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contents

19 2010 governor general’s awards

13 news

this year’s winning projeCts exhibit a nuanCed sensitivity to site, landCape and the publiC realm.

54 2010 raic gold Medal highly influential arChiteCt, urban designer and eduCator george baird is seleCted as the reCipient of the 2010 raiC gold medal.

65 calendar

Canadian arChiteCt

The partnership of Provencher Roy & Associés architectes and Rem Koolhaasled OMA wins international competition for the expansion of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec; Saucier + Perrotte and Hughes Condon Marler Architects design new UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science.

Other Space Odysseys: Greg Lynn, Michael Maltzan, Alessandro Poli at the Canadian Centre for Architecture; Architecture en vers at the Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal.

66 Backpage Rufina Wu and Stefan Canham introduce Hong Kong’s hidden rooftop communities.

stefan Canham

may 2010, v.55 n.05

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

sCandinave les bains vieuxmontréal by sauCier + perrotte arChiteCtes in montreal. photograph by marC Cramer.

cover

05/10 canadian architect

9


Ian ChodIkoff

viewpoint

editor Ian ChodIkoff, OAA, FRAIC associate editor LesLIe Jen, MRAIC editorial advisors John MCMInn, AADIpl. MarCo PoLo, OAA, MRAIC contributing editors GavIn affLeCk, OAQ, MRAIC herbert enns, MAA, MRAIC douGLas MaCLeod, nCARb above sInCe Its beGInnInGs In the 1950s, the InforMaL settLeMent of neza has Matured Into an effICIent and eMPathIC CoMMunIty.

In April, I attended the 3rd International Holcim Forum for Sustainable Construction, a three-day conference held at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. Comprised of academics and professionals from the fields of architecture, engineering, urban planning, business and politics, over 270 participants from 39 countries gathered to discuss new approaches to building sustainable communities. The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction—a Swiss-based organization seeking to raise awareness of the roles that architecture, engineering and construction can play in contributing to a healthier planet—sponsored the conference. The Foundation is supported by Holcim Ltd., one of the world’s largest suppliers of cement, aggregates and ready-mixed concrete. A highlight of the forum was a series of workshops examining the relationships of architecture, infrastructure, social networks and stakeholders in the city. For the workshop that focused on stakeholders—those citizens who play an important everyday role in the city but who are often excluded from important decision-making processes—arrangements were made to visit the informal city of Nezahualcóyotl or “Neza,” and a cultural centre in Iztapalapa, one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Mexico City. The richness of social capital, community participation and selfgovernance in these two areas was extraordinary. These case studies can teach us how we can learn to work together to resolve some of the ongoing challenges facing the sustainability of our cities. Founded in the 1950s without any city services and expanded through illegal land sales, Neza is the largest unplanned community in Mexico. Today, it has a population of nearly 1.5 million inhabitants. This fully matured city contains a level of social interaction and complexity that traditionally planned communities can only dream of achieving. With a wide variety of businesses and services—including at least one branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia—one quickly appreciates Neza as a well-maintained and socially inclusive environment where the idea of community is both preserved and nurtured. 10 canadian architect 05/10

In Fábrica de Artes y Oficios de Oriente (FARO), a cultural centre in Iztapalapa where more than 80 percent of its nearly 2 million inhabitants live in extreme poverty, a strong presence of mutual respect and community identity is felt everywhere. FARO contains a vocational school, library, theatre, exhibition space and cafeteria within a long graffiti-covered ship-like structure. Meeting the needs of many Mexicans marginalized from society, the centre strikes close to the heart, reminding us of the importance of engendering not only a sense of place but empathy towards others living in impoverished conditions. This is what Jeremy Rifkin might consider to be a good example of an “empathic civilization.” In his keynote address at the conference, Rifkin, author of The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis, spoke of his belief that the only way the human race can survive in a sustainable and globalized economy is if we develop more empathy toward others. His “empathic civilization” can be seen as the opposite of a Utopia, a place where there is neither fear nor desire. In an empathic world, we are able to feel and understand the vulnerabilities of those around us, working co-operatively to achieve greater balance among humans. Through greed and the desire for progress, it is quite possible that we’ve moved away from the empathic understanding of each other’s needs, resulting in our inability to collectively make positive decisions affecting the future health of our planet. But there is hope. Humanity is still rooted in social environments where we continue to learn from and identify with each other. Over the course of our 175,000-year existence, we have developed constructs such as religious affiliations and national identities to help us build empathic civilizations. If there is one thing that we can discover from places like Neza or Iztapalapa, it is this: nurturing empathy and directing it toward our neighbours will increase the likelihood of humanity’s survival. Ian ChodIkoff

ichodikoff@canadianarchitect.coM

regional correspondents halifax ChrIstIne MaCy, OAA regina bernard fLaMan, SAA montreal davId theodore calgary davId a. down, AAA Winnipeg herbert enns, MAA vancouver adeLe weder publisher toM arkeLL 416-510-6806 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 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: $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 Id, includes taxes): $32.50 for one year. usa: $101.95 us for one year. all other foreign: $120.00 us per year. us office of publication: 2424 niagara falls blvd, niagara falls, ny 143045709. Periodicals Postage Paid at niagara falls, ny. usPs #009-192. us postmaster: send address changes to Canadian architect, Po box 1118, niagara falls, ny 14304. return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Circulation dept., Canadian architect, 12 Concorde Place, suite 800, toronto, on Canada M3C 4J2. Postmaster: please forward forms 29b and 67b to 12 Concorde Place, suite 800, toronto, on Canada M3C 4J2. Printed in Canada. all rights reserved. the contents of this publication may not be reproduced either in part or in full without the consent of the copyright owner. from time to time we make our subscription list available to select companies and organizations whose product or service may interest you. If you do not wish your contact information to be made available, please contact us via one of the following methods: telephone 1-800-668-2374 facsimile 416-442-2191 e-mail privacyofficer@businessinformationgroup.ca mail Privacy officer, business Information Group, 12 Concorde Place, suite 800, toronto, on Canada M3C 4J2 member of the canadian business press member of the audit bureau of circulations publications mail agreement #40069240 issn 1923-3353 (online) issn 0008-2872 (print)

