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16 gair williamson architects tHis experienced arcHitect Has enjoyed an unusual career trajectory, designing soMe of tHe Most inventive new insertions and grafts into vancouver’s increasingly coMplex urban fabric. teXt trevor boddy

22 three Park washrooms bruce carscadden arcHitect iMbues tHree public park wasHrooMs in britisH coluMbia witH grapHically bold and distinct identities wHile retaining a certain sense of Modesty, ecology and econoMy. teXt adele weder

Haverstock associates

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news Ghost 11—Architectural Laboratory in Lunenberg County; winners of the 2009 OAQ Awards of Excellence in Architecture.

13 Practice Helena Grdadolnik and David Coluzzi offer new perspectives from abroad on the intricacies of the increasingly widespread P3 process.

27 Books batawa developMent corp.

Three recent publications offer a wide range of themes, from a historical perspective of the sprawling suburbs of Canada’s largest city, to the global energy crisis and how architecture might mitigate the inevitable.

29 calendar Palm Springs Modern: Photographs by Julius Shulman at the Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art; Light Canada and the Green Building Festival at the 2009 IIDEX/NeoCon show in Toronto.

30 BackPage Bata family matriarch Sonja enlists the aid of Carleton University architecture students to breathe fresh life into Batawa, Ontario. a drawing depicting tHe design process of bruce carscadden arcHitect inc., wHerein tHe disasseMbled colourful coMponents of tHree recent public wasHrooM projects are juMbled togetHer in a cardboard container like lego blocks. drawing by bruce carscadden arcHitect inc.


august 2009, v.54 n.08

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

08/09 canadian architect


roGers stIrk harbour + Partners


editor Ian ChodIkoff, OAA, MRAIC associate editor LesLIe Jen, MRAIC editorial advisors John MCMInn, AADIpl. MarCo PoLo, OAA, MRAIC

rIChard roGers’ desIGn for the redeveLoPMent of CheLsea barraCks In London Is the Latest tarGet In PrInCe CharLes’ attaCk aGaInst ConteMPorary desIGn.


This year, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) celebrates its 175th anniversary—a celebration that has inadvertently reignited debate relating to progress and tradition in contemporary architecture. Witness the guest speaker for its 2009 RIBA Trust Annual Lecture last May: the controversial “architecture critic” Prince Charles. For over 25 years, the Prince has become famous for his undying support of traditional architecture. Most recently, he made an attempt to undermine a London redevelopment—the former site of the Chelsea Barracks located near Christopher Wren’s Royal Hospital. The proposal, designed by Richard Rogers, involves the construction of a series of nine- to 13-storey buildings that will provide a mix of housing and retail. The Chelsea Barracks Action Group that opposes the design reminds us that well over 50 percent of the residential units will be priced in excess of £1 million. In a letter to the Emir of Qatar, the owner of the land and part-financier of the project (along with developer Candy & Candy), Prince Charles had asked the Emir to revisit the Rogers scheme and instead consider the work of architect Quinlan Terry, an unapologetic Classicist and favourite of the Prince. Instead of the glass-and-steel design by Rogers, Prince Charles proposed Terry’s more classical plan that mirrors the 17thcentury Wren-designed Royal Hospital across the street. Because so many architects felt that the Prince had overstepped his role as a member of the Royal Family, there was a call by several leading architects to boycott the 2009 RIBA Trust Annual Lecture. “The Prince’s latest move displays the destructive signs of his earlier interventions, when he set out to scupper modern architecture. This intervention must now be resisted by the profession; not because of the question of architectural style, but because his actions again threaten an important element of our democratic process,” stated a letter from a group of nine architects to The Guardian. This is not the first time that the Prince condemned the work of Lord Rogers. In 6 canadian architect 08/09

his 1984 RIBA Trust Annual Lecture, he called Rogers’ proposed extension to London’s National Gallery a “monstrous carbuncle,” thereby unleashing a battle between Classicists and Modernists during the height of Postmodernism. Despite the outrage, Prince Charles delivered his speech as scheduled. When RIBA President Sunand Prasad introduced the Prince, he noted diplomatically, “The first critiques of the bad effects of 20th-century planning orthodoxy were made by urbanists and architects like Jane Jacobs, Lewis Mumford and Team X, now almost half a century ago. The critiques of Modernism emerged from within Modernism and have become widely accepted, though practice on the ground has proved harder to change.” Careful to strike peace between Rogers and the Prince, Prasad further noted, “there are many examples of excellent planning and design of neighbourhoods that begin to match the ambitions of the pathfinding report by Lord Rogers of Riverside— Towards an Urban Renaissance—and the work of the Prince’s Foundation.” In his RIBA speech, the Prince explained, “there still remains a gulf between those obsessed by forms and those who believe that communities have a role to play in design and planning.” These concerns are valid, yet merely express a general consensus amongst the profession today. Furthermore, his criticism of Modernism’s “side-effects caused by quite unnecessarily losing our balance and discarding and denigrating every other element apart from the technological,” doesn’t excuse him from derailing a legitimate architectural scheme for the sake of promoting his classical or traditionalist predilections. Most architects do not wish to reproduce the ill effects of Modernism and traditionalist-minded architects are just as likely as any other architect to produce poorly designed buildings. Prince Charles’ hatred of Modernism is based on its past mistakes, not on the environmental, social and urban innovations it has achieved. Surely, our profession has learned something over the past 175 years. Ian ChodIkoff


contributing editors GavIn affLeCk, OAQ, MRAIC herbert enns, MAA, MRAIC douGLas MaCLeod, nCARb regional correspondents halifax ChrIstIne MaCy, OAA montreal davId theodore Winnipeg herbert enns, MAA 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 12 ConCorde PLaCe, suIte 800, toronto, on M3C 4J2 telephone 416-510-6845 facsimile 416-510-5140 e-mail edItors@CanadIanarChIteCt.CoM Web site www.CanadIanarChIteCt.CoM Canadian architect is published monthly by business Information Group, a division of bIG Magazines LP, a leading Canadian information company with interests in daily and community newspapers and business-to-business 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: $52.95 plus applicable taxes for one year; $83.95 plus applicable taxes for two years (Gst – #809751274rt0001). Price per single copy: $6.95. students (prepaid with student I.d., includes taxes): $32.50 for one year. usa: $101.95 u.s. for one year. all other foreign: $103.95 u.s. per year. us office of publication: 2424 niagara falls blvd, niagara falls, ny 143045709. Periodicals Postage Paid at niagara falls, ny. usPs #009-192. us postmaster: send address changes to Canadian architect, Po box 1118, niagara falls, ny 14304. return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Circulation dept., Canadian architect, 12 Concorde Place, suite 800, toronto, on Canada M3C 4J2. Postmaster: please forward forms 29b and 67b to 12 Concorde Place, suite 800, toronto, on Canada M3C 4J2. Printed in Canada. all rights reserved. the contents of this publication may not be reproduced either in part or in full without the consent of the copyright owner. from time to time we make our subscription list available to select companies and organizations whose product or service may interest you. If you do not wish your contact information to be made available, please contact us via one of the following methods: telephone 1-800-668-2374 facsimile 416-442-2191 e-mail mail Privacy officer, business Information Group, 12 Concorde Place, suite 800, toronto, on Canada M3C 4J2 member of the canadian business press member of the audit bureau of circulations publications mail agreement #40069240 issn 0008-2872

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iideX tHe neXt twenty Five

aridO Presents tHe 25tH anniversary OF iideX/neOCOn Canada

now includes

Green BuildinG Festival & liGHt Canada


september 24 – 25, 2009 ConfErEnCE

september 23 – 26, 2009 direct enerGY centre, toronto


25 CirCle reply Card 14

news Projects Ghost 11: architectural Laboratory.

The annual Ghost Architectural Laboratory is an intensive two-week design-build internship led by internationally renowned architect and professor at Dalhousie University, Brian MacKayLyons. The lab functions as the research facility of Halifax-based MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited. Now in its 11th season (since 1994), this summer’s program ran from June 1327, and was attended by 24 architects and architectural students from Mexico, Ireland, Kenya, Scotland, USA, and Canada. The guest architect this summer was Francis Kéré, winner of the 2004 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, who practices in Burkina Faso and Berlin. The guest architectural historian of technology was Tom Peters from Switzerland. Also participating this summer was California architect Bob Benz and Gordon MacLean, master builder from Nova Scotia. This year’s project involved the “re-raising” of a 19th-century octagonal barn built in 1888 by William B. Troop. Troop was inspired by a book written in 1849 by a New York City phrenologist named Orson Squire Fowler, called A Home for All; or the Gravel Wall and Octagon Mode of Building. Sadly, this recently de-registered heritage building was slated for destruction, so MacKay-Lyons had Robert Cram of Lunenburg disassemble its post-and-beam wood frame, and had it transported to the family farm in Upper Kingsburg, Lunenburg County, where the Ghost Lab takes place. The initial design sessions focused on solving issues of a new building skin with fenestration, a new entry bridge, a new wind-bracing system, egress stairs, and a potential mezzanine. Following these sessions, the historic building was re-raised in eight days, and will begin its new life nestled in a valley at the edge of the sea overlooking the LaHave Islands, where it will become part of the Ghost campus. The structure will also be used for a wide range of community gatherings.

awards winners of the 2009 oaQ awards of excellence in architecture.

