 CUI Brownie Awards announced.

Urban design plays an important role in maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in Canadian cities. Architecture Canada | RAIC, the Canadian Institute of Planners, and the Cana­dian Society of Landscape Architects in cooperation with Canadian municipalities, wish to promote public and private awareness of that role. For this reason, an Urban Design Awards program has been established to recognize individuals, organizations, firms and projects lo-

Celebrating excellence in brownfield redevelopment by transforming contaminated sites into “great places,” the 13th annual CUI Brownie Awards recognized winners in seven categories from across Canada for their leadership, innovation and commitment to building sustainable communities. The CUI Brownie Award for Best Overall Project went to the CIBC Pan Am and Parapan American Games Athlete’s Village/ Canary District from Toronto. The CANMET

ured layout to better deliver acute care and emergency services, will house: 17 beds (eight acute care beds, eight residential care beds for clients with complex needs, and a labour/delivery/recovery suite); emergency services; oncology services; diagnostic imaging; laboratory; provision for public health, mental health and addictions, and home and community care service, as well as local physician and emergency services; pharmacy; administrative offices; food ser­v ices; and logistical services. The new Queen Charlotte/Haida Gwaii Hospital is targeted for completion in the fall of 2015.

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Materials Technology Laboratory in Hamilton was chosen as the Best Large-Scale Project, while the Baggage Building Arts Centre at Prince Arthur’s Landing in Thunder Bay received Best Small-Scale Project. The jury recognized the In-Situ Soil Remediation/Green Remediation (SISSR) Project in Bilthoven, Utrecht in the Netherlands for a special International Brownie. Bonnie Prior, Executive Director, Appraisal Institute of Canada and Past President of the Canadian Brownfield Network, won an Individual Achievement Award and was declared Brownfielder of the Year for raising awareness and increasing acceptance of brownfields as mainstream development opportunities by the commercial real estate industry. Other category-specific winners are: From the Ground Up—Assessing the Risks and Maximizing the Benefits of Gardening on Urban Soils (Toronto, Ontario); Thorold Park Redevelopment (Thorold, Ontario); Downtown/West Harbourfront Remediation Loan Pilot Program (Hamilton, Ontario); Nova Scotia Power Corporate Headquarters (Halifax, Nova Scotia); Whitehorse Waterfront Revitalization (Whitehorse, Yukon); and City of Langley Brownfield Redevelopment Strategy (Langley, BC). https://canurb.org/awards

ABOVE A rendering of the proposed Blainville Municipal Library by competition winner Menkès Shooner Dagenais LeTourneux architectes.

Competitions MSDL Architectes win competition to de­sign the new Blainville Municipal Library.

In May 2013, the City of Blainville in Quebec announced an architectural competition for the design of its new library. After a two-stage selection process and a shortlist of four architectural firms, the jury selected the proposal from

Menkès Shooner Dagenais LeTourneux architectes and contractor COSOLTEC inc. The design proposes a new generation of institution where the focus is community-oriented. To this end, the notion of the library as a “third place’’ was important. Beyond the “first’’ and “second’’ places of home and work, there are social environments that support community life and which are vital to their health, providing a sense

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of place to the people living there. The 3,100square-metre two-storey glue-laminated timber construction aims for LEED Silver certification, and will feature a multifunction room, café, a large fireplace opening onto lounge space, as well as integrating the latest library technology. “Bibliothèque Paul-Mercier is a great opportunity for Menkès Shooner Dagenais LeTourneux Architectes to help build a quality city which is citizen-focused and designed sustainably,” according to Jean-Pierre LeTourneux, associate architect at Menkès Shooner Dagenais LeTourneux architectes. The project’s budget is $12 million, with $2.9 million coming from the ministère de la Culture et des Communications as part of the Quebec government’s Agenda 21C. http://blainville.ca/actualites/bibliotheque-paulmercier/ Six finalist teams for National Holocaust Monument announced.

Six teams were recently chosen as finalists in a national design competition to create concepts for the future National Holocaust Monument, which will be built in Ottawa at the corner of Booth and Wellington Streets near the Cana­ dian War Museum. The jury, made up of internationally renowned art and design profes-

CanadianArchitect_Nov_AD_Final.indd 1

sionals, a representative from the National Holocaust Monument Development Council and a Holocaust survivor, chose the following six teams as finalists: architect and urban designer Hossein Amanat, artist Esther Shalev-Gerz, landscape architect Daniel Roehr, architect and project manager Robert Kleyn, and architect David Lieberman (Vancouver); Leslie M. Klein of Quadrangle Architects, Jeffrey Craft of SWA Group, Alan Schwartz of Terraplan, artist Yael Bartana, artist Susan Philipsz, artist Chen Tamir, and Holocaust scholars Dr. Debórah Dwork and Jeffrey Koerber (Toronto); museum planner Gail Lord, architect Daniel Libeskind, artist Edward Burtynsky, landscape architect Claude Cormier, and Holocaust scholar Dr. Doris Berger (Toronto); Gilles Saucier of Saucier+Perrotte and artist Marie-France Brière (Montreal); art historian and curator Irene Szylinger, architect David Adjaye, and artist/architect Ron Arad (Toronto/London, UK); artist Krzysztof Wodiczko and architect Julian Bonder (Cambridge, Massachusetts). The teams will spend the next few months developing their designs, which will be presented to the National Holocaust Monument jury in the winter of 2014. www.pch.gc.ca/eng/1382623981574/1382623997571

Chevalier Morales architectes and DMA architectes consortium win Pierrefonds Public Library competition.

From a shortlist of four finalists, Chevalier Morales architectes and DMA architectes Consortium has been chosen to renovate and expand the Pierrefonds Public Library. “The library will serve as an important activity hub in the heart of the community while integrating the borough’s sustainable development values. The new Pierre­fonds Public Library is distinguished by its respectful implementation that benefits existing landscapes such as the Richmond Garden and the Millennium Park,” declared Sergio Morales, associate architect at Chevalier Morales architectes. The jury was comprised of: Jacques Plante, architect and Associate Professor at Université Laval; Phyllis Lambert, architect and Founding Director and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Centre for Architecture; Oscar Ramirez, associate architect at Cardin Ramirez Julien and designer of the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium; Michel Beaudry, architect at Beaudry Architecte and member of the Pierrefonds-Roxboro Borough’s Architecture Committee; Dominique Jacob, Director of the Pierrefonds-Roxboro Culture, Sports, (continued on page 64)

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FALL/winter 2013

Canada at 2014 Venice Biennale for Architecture:

Sprott Foundation sponsors carvings for Arctic Adaptations The Sprott Foundation of Toronto, a charitable organization led by renowned Canadian money manager Eric Sprott, has generously sponsored the commissioning of ten soapstone carvings of iconic Nunavut buildings of the past 100 years that will be a significant component of Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15. These carvings will be created by Nunavut artists. The Sprott Foundation joins many other new sponsors, including the OAQ, Adamson Associates,

NORR, Blackwell Engineering, Bortolotto, Williamson Chong, ERA Architects, Superkül, Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, Brook McIlroy and PLANT. Our sincere thanks to all. Your generous support will help Canada present an international-quality exhibition to 350,000 people in Venice and to tens of thousands of Canadians on its nine-city Canada tour in 2015-17. Please donate by clicking on the blue “Donate Now!” button on the RAIC’s Venice webpage.

Documents 14 and 15 Released RAIC Document Six The RAIC Practice Support Committee has begun up­­ dating RAIC Document 6 (Standard form of Document for Architectural Services) marking the first time this work has been undertaken since 2006. To expedite the update, the RAIC is working with the OAA using elements of its recently updated Document 600. The objective is to release a new RAIC 6 edition in the first half of 2014.

More than two years of hard work by the Canadian Construction Documents Committee (CCDC) have culminated in the release in late October of new CCDC 14 and 15 documents. CCDC 14 – the standard contract document for Design-Build Stipulated Price projects, and CCDC 15 – the Design Services Contract between Design-Builder and Consultant have now been released for use and are available at RAIC’s on-line store. Work also continues to update other key documents in the CCDC repertory. In late September, endorsement drafts of CCDC 29 (Guide to Pre-Qualification) and CCDC 3 (Cost-Plus Contract) were released to CCDC’s constituent organizations for final approval, while CCDC 2 (Master Agreement document) was released for comment by the industry. Provided all constituent organizations endorse CCDC 29 and 3, the objective is to have these updated documents released to the industry in 2014. RAIC Regional Director for British Columbia and Yukon Pierre E. Gallant, FIRAC, Brian Aitken, MRAIC, and François Hoque, FIRAC, represent the RAIC on CCDC’s various working groups.

It is Awards season at the RAIC and several calls have been made for the Institute’s many recognitions. Everyone should be on the lookout for the official Calls in their email for the 2014 Governor General’s Medals (deadline – Dec. 5, 2013), RAIC 2014 Awards (Jan. 9, 2014), Urban Design Awards (Feb. 13, 2014). Editor: Sylvie Powell

For submission information, see www.raic.org/Honours&Awards.

Masthead photo: Language Technologies Research Centre at University of Quebec in Outaouais | Menkès Shooner Dagenais Letourneux Architects / Fortin Corriveau Salvail Architecture + Design | Photo: Michel Brunelle


Automne/hiver 2013

Le Canada à la Biennale de Venise en architecture 2014 :

La Fondation Sprott commandite des sculptures pour Adaptations à l’Arctique La Fondation Sprott de Toronto, une organisation philanthropique dirigée par le gestionnaire de fonds monétaires de renom Eric Sprott, a généreusement subventionné dix sculptures en pierre de savon de bâtiments emblématiques des 100 dernières années du Nunavut qui seront un volet important de l’exposition Adaptations à l’Arctique : Nunavut à 15. Ces sculptures seront créées par des artistes du Nunavut.

Chong, ERA Architects, Superkül, Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, Brook McIlroy et PLANT que nous remercions bien sincèrement. Votre généreux appui aidera le Canada à présenter une exposition d’envergure internationale aux quelque 350 000 personnes qui visiteront la Biennale de Venise et aux dizaines de milliers de Canadiens qui la visiteront dans le cadre de sa tournée dans neuf villes canadiennes de 2015 à 2017.

La Fondation Sprott se joint ainsi à de nombreux autres commanditaires, dont l’OAQ, Adamson Associates, NORR, Blackwell Engineering, Bortolotto, Williamson

Nous vous invitons à faire un don en cliquant sur le bouton bleu « Donnez maintenant! » sur la page Web du site de l’IRAC consacré à la Biennale de Venise.

Publications des documents CCDC 14 et 15 La publication des nouveaux documents CCDC 14 et 15 à l’intention de l’industrie de la construction, à la fin d’octobre, vient couronner plus de deux ans de travail du Comité canadien des documents de construction (CCDC).

Document Six de l’IRAC

Le CCDC 14 est le document contractuel normalisé pour les projets de design-construction à forfait, alors que le CCDC 15 est le contrat de services de conception entre design-constructeur et professionnel. Ces documents sont maintenant disponibles par l’entremise du centre de commandes en ligne de l’IRAC.