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news cOmpetitiOns

The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec has announced that the winner of the international architecture competition for its new pavilion is OMA (Office for Metropolitain Architecture), based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in partnership with the Quebec team Provencher Roy & Associés architectes. The jury’s unanimous selection of OMA’s design brought to a close a hotly contested international competition that drew interest from more than 100 firms from around the world. The designers had met the requirements related to nature, art and the city, skillfully taking into account the natural setting of the park, the building’s opening onto its environment and the urban character of Grande Allée. The proposed pavilion demonstrates concern for sustainable development and clear respect for the adjacent buildings while making a strong statement in terms of its typology. In December 2007, the governments of Canada and Quebec announced a joint contribution of $67.4 million for this project. The federal contribution, capped at 50% of admissible costs to a maximum of $33.7 million, is provided through the Building Canada Fund, Major Projects Component. This funding is conditional upon the signing of a contribution agreement with the Government of Quebec, which will provide $33.7 million from the Québec Infrastructures Plan through the Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine. Financing for the project is to be completed by a $90-million private fundraising campaign conducted by the Fondation du Musée. www.mnba.qc.ca

prOjects saucier + perrotte and hughes condon marler architects design new UBc Faculty of pharmaceutical science.

Saucier + Perrotte and Hughes Condon Marler Architects have begun designing the new building for the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science/ CDRD for the University of British Columbia. The project site is located at the intersection of Westbrook Mall and Agronomy Road, a 20,240-square-metre parcel of land that is located at an important entry point to the campus. Resource Planning Group Inc. was earlier involved with the development of the project’s functional program, which enabled the architectural team to arrive at a design that would reflect

luxigon

rem Koolhaas’s Oma and provencher roy & associés win international competition for musée national des beaux-arts du Québec expansion.

the winning competition entry for the expansion of the musée national des beaux-arts du Québec is a lively and dramatic addition to Quebec city’s grande allée.

aBOVe

the Pharmaceutical Science Department’s world-class researchers, faculty, and the University’s status as an internationally recognized institution in scientific endeavours. With this in mind, the building is designed to act as a gateway to the southeast edge of the campus, engaging the community with a ground floor that will be open, transparent and inviting—one that will showcase the public functions of the Faculty. The $90-million project will also house the University’s Centre for Drug Research and Development in a state-of-the-art facility. Kuwabara payne mcKenna Blumberg architects unveil design for minnesota’s Orchestra hall.

Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects unveiled schematic designs for the renovation and expansion of Orchestra Hall, home of the Minnesota Orchestra in downtown Minneapolis. The $40-million project to revitalize Orchestra Hall focuses on a reinvention of its public lobby spaces and creates a dramatic exterior that better connects the Hall to the city outside. “In renovating Orchestra Hall, we made it a priority to preserve the iconic elements of the original 1974 design, while also re-envisioning aspects of the building to better fit the current city and context,” says architect Bruce Kuwabara, who serves as design partner on the project. The renovation doubles Orchestra Hall’s available lobby space, simplifies lobby circulation, adds two exterior terraces and creates a new multi-purpose “City Room” on the lobby’s west side that can flexibly

accommodate a range of catered receptions, dinners and performances—and opens directly to a generous open-air terrace in warm months. “The expanded lobby will be one broad, interconnected space, and it will feel more inclusive,” says architect Marianne McKenna, who serves as partner in charge. London-based Sound Space Design will oversee acoustics during the renovation, making appropriate onstage adjustments and ensuring that the auditorium’s current excellent acoustics are maintained through the renovation. The new Orchestra Hall is expected to open in 2013.

awards sanaa named the 2010 pritzker architecture prize Laureates.

Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, partners in the architectural firm SANAA, have been chosen as the 2010 Laureates of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. In announcing the jury’s choice, Thomas J. Pritzker, chairman of the Hyatt Foundation, elaborated, “Japanese architects have been chosen three times in the 30-year history of the Pritzker Architecture Prize—the first was the late Kenzo Tange in 1987, then in 1993, Fumihiko Maki was selected, and in 1995, Tadao Ando was the honouree.” The purpose of the Pritzker Architecture Prize is to honour annually a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the 05/10 canadian architect

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2010 heritage toronto awards call for nominations.

Heritage Toronto invites the public to nominate significant 2009 projects they think should be celebrated. This year, nominations will be accepted in the following categories: William Greer Architectural Conservation and Craftsmanship— for excellence in the restoration or adaptive reuse of a building 40 years old or older. Projects of all sizes will be considered, from façade restoration to a commercial building; Book—for a non-

GOOd desiGn awards.

The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and Metropolitan Arts Press Ltd. present the Museum’s annual GOOD DESIGN Awards Program for the most innovative and cutting-edge industrial, product, and graphic designs produced around the world. In the Product Design category, anything produced and/or designed from January 2008 to the present is eligible. All submitted products must have been produced by a manufacturer or scheduled for production. In the graphic design category, any graphic produced and/or designed from January 2008 to the present is eligible. All submitted graphics must have been produced by a client or scheduled for production. In this year’s edition, selected products and graphics for GOOD DESIGN are announced to the international press in December 2010. The fee is $300 US per entry. All entries must be postmarked no later than 5:00pm CST on July 1, 2010. www.chi-athenaeum.org/gdesign/sub00.htm

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KmBr honoured with third Bc wood design award.

Crawford Bay Elementary Secondary School, designed by KMBR Architects Planners Inc., was recognized with a WoodWORKS! BC Wood Design Award. It is the third such award in four years for KMBR. The school won in the category of Institutional Wood Design with a value of less than $10 million. The awards are given out annually by the Canadian Wood Council, whose WoodWORKS! initiative promotes the use of wood in non-residential construction. KMBR’s latest award-winning project saw the replacement of a 200-student elementary/secondary school, originally built in the late 1940s, in the small rural town on the east shore of Kootenay Lake in southeastern British Columbia. The design of the new school relies heavily on the use of locally produced wood products, resulting in several invaluable outcomes, such as the shipping of materials from afar, thereby reducing the new school’s environmental footprint. The use of wood was also an intentional, socially responsible move in that it created local employment for both the lumber industry and local carpenters, thus greatly stimulating the local economy.