Since 1978, the Awards of Excellence in Architecture have honoured the best architectural projects by Quebec architects at home and abroad. This year’s Award of Excellence winners include the following: in the Interior Design (Corporate) category, Saucier + Perrotte architectes for their own Montreal offices; in the Interior Design (Residential) category, Les architectes Duchesneau & McComber for Lignes Aériennes, a rede8 canadian architect 08/09

GreG richardson

GreG richardson

in its 11th season, this year’s Ghost architectural laboratory, led by brian MacKay-lyons, involved the “re-raisinG” of a 19th-century octaGonal barn.

aBoVe, LeFt to riGht

sign of a loft in Montreal; in the Commercial category for a project budget of less than $2 million, _naturehumaine and Plasse-Rasselet architectes for Quatro D, a healthy fast-food restaurant/ grocery in Montreal; in the Cultural category for a project budget of more than $2 million, Croft Pelletier architectes for Bibliothèque de Charlesbourg in Quebec City; in the Event category, Atelier Pierre Thibault for the ephemeral installation entitled Territoires Habités in Baie-SaintPaul; in the Industrial category for a project budget of more than $2 million, Allaire Courchesne Dupuis Frappier_architectes for St-Germain Égouts et Aqueducs in Saint-Hubert; in the Institutional category for a project budget of less than $5 million, Daoust Lestage Inc. for Quai des Cageux on Promenade Samuel-De Champlain in Quebec City; in the Industrial category for a project budget of more than $5 million, Les architectes FABG for the Collège de l’Assomption sports complex; in the Single-Family Residential category, Natalie Dionne for Maison en U in Montreal; in the Multi-Unit Residential category, CCM2 + GM architectes, Côté Chabot Morel architectes and Gamache Martin architectes for Édifice Fleury in Quebec City; in the Masonry Conservation and Restoration category, DFS Inc. Architecture & Design for the Bank of Montreal Head Office at Place d’Armes in Montreal; in the Rehabilitation and Modernization Conservation and Restoration category, the consortium of Ogilvie and Hogg, Desnoyers Mercure & Associés, Spencer R. Higgins and Lundholm Associates for the Library of Parliament in Ottawa; in

the Recycling and Conversion/Sustainable Architecture and Development category, a consortium of Dan S. Hanganu Architects and Côté Leahy Cardas architectes for Pavillon Espace 400e in Quebec City; and in the Urban Design Category, a consortium of Daoust Lestage Inc., Williams Asselin Ackaoui, and OPTION aménagement for Promenade Samuel-De Champlain in Quebec City. For a full listing of the winners, please visit the OAQ website.

comPetitions cantos’ national music centre project in calgary draws leading architects.

Cantos Music Foundation has narrowed the field to five architectural teams to compete for the opportunity to design a new national music centre which will feature world-renowned music collections and public programs at the site of the King Edward Hotel in Calgary. The chosen firms are: Allied Works Architecture/BKDI from Portland and Calgary; Jean Nouvel Workshop from Paris; Diller Scofidio + Renfro from New York with Kasian from Calgary; Saucier + Perrotte from Montreal with Graham Edmunds from Calgary; and Studio Pali Fekete Architects from Los Angeles. Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) President and CEO Chris Ollenberger says that the national music centre project represents the community’s future. “We are passionate about the rejuvenation of the East Village, and we share Cantos’ passion for this project and its

potential for all of Calgary,” says Ollenberger. CMLC is the current owner of the King Eddy and is leading the development of Calgary’s East Village into a vibrant mixed-use inner-city community. The project is planned to open in 2012. Cantos Music Foundation is a registered charitable organization whose vision it is to be a national catalyst for discovery, innovation and renewal through music. Cantos serves nearly 30,000 people per year—a number that’s expected to more than triple in the new facility. eVolo 2010 skyscraper competition.

The main objective of this competition is to examine the relationship between the skyscraper and the natural world, the skyscraper and the community, and the skyscraper and urban living. Entrants should attempt to redefine the term “skyscraper” through the use of new materials, technology, aesthetics, programs, and spatial organizations. The first-place winner will receive $2,000 US; the second-place winner receives $1,000 US, and the third-place winner receives $500 US. The early registration deadline is November 17, 2009 followed by a late registration deadline of January 12, 2010. The final submission deadline is January 18, 2010. Entrants will submit their proposal via e-mail no later than January 18, 2010 to

what’s new raic announces new President and executive.

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) has announced the election of Ranjit (Randy) K. Dhar, FRAIC as President for 2009-10. Dhar is a longtime member of the RAIC Board, and former President of the Ontario Association of Architects, an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and a Fellow of the Canadian DesignBuild Institute. Combined with lengthy service to AIA National and experience as an employee of Public Works and Government Services Canada, his advocacy for the profession extends provincially, nationally and internationally. heritage canada Foundation releases 2009 top ten endangered Places and worst Losses lists.

The Heritage Canada Foundation (HCF) has released its Top Ten Endangered Places and Worst Losses lists, drawing attention to a total of 17 architectural and heritage sites in Canada either threatened with demolition or already lost. The Top Ten Endangered Places List, compiled from

nominations received as well as from news items that HCF has been following and reporting on throughout the year includes: the David Dunlap Observatory and Park, Richmond Hill, Ontario; Vancouver’s Pantages Theatre; Bellevue House, Amherstburg, Ontario, a National Historic Site connected to the War of 1812; Quebec City’s Franciscan Sisters Missionary Chapel—the finest example of neo-baroque décor in the province; Moncton High School, New Brunswick, a magnificent sandstone landmark; Dominion Exhibition Display Building II, Brandon, Manitoba, a monument to agriculture and National Historic Site; Quebec’s Grenville Canal, one of the oldest military canals in Canada; St. Mary’s Community School, Saskatoon—the oldest Catholic school in the city; Crowsnest Pass Mining Complexes and Coleman’s Historic Downtown, Alberta, home to designated historic mining sites; and Heritage Conservation Districts in Ontario, where a landmark Ontario Municipal Board decision threatens the integrity of the province’s more than 90 designated heritage districts. Examples of historic places needlessly destroyed by the wrecking ball are plentiful. The Heritage Canada Foundation is a national, membership-based, nonprofit organization with a mandate to promote the preservation of Canada’s historic buildings and places. 2009_E.pdf and eng/2009%20WlossesFinalListE.pdf climate Positive development program a model for sustainable urban growth.

The Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), a project of the William J. Clinton Foundation, announced a global program developed in collaboration with the US Green Building Council (USGBC), called the Climate Positive Development Program. The program will support the development of largescale urban projects that demonstrate cities can grow in ways that are “climate positive.” Climate Positive real estate developments will strive to reduce the amount of on-site CO2 emissions to below zero. Sixteen founding projects on six continents, supported by local governments and property developers, will demonstrate Climate Positive strategies, setting a compelling environmental and economic example for cities to follow. canadian housing market can learn from european models.

Comparative research exploring housing policy and housing-system performance in Europe by University of Calgary Faculty of Environmental Design Professor Dr. Sasha Tsenkova offers valuable lessons to the Canadian housing market. Her

research, which led to the publication of the book Housing Policy Reforms in Post-Socialist Europe by Springer: Heidelberg/New York, concluded that if well-regulated and transparent, the implementation of adequate housing policy in Canada would ensure more efficient market performance, balanced choices between renting and owning, and effective housing assistance for the poor and disadvantaged. Tsenkova’s multi-year research project, supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Council of Europe and the Killam Resident Fellowship, explored housing reforms, housing systems and housing policies in several European countries. religious houses: a Legacy.

This international conference takes place in Montreal and Quebec City from October 7-11, 2009, organized by the Conseil du patrimoine religieux du Québec, the Canada Research Chair on Urban Heritage (UQAM), Concordia University and the Institut du patrimoine (UQAM). The aim of this international conference is to identify and analyze innovative heritage solutions for the future of convents, monasteries and—more generally—religious houses in Quebec.

oBituary h.P.d. (sandy) van Ginkel, c.m.