Le Comité d’aide à la pratique de l’IRAC a entrepris la mise à jour du Document 6 de l’IRAC (Formule normalisée de contrat pour services d’architecture), la première depuis 2006. Pour accélérer la démarche, l’IRAC collabore avec l’OAA et utilise certains éléments de son Document 600 récemment mis à jour.

Par ailleurs, la mise à jour d’autres documents importants du CCDC se poursuit. À la fin de septembre, les ébauches du CCDC 29 (Guide to PreQualification) et CCDC 3 (Contrat à prix coûtant majoré) ont été transmises aux organisations constituantes du CCDC pour approbation finale et le CCDC 2 (document contractuel de base) a été transmis à l’industrie pour commentaires. Sous réserve de leur approbation par toutes les organisations constituantes, l’objectif est de publier les documents CCDC 29 et CCDC 3 dans le courant de 2014. L’administrateur régional de l’IRAC pour la Colombie-Britannique et le Yukon, Pierre E. Gallant, FIRAC, ainsi que Brian Aitken, MRAIC, et François Hogue, FIRAC, sont les délégués de l’IRAC aux divers groupes de travail du CCDC.

Rédactrice en chef: Sylvie Powell photo en cartouche de titre : Centre de recherche en technologies langagières de l’Université du québec en Outaouais | Menkès Shooner Dagenais Letourneux Architectes / Fortin Corriveau Salvail Architecture + Design | Photo : Michel Brunelle

C’est la saison des prix à l’IRAC et plusieurs appels de candidatures ont été lancés. Surveillez vos courriels. Vous y trouverez les appels de candidatures officiels pour les Médailles du gouverneur général en architecture de 2014 (date limite : 5 décembre 2013), les Prix de l’IRAC pour 2014 (9 janvier 2014) et les Prix de design urbain (13 février 2014). Pour de l’information sur les modalités de présentation des candidatures, visitez le www.raic.org

L’objectif est de publier la nouvelle version du Document 6 dans le premier semestre de 2014.


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The Bow Also Rises A boldly curved high-rise sets new standards for design and construction excellence in downtown Calgary.


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The Bow curves to the south to absorb daylight and heat while turning its back to the prevailing wind. Opposite, clockwise Triangular canopies reach out towards a multi-storey Jaume Plensa sculpture; the efficient diagonal grid structure uses a minimum of steel; a view of the public concourse and mezzanine levels. ABOVE The 237-metre-high landmark is Calgary’s tallest building and Canada’s tallest tower outside Toronto. OPENING PAGE from top

The Bow, EnCana and Cenovus Headquarters, Calgary, Alberta Foster + Partners and Zeidler Partnership Architects (architect of record) Text Adele Weder Photos Nigel Young of Foster + Partners Project

Architects

If the devastating spring rains in Calgary had a silver lining, it was the affirmation of Calgary as a resilient, forward-looking city. Nothing bespeaks this more than its new landmark, The Bow, which stood undamaged like a beacon after the flood. At 58 storeys with roughly 2 million square feet of floor space, The Bow towers over the sprawling city like a cathedral in a medieval village. And just as with God Himself, The Bow’s magnificence is tempered only by its aloof detachment from street life. The project was designed by Foster + Partners with Zeidler Partnership Architects as the local collaborator. The London firm has described The Bow as the finale in a globe-spanning trilogy of landmark high-rises that includes the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Headquarters and 30 St Mary Axe—aka the Gherkin. Like the others in this iconic trio, The Bow is visually distinct. Its curving form and steel exoskeleton form a diagonal grid—or “diagrid.” The convex side of the façade faces the prevailing wind, which buffers the plaza in front and minimizes the amount of steel required for structural loading. Viewed from an airplane approaching Calgary, the massive curve of The Bow gives a visual centre to the gaggle of generic brown buildings that constitute Calgary’s blurrily defined downtown. Foster’s architecture can be visually aggressive. The Albion Riverside buildings on London’s South Bank suggest the alien warships in H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. Across the Thames, the Gherkin resembles an upright torpedo ready to launch. In each case, it is the immediate context—the river that fronts the Albion, the commercial buildings that encircle the

Gherkin—that efface military connotations. The Bow is not overtly men­ ac­ing, but lacks the urban context that sets off Foster’s other monumental edifices so well. At 236 metres, The Bow stands high above and apart from the other neighbourhood buildings, both metaphorically and literally. Early reports had suggested even higher proposed heights: 300 metres and 70 storeys. But rising cost pressures, a slumping economy, and concerns about shadowlines on the nearby sun-sanctioned pathway colluded to bring the height down. The resulting building’s horizontal span is satisfyingly proportionate to its vertical soar. And fortunately, the otherwise spartan plaza is anchored and animated by Wonderland, Spanish artist Jaume Plensa’s multi-storey-high bent-wire sculpture of a young girl’s head. Procured through a competition organized by Encana, it helps lighten and humanize The Bow. It also makes a case for cities like Vancouver to immediately disband their public art committees and leave the selection process to the private sector. So inviting is Plensa’s masterpiece that the security patrol must diligently swat away the passersby who continually perceive it as a giant set of monkey bars. “People try to climb it every 15 minutes,” says Katherine Robinson, who served as Zeidler Partnership’s project manager. It compels one to think: why don’t they just pad the ground and let the urban climbers do what they will? Which brings us to The Bow’s less-attractive attribute: the limits of its public space. To be sure, it’s a private building with no inherent requirement to be “open” to the public. Alberta’s wealth derives from oil, and 11/13­ canadian architect

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Encana, a major player in North American energy production, is the main tenant of the lavish and expensive edifice. Construction costs were last pegged at $1.5 billion, though the final price tag is undisclosed. In theory, the front plaza serves as a park for visitors, building employees and passing pedestrians, much like Mies’s Seagram Building. In reality, the deep setback discourages connection and engagement with the street, because downtown Calgary has a much lower density than Manhattan. Also unlike the Seagram, The Bow’s articulation does not change at grade level: the diagrid glass and triangular mullions are precisely detailed to fall straight to the ground. This approach works beautifully for 30 St Mary Axe, where Foster’s other curvilinear diagrid tower also falls right to street level. But the London tower is surrounded by the proverbial jostling scrum of high-rises. To a Calgary pedestrian at ground level, by contrast, The Bow reads as a vertical glass rockface that is gorgeous but imperious. There is no public access to any floors beyond the mezzanine, including the building’s Sky Gardens—three indoor oases on the 24th, 42nd and 54th floors, each six storeys high and planted with trees and other foliage. Visitors can enter the foyer, but there is presently no retail at grade—a small number of retail outlets, including a Starbucks, are planned to open in the foyer within the next year. The publicly accessible mezzanine contains a few shops and cafés along with two enclosed bridges connecting The Bow to the city’s “Plus 15” weather-protected pedestrian walkway system. Nice for Calgary’s icy winters, but on a balmy day, the concentration of activity 15 feet above street level emphasizes the building’s disengagement from the realm at grade. Early on in the design process, the project’s urban planning advisor 0

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Above, clockwise from left Sky Gardens bring light and foliage to upper-storey offices; A view of the skylight on the top floor; Walkways connect the mezzanine to adjacent buildings in Calgary’s Plus-15 network.

Jeremy Sturgess broached the concept of streetfronting in at least part of the building, but that approach did not turn out to be viable or acceptable to the rest of the stakeholders in the design process. “The rationale,” recalls Sturgess, “is that Calgary just does not have a lot of existing examples of street-edge buildings.” Still, if not exactly up to Jane Jacobs’ ideals, The Bow revitalizes Calgary’s downtown in a different way. Much as Calgary would benefit from more street-to-building interaction, it needs Foster + Partners’ brilliant architectural form-making and materiality even more. The Bow pulls together the lacklustre streetscape in the vicinity by acting as an architectural force field. As architecture parlante, the curving arc sends a message of invitation, just like that other curvilinear masterpiece, Viljo Revell’s Toronto City Hall with its popular outdoor plaza. If The Bow’s proprietors could take a leadership role and enrich its outdoor space with that level of urban amenity, it will truly become the heart of Calgary. “The Bow will sing if all the other edges around it can fill in,” says Sturgess. Huge as this edifice may be, the entire project is still just half-built: the master plan includes a second block to the south, currently behind construction hoarding. Far-fetched though it may seem to foresee Calgary on an architectural par with Toronto, Hong Kong and London, The Bow may be the harbinger. In establishing a new benchmark for design bravado, Encana and Foster have already inspired the local culture to accept and embrace archi­ tectural ambition. Vancouver’s Westbank Corp. recently enlisted the

Copenhagen-based star firm Bjarke Ingels Group to design Calgary’s new Telus building. It’s a commission that would not have transpired without The Bow setting the precedent, says Sturgess: “The Bow raised the bar, and the bar is still rising.” CA Adele Weder is an architectural curator and critic based in British Columbia. Client H+R Real Estate Investment Trust Architect Team Foster + Partners—Norman Foster, David Nelson, Spencer de Grey, Nigel Dancey, James Barnes Julia Vidal Alvarez, Laura Alvey, Tim Bauerfeind, Jakob Beer, Karin Bergmann, Mattias Bertelmann, Stephen Best, Federico Bixio, Marie Christoffersen, Vasco Correia, Kirsten Davis, Ulrich Hamman, Michelle Johnson, Arjun Kaicker, Sabine Kellerhoff, Chiu-Ming Benny Lee, Mathieu Le Sueur, Shirley Shee Ying Leung, Alissa MacInnes, Carsten Mundle, Florian Oelschlager, Cristina Perez, Susanne Reiher, Diana Schaffrannek, Anja Schuppan, Carolin Senfleben, Robert Smith, Eva Tzivanki. Zeidler Partnership Toronto—Alan Munn, Rob Eley, David Jefferies, Mike Smith, Lena Chow, Richard Johnson. Zeidler Partnership Calgary—Michael Cojocar, Stephen Carruthers, Katherine Robinson, Raphael Neurohr, Leonoever Racela, Michael Trottier, Vladimir Andreev, Bill Dickson, Gerry Michaels, Vanessa Shed, Patricia Mohrmann, Alvin Villar, David Bishop, Julia Rigaux. Structural Yolles Civil Kellam Berg Mechanical Cosentini Contractor Ledcor Construction Fire Consultant/Code Leber/Rubes Vertical Transport Consultant KJA Acoustics Cerami Costing Altus Helier Lighting Claude Engle Lighting Design Landscape Carson McCulloch Planning Sturgess Architecture Environmental Transsolar Wind RWDI Transportation Engineer DA Watt Signage Cygnus Art Consultant Via Partnership Artist Jaume Plensa Cladding Brook Van Dalen Area 199,781 m2 Budget Withheld Completion June 2013

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“ The Holcim Awards did bring attention to the river project and in turn triggered new rehabilitation initiatives including an additional international design competition.” Aziza Chaouni, Architect, Aziza Chaouni Projects and Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Winner of the Holcim Awards Global Gold prize in 2009.