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Raymond Moriyama, who cofounded the firm Moriyama Teshima Architects in 1958, is a hero to many Canadians. His stories of being interned during the Second World War because of his Japanese heritage and his rise to become one of Canada’s most respected architects continue to inspire. Moriyama has applied his extraordinary vision and understanding to numerous projects including the original Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Ontario Science Centre, Science North, Scarborough Civic Centre, Toronto Reference Library, Bata Shoe Museum, National Museum of Saudi Arabia, Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, and the new Canadian War Museum in Ottawa that recently received the Governor General’s Medal for Architecture. Such landmark projects consistently earn praise for their intimate relationship to land, nature, and community. Moriyama has received honourary degrees from 10 universities, along with the Order of Canada and the Order of the Rising Sun (Japan), and was recently promoted to a Companion of the Order of Canada in recognition of “...inspiring a new generation of young architects through a significant body of work deemed to be a major contribution to Canadian architecture, and having lasting influence on the theory and/or the practice of architecture.” Born in Vancouver and educated in Vancouver, Tokyo, Slocan Valley (Bayfarm) in BC, Ryerson Senior Public School, and Westdale Collegiate in Hamilton, he received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Toronto in 1954 and Master of Architecture degree in Civic and Town Planning from McGill University in 1957. In the spring of 2001, he was elected unanimously the Chancellor of Brock University, the first architect in Canada to receive such an honour. www.jccclegacycampaign.ishare.ca/sakura/ honouree.htm

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raymond moriyama announced as recipient of the 2010 sakura award.

fiction book about Toronto’s archaeological, built, cultural and/or natural heritage and history, published in 2009; Media—for a production about Toronto’s archaeological, built, cultural or natural heritage and history; and Community Heritage Award—a cash prize awarded to one volunteer-based organization in each of the four Community Council areas for a significant activity that promotes or protects heritage. The deadline for nominations is June 1, 2010. www.heritagetoronto.org

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2010 governor general’s medal winners

solid Performance

the winners of this year’s governor general’s medals showcase their exPertise in the creation of highly evocative architecture. As with previous winners of Governor General’s Medals in Architecture, the 2010 award recipients are being recognized and celebrated by their peers for design excellence. This awards program continues a tradition that was initiated by the Massey Medals in 1950 and remains an important barometer of change identifying the evolution of Canadian architecture with respect to regional, cultural and material characteristics expressed in contemporary buildings. The jury for this year’s Governor General’s Medals in Architecture comprises a group of internationally renowned professionals and esteemed Canadian architects from the Prairies, Ontario, and Quebec, including Bernardo Gómez-Pimienta, Nader Tehrani, Georges Adamczyk, Jane Pendergast and Betsy Williamson.

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), together with the RAIC College of Fellows, is responsible for the organization and administration of the competition, while the Canada Council for the Arts is responsible for selecting and administering the peer assessment jury. Awarded every two years, up to 12 winners can be selected for each Governor General’s Medals in Architecture awards cycle. Readers will note that many of the award-winning projects have long ago been published in Canadian Architect magazine. This is because the eligibility requirements for submission allow such a generous period of time for project completion—from January 1, 2001 to November 1, 2007. Bernardo Gómez-Pimienta is currently the Dean of the School of Architecture at the Univer-

sidad Anáhuac in Mexico City. In 2008, he was honoured as Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur by the French Republic and recognized as an Honorary Fellow by the American Institute of Architects and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. More than 80 prizes recognize the work of Gómez-Pimienta, who is known for a contemporary architectural vocabulary that references traditional Mexican culture. Nader Tehrani is a Principal of the Bostonbased architecture firm of Office dA. He is also a Professor of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His area of research is focused on innovations in building systems, material applications, and digital fabrication. Office dA has received numerous awards and the work of the firm has been exhibited widely at such venues as New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Venice Biennale, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Georges Adamczyk is a Full Professor at the School of Architecture at the Université de Montréal, where he served as its director from 1999 to 2007. He is a consultant for public interest projects and is the author of a number of articles, papers, publications and exhibitions about architecture and design in Canada. Adamczyk is currently collaborating on the first major disciplinary study of architectural competitions in Canada since 1940 at the Laboratoire d’étude de l’architecture potentielle (LEAP), a research organization that is centred at the Université de Montréal. Jane Pendergast has devoted her career to various forms of practice including a stint as University Architect at the University of Calgary. Her real passion lies in working on cultural, not-forprofit, higher education and community projects, and she has recently opened the firm Pendergast Nyhoff Collaborative Architecture Inc. (PNCA) in downtown Calgary with architect Kevin Nyhoff. Betsy Williamson is a Principal of WILLIAMSONWILLIAMSON INC., a Toronto-based architecture firm. She serves on the Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel and the Art Advisory Board of the Toronto Sculpture Garden. In addition to her creative practice, Betsy maintains an active teaching career at the University of Toronto. In 2008, WILLIAMSONWILLIAMSON INC., was the recipient of the Ronald J. Thom Award for Early Design Achievement from the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2006, the studio was honoured with the Young Architects Award from the Architectural League of New York. 05/10­­canadian architect

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governor general’s medal winner

Tom ArbAn

telUs centre for Performance and learning

KuwAbArA PAyne mcKennA blumberg ArchiTecTs location ToronTo, onTArio architect

The new TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning is the final phase in the master plan to build a new home for Canada’s premier music and arts educator, the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM). KPMB, under the direction of Marianne McKenna, has been working with the RCM to realize the vision set forth in the 1991 award-winning master plan. The overall project involved the progressive 20 canadian architect 05/10

The undulATing ribbon-liKe ceiling of Koerner hAll enhAnces The AcousTics.