Sandy van Ginkel died on July 6, 2009, peacefully in his sleep in Toronto at the age of 89. Born in Amsterdam, Sandy was active in the Dutch Resistance during the Second World War. He had finished his studies in architecture during the German occupation, refusing his diploma because he would not sign the Nazi documents, though this did not prevent him from practice as an architect and urbanist after the war. He worked on rehabilitation in the Netherlands, the new towns in Sweden and, with partner Aldo van Eyck, designed a new town and its school buildings in the Netherlands. He met Blanche Lemco, a Canadian architect, at a CIAM congress in France in 1953. They married and moved to Montreal in 1957, where they worked as van Ginkel Associates. Projects included saving Old Montreal from demolition in 1960 by stopping construction of an elevated expressway and halting urban encroachment on Mount Royal Park. Sandy was chief planner and designer for Expo 67. His professional activities crossed Canada with projects from the Arctic to Newfoundland, and extended to Malaysia, Brazil and the eastern US as well as to residential architecture in Canada and Europe. A Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Sandy was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2007. 08/09 canadian architect



DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE P.O. Box 1000, 5410 Spring Garden Road Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 2X4

Inspiring Minds

Faculty of Architecture and Planning

The School of Architecture at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, offers an accredited graduate professional degree program in architecture and post-professional graduate degrees in architecture and environmental design, including an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program. Located within a Faculty of Architecture and Planning, the School emphasizes a strong design orientation and co-operative studies that integrate work experience with academic courses. The harbour city of Halifax (pop. 360,000) is the metropolitan centre of Atlantic Canada, and Dalhousie University (est. 1818) is the premier research institution in the region, serving 16,000 students. The School of Architecture invites applications for a teaching position in architectural design teaching, with an additional concentration in building technology, in one or more of the following areas: structural design, sustainable environmental systems and/or building components. Knowledge of digital design media is required. This is a full-time, probationary tenure-track or tenure-track appointment at the level of Assistant or Associate Professor, based on experience. The candidate will be expected to teach core courses in architectural design and building technology at the undergraduate and graduate levels, develop electives in their area of expertise, and supervise graduate theses. Willingness to collaborate with colleagues in curriculum development and participate in administrative duties is also expected. Following appointment, the School encourages each faculty member to develop either an area of funded research or a profile in design practice, and will provide mentoring to this end. The successful candidate will have demonstrated achievement in the practice and teaching of architecture, and promise for excellence in design, teaching, and research. The portfolio of work should demonstrate a creative integration of building technology and architectural design, in practice and in teaching. A professional degree in architecture and either an advanced degree in a field related to the position, or eligibility for architectural registration in Canada is required. Applications must include: (1) a statement of teaching and research orientation; (2) a full curriculum vitae including address, telephone and e-mail; (3) a portfolio including design work, teaching and publications; and (4) original letters of reference, sent under separate cover, from at least three referees (and their contact information if it is not evident in the letter). The Committee will begin consideration of applications on 15 September 2009. The process will continue until the position is filled. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. Dalhousie University is an Employment Equity / Affirmative Action employer. We encourage applications from qualified Aboriginal people, persons with a disability, racially visible persons, and women. Send application packages to:

Chair, Search Committee 2009/2010-1586 School of Architecture Faculty of Architecture and Planning Dalhousie University P.O. Box 1000, 5410 Spring Garden Road Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 2X4

More information about the School and its activities can be found at <www.architectureandplanning.dal. ca>. General inquiries should be directed to Martha Barnstead, Administrative Secretary to the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Planning, Dalhousie University; e-mail <>; telephone (902) 494-3210.

up date ISSUE 31.3 SUMMER 2009

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada The leading voice of architecture in Canada

Board elects new President and Executive Ranjit (Randy) K. Dhar, FRAIC was elected President for 2009-10 during the RAIC Board meeting held before the Festival along with the following Executive Committee: Stuart Howard, FRAIC – First Vice-President and President-Elect Paule Boutin, AP/FIRAC – Immediate Past-President David Craddock, MRAIC – Second Vice-President Elections will be held this summer for the position of Regional Chair for British Columbia/Yukon.

Message from the President *The following is an excerpt

“If it is to be, it is up to us – TOGETHER, we can make a difference”. My goals this year include concentrated efforts to advance recent successes in increasing the membership base through chapter development and other initiatives. Expanding RAIC’s President Randy Dhar with outpolicy of “inclusiveness” 2009-10 going 2008-09 Paule Boutin during the and encouraging more formal exchange of office. | photo: Norinvolvement of diversity mand Huberdeau, NH Photographes Ltée to students, interns and women.

Veronafiere Scholarship recipients announced The RAIC Board made the difficult choice of selecting six RAIC members from the many applications received to attend Marmomacc and Veronafiere this Fall in Italy. • Dean Russell, MRAIC – Edmonton, Alberta • Christian Zarka, MIRAC – Longueuil, Quebec • Luc Jean-Paul Bouliane, MRAIC – Toronto, Ontario • Honorata Pienkowska Roseman, MRAIC – Ottawa, Ontario • Daryoush Firouzli, MRAIC – Nanaimo, BC • Gregory Starratt, MRAIC – Halifax, Nova Scotia

2009-2010 RAIC Board Members President Ranjit (Randy) K. Dhar, FRAIC 1st Vice-President and President-Elect Stuart Howard, FRAIC 2nd Vice-President and Treasurer David Craddock, MRAIC Immediate Past President Paule Boutin, AP/FIRAC Regional Directors Vacant (British Columbia/Yukon) Wayne Guy, FRAIC (Alberta/NWT) Charles Olfert, MRAIC (Saskatchewan/Manitoba) David Craddock, MRAIC (Ontario Southwest)

Our efforts will be anchored firmly in pursuing: 1. RAIC’s 2030 environmental agenda;

Ralph Wiesbrock, FRAIC (Ontario North and East/Nunavut)

2. accelerating the implementation of the new syllabus program;

Claude Hamelin Lalonde, FIRAC (Quebec) Paul E. Frank, FRAIC (Atlantic)

3. integrating Internationally Trained architects; and through the Broadly Experienced Foreign Architect (BEFA) initiatives: 4. exploring the possibility of establishing a significant International Award through the Foundation to increase Canada’s global presence in Architecture. RAIC is poised to spread the word that Architecture matters ….. and we will make sure that in these times society sees the benefit of the architect behind the building. And that as a profession we showcase both in Canada and abroad, the excellence that ensures our cities include delight and endurance. For the full text of Mr. Dhar’s address please see

photo: Liza Medek, MRAIC

RAIC adds Practice Specialist RAIC is pleased to announce that Graham Murfitt has been hired as its onsite Practice Specialist. Graham will be coordinating practice support services, developing contract documents and other practice support material; as well as answering enquiries from the profession. He can be reached at or (613) 2413600 ext 215.

CHOP (Second Edition) now available online The Canadian Handbook of Practice, Second Edition PDF download can now be purchased online at RAIC’s CHOP Order Centre. The cost to Architecture students, intern architects, and licensed or registered architects is $75. This new edition contains over 50 checklists, many of them new, updated references and current practice advice. A CD-ROM and printed version will become available for sale later this summer.

Chancellor of College of Fellows Alexander Rankin, FRAIC Council of Canadian University Schools of Architecture (CCUSA) Eric Haldenby, FRAIC Editorial Liaison Ralph Wiesbrock, FRAIC Executive Director Jon Hobbs, FRAIC Editor Sylvie Powell The national office of the RAIC is located at: 330-55 Murray St. Ottawa ON K1N 5M3 Tel.: (613) 241-3600 Fax: (613) 241-5750 E-mail:

en NUMÉRO 31.3 ÉTÉ 2009


L’Institut royal d’architecture du Canada Le principal porte-parole de l’architecture au Canada

Le conseil élit le nouveau président et le comité exécutif Conseil d’administration de l’IRAC de 2009-2010 Président Ranjit (Randy) K. Dhar, FRAIC Premier vice-président et président élu Stuart Howard, FRAIC Deuxième vice-président et trésorier David Craddock, MRAIC Présidente sortante de charge Paule Boutin, AP/FIRAC Directeurs régionaux Poste vacant (Colombie-Britannique/Yukon) Wayne Guy, FRAIC (Alberta/T.N.-O.) Charles Olfert, MRAIC (Saskatchewan/Manitoba) David Craddock, MRAIC (Sud et Ouest de l’Ontario) Ralph Wiesbrock, FRAIC (Est et Nord de l’Ontario/ Nunavut) Claude Hamelin Lalonde, FIRAC (Québec)

Lors d’une réunion tenue avant le début du Festival, le conseil d’administration a élu Ranjit (Randy) K. Dhar, FRAIC comme président pour l’année 2009-2010 et a élu les membres suivants au sein du comité exécutif : Stuart Howard, FRAIC – premier vice-président et président élu Paule Boutin, AP/FIRAC – présidente sortante David Craddock, MRAIC – deuxième vice-président Des élections auront lieu à l’été pour pourvoir le poste d’administrateur régional de la Colombie-Britannique et du Yukon.