4th International Holcim Awards for sustainable construction projects. Prize money totals USD 2 million.

Renowned technical universities lead the independent juries in five regions of the world. They evaluate projects at an advanced stage of design against the “target issues” for sustainable construction and allocate additional prizes for visionary ideas of young professionals and students. Find out more about the competitions at www.holcimawards.org The Holcim Awards is an initiative of the Swiss based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction. It is supported by Holcim and its Group companies and affiliates in around 70 countries, including Holcim Canada. Holcim Ltd is one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement and aggregates.

Aziza Chaouni - 9X11.25.indd 1

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Making Waves An undulating concrete roof gives distinct presence to a new Edmonton branch library.


The dynamic concrete roof of Jasper Place Library is pocked with skylights and acoustic treatment areas. community room topped with a terrace steers visitors towards the main entrance.

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JASPER PLACE BRANCH LIBRARY HUGHES CONDON MARLER ARCHITECTS AND DUB ARCHITECTS Text Trevor Boddy Photos HUBERT KANG UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED Project

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Edmonton in the 1970s was—for a few short years—the most architecturally innovative city in Canada. Design impresario Peter Hemingway was at his peak, as was his friend Douglas Cardinal, who was then finishing St. Mary’s Church and Grande Prairie Regional College. Moreover, Edmonton supported the breakthrough HUB Mall and Citadel Theatre— designs that precipitated a global reputation for Toronto’s Jack Diamond and Barton Myers. The Prairie city may be doing it again. With the support of three-term mayor Stephen Mandel, the achievements of City architect Carol Bélanger, and a civic commitment to engaging local and national design talent (see CA, January 2013), Edmonton has surpassed la belle province as Canada’s most enlightened commissioner of public buildings. The impressive built results now include the new Jasper Place Branch Library. The library’s voluptuous waves of thin-shell concrete bring to mind a structure of a different country and era—the lakeside Church of São Francisco in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. That nation’s sixth-largest city, Belo Horizonte is industrial and prosperous, off the tourist’s beaten track, but invigorating in its friendliness and support of creativity and creators—all qualities shared with the Alberta capital. During WWII, the Brazilian metropolis produced the first radically new architecture from the hands

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Gabriel de Andrade Fernandes Edgar Jiménez

of designers who had already mastered the International Style. The inno­ vative lakeside Casa do Baile and Church of São Francisco in the then-new suburb of Pampulha emerged from the same team that would produce Brasilia 20 years later—architect Oscar Niemeyer, urban designer Lúcio Costa and politician Juscelino Kubitschek. First the drawings, then photos of the bold sculptural forms in reinforced concrete were sent to Niemeyer and Costa’s mentor Le Corbusier, who was at that time painting and writing in occupied Paris. In my view, one finds the roots of Le Corbusier’s Ronchamp and La Tourette more in the Belo Horizonte innovations than any other single source. The roofs for both the Belo Horizonte church and the Edmonton library spring from their foundations, spanning one way in a cascading series of vaults. Both have a mezzanine under their highest points, and perhaps most interestingly, both are radical takes on conventional building programs. The Pampulha church was so spatially unprecedented, so committed to modern art and new spaces for new times that the Roman Catholic bishop withheld consecration for 16 years. According to managing design partner Darryl Condon of Vancouver’s Hughes Condon Marler Architects (HCMA), the Jasper Place building is “a library for the end of the era of physical books—pure social space.” Indeed, stacks are at a minimum, and may be further reduced in future years to make more space for study, consultation, readings and so on. A church without official masses, a library where books are not the focus—welcome to the curving space-time continuum of true Modernism! Jasper Place Library is sited facing Meadowlark Road NW, an arterial leading to a 1960s vintage shopping mall that failed with the rise of West Edmonton Mall, located 14 blocks west. There is a gentle curve in this road’s alignment, unusual for this gridiron prairie city. Upon beginning his urban analysis, Saskatchewan-raised Condon capitalized on the visual power gained by this slight curve by imagining a striking roofline, visible 36 canadian architect 11/13


Opposite, top to bottom The main reading room is bathed in light from south-facing windows; two views of the similarly wave-shaped Church of São Francisco by Oscar Niemeyer in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Above Low book stacks maintain clear views across the library, while freestanding torchieres keep the ceiling free of clutter.

from afar in its flat surroundings. The concept of “one big room” matched the technological ambitions of Edmonton Public Libraries, whose new mechanical book-sorting and self-scanning checkout systems would minimize back-of-house and processing spaces. Jasper Place Library opens up at the south to gather light under a generous cantilever of its roof, but hunkers down to near ground on east and west sides to control heat gain from low-angle sun. This is one Edmonton building that will look even better surrounded by snowbanks, with winter sun diffused through its grade-level window-wrap into the grand reading room. In contrast to the curvilinear roof, the library’s main entrance is a box lined with wood inside and UV-proof composite wood panels outside, a rectangular form that erupts unexpectedly from a wall of glass striated by brise-soleils. In the same way that Niemeyer built on the innovations of Félix Candela and others in Europe who developed thin-shell concrete, HCMA found the most advanced engineering possible from Vancouver’s Fast + Epp. Serving as both walls and roof, waves of concrete are the heart of the Jasper Place Library, and credit for their brilliance is happily shared by both architects and engineers. What is unique, most post-Pampulha, about the Edmonton roof is the selective removal of portions of the concrete shell for skylights and acoustic treatments up top, and below, apertures set out in front of east elevation windows—its Latin churchiness has been given the Swiss cheese treatment. Counterintuitively, the Jasper Place Library roof structure spans north-south along the axis of its folds, bearing on thin rectangular steel tube posts set just within glazed walls. Project engineer Paul Fast ex-

plains that post-tensioned cables at the bottom of the roof’s “troughs” are crucial to its lightness and continuous structural action. He notes that Jasper Place Library uses concrete not as an eggshell diaphragm dome (like many of the Candela and Niemeyer creations), but for a trough-stiffened moment frame. The folded plates of the concrete provide lateral stiffness; thus, cross-bracing was not required. Another key innovation is a customized installation of a German Schöck Isokorb premanufactured thermal insulation component for where roof meets glass line, in both vertical and horizontal applications. This allows Jasper Place Library’s thin, canti­levered roof brow to remain free of bulky insulation. The standing seams of the roof’s milled aluminum exterior cladding are aligned east-west, perpendicular to the structural axis. Jasper Place Library’s shapes and palette make it a sparkling landmark, visible blocks away. With repeated visits over Jasper Place Library’s design and construction period, it was a delight to see these roof forms take shape, then condense with the discipline that left their surfaces clean—not a sprinkler head or light fixture to mar their surfaces, just the pure delight of bare concrete shaping space. But its potential remains partially unrealized in plan: the roof acts relatively independently of the activities it encloses. For example, the layout of book stacks is diagonal to the roof axis, literally at cross-purposes with the powerful spatial logic above. Similarly, key lighting elements—torchieres mounted on high poles providing both up- and down-light—are distributed around the room in a manner that competes, unnecessarily, with the ceiling (a little too much “gee whiz” from a device that needs to be “see whiz”). The colour temperature of the LED lighting 11/13­ canadian architect

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ABOVE A night-time view of the library, whose curvilinear form is visible from several blocks away in this flat Prairie city. Below Stairs and seating platforms climb up to the balcony level. OPPOSITE TOP Playfully shaped perforations in the aluminum cladding on the east façade align with windows, doorways and a book drop. Opposite MIDDLE A view of the library’s west elevation.

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fixture chosen, especially for the up-light, is too cold to pull out the warm tones of the exposed concrete. The most baffling areas of Jasper Place Library’s plans are the sunken portions of both main and mezzanine floors. The larger one is home to the children’s library, but at a price of one-sixth of its area being eaten up in an activity-defying ramp. The sunken area in the teen lounge upstairs seems even more arbitrary. Why couldn’t these activities been set on flat floors, but located to match the roof—or even better, the roof shaped at conception to give definition to the activities below them? Alvar Aalto’s libraries are signal lessons in the power of section, where drama in roof forms and exploitation of natural light means that plans can remain simple, and always set by a spatial order originating from above. The worst distraction in this room is not of either design firm’s doing. A public art piece that spreads across the prominent wooden wall of the only interior elevation, with snowflake geometries on black plates arrayed in checkerboard, needlessly adds to the busyness of the room. As wonderful as Edmonton’s public architecture program has become, there is work to be done in bringing public art up to the same standard. My two favourite Jasper Place Library spaces are the more intimate (and closer to the concrete ceiling) reading room upstairs, and the outside deck which glories in light and views, sheltered by a concrete cantilever. HCMA project designers Condon and Stuart Maddocks assert that this 1,400-square-metre library can evolve over time. Indeed, Jasper Place Library’s structural bones are strong, and the building’s functional flesh can adapt, notably with HCMA and Dub Architects designing in raised floors to accommodate any new information technology or stacks alignment (or even a total lack of stacks). True to Condon’s notion of library as “pure social space,” I saw clutches of patrons, old and young, clustered around screens showing kitten videos, with very few cruising those dim­ in­ished rows of books. But is YouTube any worse than the Tom Swift teen novels that drew my generation of wannabe-astronaut dweebs to libraries, or the Penny Dreadful mysteries that appealed to my great-grandfather? A descriptor Condon, local project architect Michael Dub and their clients at Edmonton Public Libraries constantly use regarding Jasper Place Library is “memorable.” The library is memorable to all who ex­ perience its rich spaces, as were the Edmonton works of the early 1970s, or São Francisco and its accompanying Pampulha developments in the

early 1940s. Niemeyer’s influential first experiments were built far from the ant trails of architectural critics and historians, which meant a long pause in understanding and appreciating their innovations. A reflection of the “Pampulha effect” onto the snowy northern plains, Niemeyer would undoubtedly be pleased with Jasper Place Library’s addition to Edmonton’s beautiful horizon. CA Lecturing regularly on design throughout Latin America, Vancouver architectural historian and critic Trevor Boddy has met the late Niemeyer and interviewed Costa. He recently edited the book Pools: Aquatic Architecture by Hughes Condon Marler Architects (ORO Editions). Client City of Edmonton/Edmonton Public Library Architect Team Darryl Condon, Gene Dub, Stuart Maddocks, Michael Dub, Steve Dipasquale, Vincent Siu, Ciaran Bonar Structural Fast + Epp Mechanical/Electrical Williams Engineering Canada Inc. Landscape Carlyle + Associates Contractor Stuart Olson Dominion Construction Civil ISL Engineering and Land Services Inc. Code LMDG Building Code Consultants Inc. Acoustic Brown Strachan Associates Area 1,400 m2 Budget $8 M Completion December 2012

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X marks the spot A meticulously crafted inn adds to the visionary projects already established on remote Fogo Island.