aBove

restoration of McMaster Hall and the construction of a new TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning to create a unique hybrid of a teaching and rehearsal facility and destination concert venue with three major performance venues. The space between the historic and new buildings is enclosed to create a skylit pedestrian court linking the Bloor Street entrance to the Concert Hall and Lobby. The glass-and-steel structure of

the new addition provides a dynamic counterpoint to the polychromatic façades of the heritage buildings. Urbanistically, the project occupies an important site in midtown Toronto at the threshold of the University of Toronto’s downtown campus, and integrates Philosopher’s Walk, a landscape pedestrian route that runs north and south linking Bloor Street to Hoskin Avenue. The design was strategically conceived to define a new cultural precinct for the city in concert with the transformation of the adjacent ROM and the expansion of the Gardiner Museum around the corner on Queen’s Park. Although the new additions are substantive in scale and size, the siting, massing and articulation is deferential to the 19th-century heritage buildings on Bloor Street which have housed the RCM since 1962. The emphasis on transparency and contemporary building systems create a dynamic counterpoint to the polychromatic masonry walls when encountered from Philosopher’s Walk. KPMB was also involved in the restoration of the exterior heritage fabric and the 240-seat Ettore Mazzoleni Hall. A key mandate was to maximize the capacity and flexibility for integrating new technology and adapting to changes and growth in programs. The new additions include 43 new teaching and practice studios, the renovation of Ihnatowycz Hall (1898) and a new 150-seat Conservatory Hall, a rehearsal space designed to accommodate a range of functions. In scale and proportion it replicates the acoustic quality and stage size of the main Koerner Concert Hall to prepare students for live performance. In addition to Mazzoleni Hall and Conservatory Hall, the project incorporates the 1,135-seat Michael and Sonja Koerner Concert Hall—the performance heart of the project that provides a premiere acoustical environment. Its undulating wood “veil” integrated with the canopy above the stage define an iconic image for the RCM. Overall, the TELUS Centre emphasizes the primacy of acoustics to directly support the RCM’s educational mission to nurture a creative society. georges adamczyk: Les liens entre le bâtiment historique et le nouvel édifice sont très bien composés. La restauration de l’ancien édifice d’allure victorienne est en fait très bien mise en valeur par le choix d’une construction rigoureuse et transparente pour la nouvelle adition. La présence du conservatoire sur le campus de


l’université est très inspirante et la façon dont il accompagne le “chemin des philosophes,” est remarquable. Jane Pendergast: When you consider all the architectural, landscape and urban forces at work on this site it is remarkable how deftly the architects have managed the forms, the places within, the experience of moving through this assembly of buildings, the dialogue between old and new materials, and the presentation of the project on so many fronts.

The mulTi-leVel lobby sPAce is formAl yeT inTimATe; The AudiTorium of Koerner hAll; new AddiTions mAKe for A hArmonious conTrAsT To The originAl 1881 romAnesque building; The Telus cenTre AnimATes ToronTo’s busy bloor sTreeT wiTh iTs dignified Presence.

eduArd hueber

Tom ArbAn

eduArd hueber

eduArd hueber

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5 client royAl conserVATory of music architect team mAriAnne mcKennA (PArTner), roberT sims (AssociATe in chArge), dAVe smyThe (ProJecT ArchiTecT), meiKA mccunn (ProJecT ArchiTecT), cArolyn lee, frAnces lAgo, John mesTiTo, gAry yen, dAn benson, KrisTA clArK, bill colAco, george friedmAn, eriK Jensen, dAVid Jesson, robin rAmchArAn, riTA KiriAKis, leXi KolT-wAgner, scoTT Pomeroy, mArK simPson, deborAh wAng, chris wegner, norm li, clAre rAdford, nicK lim acoUstician sound sPAce design wiTh AercousTics engineering lTd theatre consUltant Anne minors PerformAnce consulTAnTs strUctUral hAlcrow yolles mechanical merber corPorATion consulTing engineers electrical crossey engineering landscaPe JAneT rosenberg & AssociATes interiors KPmb ArchiTecTs contractor Pcl consTrucTors cAnAdA costing currAn mccAbe rAVindrAn ross aUdiovisUal engineering hArmonics architectUral lighting mArTin conboy lighTing design heritage goldsmiTh borgAl & comPAny limiTed ArchiTecTs area 190,000 fT2 BUdget $110 m comPletion sePTember 2009

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governor general’s medal winner

corkin gallery location

shim-sutcliffe architects toronto, ontario

The Corkin Gallery provides a public venue for the display of one of the best collections of fine art photography in Canada. It is located in what was originally a spirit storage room in the Good­ erham and Worts Distillery, now in downtown Toronto’s Distillery District. The project cele­ brates the scale of the building’s vast industrial space while creating a series of modern gallery rooms in this new cultural district in the city. The legibility of the existing spaces—the walls, ceil­ ings and architectural elements—and their rela­ tionship to the new insertions was fundamental to the design proposition. Early excavations below the existing floor level revealed parallel rows of evenly spaced six­foot­ high brick walls that divided the space into nar­ row three­foot­wide corridors. Formerly, large storage tanks sat on these turn­of­the­century masonry walls and the spaces between were used to run connecting service pipes. The project ex­ poses this pattern of low walls, using them as a datum within and above into which new spaces are inserted. A new central gallery space was created, bracketed by the rhythm of the historic brick tank walls, and existing heavy timber col­ umns were preserved, with new cruciform steel bases replacing the existing rubble stone foun­ dations. This created stable connection points to the new concrete floor slab, and created a dialogue between new and existing structural elements. Set five steps below the gallery entrance hall and street level, a vast 24­foot­high space is created. The exhibit surfaces are held away from massive masonry walls and the wood­framed ceiling plane. The main gallery’s hanging walls extend up 18 feet towards the existing ceiling, floating below the gently sloping ceiling to allow the original size and form of the existing space to still be read. Beyond the main gallery, a steel bridge con­ nects two mezzanine galleries and appears to float several inches above the historic masonry walls. Further enhancing this ethereal quality of the space, sliding translucent glass planes hang from the ceiling, both concealing and revealing the gallery’s library and study space from the public. Below this upper level space, a smaller gallery is defined by brick walls on three sides to display smaller, more intimately scaled photographs. Two flights of wood stairs aligned with archways 22 canadian architect 05/10