Message du président *Voici un extrait du message du président Je vise cette année à concentrer les efforts pour tirer parti de nos récents succès et recruter de nouveaux membres grâce au développement des sections régionales et à diverses initiatives. Je vise aussi à élargir la politique « d’inclusivité » de l’IRAC pour favoriser davantage la participation des étudiants, des stagiaires et des femmes. Nos efforts s’inscriront dans la ferme volonté :

Randy Dhar, président 200910 de l’IRAC.

1. de poursuivre l’objectif environnemental de l’IRAC par rapport au Défi 2030;

3. d’intégrer les architectes formés à l’étranger; et, dans le cadre des initiatives sur les architectes de l’étranger ayant une vaste expérience :

Chancelier du Collège des fellows Alexander Rankin, FRAIC

4. d’étudier la possibilité de créer un prix international d’importance par l’entremise de la Fondation de l’IRAC, afin d’accroître la présence du Canada sur la scène mondiale de l’architecture.

Conseiller à la rédaction Ralph Wiesbrock, FRAIC Directeur général Jon Hobbs, FRAIC Rédactrice en chef Sylvie Powell Le siège social de l’IRAC est situé au,: 55, rue Murray, bureau 330 Ottawa ON K1N 5M3 Tél.,: (613) 241-3600 Télec.,: (613) 241-5750 Courriel,:

Le conseil d’administration de l’IRAC a eu la tâche difficile de choisir six membres de l’IRAC parmi les nombreuses candidatures reçues pour assister à l’exposition Marmomacc et au voyage d’études à Veronafiere en Italie, à l’automne. Voici la liste des récipiendaires des bourses : • Dean Russell, MRAIC – Edmonton, Alberta • Christian Zarka, MIRAC – Longueuil, Québec • Luc Jean-Paul Bouliane, MRAIC – Toronto, Ontario • Honorata Pienkowska Roseman, MRAIC – Ottawa, Ontario • Daryoush Firouzli, MRAIC – Nanaimo, C.-B. • Gregory Starratt, MRAIC – Halifax, NouvelleÉcosse

2. d’accélérer la mise en œuvre du nouveau programme de syllabus;

Paul E. Frank, FRAIC (Atlantique)

Conseil canadien des écoles universitaires d’architecture (CCÉUA) Eric Haldenby, FRAIC

Annonce des récipiendaires des bourses de voyage à Veronafiere

L’IRAC est prêt à diffuser son message que l’architecture a son importance …. Nous voulons démontrer à la société entière que l’architecte lui offre de réels avantages en ces temps difficiles et nous voulons aussi faire rayonner, au Canada et à l’étranger, l’excellence de nos architectes qui savent créer des villes durables et agréables à vivre. Pour lire le message intégral de M. Dhar, veuillez consulter le

photo : Vince Marazita

Un spécialiste de la pratique joint les rangs de l’IRAC L’IRAC a le plaisir d’annoncer l’arrivée de Graham Murfitt au sein de son personnel. Il occupera le poste de spécialiste de la pratique. Graham sera responsable de coordonner les services d’aide à la pratique et d’élaborer des documents contractuels et divers autres documents d’aide à la pratique. Il répondra également aux questions de la profession. On peut le joindre à ou au 613-2413600, poste 215.

Le MCPA (Deuxième édition) maintenant disponible en ligne Il est maintenant possible de se procurer en ligne la deuxième édition du Manuel canadien de pratique de l’architecture, à partir du Centre des commandes du site Web de l’IRAC. La version électronique du Manuel est offerte aux architectes et aux étudiants et stagiaires en architecture au prix de 75 $. Cette nouvelle édition comporte plus de 50 aide-mémoire, dont plusieurs nouveaux, des bibliographies mises à jour et des conseils adaptés à la pratique d’aujourd’hui. Le document sera disponible en CD-ROM et en version imprimée un peu plus tard cet été.


haversTocK associaTes

On Being caBe-aBle

This is The firsT of Two arTicles examining The changes To The role of The archiTecT wiThin The P3 Process using lessons learned from The uK. in This arTicle, helena grdadolniK PresenTs her exPeriences of P3 worKing wiThin caBe, The english governmenT’s advisor on archiTecTure.


helena grdadolniK and david colussi

Over the last decade, different levels of government in Canada have increasingly decided to procure public buildings through Public Private Partnerships (P3), from hospitals in Ontario to schools in Alberta. Despite an ongoing debate over whether P3 does indeed represent the best value for public funds, it seems that P3 is here to stay and its use in Canada will most likely become more widespread. Of the various P3 models, Design Build Finance Maintain (DBFM)—known as Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) in Ontario—is gaining the most ground. DBFM is an extension of design-build delivery methods where the contractor’s role is expanded to include project financing and maintenance of the completed building over a long-term period, typically 25 to 35 years. A more detailed description of P3 can be found in Brian Watkinson’s article

The loBBy of The lanchesTer camPus secondary school and PuPil referral uniT, a ProjecT designed By haversTocK associaTes ThaT is a successful examPle of a caBeenaBled school in The uK. aBOVe right one of caBe’s many PuBlicaTions which helP clienTs achieve high-qualiTy design, in BoTh PuBlic and PrivaTe commissions. aBOVe leFt

“P3 for You and Me?” (see CA, April 2008). There is a perception amongst architects that P3 diminishes their role and the quality of the outcome. This may or may not be true, but what is true is that the architect’s role has fundamentally changed. In this two-part series, we will share lessons learned from the UK, where using a Private Finance Initiative—or PFI as P3 is known in England—has been an increasingly common delivery method for projects across all scales and sectors over the past three decades, from largescale hospitals to small daycares. The largest and most high-profile program is Building Schools for the Future (BSF), a £45-billion secondary school building program to rebuild or renew every secondary school in the country in 15 years through P3. Research relating the quality of school environments and student test scores put design high on the agenda for BSF, yet the first waves of P3 schools were a complete disaster. The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment

(CABE), the English government’s advisory body on architecture that is heavily involved in the BSF program, conducted a post-occupancy assessment of 52 of the 104 new secondary schools delivered through the BSF program between 2001 to 2006, and over 50 percent of them were found to be mediocre or poor. Despite design being considered central to the selection of the successful team, many of the schools were poorly designed with inadequate circulation, insufficient storage space, and maintenance issues arose due to lowperforming materials and poor detailing—overall, the buildings were uninspiring for students, teachers and the surrounding community. P3 detractors point to poor-quality outcomes, but this is not inherent in the process. Whether or not P3 can deliver good design depends largely on how the procurement process is set up: is the objective merely to achieve the cheapest outcome, or is there an aspiration for a quality outcome that is also cost-effective? A number of recent P3 buildings that have been highly com08/09 canadian architect


haversTocK associaTes haversTocK associaTes

Two views successfully illusTraTe The high level of design ThaT can Be achieved when using a BriTish P3 Process. aBOVe haversTocK associaTesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; design aPProach for The TuKe school evaluaTes many design criTeria ThaT musT Be incorPoraTed inTo The ProjecT. OPPOSite Two renderings of The TuKe school.