Fogo Island Inn, Fogo Island, Newfoundland Saunders Architecture with Sheppard Case Architects Inc (architect of record) Text Michael Carroll Photos Alex Fradkin unless otherwise noted Project

Architects

It is an interesting fact that Fogo Island, once deemed to be one of the four corners of the world by the Flat Earth Society, is the location of an ambitious series of architectural projects whose stated objective is to resist the “flattening” of our shared cultural landscape. The newest addition to the roster is the Fogo Island Inn. The projects on Fogo Island (CA, September 2010 and June 2012) began with a vision for the community by Zita Cobb, who together with her brothers created the Shorefast Foundation. The non-profit envisaged a sustainable future for Fogo Island through developing the area as 42 canadian architect 11/13

an art and eco-tourism destination. Although the Fogo Island Inn opened this summer, its design began seven years previous. That’s when Todd Saunders, the Newfoundlandborn architect based in Bergen, Norway was hired by Cobb and Shorefast to design a series of artists’ studios, followed by the inn. The process was intense. From his office in Bergen, Saunders produced what he remembers to be at least a thousand floor plans that explored a range of design options. Schemes presented via internet with Shorefast every Wednesday were met with lengthy discussion and incisive questioning.

With an area of 40,000 square feet, the Fogo Island Inn is the largest project that Saunders has designed to date. Unlike the smaller art studios with their minimal program, the inn was driven more strongly by its internal dynamics. In the end, what prevailed was the response to a basic question: “What makes a good hotel?” The answer hinged on two essential ingredients— the bed and the breakfast. A good bed meant that it be positioned with a panoramic view of the Atlantic, while a good breakfast translated into a dining room that was at once both generous and intimate. The complexity of the pro-


Situated on the windswept Back Western Shore of Joe Batt’s Arm, the Fogo Island Inn’s craggy, layered volumes echo the forms of nearby sea-worn rock formations.

Above

gram and the simplicity of the architectural parti are captured in the basic configuration of the plan, shaped as an asymmetrical X. Both the plan and the fractured form of the inn seem to echo the remarkable geometric patterns that naturally occur in the island’s rock formations. The leg of the plan running parallel to the shoreline contains all of the inn’s 29 rooms. This elongated four-storey volume, which measures about 320 feet in length, is designed as a single-loaded corridor, ensuring that each room has an ocean view. The rooms vary in size from a tidy 350 square feet to 1,000-square-foot

double-height loft-styled suites. All rooms on the third and fourth floors have wood-burning stoves. Several suites feature sleeping alcoves, mezzanines, large corner windows, freestanding bathtubs and generous walk-in showers. The other leg of the plan, measuring about 200 feet long, is a two-storey volume aligned on the east-west axis of the site. It contains all the “public” amenities of the inn: meeting rooms, a gallery curated by Fogo Island Arts, a library featuring books selected by former Memorial University president Dr. Leslie Harris, and an e-cinema run in partnership with the National

Film Board of Canada. At the western end of this section is a double-height dining room where the morning breakfast, lunch, midafternoon tea and evening supper are served. From this vantage point, about 60 feet above sea level, large corner windows overlook the horizon of the North Atlantic, a line occasionally interrupted by the dramatic profile of an iceberg or the fin of a humpback whale. Both the Fogo Island artists’ studios and the inn are highly invested in addressing issues of economic, cultural and environmental sustainability. It thus comes as no surprise that the 11/13­ canadian architect

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Michael Carroll

Michael Carroll

Iwan Baan

Michael Carroll


A detail of the mitered exterior corners; Hot tubs sit atop the inn’s roof; façades are scribed where they meet the ground; the main stair and adjacent fireplace nook; the inn’s understated entrance plaza welcomes visitors; A view from the roof terrace. Above A nod to the stilt construction of cod-drying racks, the eastern end of the inn is supported on Corten steel columns drilled directly into the bedrock. Opposite, clockwise from top LEFT

design of the inn incorporates a variety of stateof-the-art environmental systems. In terms of active systems, the air-handling units, usually mounted on a rooftop, have been discreetly placed in the basement of the main building. Also located here are in-ground concrete water cisterns that contain rainwater channelled from the roof (to be reused as greywater), as well as a sole cistern for the inn’s super-filtered potable water. Like any residence in rural Newfoundland, the inn also has its own outbuilding. This houses items including wood-fired boilers used to warm water for the hotel’s in-floor radiant heating system, a backup electrical generator, laundry facilities and, last but not least, a shelter for the hotel’s two Newfoundland dogs, Make and Break. Atop its angled roof, 130 solar thermal collectors contribute to water heating. The outbuilding is carefully sited to shield the inn’s main entry from the heavy gusts of wind that

seem to be ever-present on the barren landscape of the Back Western Shore of Joe Batt’s Arm. Given the exposure of the site, one of the most dramatic architectural gestures is the cluster of Corten steel columns that support the eastern end of the inn. About 30 feet in height, the columns are directly tied into the bedrock with minimal alteration to the existing landscape. The forest of columns with the building overhead evokes the cod-drying flakes commonly seen in rural Newfoundland before the downfall of the fisheries in the early 1990s. The Fogo Island Inn is framed in steel; however, the building both inside and out is an inventive demonstration of contemporary wood detailing. This is a testament not only to the vision of Saunders but also the technical prowess of the local architectural firm, Sheppard Case Architects. Light grey façades that seemingly disappear in the Fogo Island fog are clad

in locally milled, rough-sawn black spruce boards. Given that the building is wrapped in a blueskin membrane, the wood envelope is designed as a zero-detail rain screen with mitered corners and no visible flashings. The horizontal shiplap boards are installed with great care, with each nylon-coated nail hammered by hand. The result of these efforts is a monolithic and understated exterior that gives the inn an overall level of abstraction. The minimization of architectural detail is particularly evident in the way the building meets the ground. The black spruce boards are simply scribed to follow the sinuous outline of the granite boulders and bedrock—the abstract form of the building literally tailored to the specific character of the landscape in which it sits. The interior’s walls and ceiling are also lined with black spruce; in this case, smooth, whitepainted tongue-and-groove boards. Subtle im11/13­ canadian architect

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Iwan Baan

Michael Carroll Above, left to right Wallpaper designed by Nick Herder lines a stair leading up to the rooftop sauna; Each of the 29 guest rooms faces the North Atlantic ocean. Opposite, top to bottom The dining room’s whimsical light fixtures are crafted from rope, recalling tangled fishing nets; The inn’s loft suites glow at dusk; A storage system for the guest rooms by London-based firm Glass Hill is locally made and available for purchase.

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perfections in the grain give a level of detail and scale to the hotel’s white interior that echoes the traditional finish of the saltbox houses of outport Newfoundland. The hardwood floors have a hand-oiled finish. Rift-sawn maple lines the hotel corridors, while birch is used in the guest rooms. At the beginning of the project, there was a conscientious decision that all surfaces of the inn that could be touched by hand would be constructed from wood. As a result, all window frames are hardwood and all stair handrails are milled lengths of 11/2”-diameter dowel. Beyond the building container, the contents of the inn have also been largely crafted from wood. A roster of young designers, mostly from Europe, designed the furniture. Of particular note are the wooden pegs that line the walls of the guest rooms and support a range of items: a mirror, a bookshelf, laser-cut clothes hangers. The system was conceived by Glass Hill, a London-based firm also responsible for the design of the main reception desk, the bar and the dining room furniture. As part of an overall plan for the economic development of Fogo Island, the inn’s furniture will be manufactured on the island and made available for purchase. Like the building, the furniture is resolutely contemporary while also referencing local vernacular ways of making. Take for instance the brightly painted Puppy Table, designed by one of the project’s architects, Nick Herder. The exuberance of its outline is matched by the economy of its construction—the entire table is sourced from a single length of board. Herder is also responsible, in part, for the digital design of the laser-printed wallpaper that accents a

wall of each guest room and lines the secondary stairwells. Never before have fire stairs been so grand, as the colour and design of the wallpaper shifts from one wall to the next with a sense of whimsy and delight. One set of stairs leads to the rooftop of the inn, which houses a Finnishstyled sauna designed by Rintala Eggertsson Architects. Aspen benches line the sauna while the exterior decks and open-air hot tubs—which offer splendid views of the North Atlantic—are clad in cedar. Charles Eames once stated that the designer’s role is to be a thoughtful host who anticipates the needs of his guests. In this regard, both the client and the architects of the Fogo Island Inn have proven to be excellent hosts. They have addressed their guests not only within their general design philosophy, but more importantly, in the specificity of the inn’s many details. From the triangle tile-lined vestibule, to the brasscast key fobs and hand-quilted bed covers, it seems that every detail both large and small has been thoughtfully considered. In the end, all the minutiae of the Fogo Island Inn are instrumental in creating an experience of quality and depth that avoids the nostalgic and the folkloric. The resulting cultural expression is truly original. The Fogo Island Inn encompasses a sense of the past, but more importantly, a genuine regard for the present and a fresh vision for the future of this distinct island culture. CA Michael Carroll is originally from Newfoundland. He is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Southern Polytechnic State University in Atlanta, Georgia.


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10 Client SHOREFAST FOUNDATION—Zita Cobb, Anthony Cobb, Alan Cobb Architect Team Saunders Architecture—Todd Saunders, Ryan Jørgensen, Joseph Kellner, Attila Béres, Nick Herder. Sheppard Case Architects—Jim Case, Dwayne Gill, Roger Laing. Structural DBA Consulting Engineers Ltd. Mechanical/Electrical Crosbie Engineering Ltd., Sustainable Edge Ltd., Odyssey Mechanical Inc., Bayview Electrical Ltd., Jenkins Power Sheet Metal Landscape Shorefast Foundation with consultation from Cornelia Oberlander, James Floyd Associates, Todd Boland and Tim Walsh (M.U.N. Botanical Garden) Interiors SHOREFAST FOUNDATION, Rintala Eggertsson Architects (sauna area), Studioilse, 2H Interior Design, Tongtong, Designholmen Contractor Shorefast Foundation, Anthony Cobb, Russ Petten, Dave Torraville, Keith Budgell Graphics and Wayfinding Bruce Mau Design, Designholmen, Kristina Ljubanovic Lighting Dark Tools Furniture, textiles and wallpaper Ineke Hans, Studiomama, Glass Hill, Donna Wilson, Simon Jones, SCP, Élaine Fortin, Tjep, Kym Greeley, Erika Stephens-Moore, Martine Myrup, Nick Herder, Yvonne Mullock, Chris Kabel, Winds and Waves Craft Guild, Mike Paterson, Shorefast Foundation Workshop, Eric Ratkowski, Reiko Igarashi Area 4,500 m2 Budget Withheld Completion June 2013

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A Winnipeg Thing

A new public washroom structure in Winnipeg’s vast Assiniboine Park relies on the “mining of unnatural resources” to move beyond recycling to reinvention. Assiniboine Park Washroom Boxes, Winnipeg, Manitoba Peter Sampson Architecture Studio TEXT W. Carson McCance PHOTOS Mat Piller and Elaine Stocki PROJECT