James Dow

architect

original timber columns rest on new cruciform bases, replacing olD rubble stone founDations in this high-ceilingeD space.

aBove

in the brick support walls lead to the upper gal­ leries. By moving through and up either flight of inserted stairs, the visitor can experience the upper galleries and overlook the main gallery below. Along with its spatial complexity, the material richness of the gallery sets it apart from the stereotypical pristine white­walled gallery. The original 2½”­thick planks of Douglas fir and cedar flooring were retained and recycled throughout the space, sanded and large holes filled with a clear resin in order to maintain the quality and texture of the distillery floor. Hand­ rails made of glass and stainless steel connect sensitively to their century­old substrates, and provide a layer of human­scaled elements in a dramatically volumetric space.

Bernardo gómez-Pimienta: The contemporary insertion is careful and clever, creating a spatial complexity that the original building lacked— while maintaining all the old structural elements. The dialogue between old and new is respectful and makes a better building than the simple sum of the elements used. nader tehrani: An intelligent adaptation of the distillery infrastructure, repurposing the build­ ing to effective ends. The project shows that it is not enough to preserve the “history” of the build­ ing with a passive voice, but instead requires a strategic intervention, drawing out its latent qualities and giving it renewed meaning.


James Dow

sliDing glass panels separate the office anD library from the stair leaDing Down to the lower level. Bottom, leFt to right original masonry supports were once requireD for heavy machinery, as illustrateD in the historic photograph; original brick archways once supporteD vats of spirits above. leFt

client Jane corkin architect team brigitte shim anD howarD sutcliffe (principals), Denise haraDem (proJect architect) structural blackwell bowick partnership ltD. mechanical toews engineering inc. electrical Dynamic Designs anD engineering inc. heritage era architects inc. architectural lighting suzanne powaDiuk Design inc. Building code leber rubes inc. metal FaBricators tremonte manufacturing inc. Builders eisner murray (vic furgiuele) area 6,000 ft2 Budget withhelD comPletion november 2004

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New INterIor walls exIstINg brIck support walls

James Dow

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uPPer level 15 storage racks for art 11 office 12 mechanical lift for artwork 16 upper galleries 17 stair up through historic 13 library archeD passage 14 private viewing gallery

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05/10 canadian architect

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governor general’s medal winner

ravine guest house architect location

shim-sutcliffe Architects toronto, ontArio

rAimund koch

This guesthouse is located on the wooded grounds of a private residence abutting a Toronto ravine. The wood-and-glass pavilion sits within a three-acre property, surrounded by a lush landscape of mature red pines and black locust trees. It is conceived of as a glowing lantern in the forest, typologically related to greenhouses and traditional garden outbuildings. Intended as a quiet retreat, the program for the

project has both indoor and outdoor elements. The indoor program includes a bedroom, a sitting room, a bathroom, and a kitchen which can also be used for catering large events. The outdoor program includes a large wooden deck, reflecting pool, covered dining area, and a long concrete countertop for the storage of firewood and garden equipment. A deliberate ambiguity is created between interior and exterior, as elements are interwoven to create a series of interlocking spaces. A large central indoor-outdoor fireplace reinforces this

ambiguity; it has a sliding fireglass window between the two fireboxes permitting a separation between inside and out, while affording views through one to the other. Facing west, large wood-and-glass doors unfold, allowing the building’s main living and sleeping space to open fully to the outdoors. A view toward the reflecting pool and terraces is framed by the remaining south wall and fireplace. The ipé wood flooring used for the interior extends seamlessly beyond the doors to form the terrace, further extending the modest interior into the landscape, and again blurring the distinction between inside and out. The structural steel and Douglas fir roof framing is fully exposed and expressed. A hanging structural frame enables the Profilit cast-glass clerestory to be completely continuous overhead. The openness of the pavilion’s walls, the minimalism of the structure’s framing, and the glowing quality of the milky glass above allow the ceiling plane to appear to float. To create shade and shelter for the outdoor dining area, the simple rectangular prism of roof and glass hovers above the hearth and the terrace. The journey to the Ravine Guesthouse is by foot down a winding gravel path. A slatted wooden bridge forms the threshold to the pavilion, leading across the L-shaped reflecting pool to the generous wood terrace. The pool is planted with water lilies and bullrushes, creating a rich water landscape surrounded by the verdant and distinctive Toronto ravine landscape. georges adamczyk: Ce lieux de retraite, à quelques minutes du centre ville, dans un ravin de Toronto, havre naturel précieusement conservé, est une construction très sophistiquée qui se joue hardiment des lois de la pesanteur et tend à effacer la limite entre l’intérieur et l’extérieur, là oú les beaux arbres et la réflexion d’un bassin d’eau renforce l’engagement contemplatif de ce projet. Les matériaux s’ajustent à un récit architectonique tendu et précis, d’une grande clarté, démontrant que la simplicité est le fruit d’une recherche patiente et sensible de la vérité des choses. C’est en quelque sorte l’exemple parfait d’un manifeste pour la beauté architecturale.

aBove

A view of the rAvine house, the surrounding deck, And reflecting pool.

24 canadian architect 05/10

Bernardo gómez-Pimienta: The Ravine Guest House is an extremely sophisticated volume blending interior and exterior space. The use of a reduced material palette is enhanced by the clarity of the structural solution making the clerestory appear to float above the seemingly continuous space.


JAmes dow

JAmes dow rAimund koch

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structurAl glAss chAnnels form the upper clerestory of the guest house; A view of the indoor/outdoor fireplAce with lArge douglAs fir doors opening to the heAvily wooded surroundings. aBove custom-designed chAirs And lAmps By the Architects Adorn the interior of this guest house.