leFt, tOP tO BOttOM

mended in the UK include a library in Brighton and the national governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Home Office in London. Unfortunately, these success stories still remain the exception. Due to the early failures in the first waves of P3 school-building as well as other P3 programs including the Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) initiative for health-care clinics, mechanisms to 14 canadian architect 08/09

shape and guide the project delivery process have since been put into place by the English government. One such addition was a CABE-administered school design review panel to scrutinize all bid designs prior to awarding a contract—only designs passing a minimum standard of design quality (as well as meeting all other criteria in the RFQ) could advance to the next stage. Through research and advocacy, CABE has been successful in convincing various government departments in England of the financial and social value of good design, including: increased productivity, lower maintenance costs, favourable conditions for public health, and decreased opportunity for crime. At a three-hourlong talk on Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) by Infrastructure Ontario delivered to a room full of architects at the annual Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) conference held in Toronto last May, there was not a single mention of design quality, and I could find no mention of design quality on their website. This left me to conclude that although Infrastructure Ontario is responsible for guiding the procurement of billions of dollars’ worth of public building in the province, design quality was not high on their agenda. This is a missed opportunity and very short-sighted for a large-scale public building investment program, because actual construction costs represent a small fraction of the total operating costs for public services. Furthermore, the cost of bad design is high. For example, in the case of the BSF program, the building construction and maintenance only represents 3 percent of the total cost of education over the life of a school, and this has a huge impact on regular operating costs. The £45-billion public and private investment in England’s secondary schools over the next 15 years is a drop in the bucket compared to the £1.2 billion in public funds spent on education each week. Certainly,

design can make a significant impact on factors such as teacher retention rates and pupil performance. At the recent OAA conference, David Colussi and I presented our experiences with P3 in the UK, and the lack of design quality was a key concern echoed by delegates. Other concerns included the potential financial risk to practices and the perceived lack of opportunity for smaller design firms to participate. In BSF, it is the contractor who is taking on the financial risk through the bidding stage, and the consultants (including the architect) are being paid for their time at each stage of the process, whether or not their team is successful. “Bundling” multiple projects within a single contract is also contentious in Canada because it assumes one or two architectural firms will corner a given market. Meanwhile, in the UK, smaller projects bundled for P3 still continue to provide opportunities for small and mediumsized firms. There is no expectation that one practice can and will design and deliver all the projects—the architects are part of the contractor’s supply chain, and not their partners. The downside to this is that once a sample scheme is designed for the bid and goes through the approvals process, the contractor is not bound to using any of the architects for subsequent projects in the contract, even if the architect’s designs helped them win the bid in the first instance. As the English school boards are looking for different skills from design practices to fit the variety of projects that make up the contract, small and medium-sized offices are often called upon to bring local knowledge and specialist expertise to the consortia. The architects in a recent consortium for a London-based P3 included large high-profile firms Building Design Partnership, Allies and Morrison, Haverstock Associates (a medium-sized firm of 20 people includ-

ed for their expertise in designing special-needs schools), and Architects of Change (an emerging practice of three people known for innovative work). Back in Canada, the Alberta Schools Alternative Procurement (ASAP) initiative could learn from the Brits. Rather than asking one firm to deliver a standard modular design to enable efficiencies in scale over 10 to 14 schools, as they have done, a sample scheme for one school could be sought from a bidding consortia that sets out indicative materials and typical details to be used for all of the schools to achieve cost efficiencies without losing sight of the fact that buildings, especially important civic institutions like schools, are site-specific and need to relate to their immediate context. Also, levels of risk and liability need to be appropriately shared to ensure that the parties within the consortium with the most to gain (i.e., contractors, finance and maintenance companies) take on more risk than those who will not reap as much of a financial reward. With these changes, there may be the chance for smaller architectural practices that cannot afford the financial risk or commit resources to 10 schools at one time, but that may have more school design and/or local expertise than their larger counterparts, to be part of a bidding consortium and to contribute to a more successful future for P3 in Canada. ca David Colussi, MAIBC, was the designer and project architect of several new P3-delivered schools with RIBA Award-winning UK practice Haverstock Associates Architects. He is now practicing in Toronto. Helena Grdadolnik, MRAIC, was a senior advisor at CABE, the English government’s advisor on architecture, urban design and public space. She is now based in Toronto as an architecture critic and a partner in Public Workshop.

08/09 canadian architect


insertion Points

16 canadian architect 08/09

a small architecture firm is well-known for nimbly grafting and inserting new architectural elements into the eXisting urban fabric of VancouVer. Gair Williamson architects trevor Boddy Photos ed White, unless otherWise noted architect teXt

How do you plot a career in architecture? Asking this same question of accountants, surgeons, and even musicians nets a narrower range of answers—tighter and more closely repeating patterns that map the flows of experience and opportunity. As architects worldwide know all too well these days, charting and managing—let alone predicting—an architectural career is very challenging. If technological and stylistic change were not sufficient issues in themselves, architects are more beholden to economic cycles than any other profession. We boom louder than anyone else when things are peaking, and are the first to know the silence of down times, like these. Vancouver architect Gair Williamson has had an unusual career trajectory and occupies a unique practice niche. A Montreal native, he received a degree in archaeology from McGill University before earning his architecture diploma from London’s Architectural Association at the age of 35. While at architecture school, he returned to Canada for short periods, working with Toronto’s Barton Myers before working with Moriyama & Teshima Architects, then Young + Wright Architects. In 1989, Williamson moved out to Vancouver, where he has been ever since, working with various firms such as VIA Architecture. Williamson decided to first hang out his shingle at age 52, six years ago. Generational transition has been slow amongst Vancouver architectural firms, and will be even slower if more baby boomers like Williamson start out at ages when designers used to ramp down. By the same token, Vancouver provides fewer and fewer opportunities for mid-career architects wanting to get out on their own. Indicative of the problem, when the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) recently commissioned a “renewal plan” for its underachieving Granville Island development, they selected Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden. Without a doubt, this is one of the city’s best architecture the neW liGht-filled conference room of the vancouver offices of taXi, an international advertisinG firm. right, toP to bottom a vieW of Williamson’s oWn suite in the Paris Block; a friend Pulls doWn the murPhy Bed.

evan haveman


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8 3











3 1




PARIS 303 PARIS ANNEX Paris Block—tyPical floor Plan 1 2 3 4

5 6 7 8

bathroom kitchen living/dining room bedroom



pull-out desk pull-down bed balcony common lobby






8 8




















1 2


Paris Block—section 1 2 3 4

commercial unit garage residential unit balcony

5 6 7 8


roof access + skylight private roof access shared roof deck for paris block + annex paris block beyond

and planning firms, and one of the few to antici­ pate generational succession by adding Bruce Haden and Alan Boniface to the founding part­ nership. But it is crucial to note that in the 1970s, Norman Hotson and Joost Bakker had been given the chance—before they turned 30—to design Granville Island in the first place. Hotson and Bakker were also granted ongoing urban design consulting fees for the tourist market and arts zone for more than three decades ever since, only to be chosen over a talented list of competitors to “renew” their own ideas. Because of chary commissioning practices like these, Vancouver architects 10, 20, even 30 years 18 canadian architect 08/09

out of school must wait for their first plum com­ mission. Even if they have talent and entrepre­ neurial drive equal to those of Hotson and Bakker in the 1970s, new practitioners in Vancouver are ever more forced to content themselves with the design of vacation homes, additions, boutiques and public art installations, not major transfor­ mations of the urban fabric. Bakker points out that the expansion of Vancouver’s practice scene over the past decade has been accommodated al­ most entirely through consolidations and the es­ tablishment of local outlets of large corporate practices (Stantec, Kasian, Cannon, HOK, Zeid­ ler, etc.) rather than the natural evolution of local

firms—he names Acton Ostry and mcfarlane | green | biggar as the welcome exceptions to this tired pattern. Williamson’s sole proprietorship otherwise resembles many other architectural practices after only six years of stamping their own draw­ ings. Ranging in size between three and six, his staff is almost entirely comprised of architecture school graduates under the age of 30. Williamson strongly encourages them to take out logbooks, rotates their assignments to broaden experience, urges them to initiate their exams, and otherwise prepare themselves for full professional regis­ tration. Williamson’s level of encouragement and flexibility is often missing at larger offices: “My intent is that any intern who works here for a period of time would learn enough to start their own firm.” The path to success for young firms is often through specialization in an emerging or under­ served corner of practice. This is certainly true of Williamson, who has had a string of successes designing adaptive reuse­cum­additions to heri­ tage buildings in Vancouver’s oldest neighbour­ hoods. He describes his work to date this way: “Our niche of practice could be defined as grafts and insertions into heritage buildings.” William­ son’s success in this niche is even more remark­ able since—with the possible exception of Cal­ gary—Vancouver has saved less of its stock of heritage buildings than any other Canadian city. In part, this is because British Columbia’s pro­ vincial heritage legislation is amongst the weak­ est on the continent. With weak laws and limited funding, creative ideas had to flow from city planners and Vancouver City Hall, but these have been sufficient to spark a mini­boom of adaptive reuse this decade. Two mechanisms powered this surge: the sale and transfer of unused develop­ ment rights from heritage buildings to elsewhere on the downtown peninsula, in combination with property tax relaxations for designated properties in the key heritage zones of Gastown, Chinatown, Victory Square and the Downtown Eastside. Clients turn architects from dreamers into schemers. Williamson has had a close and posi­ tive relationship with Salient Development, which is headed by the successful Robert Fung (son of the former Toronto Waterfront Commis­ sioner of the same name), often sharing office space with the firm. Salient took more advantage of the transfer of development rights (TDR) poli­ cy than any other Vancouver developer, and now finds itself controlling nearly half the unplaced density benefits nearly a year into a city council embargo on their sale (the issue for City Hall is the mounting store of potential building density without sufficient sites to “land” it on specific lo­ cations in a developing­out downtown). Williamson is responsible for one of the best applications of these Vancouver heritage mecha­