ARCHITECT

To those that know it, Winnipeg has always been difficult to label or categorize. Cosmopolitan yet rooted in an agrarian tradition, at times resolutely afraid of any perception of non-utility or cultural expression for its own sake, the city can and does produce music, art, literature, and architecture that is interrogative and wholly demonstrative of a pronounced local voice. A construction industry that not only withstood recent economic downturns but thrived in what most consider a “have-not” province frames an architectural environment that sees world-class projects going up alongside the worst lowest-common-denominator, developer-driven buildings. Even the weather plays its role: bitterly cold winters and at times tropical summers that residents cheerfully endure with a pioneer’s hardiness and pride. It is interesting, given these condi48 canadian architect 11/13

tions, that Peter Sampson Architecture Studio has with the Assiniboine Park washrooms so cleverly interrogated the processes of sustainability and transformation. Through a relatively humble typology and program, PSA Studio has created a deceptively nuanced contextual dialogue. At 1,100 acres, Assiniboine Park (along with the adjacent Assiniboine Forest) is perhaps the largest and most notable shared public amenity in the city, Winnipeg’s less urban answer to Central Park. Home to a zoo, restaurants, art installations, gardens, playing fields and interpretive centres, the park is located just south of the Assiniboine River—whose intersection with the famed Red River forms Winnipeg’s first inscribed crossroads. While evolving, the park’s spatial and formal organization paralleled the spaces and structures it contained, many of which were pastoral in spirit if not expression, having much to do with the principles of the 18th-century English and French landscape traditions. There’s a carefully cultivated sense of the natural, equally at home in Kew Gardens as on the Canadian Prairie. While in some respects the setting is antithetical to the highly particularized, there are growing instances of built space that attempt to bring a specificity of use and expression together. Historically, at least, one might think an architectural folly not entirely out of place, given its adjacency to the Lyric Theatre and Pavilion Gallery Museum, both Tudor-inspired buildings located at the north end of the park. One could scarcely imagine a program less suited to a folly, however—interesting in


Mat Piller Elaine Stocki

Mat Piller

Colour, reflection and translucency characterize the front elevations of the three new washroom pods in Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park; reclad in cedar siding with their back ends painted in cheerful hues, the reconfigured trailers are seen prior to site delivery; the project in context adjacent to the Tudoresque Lyric Theatre in the broad expanse of the park. CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE LEFT

Assiniboine Park

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A graduate of the University of British Columbia, Carson McCance lives in Winni­ peg. Since 1998, he has worked with LM Architectural Group. 50 canadian architect 11/13

Elaine Stocki

itself as a sort of inversion of the “programless” meme of yesteryear. Three distinct yet linked masses, providing four-seasons male, female, and universal-access washrooms along with mechanical and utility spaces, are created by repurposing 40-foot-long shipping containers. The decision was made early in the process to provide an architectural skin of shiplapped cedar siding and insulation on the exterior while leaving the interior expression decidedly raw and original. That these were once the “other” is only readily apparent on entry. Storage and mechanical spaces are found in the slivers of connective tissue that stitch the splayed forms together, set into the larger context so as to reinforce the viewing geometry from the Lyric Theatre. Formal manipulation was limited to maintain the containers’ structural integrity, and as such it is only on their short elevations that erasure is allowed to occur. The voids are filled with frosted and opaque glazing that provides both privacy and a surface to alternately reflect or retreat into the immediate surroundings. There is a certain interest created in such subtle ambiguity, only just offset by modest signage and subtle text. Almost entirely constructed and assembled off site and brought to the park via trucks, the whole project—from conception to completion of construction—lasted only four months. The design-build delivery methodology employed here is increasingly becoming as locally ubiquitous as the mosquito, but is more an indication of a collaborative and budgetconscious sensibility that owners see favourably. The project forms part of a larger narrative undertaken by PSA Studio; when seen alongside their earlier bikeLAB and bikeFORKS projects, it forms an ongoing conversation that has at its heart the transformation of found objects, the “mining of unnatural resources,” as Sampson puts it—residual spaces, materials, and sites reinvented and reinserted rather than merely recycled. It’s not the sort of superficial contextuality that mandates mimicry or deformation. This is a different breed, one that is as much about when as where, and one that operates on the level of process as much as product. Surely the idea of reuse seen here, and the economy of both scale and production, speaks loudly to the realities of 21st-century practice in which we all operate. Winnipeg’s history, so indelibly writ by trains, trucks and transit, is firmly established. Nowadays shipping containers that originate from a world away end up here only to be abandoned, having reached the end of the line. These three, at least, have been reinscribed to be something entirely new, perhaps echoing the fact that Winnipeg was once that which (re)inscribed the Prairie and which has, in turn, been reimagined as both more and less than a transportation hub. It’s a narrow path to negotiate, one that may not be clear to those unfamiliar with Winnipeg. There’s an elevation of the pragmatic, a level of understated innovation here that is entirely of this place. The realities of today’s practice are all too often driven by processes rather than product— schedule, cost, fees, committee. Finding solutions that are elegant while respecting all that comes with budget and delivery pressure is in itself relevant to context regardless of region or sector, but most certainly resonates in Winnipeg’s economic climate. Here, the architect has utilized an economy of both means and production that responds to what can be a “small-c conservative” fiscal environment while acknowledging environmental responsibility. There’s an ability on the part of PSA Studio to produce refinement without ostentation, and to question without shouting for attention, resulting in an evolved expression growing from the city’s welldocumented Modernist tradition while still remaining current and topical. It’s a lot to ask from three public washrooms, but Peter Sampson Architecture Studio has done much to negotiate what to some hailing from further afield might see as contradictory. It’s not. It’s just a Winnipeg thing. CA

ABOVE Well-considered details include the projecting stainless steel signs bearing iconic gender and family symbols.

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CLIENT Assiniboine Park Conservancy ARCHITECT TEAM Peter Sampson, John Duerksen, Andrew Lewthwaite, Liane Veness, Dirk Blouw, Mat Piller, Monica Hutton STRUCTURAL Wolfrom Engineering Ltd. LANDSCAPE Assiniboine Park Conservancy with Peter Sampson Architecture Studio INTERIORS Peter Sampson Architecture Studio CONTRACTOR Gardon Construction Ltd. AREA 1,100 ft2 BUDGET $350,000 COMPLETION May 2013


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Insites

Community Building

A downtown tower and nearby revital­ ization plan demonstrate Toronto Community Housing’s commitment to high-quality neighbourhood development.

Podium Section, 150 Dan Leckie Way

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Text

Julie Bogdanowicz Tom Arban unless otherwise noted

Photos

Toronto Community Housing (TCH) has been a longtime force in shaping its city. Historically, the public-housing provider has tested many built forms and typologies, tracing prevailing social attitudes and architectural fashions. There have been successes and failures: the 1950s mega-projects on superblocks are now behind us, while we’ve come to accept Jane Jacobs urbanism as status quo. With two new projects—a tower at 150 Dan Leckie Way in CityPlace and the redevelopment of the inner-city Alexandra Park neighbourhood—the agency is offering a hybrid of these two approaches. Both projects create dense inner-city housing that carefully negotiates its street presence, one in the form of an apartment high-rise on a brownfield site, the other through redeveloping an existing neighbourhood with a mixed-use development. In both cases, TCH asserts a commitment to high-quality architecture and planning. The TCH scope is broad: they are landlords who oversee a portfolio of over 2,000 buildings.

They are the second-largest public housing provider in North America, with 164,000 tenants whose rent is geared to their income, and over 90,000 households waitlisted. Increasingly, TCH is also becoming a developer, or a re­ developer. The deft operation of this agency is critical in the wake of the recession and in light of the city’s serious shortage of both affordable and rental housing. This is compounded by Toronto’s current socio-spatial shift: the middle class is disappearing and low-income residents are being pushed to the inner suburbs, where they find few amenities and inadequate transit service. There is great urgency for renewal within TCH’s portfolio. The majority of projects are of a 1970s vintage and there is a $751-million repair backlog. But capital is in short supply. The Province of Ontario recently announced it will terminate a $150-million fund to pay for social programs in Toronto by 2016, and Mayor Rob Ford refuses to raise property taxes, which are among the lowest in the province. As an alternative means of funding, when TCH redevelops its own sites, in some cases it simultaneously delivers market housing—a


Tridel Opposite A tower and podium designed by KPMB Architects in association with Page + Steele and IBI Group Architects provides familysized rent-geared-to-income condos in Toronto’s CityPlace neighbourhood. Above Toronto Community Housing is leading a 15-year two-phase revitalization plan that will knit the currently inward-looking Alexandra Park community back into the urban fabric.

model it pioneered with the ongoing Regent Park revitalization (see CA, July 2012). The Alexandra Park plan includes 65% market units that effectively fund the construction and renovation of its affordable housing units. Socially, it makes sense to mix socio-economic classes. Economically, it makes sense to maximize revenue-generating potential. The desire to improve and augment existing TCH sites is championed by local councillor Adam Vaughan, who believes there is “a logical sequence where better architecture produces better public housing, which in turn produces better cities.” TCH is proving itself a responsible innovator in this regard. One key precept is providing high-quality units that accommodate families, unlike the typical small rental units downtown. Vaughan recently suggested, “If a city creates bedrooms where children are made, the city should then create units with enough bedrooms for this offspring.” Because families of 10 are not uncommon TCH tenants,

15% of Alexandra Park and 150 Dan Leckie Way will consist of units with three or more bedrooms. 150 Dan Leckie Way

The recent opening of 150 Dan Leckie Way has injected stroller traffic into the CityPlace neighbourhood, 10 newly developed blocks that line the downtown rail corridor between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue. Young professionals—who typically leave when they start families—dominate in the area. The social mix in 150 Dan Leckie Way, says design lead Shirley Blumberg of KPMB Architects, is more like a real city. Blumberg was raised in South Africa and is vocal about social equity: “This is dear to me. It’s why I came to Canada in the first place.” The project’s 428 units are organized within a prescribed tower-and-podium typology. The nine- and 11-storey podium uses a skip-stop section that eliminates six corridors, and allows

for cross ventilation of the stacked units. Project architect Richard Unterthiner worked to communicate the scheme to the client and consultants through diagrams that have been memorialized as a feature wall: a gigantic backlit section animates the lobby. Early conversations during schematic design resulted in 150 Dan Leckie Way’s unique typology. TCH was inspired by Jack Diamond and Barton Myers’ Hydro Block, a four-storey townhouse development with an inventive section that incorporates front doors on streets, ter­ races and passive surveillance. 150 Dan Leckie Way’s podium couples this approach with earlier precedents—including Le Corbusier’s street in the sky—and packages the whole in a mid-rise building typology. It works. There are few high-rises in Toronto with ambitious sections (with the notable exception of TCH’s 60 Richmond East by Teeple Architects) and even fewer that take advantage of the seemingly economical skip-stop corridor 11/13­ canadian architect