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reflecting pool terrAce covered outdoor AreA indoor/outdoor fireplAce living/sleeping

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BAthroom kitchen roof gArden concrete counter

client dr. murrAy frum And nAncy lockhArt architect team Brigitte shim And howArd sutcliffe (principAls), min wAng, mArk grAhAm structural BlAckwell Bowick pArtnership ltd. Builder tony Azevedo area 500 ft2 Budget withheld comPletion 2004

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We are inspired by the dynamic power of the world around us. We design architectural and engineering solutions from which a bold and beautiful future emerges – one in harmony with the needs of people, land, and environment.

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craven road studio

BoB Gundu

BoB Gundu

governor general’s medal winner

architect location

Shim-Sutcliffe ArchitectS toronto, ontArio

The client required a detached, freestanding studio which could serve a variety of uses including exhibition and display, research and study space, archival storage, and library shelving. Located on a tightly defined urban lot, it sits immediately adjacent to an earlier award-winning house constructed 10 years ago for the same client and serves as an adjunct space to the principal residence. An urban court with a grove of river birches was created between the existing principal building and the new studio. A new single-car garage and three-foot-wide walkway created for the adjacent neighbour forms the south side of the courtyard. The result is an urban ensemble of buildings flanking an outdoor open space that all buildings benefit from. One enters the site through this urban court and from there, enters either the principal residence or the studio building. 28 canadian architect 05/10


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Jane Pendergast: This project captured our attention at both the detail level and at the urban scale. The inside perimeter walls are washed with light thanks to a brilliant sectional detail which also sets off the floating ceiling and disguises the fact that the walls are often housing deep storage

BoB Gundu

The client stipulated that the space be lit with diffuse, indirect natural light in order to provide adequate daylighting, yet avoid potential UV damage to books and collections of archival material. The clear-span space is entirely columnfree, and supports a sustainable green roof which is planted with native grasses. The uninterrupted plane of the ceiling floats nearly 12 feet above the floor, and slopes upward at the edge on all four sides to meet the junction of the perimeter skylight. An innovative system of narrow light coffers surrounds the entire perimeter of the studio, varying in both rhythm and depth depending on their orientation. The incoming light washes across the face of the wood fins, providing a warmth and glow in the internal space. The project’s external façade responds explicitly to the principal residence. An exterior cladding of stained marine plywood was installed with the grain running horizontally, relating it to the wood panel walls of the existing house. The upper walls are faced with untreated cedar slats, which will allow them to weather naturally, echoing the same motif used in the adjacent garage and the new cedar fence surrounding the property. Together, they create a layered ensemble of buildings that use exterior wood in different ways. Finally, on a macro level, the project responds to the often limiting lot conditions of the city of Toronto, which is generally divided into long and narrow Victorian lots. The project’s ability to reimagine and recontextualize the allocation of property within the city is subtly transgressive: it offers the possibility of a new urban typology. The project participates in the densification of the urban core while at the same time creating a tranquil and contemplative private space.

BoB Gundu

crAven roAd houSe (1993) urBAn courtyArd crAven roAd Studio neiGhBour’S SinGle-cAr GArAGe

fin o’hArA

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view of the Studio interior lookinG weSt throuGh A Grove of river Birch treeS. oPPosite Bottom the principAl houSe, new Studio, And neiGhBourinG GArAGe define An urBAn court on thiS compAct Site. toP north wAll of the Studio with itS Book diSplAy, Bulletin BoArd And wooden liGht cofferS. aBove two viewS of the Studio—At niGht And then durinG the dAy. oPPosite toP

cabinets. The studio site completely rethinks the realm of the tight inner city block off the lane— creating a sanctuary of inside and outside spaces.

juncture of wall and roof creates coffers that sculpt the changing conditions of light to create a sublime daylighting condition, and tests a proposition that could be applicable to larger-scale work.

Betsy williamson: In a modest project like the

Craven Road Studio, it can be too easy to give away tectonic rigour to the banalities of typical construction. Here, however, the architects have ensured that every surface and detail becomes a conceptual proposition. The particularly inventive

client roBert hill architect team BriGitte Shim And howArd Sutcliffe (principAlS), michAel Goorevich structural BlAckwell Bowick pArtnerShip ltd. Builder derek nicholSon inc. area 500 ft2 Budget withheld comPletion 2006

05/10 canadian architect

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governor general’s medal winner

Tom ArbAn

Tom ArbAn

Prefab cottage for two families

architect location

Kohn Shnier ArchiTecTS muSKoKA, onTArio

The project brief was for a year-round cottage to be shared by two related families. The site is a wooded lakefront property with a pronounced ridge running roughly parallel to the shoreline, separating the approach to the site from views of the water. In order to reduce site impact and increase efficiency of construction time and materials, a prefab structure was proposed. Seven separate units were built at an indoor facility operated by Royal Homes, some 325 kilometres from the site. The design of the cottage accepts and exploits some of the inherent limitations of this process to respond to the site and program. The cottage is built to the 4.875-metre width limit allowed on local highways, resulting in a long, thin form. Program demands were met and the heavily treed site vastly preserved by stacking the units on top of one another. This narrow cross-section creates an intimate scale, an unavoidable immediacy to the outdoors, and an opportunity for natural cross ventilation on hot summer days. The length, some 38.4 metres, generates considerable distance within the house, offering remoteness and privacy when desired. This makes the cottage both small and big at the same time. The cottage is embedded into the lake side of the ridge obliquely, such that there is a point on each of the three floor levels with access to grade. Shared facilities are at the highest level, affording the best views. This level

Kohn Shnier ArchiTecTS

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The compleTed prefAbricATed reTreAT in A heAvily wooded SiTe; The elongATed covered wAlKwAy/TerrAce provideS Ample ShelTer from The elemenTS while providing The illuSion of greATer widTh. bottom The Sequencing of conSTrucTion—from wArehouSe To Shipping And inSTAllATion. above, left to right

is entered from the top of the ridge. Sleeping areas are in the middle level, and workshop, play and utility uses are in the lowest level. Facing the lake, the east elevation of the cottage consists entirely of sliding glass doors and provides every room with views of the water and access to the forest or balconies. Materials were selected to be long-lasting and maintenance-free. They fall into two categories: reflective surfaces—glazing and mirror; and those with a muted colouration—unfinished cedar, zinc cladding, and galvanized steel. The objective is to visually push the structure into the background. Construction of the units, totalling about 375 square metres in area, took 25 days in the builder’s facility. Transit and placement of the units was accomplished in about 48 hours. The use of factory construction allowed for minimal disruption on the site (and to neighbours) during peak seasons as the units arrived at the site in early fall. A summer of sawing and hammering was replaced by the concentrated and exciting event of delivery and placement. Site work—the foundations, lower level, cladding, balconies and the construction of one bay containing a two-storey-high glazed section— required normal construction durations.