nisms in his adaptive reuse and rooftop addition for Salient to the Bowman Block, part of a line of early 20th-century warehouses on Beatty Street south of West Georgia Street. Williamson’s design cut back the window-side floor plates of timber-beamed and wooden mill floors to open up two-storey lofts, with bedrooms set back to increase the sense of space, while revealing original elements of the 1906 structure—for example, the former beam seats are retained as a marker of the building’s past. Similarly, designer and developer resisted invisibly bricking-over the line where the subtracted floor plate was excised, intending it to be left visible. In some of these loft condos, the location of the former floor plate is marked with a very contemporary steel I-beam, which also helps with seismic stiffening of the masonry shell building. The most compelling instance of what Williamson calls his firm’s “hybrid mentality” is a two-storey all-new addition placed on the Bowman roof, now home to the building’s four most spectacular condos. Set back from the street and dominated by the caryatids of the Sun Tower next door, these fine additions to Vancouver’s downtown roofscape are almost invisible from surrounding streets. This is too bad, because these are unusually handsome and well-proportioned apartments, welcome amidst blocks of cookiecutter tower-podium banalities rendered in cheap bare concrete elsewhere downtown. Williamson credits former senior downtown planner Larry Beasley for pushing to extend heritage bonusing to this Beatty Street location, and for his support of a contemporary architectural palette of zinc plate and glass over the wishes of his own junior planners, who wanted the Bowman addition clad in something “brickier” and more “contextual.” Williamson avoids fuzzy contextualism in a second Salient project, the adaptation of the Edwardian Lumberman’s Building into stylish new premises for the local outlet of the Torontoheadquartered advertising firm TAXI, where new surfaces and fittings are frankly contemporary, the spaces free-flowing. For an addition to yet another Edwardian block, the Paris Building, Williamson’s strategy is an addition oriented sideways, not up. Seismic upgrades are a key requirement and a huge cost consideration for heritage buildings this size. The shared elevatorand-fire-stair core is notched mid-site between toP right an aXometric illustratinG Williamson’s renovation of taXi’s advertisinG office. right the surGical Process of cuttinG Back the oriGinal floors of the 1906 BoWman Block, then addinG tWo additional floors, resultinG in a teXtBook eXamPle of the successful reuse of a heritaGe BuildinG.

08/09 canadian architect


the Paris Block alonG West hastinGs street Will have underGone a radical transformation after its rehaBilitation. left an aXonometric renderinG indicates hoW a neW addition Will attach itself to the renovated shared elevator and fire stair of the Paris Block.

aboVe, left to right

Paris aXonometric

heritage building and Williamson’s addition, providing lateral stability for both sides. With old and new portions sharing the same core, there are also substantial benefits in net-to-gross ratios on the tightly planned floors, all of them containing condos except for the shops on the main floor. The first three floors are flush with the plane of its Hastings Street heritage neighbours, though once again imitation of historical detail is eschewed for a more generalized architectural empathy in proportion and degrees of opacity.

Floors three through six step back to provide modest residential balconies. Williamson bought suite 303, and with some clever planning and built-ins, it demonstrates how liveable a smallwindowed 684-square-foot loft space can be. Final word goes to Williamson himself, with a generalized estimation of the state of his own practice applying just as much to this single room: “When I started my own practice, I believed that pursuing the craft of design could result in an architecture of lasting relevance—I saw it as Modernism, inspired by the vernacular.” ca Vancouver architecture critic Trevor Boddy is curator of the major exhibition Vancouverism: Architecture Builds the City. The exhibition opens January 7, 2010 in the atrium of the new Woodwards development, running until the end of the 2010 Winter Olympics. It will then move to the 2010 Shanghai World Expo in its “Best Urban Practices” section.

bottom, left to right a chinatoWn heritaGe BuildinG, the keefer hotel, is one of Williamson’s latest Projects that Will Breathe neW life into a neGlected Part of vancouver.

Project BoWman lofts, 528 Beatty street, vancouver, Bc architect Gair Williamson architects in joint venture With ankenman marchand architects architect team Gair Williamson, francois marchand, kelly stadnyk, Pascal maillouX, scot macneill, dimitri harvalias, monica jeffers, douG mayr client the salient GrouP structural Glotman simPson consultinG enGineers mechanical sterlinG cooPer electrical nemetz landscaPe senGa lindsay interiors alda Pereira desiGn inc. contractor the haeBler GrouP heritage donald luXton and associates ground floor area 55,000 ft2 budget Withheld comPletion decemBer 2006

20 canadian architect 08/09

Project taXi, 509 richards street, vancouver, Bc architect Gair Williamson architects architect team Gair Williamson, tiPhaine maisonneuve le Brec, hui tian, shane meehan client taXi canada interiors Gair Williamson architects contractor PaX construction ground floor area 6,000 ft2 budget Withheld comPletion sePtemBer 2007

Project the Paris Block, 53 West hastinGs street, vancouver, Bc architect Gair Williamson architects in joint venture With ankenman marchand architects (eXcePt unit 303) architect team Gair Williamson, Brian liston, francois marchand, julien leGer client the salient GrouP structural Glotman simPson consultinG enGineers mechanical jade West enGineerinG co. electrical sml consultants GrouP interiors Gair Williamson architects (unit 303)/ evoke international desiGn contractor heatherBrae services ltd. heritage donald luXton and associates ground floor area 33,000 ft2, anneX 20,000 ft2 budget Withheld comPletion decemBer 2008

Project the keefer hotel, 135 keefer street, vancouver, Bc architect Gair Williamson architects architect team Gair Williamson, chris Woodford, tiPhaine maisonneuve le Brec client tWo By four develoPments structural john Bryson and Partners mechanical jade West enGineerinG co. electrical sml consultants GrouP interiors Gair Williamson architects contractor heatherBrae services ltd. heritage donald luXton and associates ground floor area 19,000 ft2 budget $7 m comPletion octoBer 2009



9:34:00 AM









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Park relief

a series of Public washrooms makes using the bathroom a breeze. Kensington ParK, robert burnaby ParK and swalwell ParK Public washrooms, burnaby and laKe country, british columbia architect bruce carscadden architect inc. teXt adele weder Photos martin Knowles and matthew halverson ProJect

22 canadian architect 08/09

The utilitarian nature of public washrooms poses a peculiar kind of challenge to North American architects. The implicit proviso is to refrain from allowing the projects to look too good, lest the omnipresent taxpayer voter takes offense. For a trio of park washrooms in southern British Columbia, architect Bruce Carscadden has delivered an architectural riposte and, on its project statement, a four-word manifesto: small buildings matter too. Two of Carscadden Architectsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; washroom buildings are in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, and the third in the heart of the Okanagan. While visually distinct, they share the primal traits of modesty, ecology and economy. Carscadden has steered functionalism back to its proper role, which is to address pragmatism in an attractive way. The aesthetically enriching gestures are first and foremost useful: the textured concrete surface of Robert Burnaby Park washroom and the basket-weave brick pattern of the Kensington Park washroom are part of an overt approach to prevent graffiti. The extra-wide door openings, made even cleaner by way of an overhead metal rollup door, look good; more crucially, they enhance safety by reducing the hidden seclusion of the bathroom stalls, and by engendering an easy and highly visible escape route. As a bonus, they also damp down the impending

dread, when approaching a public washroom, of sudden ambush by a stinking mess. Visiting Kensington Park in northern Burnaby, I beheld a clique of a dozen or more young adults sunbathing and picnicking right next to this standalone structure. One woman expressed surprise that it was a public washroom; it didn’t “look” like one, she said. Another member of the group, a burly fellow in a tank top, smiled and offered the following: “I’ve been in a lot of poopers in my time, and this one’s as good as it gets.” It’s a friendly and comfortable building, from its pitched roof and bright-red hue to its “Russian doll” format—an interior “house within a house” contains the family washroom and mechanical core, and also serves as a divider between the men’s and women’s washroom areas. The glazed and vented peaked roof brings in fresh air and daylight, allowing a near-zero energy draw. About a kilometre northwest is the Robert Burnaby Park washroom, embedded in the grassy berm around a large baseball diamond. Nestled in a slope and with a muted grey hue, this structure presents a far quieter architectural statement than the Kensington Park washroom. But like its sibling structure, it defies banality. Debossed in its concrete façade is a large re-

oPPosite and aboVe Pictograms and other signage embedded in the concrete wall at robert burnaby ParK enhance the texture of the surface while remaining inherently resistant to vandalism; the colourful graPhic simPlicity of the PeaKed-roof washroom at Kensington ParK, a cheerful and necessary addition for visitors.