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Maris Mezulis

The 35-storey 428-unit tower and podium at 150 Dan Leckie Way is articulated with rhythmic black and white façades; A mix of amenity spaces and private yards rings the raised courtyard; Ground-level units offer private entries and small yards with outdoor storage; the corner includes retail at grade with a multipurpose community room above and a roof garden on top. Above, clockwise from top left

typology (with the notable exception of District Lofts by architectsAlliance). Also rare are apartment buildings that have units on two floors, particularly after the demolition of Peter Dickinson’s towers in Regent Park. In sum, 150 Dan Leckie Way is a welcome addition to Toronto’s unrelenting vertical landscape of stacked floor slabs. From the outside, 150 Dan Leckie Way has a provocative urban presence. Viewed from a distance, the brightly coloured perimeter corridors glow like beacons. The massing of the podium 54 canadian architect 11/13

elegantly breaks away at the southeast corner in response to views of a park and the waterfront beyond. The tower’s massing is visually divided into black and white sections clad in a synco­ pated, two-storey supergraphic pattern of spandrel panels. The finer-grain detail is equally well resolved at grade. Servicing was carefully negotiated: there is no unfriendly backside to this building. The animation of the street-level units spills out onto the sidewalk. Similarly, on the podium’s third floor, a rooftop courtyard weaves together

private outdoor space with common areas. The podium’s corridors are extra wide, have operable windows, and were designed as extensions of the private units. Blumberg speaks of Modernism’s social commitment and the importance of creating social infrastructure. The rooftop courtyard features a ring of social spaces that act in synergy. Playrooms, communal kitchen, event space and laundry room overlook the commons and are connected by a walkway. During a recent visit, as if on cue, two young siblings on scooters


LGA Architectural Partners

began to use this circuit while their mother did the laundry and tended to her other children. The passive surveillance in this secure social space was clearly working. Overall, this project is highly resolved and the developers have been fielding phone-call inquiries about the “high-end housing” they are building in CityPlace. In fact, the project came in under budget, and Howard Cohen of Context Development says the sectional gymnastics were not a significant cost, although they were a matter of inconvenience for the builder.

Teeple Architects

The success of the social infrastructure on display at 150 Dan Leckie Way is reminiscent of the optimism that went into the social-housing vision of the 1960s. Architect Jerome Markson designed Alexandra Park as an 18-acre village of maisonettes and towers laid out along an internal pedestrian mews, turning its back to the city and its unpleasant thoroughfares. This village has matured and now houses 2,500 tenants in what has become a desirable neighbourhood, bordered by eclectic Kensington Market to the north, bustling Chinatown to the east, and fashionable Queen Street West to the south. Despite the original plan’s optimism, over time, Alexandra Park’s lack of continuity with the city has become problematic. And while its housing stock has reached the end of its life cycle, it was not originally slated for revitalization. Rather than asking for permission, Councillor Vaughan deployed a group of experts to work with the local community—who constitute one of TCH’s most tightly knit groups of residents—to develop a new master plan. TCH got on board when it witnessed this momentum; however, the community consultation was not always smooth. Some children who grew up in Alexandra Park have since trained as planners and were armed with the knowledge that they have the “right to say no.” The plan that is moving forward is an absolute reflection of what the community sanctioned. The City retained Urban Strategies to develop a master plan; LGA Architectural Partners and Teeple Architects are building out the first phase with developer Tridel. In the final scheme, apartment buildings, rowhouses, stacked townhouses and a community centre will be built with a large linear park acting as the development’s spine. While the current plan calls for private yards and local community uses adjacent to the park, planner Ken Greenberg— who is a member of the design review panel— would prefer to see broader public uses fronting this central green space. In total, 333 townhouses and apartment units

LGA Architectural Partners

Alexandra Park

Above, top to bottom Designed by LGA Architectural Partners, the new TCH single-family rowhouses in Alexandra Park will include finished basements and a range of con­ figuration options to accommodate residents with different needs and preferences; The Block 10 development uses white and black brick for visual variety in the three townhouse typologies; Teeple Architects’ dynamic design for the Block 11 market condominiums in Alexandra Park.

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Urban Strategies

to maintain the present intimate character is addressed in the inclusion of narrow “pedestrian priority streets” in the new plan. In addition to normalizing the street network, the new plan normalizes the green space, which was deemed “inefficient.” The City required that 403 mature trees be replaced at a ratio of 3:1, and most will be replanted in the new Central Park. While some were pest-prone ash trees, it is unclear whether or not others could have been preserved within the new master plan. For the first time, TCH will phase its work and allow for zero displacement of existing residents on site. However, 25 households elected not to endure the 15-year construction period and instead relocated to the newly opened 150 Dan Leckie Way. City planner Jeffrey Cantos insists the buildings are broken, not the community. In the future, there will surely be additional phasing: because both market and non-market housing is on offer, residents will be able to stay in their neighbourhood as their income levels change. Still, the concentration of social housing in towers is “worrisome” according to Councillor Vaughan. He is proactively working with developers to create co-op units in the market housing that will work outside of the TCH mandate.

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Market condo units ~1540 units Maintained TCH/Atkinson Co-op units 473 units Public open space Publicly accessible, private open space Courtyard Private yard

10 25 50 will be replaced (65% of the existing townhouses will be replaced in a townhouse form), 473 apartment units refurbished, and 1,540 market units added with retail at grade where appropriate. Because of its repair backlog, the TCH can only replace units, and not provide additional rent-geared-to-income housing. The majority of the new density lines Dundas Street West to avoid overwhelming the reconfigured community. The 15- to 17-storey towers minimize their impacts with generous setbacks and spacing.

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One of the redevelopment’s primary planning objectives is to align new public streets with existing fabric. It’s a simple move that will eliminate Alexandra Park’s sense of being “other”—an island apart from the city. When walking the site today, one senses the uniqueness of its utopian vision, but also understands the lack of provisions for EMS access, crime prevention, wayfinding, safety, pizza delivery and garbage removal. Also evident is the overprovision of surface parking—the existing 245 stalls will be relocated underground. The desire

Increasingly, architecture is not just about the design of buildings. Alexandra Park and 150 Dan Leckie Way demonstrate how projects must navigate the economic and social conditions that play out in the built environment. Ironically, the TCH might be doing this too well. The agency is facing sour critics who question why they are hiring great designers to make great buildings. It’s a disturbing question that suggests the less fortunate are less worthy of the quality we should expect from our built environment. In fact, TCH building budgets are equal to or below those of market buildings, but their recent projects are outshining private development. Toronto has seen its share of reformism and technocratic approaches to the city. As Ken Greenberg notes, there is a lack of commitment to the city on behalf of the private sector, “but TCH has demonstrated that it’s possible to make good architecture and good neighbourhood building.” With the hoped-for success of Regent Park, the completion of 150 Dan Leckie Way, and the plans for Alexandra Park, many agree that TCH is getting it right. CA Julie Bogdanowicz works as an intern architect and teaches architecture at the University of Toronto in the Daniels School of Architecture, Landscape and Design.


Practice

New Identities

Branding strategies help firms make over their image and develop fresh appeal for Generation Y employees and clients.

Text

Above DIALOG’s social media page creates a vibrant image of the company by inviting participation from employees, clients and other collaborators.

Mark Busse

“Brand wasn’t even a word in our vocabulary when I was in architecture school,” says Roger Hughes, a founding partner of Hughes Condon Marler Architects (HCMA). “Before marketing, our brand was our work, our reputation, and we just waited for the phone to ring and jobs to walk in the door—a door with our last names on it.” Like many architects of the Baby Boomer generation, Hughes is near retirement and is engaged in succession planning, keen to leave his firm thriving and in good hands. But he has found that operating a successful firm these days requires more marketing than ever. Replacing the names of partners on doors, the firm’s brand is ascending to a central role. A growing number of architects’ customers and employees are Millennials who have different views, priorities and career aspirations than their predecessors. They mistrust big business and traditional marketing, instead seeking ideological alignment from companies they do business with or work for. These young professionals seek out authentic brands that engage them in a meaningful way. Unfortunately, being open

and authentic has not been the habit of the architecture industry. “Times have changed and too many architecture firms still view marketing as a dirty word,” says DIALOG principal Bruce Haden. “Firms must give this critical aspect of business the time, energy and resources it deserves in order to thrive in this increasingly competitive industry—especially if they want to attract and retain the best talent.” In its simplest form, a brand is a belief system—a set of ideals that an audience associates with a company. Though there are tangible words and images associated with a brand (a logo, symbols, colour schemes, fonts), its essence lies in the intangible values it elicits. In the architecture field, many of the firms that are thriving are those that have moved beyond marketing messages focused merely on the buildings they design, to express their underlying motivation and story. Architecture is a service industry at its core, providing for society and people, yet architects struggle to put relationships at the root of their branding and marketing strategies. Firms often focus on past accom11/13­ canadian architect

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plishments and completed buildings instead of those who live, work and play in them. Many architects have not taken the time to understand where they specialize, what they believe in, and who they aspire to be. These firms have not only missed out on business opportunities and revenues, but are also challenged in attracting the best new graduates from architecture schools. Talent acquisition and retention has become as urgent as other business needs, even rivalling new business development. In the next decade, many Gen X architects will take over from the Baby Boomers who have dominated leadership positions in the industry for the past four decades. Millennials will also make up an increasing share of the workforce in the coming years, and the architecture industry will be forced to respond to a new audience that seems increasingly disinterested in traditional approaches to business and marketing. “Creating a brand that moved away from names on the door was critical with a merger of four firms,” says Roger Graham, former marketing director at DIALOG. There are numerous examples of architecture firms reconsidering their company name, discarding the last names of retired past partners in favour of an identity inclusive of stories about the firm’s current people, ideas, success and impact. “One of the advantages of marketing done well is the ability to create authentic relationships with both clients and staff based on a set of values,” offers Haden. “The challenge is those values have to be more than just marketing and rather something that can be lived up to.” This is especially poignant when one considers the desire of Millennials for a sense of belonging to a community; if they feel a misalignment of values, they are much more inclined than previous generations to quit and move on. Beyond DIALOG’s new name, they invested in a highly interactive, mobile-friendly website. By publishing thought leadership through posts and integrating social media channels into their portfolio case studies, DIALOG empowers staff to participate in the conversation. That form of engagement provides website visitors with “excellent visual clues about how we work with clients, what our values are, and how we treat our people,” says Graham. The result has been strong business growth and a notable increase in the quantity and quality of new recruits. The web is a far more important branding and recruitment tool than many firms seem to realize. Recent statistics show a rapid increase of architecture/engineering/construction (AEC) professionals engaging the web and, most im­por­tantly, researching architecture firms from mobile web devices. Yet most architecture websites are not responsive and many don’t work on mobile devices. As an industry, architects must learn that beautiful photos of empty buildings—without a person in sight or expression of the context, problem, approach or results—are rap­id­ly becoming an ineffective means of marketing. Not all firms are in a position to spend the time and resources necessary to completely reinvent their brand and marketing—and certainly not all should. The good news is that any architecture firm can make improvements to their brand performance if their leaders are willing to shake off old modes of thinking. Often, our consultancy begins by asking clients: what is the WHY behind your brand? If I were to visit your website today, would I be able to quickly ascertain what your firm stands for and believes in? Would I feel engaged and able to enter a dialogue with you? What makes your firm stand out against the competition to engage younger clients and talented recruits? If you’re still relying on a list of names of past partners and a portfolio filled with photos of old designs, there’s never been a better time to reinvent your brand and story. CA Mark Busse is a founding partner of Vancouver-based strategy, brand and marketing consultancy Industrial Brand, which specializes in creating a distinctive market position for AEC professional services firms. He is a past chapter president of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, a design writer and an educator. You can follow him on Twitter at @MarkBusse.