Tom ArbAn

Tom ArbAn

Tom ArbAn clocKwise from toP left floor-To-ceiling glASS wAllS permiT unobSTrucTed viewS To nATure; pre-formed Aluminum pAnelS Are A coST-effecTive And low-mAinTenAnce exTerior clAdding SoluTion; The long inTerior SpAce provideS A greAT opporTuniTy for enTerTAining gueSTS.

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Jane Pendergast: This project addressed the challenge of a remote site by using transportable prefabricated units—an exercise that has been studied by many architects over the last few years. In many ways, the Prefab Cottage characterizes our time as the pressures of time, labour costs, and issues of controlling our ecological footprint come into play. I like the linear assembly and simple stacking of the units that has brought about an elegantly simple set of hillside living spaces and quiet views through the trees.

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betsy williamson: It takes a careful and methodical approach to building

to take the raw material of the prefab house and elevate it to the level of refinement we see in this project. While the module doesn’t dissolve into the overall composition, we see it accommodate a range of spatial possibilities and site conditions, becoming much more than the sum of its parts. client wiThheld architect team mArTin Kohn, brigiTTe luzAr, John Shnier, bArborA voKAc, liSA wAddell structural Kieffer engineering Prefab contractor royAl homeS

on-site contractor JudgeS conTrAcTing area 450 m2 budget wiThheld comPletion Summer 2007

middle/bedroom level enTry porch veSTibule hAll KiTchen dining living mid-level enTry/SiTTing room 8 mechAnicAl/STorAge 9 Shower/SAunA 10 recreATion roomS/ 8 lower level enTry 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

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05/10 canadian architect

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governor general’s medal winner

Larry WiLLiams

PhotograPher’s studio over a Boat house

architect location

gh3 stoney Lake, ontario

This project is a reimagination of the archetypal glass house in a landscape. As a continuation of this architectural ambition, the central conceit of the glass house is reconceived through a contemporary lens of sustainability, program, site and amenity. The compelling qualities of simple open spaces, interior and exterior unity, and material clarity are transformed to enhance the environmental and programmatic performance of the building, creating an architecture of both iconic resonance and innovative context-driven design. The program envisions the building as north-facing window: a photographer’s live/work studio that is continuously bathed in diffuse and undiminished natural light. The transparent façade—a continuous curtain wall glazed in Cradle to Cradle-certified Starphire glass—becomes the essential element in a photographic apparatus to produce images unobtainable in a conventional studio. The availability and fidelity of north-facing light in the double-height space provides the photographer with unparalleled natural illumination, while the clarity of the glazing transforms the site and surrounding vistas into a sublime, everchanging backdrop. The compact glass form sits at the water’s edge on a granite plinth whose matte black façade dematerializes to suspend the building, lantern-like, on the site. The granite’s thermal mass exploits the abundant solar input, eliminating the need for active systems on winter days, while the lakefront 34 canadian architect 05/10

an immacuLateLy designed steeL-and-gLass voLume stoicaLLy asserts itseLf Within its rocky Landscape.

aBove

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Larry WiLLiams

site allows the use of a deep-water exchange to heat and cool the building year-round through radiant slabs and recessed perimeter louvres at the floor and ceiling. Sliding panes in the glass skin—three metres wide at the ground floor, and 1.5 metres wide on the mezzanine floor—allow the façade to become completely porous for natural ventilation, while an individually automated blind system, white roof, and deciduous hedgerow guard against excessive solar gain. The continuous blind system additionally serves as a second aesthetic skin, transforming the interior into an enclosed intimate space, and the exterior into a gently reflective mirror of the surroundings. Entry into the site is facilitated through a minimalist landscape that deploys endogenous materials while leaving the greatest portion of the site in its evocative, glacier-scoured state. A simple granite plinth serves as a threshold for the south-facing entrance, where solid program functions and vertical circulation are arranged in a narrow, efficient volume. From the outset, the goal was to accommodate the clients’ program within a small footprint; consequently, domestic functions are integrated into a furniturelike mezzanine assembly suspended above the main space, where bedroom, bathroom and closet are coextensive, and sliding fritted glass allows the whole to be concealed from the rest of the space. Throughout the upper and lower levels, interior partitions are clad with seamless white lacquered panels whose reflective qualities diffuse light into every part of the interior and create complex layered views through the space. Bernardo gómez-Pimienta: The conceptual clarity of the reinterpretation

of the glass house in an open landscape is pushed to the limits of construction technique. Slab and trusses dissolve to become invisible and hidden behind the mullions. The landscape becomes the background for this exercise in contained energy.

Larry WiLLiams

nader tehrani: Taking on the classical Canadian weekend boathouse, this project refuses the stone and wood that 99% of its neighbours thrive on. Transforming the modern glass house, the project instead takes the ephemeral qualities of mist, snow and water, and uses a palette of white to underline qualities of the surrounding landscape.