verse bas-relief of the word “ball” and, more discreetly, of the requisite male-female pictograms. The unusual façade articulation was achieved by placing custom-shaped foamboard cutouts in the wooden formwork, whose gaps also generated mortar-like protrusions in the façade. For the Swalwell Park structure, Carscadden again devised an entirely different approach and appearance. A hard rectilinearity defines the shoeboxlike structure, the better to showcase its intriguing and highly distinct pictograms generated by perforations in the metal. Like the tiny ben-day dots that used to make up newspaper photographs, the multi-sized metal holes create an image that becomes visible from a few feet away and farther. The practicality of this approach: it allows ventilation, light, and sound 08/09 canadian architect


transmission for public safety. But it’s also evocatively beautiful and intriguing, in the manner of artist Dan Graham’s perforated-steel pavilions. The project is topped with a fusion of practicality and beauty: a lush green roof that collects raina detailed view of the exterior wall at the Kensington ParK washroom illustrates how rotating cinder blocKs by a mere 15 degrees creates a highly articulated exPression; the strategy of creating a building within a building is revealed at the entrance to the washroom at Kensington ParK; another view of the same washroom’s interior; a view of Kensington ParK’s surrounding context; a detailed view of swalwell ParK’s breathable bricK wall.

below, left to right

24 canadian architect 08/09

water and recycles the washroom’s grey water. Carscadden’s colourful line drawings explain much without words. One diagram reduces each project as the sum of a simple, consistent counter/ wall configuration plus the particular mode of generating the façade: for Swalwell Park, the gap placements between every second brick; for Kensington, the bricks’ 15° rotation; for Robert Burnaby, the embedded word. In another playful image, a box bursts with Lego-like building blocks and tiny models of the washrooms, rendered in primary colours, which invokes both the core simplicity and the wider possible applications of the structures. Load-bearing brick, cinder block, concrete and steel comprise the basic palette for all three structures, even though each rendition has a strikingly different character.

at the robert burnaby ParK washroom, the word “ball” is Playfully debossed into the concrete façade; as the washroom structure is embedded in a sloPing site, stairs run alongside the formboard-textured concrete; the artfully Perforated metal screens of the swalwall ParK washroom Permit light, ventilation and sound transmission for Public safety; the swalwell ParK washroom boasts a quiet, modern simPlicity.

aboVe, left to right

What ultimately distinguishes this project series from the workaday public-building paradigm is its sensitivity and attention to the public rather than the park-board administrators and the politicians who lord over them. Yet maintenance and

08/09 canadian architect


life-cycle costs are low for the client. Carscadden calls the architectural motif a “playful breaking down of barriers.” These would include the physical barriers of inside/outside, certainly, but also the psychological barrier between what the common perception of a public washroom is (dark, primitive and disgusting) and what the public might actually want (light, refined and pleasant). Perhaps the most important barrier

broken down here is the one that inhibits architects from extending their full talent and attention towards modest public works. ca Adele Weder is an architectural critic and curator based in British Columbia.

ProJect Kensington ParK washroom (KP), robert burnaby ParK washroom (rbP), swalwell ParK washroom (sP) client city of burnaby (KP, rbP), district of laKe country (sP) architect team bruce carscadden (KP, rbP, sP), glen stoKes (KP, rbP), ian mcdonald (sP), stella boyland (sP) structural c.y. loh associates (KP, rbP), cwmm consulting engineers ltd. (sP) mechanical Jade west engineering (KP, rbP, sP) electrical mmm grouP (KP, rbP), falcon engineering ltd. (sP) ciVil r.f. binnie and associates ltd. (KP, rbP), earth tech (sP) landscaPe catherine berris associates inc. (sP) contractor ParKwood construction ltd. (KP), rogad construction co ltd. (rbP), forma construction ltd. (sP) budget $270,000 (KP), $375,000 (rbP), $325,000 (sP) comPletion sePtember 2008 (KP), november 2008 (sP), december 2008 (rbP)

swalwell Park




kensington Park

robert burnaby Park








3 2






swalwell Park

kensington Park

robert burnaby Park

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mechanical core women’s washroom men’s washroom accessible washroom storage concession




swalwell Park

26 canadian architect 08/09


mechanical core women’s washroom men’s washroom accessible washroom storage concession

mechanical core women’s washroom men’s washroom accessible washroom storage concession

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kensington Park





robert burnaby Park



Books reviewed By

Dave LeBLanc, christine JeyaraJah anD GeorGe KapeLos.

the shape of the suburbs: Understanding toronto’s sprawl By John sewell. toronto: University of toronto press, 2009.

In the introduction to this, a sort of unintentional sequel to The Shape of the City: Toronto Struggles with Modern Planning (University of Toronto Press, 1993), Sewell writes that it “would be difficult to call me a dispassionate author.” Good, because while his statistics-gathering and charts-and-graphs comparisons are indispensable, we must remember that Sewell, a former mayor of the City of Toronto (1978-80), comes at city planning from a biased, anti-big business perspective. This was the 1969 city councillor who rode his bicycle to work and would later be dubbed “Mayor Blue Jeans” by the Toronto Sun for his countercultural and environmental beliefs. For example, in Chapter 9, “A Triumph of Suburban Values,” two fictional yet “quintessential” scenarios are placed side by side for comparison: a suburbanite’s “nerve-racking” and “you-against-the-world” car trip to work versus an inner city-dweller’s neighbourly jaunt on idyllic public transit filled with chatty people in “a real rainbow” of skin tones. Funny. I live in a Macklin Hancock-esque late-1950s suburb that’s considered close to downtown by 21st-century standards, and have an experience that’s pretty much smack-dab in the middle—I don’t fight traffic and public tran-

sit is at my door. And yet, while Sewell is obviously colour-blind to these sorts of grey areas, I desperately want to love him despite his literary disability. Who else would don the urban archaeologist’s hat and go spelunking through forgotten records rooms and musty old reference libraries to confirm that there was “no regional planning document in North America similar to the Metro plan” of 1959, or to interpret that its very success lay in the tension caused by representing both regional and local interests? Where else could I ingest some half-baked 1962 MTARTS (Metro Toronto and Region Transportation Study), then get queasy looking at the 1959 Master Plan for Bramalea, a map so full of discontinuous, looping streets it almost swims off the page like a scaly, wet fish? However, despite the solid research, something is amiss: the mid-century Metro planners that were judged so harshly in the 1993 book are now portrayed as near geniuses compared to the cowboys of the 905 region. Without proper planning controls, this Wild West (and north and east) outside Metro’s borders became “a large and unruly animal with a mind of its own” that continues to sprawl today. To add insult to injury, Toronto itself blew away what had been a “perfect structure” of governance by creating the amalgamated Megacity in 1998, which “disabled council members” and rendered “local government in Toronto dysfunctional.” Then again, who but Sewell to get his hands

dirty with the nitty-gritty of superhighways, sewers and scandal? No one, but it’s too bad that while telling the much-needed story of the 905, he continues to forget that there’s life between Milton and Parkdale or between Riverdale and Ajax (hint: Etobicoke and Scarborough) and it is in these (grey) areas that sprawl might very well be squashed with infill, whether that’s via second storeys on strip malls or townhouses surrounding point towers. dL Fuel edited by John Knechtel.cambridge: Mit press, 2008.

Fuel contemplates intently the future of energy, and provides insight into how the planet will function after the impending depletion of coal and oil. Compiled within the Alphabet City series, this volume and others encompass many perspectives on issues of global concern. John Knechtel’s book appropriately illustrates what the future might entail by examining the looming energy crisis and sketching out ways in which we can overcome these challenges. While creating access to sustainable energy by dismantling the fossil-fuel economy is an arduous task, Knechtel’s introduction rationally discusses the steps that must be taken, including building multitudes of nuclear plants, wind turbines and solar panels on an annual basis in order to accomplish this goal by 2050. Distinctive architectural designs are also 08/09 canadian architect


introduced. Configuring the landscape of Northern Alberta’s tar sands and turning them into cranberry-farming locales to developing strategies for post-oil reactivation of the Caspian Sea are all visionary ideas. Edward Burtynsky’s photographs of oil fields stretch along for pages, while George Osodi’s composition of captioned images exemplify the damage already done in Nigeria by the oil industry. Essentially, Fuel is a miniature handbook containing a miscellaneous collection of piquantly entertaining essays along with images documenting an energy crisis that seems inevitable. Addressing questions about the post-oil and post-coal future, this volume not only informs, but also persuades readers to acknowledge the possibilities that may arise by rethinking fuel. cJ University of toronto: an architectural tour By Larry Wayne richards. princeton: princeton architectural press, 2009.