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Books a pragmatic and poetic installation of solar balloons along transportation routes in the Arctic. Their exploration demonstrates a striking attentiveness to the interrelatedness of emotional and physical well-being. Shannon Werle’s essay on sound art that transforms the raw material of city noise into, variously, a minimal recording of subtracted sound, a performance piece, and a catalogue of “sonic specimens” encourages resensitizing ourselves to everyday sensory experience. Although not necessarily new, these arguments are at the core of a truly soft architecture that subverts the rigid systems-thinking of Modernism. Kai Woolner-Pratt studies at the School of Architecture at Dalhousie University.

Bracket—Goes Soft Edited by Neeraj Bhatia and Lola Sheppard. New York: Actar, 2012.

Bracket—Goes Soft, the second volume in the almanac series collated by Archinect and Infranet Lab with a changing cast of jurors, presents a wide selection of proposals. It includes both urban and rural projects at various scales—from a prototype desalination facility in the tropics to a post-apocalyptic vision of a bario colonizing the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge—that together suggest that a flexible and responsive tech­no­ polis will respond to pressing global issues. In the introduction, the editors declare that the definition of soft toward which we are going picks up from the work of Archigram, who changed the definition of soft “from the malleability of a material to the flexibility of a system.” The editors ascribe this redefinition to “design motives that were entrenched in a skepticism of Modernism.” From another vantage point, however, the postwar avant-garde with its NeoFuturist cities simply continued the TechnoUtopianism that lies at the heart of Modernism. So, can’t we go softer? In certain projects, a more convincing version of softness as subversive and opposed to the hardness of Modernist ideology and practice can be glimpsed. These more phenomenologically inflected contributions return to the sensing body as the basis for experiencing architecture and the city. STUDIOGRUBER’s A Floating Room, for instance, literally suspends reality through an immersive and surprising sensational experience, providing an opening for more profound social interactions to take place. Claire Lubell and Virginia Fernandez’s Buoyant Light proposes

Architecture of Saskatchewan: A Visual Journey, 1930-2011 By Bernard Flaman. Regina: University of Regina Press, 2013.

Nearly 10 years in the making, Bernard Flaman’s long-awaited survey of architecture in Canada’s most central prairie province picks up where the 1986 publication Historic Architecture of Saskatchewan left off, chronologically presenting by decade the best buildings in the province—all documented within an extensive historical context. A conservation architect with Public Works and Government Services Canada, Flaman has thoroughly researched the broad scope of his subject for the past several years. Rife with archival photos, drawings and artists’ sketches, the book sets forth the often poetic approaches taken to building in an unbroken and expansive landscape while enduring an unrelentingly harsh climate. As expected, most of the buildings featured are drawn from the province’s two largest cities, Saskatoon and Regina, but there is a varied assortment of exemplary buildings from many of Saskatchewan’s smaller communities. Just 108 years old, Saskatchewan was once (incredulously) the third most populous province in the early part of the 20th century prior to WWII. Following this ambitious period of ex-

pansion, Flaman’s opening chapter reflects the change in direction in the 1930s and ’40s from a preoccupation with late 19th- and early 20thcentury Revival styles to an era defined by Art Deco and Streamlined Moderne. While the 1950s were characterized by a buoyant economy recovering from the Great Depression and WWII, the decade ends with the distinct arrival of Modernism, laying a solid foundation for the exhilarating period to follow. The 1960s represent a distinct high point for the province, in which it experienced an unprecedented level of building activity marked by an experimental approach to the International Style. With the expansion of the University of Saskatchewan as the province’s only (at the time) postsecondary institution, many of the best buildings were constructed on its graciously scaled Saskatoon campus. Outside influences proved beneficial to the increasing sophistication of the province’s architecture: Saskatchewan’s best-known architect Clifford Wiens was educated at the Rhode Island School of Design, Kiyoshi Izumi studied at the London School of Economics and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and they—along with an influx of European-trained architects that had emigrated from the United Kingdom—were responsible for many of the outstanding buildings of this period. Of course, the building that Flaman chose as the image for his book’s cover is none other than Wiens’s iconic Heating and Cooling Plant for the University of Saskatchewan’s Regina campus— completed in 1967 and awarded a prestigious Massey Medal in 1970, followed more than four decades later with a Prix du XXe Siècle in 2011 from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. Wiens’s mastery is further evidenced by the stunningly pure and elemental form of Silton Chapel (1969) on the slopes of Last Mountain Lake, another Massey Medal winner. Tragically, the chapel faces imminent demolition. The Brutalism of the 1970s and the painful Postmodern excesses of the 1980s were followed by an even darker period in which Saskatchewan’s fortunes waned, and the province languished for almost two solid decades, architecturally and otherwise. By 2006, renewed economic prosperity ramped up construction activity, and thankfully, a new generation of architects now returning to the province signals its emergence from a prolonged period of relative dormancy. Architects, designers and potential clients would be well advised to read Architecture of Saskatchewan—not merely as an exercise in nostalgia but as a buoyant reminder of greatness and of what can still be accomplished in such an underrated and undervalued province. One 11/13­ canadian architect

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hopes that today’s practitioners will embrace these most worthwhile lessons of the past to inspire their future work, returning the architectural bar back to its former position of excellence. Saskatchewan’s economic future has never looked brighter; let’s hope its architectural future burns just as brightly. Leslie Jen, MRAIC, is the Associate Editor of Can­dian Architect.

Project by Project: Architectural/Memoirs By Clifford Wiens. Vancouver: Wiens Publishing House, 2012.

Clifford Wiens’s architecture was widely published around 1970 as an exemplar of the remarkable flowering of Canadian design in the wake of Expo 67. His projects show a deep commitment to the specifics of place, including both the physical site and climate, the material culture, and an abiding love of ingenuity driven by economy. The renowned early projects—St. Mark’s Shop, the University of Regina Heating and Cooling Plant, and the outdoor chapel at Silton—are mostly known from black and white photos in contemporary journals. The wonderful colour photographs in the main Project by Project volume provide new insight into the material and spatial qualities of his designs, augmented by drawings, models and images of the Saskatchewan landscape so important to Wiens’s thinking about placemaking. The early projects seem less singular situated as they are among the full breadth of his work, and one can see how his design method is manifest in more subtle projects, such as the masterful renovation of the Saskatchewan Legislature. Diverse in material and expression, his architecture shows a consistent interest in directness, economy of means, and lightness of effect. Documentation is accompanied by Wiens’s thoughtful, fulsome, sometimes barbed reflections on project process and the later lives of the buildings. Reflecting on his life in design, the architect offers two key insights. First, he sets aside the term “architect” and offers his work 60 canadian architect 11/13

under the title of “Clifford Wiens, Improver”— shifting the focus of his work away from self-expression and towards its usefulness in the world. Second, in reviewing the often challenging later lives of his buildings, altered and defaced by entropy, weather, and unsympathetic or ignorant stewards, he comes to recognize that architecture—understood as the self-conscious and deliberate expression of a spatial and material idea—is in reality so ephemeral that it is best understood as a kind of performance art, creating momentary artifacts that are released to quickly assume bittersweet and challenging lives of their own. Bernard Flaman’s epilogue offers a deeply felt contextualization of Wiens’s work in its Saskatchewan setting, and makes a strong case for the continuing relevance of the economy and realism embodied in these buildings. A second volume, Rewind and Fast Forward, is a more personal memoir of his early life on the prairie. His accounts of farm ingenuity and economy of effort are important clues to understanding the pre-stressed trusses of the Artists’ Studio, or the improvised contraption of telephone pole, wire automobile wheel, and hydraulic jack that enabled the pre-tensioning of reinforcing steel at St. Mark’s Shop. Read to­­ gether, these two volumes are a rich account of an architect’s intertwined life and career, and provide new insight into an important body of modern Canadian architecture. Books are available only from the author by contact­ ing cliffordwiens@shaw.ca. Halifax architect Steven Mannell, NSAA, FRAIC, is Professor of Architecture and Director of the College of Sustainability at Dalhousie University.

BattersbyHowat Edited by Brian Carter. Halifax: Tuns Press, 2013.

The latest installment from Tuns Press’s series Architectural Signatures Canada presents a selec-

tion of recent work from Vancouver-based Battersby­Howat Architects. The practice headed by Heather Howat and David Battersby is somewhat of a rarity—having garnered much critical and popular acclaim for their residential work, the partners only became licensed in 2010—a full 14 years after founding their firm. The timing then, of this slim grey volume, necessarily infuses it with intent. In short, to help propel this duo to the next stage of their career which, according to the contributors, means more varied and more public commissions. First and foremost, the monograph is a modest, matter-of-fact survey of 10 West Coast residential projects (nine built and one unbuilt) completed between 2004 and 2011. Each house is showcased, through drawings and photographs, across about a half-dozen pages. Over the course of their career, BattersbyHowat has helped usher in a sort of new contemporary vernacular—you can’t walk down a street in Vancouver without encountering the most sincerest forms of flattery, but these pale in comparison to the work illustrated here. Every site is carefully introduced, whether remote panoramic landscape or tight urban lot, and the character of each building emerges through a series of carefully composed moments. With each page turned the work becomes increasingly confident; the houses become larger and more deftly executed. Bold angular forms are tempered with wrappers made of thin wood slats; articulated compositions of mass and void are highlighted by spare material juxtapositions. Christine Macy, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at Dalhousie University, provides the origin story via David and Heather’s respective theses at Dalhousie in the mid-’90s. Christopher Macdonald, Professor at UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, surrounds their recent work with discussions on landscape and the artifice of design, a certain propensity for “deep thresholds” or “attenuated arrival” and the variously “firm, commodious, and delightful” attributes of their work. The book’s editor, Brian Carter, includes a postscript page illustrating a new project, noteworthy both for its more varied and public nature and for having won a 2012 Canadian Architect Award of Excellence. This, the UBC Geological Field School, a 10-building complex on 80 acres in the South Okanagan, concludes the monograph and gently ushers Battersby­ Howat into a future full of public purpose. We, the readers, patiently await this future. Courtney Healey is the Director of Lodge Think Tank and an intern architect at Public Architecture + Communication.