In an age when most of us rely on our iPhone or internet-connected laptop to find our way through the city, it’s a delight to hold in your

hands a good, solid guidebook that’s accessible, highly informative, and fun to read. Such is the case with this campus guide, Larry Wayne Richards’ architectural tour of the University of Toronto and its three campuses. Organized into nine walks, lushly photographed and illustrated with bird’s-eye campus views, the guide orients the visitor to U of T’s campuses and buildings, providing insights—from the trivial to the pithy into the history, form, material and spaces of the University’s architectural holdings. Without being arcane or condescending, Richards’ affable writing brings us immediately into each campus, drawing us to understand the relevance of what’s within our gaze. Dense and informative, but not overwhelming, the voice of the guide comes through. Richards is no stranger to Toronto’s campus architecture. As former Dean of U of T’s architecture faculty, Richards championed high-quality design. Understanding that universities are laboratories for learning, he advocated design excellence in campus planning, landscape and building. From the hated to the beloved, Richards’ building narratives reveal a campus environment that has a great deal to teach us about our architectural heritage, reflecting the idea of the university and mirroring

the cultural ambitions of the community that built it. The fact that almost all of the University’s buildings are not just the work of one individual, but have seen the hands of a multitude of designers over their long history, is the most compelling story told by this guide. Places of distinction evolve slowly, over time, and through the careful manipulations of many skilled designers. In the end, this is the message of our tour. Introduced by Martin L. Friedland’s rigorous historical analysis—whose only failing may be the paucity of sufficient visuals to fully demonstrate campus evolution since 1827—the guide is illustrated with Tom Arban’s handsome photographs, capturing details and overviews in summer and winter, peopled and deserted, of the University’s campus and buildings. The consistency of Arban’s image-making reinforces Richards’ astute and studied observations, underscoring the value of capturing a place through one photographer’s studied eye. The guide is one of a series produced by Princeton Architectural Press, and, importantly, it is the first Canadian university guide to be featured. A very high standard has been set. Gk

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caLendar Suzanne Swannie Textil: Danish Modern

July 22-October 11, 2009 This 40-year survey exhibition at the Textile Museum of Canada showcases the exquisite manufacture and design of Suzanne Swannie’s functional textiles and intimate tapestries. An immigrant to Canada from Denmark, Swannie’s practice demonstrates the Danish Modern principle of repetition and modular units as a means of generating surfaces and structures. healthy Buildings 2009

September 13-17, 2009 This international conference and exhibition showcases innovations in indoor environmental quality and healthy and sustainable environmental technology. Hosted by the Syracuse Center of Excellence and Syracuse University, HB2009 will draw more than 1,000 researchers and professionals from the disciplines of ar-

chitecture, building products and services, engineering, indoor environmental quality, public health, urban planning, and workplace performance from more than 42 different countries. Public sector Facilities and infra­ structure asset Management

September 15-16, 2009 This conference at the Four Points by Sheraton, Toronto Airport, is the first event of its kind designed to help Canada’s public institutions to develop sustainable infrastructure plans through effective facility asset management. rachel Gotlieb lecture

September 16, 2009 In conjunction with Suzanne Swannie’s current exhibition at the Textile Museum of Canada, Rachel Gotlieb takes the podium at 6:30pm and discusses the work of Swannie in relation to

nelio from Lightolier Here’s a modern angle on minimalist design — Nelio is a unified family of square and linear lighting fixtures that provide designers with the flexibility to illuminate entire homes and small busi­ nesses with continuity and style. Nelio combines form with functional features such as simple installation, precision aiming, easy­to­match finishes and energy efficiency. Nelio continues Lightolier’s 100­year reputation as the source for stylish, high­performance lighting products that let creativity soar. circLe rePLy card 105

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Canada’s reception of Danish Modernism beginning in the 1950s. Palm Springs Modern: Photographs by Julius Shulman

September 19, 2009-January 31, 2010 This exhibition at the Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art offers a tour of the midcentury architecture and elegant lifestyles of Palm Springs, California, and features almost 100 original photographs by renowned photographer Julius Shulman of iconic designs by Modernist architects. Also presented are a dozen original drawings, including renderings of the famed Kaufmann House designed by architect Richard Neutra. iideX/neocon canada

September 23-26, 2009 Celebrating 25 years, IIDEX/NeoCon Canada will be held at Toronto’s Direct Energy Centre. Welcoming new partner the Green Building Festival, this year’s show features four distinguished keynote speakers: business keynote Bertrand Cesvet, environment keynote Enrique Peñalosa, lighting keynote Stephen Knapp, and design keynote Stephen Burks. Three exhibitions focus specifically on architecture: Twenty + Change, Fringe Benefits: Cosmopolitan Dynamics of a Multicultural City, and the TSA’s 4th annual green poster competition. Green Building Festival

September 23-25, 2009 Since 2005, the Green Building Festival has been Canada’s premier event on the business and design of green building, and is taking place this year at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto. With a focus on cutting-edge innovation, technical detail and measurable results, GBF sessions go beyond theory to showcase worldclass projects that are meeting and exceeding environmental goals. Light canada

September 24-25, 2009 IIDEX/NeoCon Canada in partnership with the

Illuminating Engineering Society, Toronto Section (IES) will showcase the latest in interior, exterior, commercial and architectural lighting products plus lamps and lighting controls in 15,000 square feet of exposition space. Light Canada delivers not only cutting-edge design, but will also showcase the monumental advances in sustainable lighting, LED technology, new materials and lighting design. heritage canada Foundation 36th annual conference

September 24-26, 2009 This event takes place at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto and will bring together delegates and speakers from the fields of heritage preservation, environmental conservation and green building. Delegates will learn how the rehabilitation and reuse of older buildings and existing neighbourhoods can help save the planet—and how the green movement and architectural conservation will become more integrated in the process. Best of canada design awards

September 25, 2009 Celebrate the Best of Canada Awards, part of the 25th annual IIDEX/NeoCon show, which takes place from 2:30pm to 5:30pm at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto. thom Mayne lecture

September 25, 2009 The University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design’s (EVDS) Design Matters inaugural lecture will be delivered by Los Angeles-based architect Thom Mayne. The lecture and reception take place at 7:00pm at the Metropolitan Conference Centre in Calgary. For More inForMation aBoUt these, anD aDDitionaL ListinGs oF canaDian anD internationaL events, pLease visit

08/09 canadian architect



new ShOeS fOr Batawa

an aging facTory Town is Being reimagined By a group of archiTecTure sTudenTs from carleTon universiTy.


The Town of BaTawa in The 1970s, when The BaTa shoe facTory was in full swing.


sheryl Boyle

An image is a powerful tool. Imagination is more powerful. Originally founded in 1939 by the late Thomas J. Bata, the small Ontario town of Batawa lies just north of Trenton along Highway 401. Bata imagined creating a small community out of a piece of land along the Trent River that would support his family’s global shoe enterprise as it expanded into Canada. Situated among maple and basswood trees, the town was populated and built with the hands of 100 bright young Bata engineering minds and their families from Holland and the former Czechoslovakia. All buildings were conceived and built by Bata, from the Bauhaus-inspired factory building to the village housing and the local ski hill. Surrounded by nature, the town was an idyllic location for work and play—and it prospered. In 1989 the factory employed nearly 2,000 people in shoemaking and other industries, but by 1999 it had closed. Batawa has since become a bedroom community for Toronto and other larger cities along the St. Lawrence. Today, Thomas’s wife Sonja is once again tapping the potential of imagination to recreate Batawa. Challenging 26 Carleton University students to be “audacious” and yet attentive to the goals of creating a sustainable new Batawa built upon the old, Sonja served as client for the project. She brought the entire town around the discussion table to reinvent itself—including its factory, housing and ski hill, along with the events and businesses that define Batawa. 30 canadian architect 08/09

In a sense, it was history repeating itself: bright, young educated minds gathering in Batawa to reinvent a town. But this time, the tools for the visioning process had changed. After two weeks of working and camping in situ, a newly imagined Batawa was unveiled using leading-edge visualization techniques overseen by Dr. Stephen Fai, professor and director of the Carleton Immersive Media Studio. Merging traditional techniques of architectural drawing and modelling with high-resolution immersive environments, the students presented their hybrid representations of the town and factory to Sonja during a series of recently held events. Some students even presented full-scale constructions. The vertical stairwell of the factory served as a gallery of ideas culminating in the upper floor, where virtual models were projected onto fabric panels adjacent to actual views out of windows overlooking the town, as it exists today. At the end of the six-week-long project, light projections and fireworks were held during the annual Batawa summer solstice celebration. This reimagining of the town will continue at Carleton through the years to come, with the goal of Batawa becoming a model for how small towns can reimagine their future. ca Sheryl Boyle is the acting director for the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism at Carleton University.


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