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News

(continued from page 16) Leisure and Social Development Department; and Guylaine Beaudry, Acting Director of the libraries of Concordia University. The borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro will begin the plans and specifications preparation process according to which the renovation and expansion work will be undertaken. The work includes the complete renovation of the existing building and an extension of 2,316 square metres. The new facilities will feature the integration of new technologies and a radio-frequency identification system to facilitate document management and to offer self-service loans and returns. In addition, the values of sustainable development will be integrated within the project designed to receive LEED Gold certification. This project is part of the Programme de rénovation, d’agrandissement et de construction des bibliothèques publiques de Montréal (RAC) de l’Entente sur le dévelop­ pe­ment culturel de Montréal. The ministère de la Culture et des Communications and Ville de Montréal will jointly contribute with $14 million. The remaining $4.4 million will be paid by the borough, also responsible for the operational costs. www.mtlunescodesign.com

What’s New

scriptions by e-mail to archsci.coop@ryerson.ca. Companies that hire a Ryerson Architectural Science Co-op student may be eligible for the Co-op Education Tax Credit up to $3,000 per 4-month work term. www.arch.ryerson.ca/co-op-program/

Ryerson’s Department of Architectural Science launches new co-op program.

Ryerson Univeristy’s Department of Architectural Science has announced a new Architectural Science Co-operative Education Internship (ASCEI), which continues the tradition of the university’s commitment to the development of co-operative education by integrating academic study with application of knowledge in a professional context. Drawing from an extensive network of local employers, ASCEI will provide top students who have completed their third year of undergraduate study with the opportunity to undertake a 16-month paid work placement, or internship, in an architecture or construction firm. ASCEI will enhance the academic environment, improve relations with the local architectural community, and provide students with a unique opportunity to apply their skills while gaining new insights into the industry. The first cohort of students will begin their work terms in May 2014. The co-op students will be a select group of 15-20 third-year students who are available to work for periods of 4, 8, 12 or 16 months. Employers interested in hiring a student are invited to submit job de-

2014 Glenn Murcutt International Architecture Master Class.

The 14th annual Glenn Murcutt Architecture Master Class will take place in Australia next July at Riversdale, the Boyd Education Centre on the shores of the Shoalhaven River south of Sydney. The now-famous event has attracted practicing architects, academics, postgraduates and some senior students from 70 nations around the world since its inception in 2001. The two-week residential program consists of a design-based studio, led by Pritzker Prize Laureate Glenn Murcutt and eminent architects and teachers Richard Leplastrier, Brit Andre­sen, Peter Stutchbury and former Dean of Architecture at the University of Newcastle in Australia, Lindsay Johnston. The studio program is supported by tutorials, lectures, and guided tour visits to significant buildings by the “masters.” Applications are now being accepted. www.ozetecture.org 80 Valleybrook Dr, Toronto, ON M3B 2S9

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Calendar School Work: Innovative Designs for Education

September 21-December 29, 2013 This architectural exhibition at Toronto’s York Quay Centre looks beyond the traditional classroom model to create new paradigms for how we gather and share knowledge. www.harbourfrontcentre.com One, and Two, and More Than Two

September 21, 2013-January 5, 2014 United by artist Micah Lexier’s interests in temporal and graphic systems of organization and measurement, this exhibition at the Power Plant Gallery in Toronto brings together an important selection of recent work. www.thepowerplant.org Layered Landscapes: Constructing Form and Meaning from the Sketches of Arthur Erickson

October 18, 2013-January 3, 2014 This exhibition at the Nickle Galleries in Calgary examines eight projects by Arthur Erickson (1924-2009), and focuses on sketches as artifacts of the design process as a kind of intermediate architecture that reveals inspiration and potential. www.library.ucalgary.ca/nickle/ Playing Favourites Part II: Geometry (Textures)

October 26, 2013-January 3, 2014 This is the second and final installment of an exhibition at Toronto’s Design Exchange where furniture and consumer products, as well as projections and graphics, examine how the use and manipulation of the basic elements of design can effect results both formulaic and chaotic. www.dx.org David Cronenberg: Evolution

November 1, 2013-January 19, 2014 Featuring controversial and provocative Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg, this Reich+ Petch-designed exhibition at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto presents artifacts, movie props, set pieces and dynamic film elements from his career. http://tiff.net/cronenberg/exhibition

Prototyping Uncertainty

November 11, 2013 Katherine Clarke, artist partner at muf architecture/ art in London lectures at 6:00pm in Room G10 of the MacdonaldHarrington Building at McGill University. Toronto Wood Solutions Fair

November 12, 2013 Taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, this event enables attendees to learn about innovation in building design, discover new products, and network with colleagues and industry experts. www.woodsolutionsfair.com Hanif Kara lecture

November 12, 2013 Hanif Kara, structural engineer and Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, lectures at 6:30pm at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto. Eran Neuman lecture

November 14, 2013 Head of the Azrieli School of Architecture at Tel Aviv University, Eran Neuman lectures at 6:30pm at Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science. Eastside Culture Crawl

November 15-17, 2013 Vancouver’s Eastside artists open their doors wide to reveal the secrets of their craft. Covering the area bounded by Main Street and Victoria Drive north of First Avenue, it draws over 20,000 visitors to 75 buildings, housing art from over 300 artists, including photographers, painters, glassblowers, jewellers, textile artists and more. www.eastsideculturecrawl.com Neuf

November 15, 2013-February 9, 2014 Organized by former Champ Libre director Cécile Martin, this ex­ hibi­­t ion at La Maison de l’archi­ tecture du Québec in Montreal features the work of Governor General’s Award-winning architects such as Saucier + Perrotte

architectes, Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, Teeple Architects, Kongats Architects, ACDF Architecture and others. www.maisondelarchitecture.ca

this documentary film by director Ian Harris portrays a studio-based design education through the eyes of five architecture students finishing their final design projects at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute.

Gregg Pasquarelli lecture

November 18, 2013 Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects in New York delivers a lecture at 6:30pm at Vancouver’s Robson Square. Michelangelo Sabatino lecture

November 18, 2013 Michelangelo Sabatino delivers a lecture at 6:00pm in the Centre Space of the John A. Russell Building at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Archi­tecture. Global South: Chandigarh and Casablanca

November 19, 2013-April 6, 2014 This CCA exhibition suggests a new historiography of modern urbanism based on two major urban experiments in Chandigarh—planned by a team consisting of Le Corbusier, Jeanneret, Frey, Drew and local architects and planners, and Casablanca—conceived by Michel Eco­chard and a team of young French and Moroccan architects. www.cca.qc.ca Greenbuild International Conference and Expo

November 20-22, 2013 Taking place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Greenbuild will showcase the latest in innovative products and services, and features opening plenary keynote speaker, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. www.greenbuildexpo.org The Resilience Challenge: Are Your Designs Ready?

November 21, 2013 Alec Hay lectures on designing resilient infra­struc­ ture at 6:30pm at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto. Archiculture

November 22, 2013 Screening at 12:00 noon at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture,

Mobility in the Suburbs

November 25, 2013 The Chief Planner Roundtable, an initiative of the Toronto City Planning division, is a public forum for Torontonians to discuss key city-building challenges, and takes place in Committee Room 2 at City Hall. Attendees will review challenges, opportunities and objectives, and identify a path forward for resolution. www.toronto.ca/planning/chief­ planner­roundtable/ One of a Kind Christmas Show

November 28-December 8, 2013 This show at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto features handmade designs by over 800 artists, makers, designers and craftspeople working in various media such as glass, ceramics, textiles and wood. www.oneofakindshow.com Construct Canada

December 4-6. 2013 Celebrating 25 years, Construct Canada enables visitors to discover the leading trends in Canada’s building and construction marketplace, where over 24,000 attendees and business leaders will be present, along with 450 speakers and 1,050 exhi­ bits at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. www.constructcanada.com Philosophy for Architects

December 7, 2013 Part of the Phil­ osophy Café series, this monthly event at Shelf Life Books in Calgary features a discussion of Mark Mitrovic’s book, one of the Architectural Briefs Series published by Prince­ton Architectural Press. www.shelflifebooks.ca For more information about these, and additional listings of Canadian and international events, please visit www.canadianarchitect.com

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BACKPAGE

Heart of the Matter

A pristine white gallery sheathed in red is a jewel in the lobby of Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science.

Text

Elsa Lam Shai Gil

Photo

Since 2009, Toronto firm Gow Hastings Archi­ tects has been subtly renovating Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Sci­ ence—opening up a workshop space here, re­ con­fig­u r­ing graduate offices there. Their latest intervention is more dram­atic. A new gallery transforms the main lobby, extending a bright white welcome to students and visitors alike. The Paul H. Cocker Gallery replaces a storage room, once used for student submissions and as a staging area for pin-ups, but pushes beyond the previous room’s boundaries. Intervening in Ron Thom’s Brutalist lobby, dominated by con­ crete beams and an angular grand staircase, was a challenge. “There are a lot of geometries going on in this space,” says principal Valerie Gow. Associate Jim Burkitt continues, “We thought, let’s make a gallery that feels as though it’s inserted into all of these exposed orders.” To distinguish the gallery from the original building, Gow Hastings chose bold contem­ porary materials: red felt walls to form a deep portal, oversized pivoting glass doors for a fric­ 66 canadian architect 11/13

Above The creation of a new gallery space for Ryerson University’s Department of architectural Science involved reconfiguring the lobby and adjacent studios.

tionless entry, and crisp white walls and floors for a sanctuary-like feel. The white floors— made from 50 cm x 300 cm Italian porcelain tiles that score high for cleanability—extend out into the lobby. A curved back wall also sets the space apart. It’s faceted into long, straight sec­ tions to allow for standard wall-mounted ex­ hibi­tions. Overhead, lines of adjustable track lights are interspersed with hefty steel bars for installations with heavy hanging elements. The thoughtfulness of the intervention ex­ tends around its perimeter. A slot window along the side of the gallery provides sneak peeks in­ side and out. The curved back wall pushes into a graduate studio; here, the red felt wraps around to form a tack-friendly surface to facilitate pinups. To articulate the gallery as a single con­ tinuous block, it’s separated from the studio doors by glass sidelights that pull back slightly from the door jambs. A stainless steel base­ board rings the volume’s recessed bottom edge. These details, along with the craftsmanship that went into the construction—the felt wall “was treated like a fine piece of millwork,” says Burkitt—make the backside of the gallery as

special as its front. In October, the gallery officially opened with an exhibition of the Canadian Architect photo­ graphic archives, donated to the university in 2009. In curating the exhibition, Ryerson com­ munications and digital archives specialist Prachi Khandekar and graduate student David Campbell sought to balance between drawing attention to the photographs and showcasing the space itself. “The display is pared down,” explains Khan­dekar. To pull visitors in, they applied vinyl floor transfers with quotes from the magazine’s past editors. Says Khandekar, “We made a daring attempt to keep the display free of interactive elements, using bold typog­ raphy instead to engage the viewer.” The gallery’s completing element—a digitally fabricated wall designed through a student competition—will slot beside the gallery en­ trance. Prototypes are underway for a lanternlike structure fashioned from backlit Corian panels, routed into intricate patterns on their concealed side. Once it’s in place, the glowing wall will add a final light touch to the school’s new heart. CA


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Canadian Architect November 2013  

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

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