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Larry WiLLiams

client Larry WiLLiams and sharie kennedy architect team pat hanson, diana gerrard, raymond choW, simon routh, gretar gudmundsson, pauL cohoon, Liza stiff, vivian chin, WaLter Bettio, deni papetti structural BLackWeLL BoWick partnership Limited mechanical Lam and associates Limited lighting and it aLain couture landscaPe gh3 construction manager scott simpson area 170 m2 Budget $2.2 m comPletion 2008

By day, this transparent voLume seemingLy disappears into its suBLime Lakefront environment. middle the minimaLLy appointed interior is further enhanced By a dark poLished fLoor. aBove the seamLess transition BetWeen the surface of the fLoor and the Lake is enhanced By the home’s fLoor-to-ceiLing gLass WaLLs. toP

05/10 canadian architect

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governor general’s medal winner

French river visitor centre architect location

bAird sAmpson neuert Architects AlbAn, ontArio

tom ArbAn

The French River marks the transition to the Canadian Shield, a landscape of granite scraped bare by the passage of glaciers. In its descent from its headwaters, the River transforms from a fractured granite gorge into a vast delta of sculpted granite islands and outcrops. Designated as Canada’s first Heritage Waterway, the River served as a trade route between First Peoples, and for Europeans, was the primary route for inland exploration of the continent and as the Voyageurs’ Highway. It has been a primary source of uniquely Canadian mythology, inspiring native pictographs and European depictions of heroic river journeys, and contemporary work from the Group of Seven. The project establishes an architecture of the

River, defining and invoking its physical qualities and cultural legacy through an integrated approach to architecture, landscape and exhibit environments. Flowing across an archetypal landscape of rock and water, the visitor experience is organized along a continuously inclined topography of found and constructed elements that establish an interpretive and spatial armature for the project, which interprets the River’s descent from its headwaters at Lake Nippissing to its delta at Georgian Bay. Sited upon an outcrop of exposed granite, the building has been organized into a series of terraces that respond to its sloped topography, providing a barrier-free path that connects the elevated parking area with an existing lower-level picnic zone. The terraces provide connections between interior and exterior program areas, and are sized and configured to accommodate multi-

tasking of the facility for wide-ranging user groups, and to promote extended seasonal use. The entry terrace has been located southward to maximize solar aspect, and its flanking walls provide shelter from westerly winds. The events terrace is located on the sheltered easterly side of the building and is provided with a deep overhang for inclement weather. The teaching terrace serves as an outdoor amphitheatre for school group presentations. The vast soffit of the exhibition hall provides an outdoor sheltered space for hikers using the adjoining trail system. georges adamczyk: Les trois terrasses: entrée, éducation et événement, articulent l’insertion très franche du projet dans le profil rocheux qui surplombe le paysage, mémoire des découvreurs et inspiration des artistes du groupe des sept. Ce projet est vigoureux. Il refuse le pittoresque et noue ensemble la nature, l’esprit sauvage du lieu et les éléments d’une construction surprenante et très inspirante, laquelle finit par se confondre avec le paysage d’origine. nader tehrani: The language and spatial distribution of this project is anything but neutral. The project finds a material palette that engages the Canadian mythology with respect to its land—the topography, the forest, and the vernacular craft associated with its built history, but transforms that narrative with a difficult negotiation between abstraction and figuration. At the end, the project situates itself into nature with deliberate selfconsciousness, but sidesteps the clichés and landmines that await that yearning.

An expressively detAiled concrete column supports the exhibition wing thAt projects out into the forest. right the exposed timber structure of the visitor centre is complemented by nAturAl stone found on the rocky site, enhAncing the displAy of ArtifActs And interpretive elements. oPPosite A view of the building’s eAst elevAtion illustrAtes the trAnspArency of the mAin exhibit hAll, with the teAching terrAce in the foreground.

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tom ArbAn

aBove


tom ArbAn

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lAndscAped islAnd/”duff” stockpile ArrivAl court/pArking lAndscAped islAnd/eco flow biofilter lAndscAped islAnd/sewAge settling tAnks lAndscAped islAnd/fire wAter holding tAnk lAndscAped islAnd/existing rock outcrop hiking terrAce entrAnce terrAce

0 9 teAching terrAce 10 lower terrAce 11 existing pArk trAil circuit 12 existing picnic AreA 13 culturAl pine bArrens 14 stone outcrop/outlook 15 existing trAil to recollet fAlls

client government of ontArio, ministry of nAturAl resources architect team jon neuert, bArry sAmpson, geoffrey thÜn, gregory reuter, mAuro cArreÑo, jennifer Anderson, seth Atkins, jose uribe, nene stout, mArk mArtin, dieter jAnssen structural blAckwell bowick pArtnership mechanical the mitchell pArtnership

50m

axonometric

electrical mulvey And bAnAni internAtionAl landscaPe hArrington And hoyle ltd. interiors bAird sAmpson neuert Architects contractor konA builders limited exhiBit design bAird sAmpson neuert Architects with philip beesley Architect

interPretive Planning Apropos plAnning area 7,850 ft2 Budget $3.5 m building And sitework; $1 m exhibits comPletion june 2006

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governor general’s medal winner

marc cramer

scandinave les Bains vieux-montréal architect location

saucier + perrotte architectes montreal, Quebec

marc cramer

Located in the heart of historic Old Montreal and facing the vibrant piers of the Old Port, Scandinave Les Bains Vieux-Montréal is an urban spa whose purpose is to provide a thermal therapy experience that engages each of the body’s senses. The building, rebuilt half a century ago after extensive fire damage, has housed warehouse functions until recently when it was acquired by the new owners. The formal parti of the project is derived from the contact between hot and cold—and more specifically, the naturally occurring phenomena associated with these conditions. The design distills the idea of cool glacial forms and the warmth of volcanic rocks. White angular masses of glacial topography coupled with volcanic geology bespeak the duality that is central to the thermal therapeutic experience proposed by the spa. This duality is articulated through the form of the spaces and the selection of materials. Upon exiting the dressing room, the visitor is immersed in a unique environment where walls, floors and ceiling are slightly angled according to a notion of interior topography through which visitors may wander. These angles, though subtle, give bathers a perceptual difference from their everyday environs; the awareness of the corporeal relationship with their surroundings is heightened, thus grounding each visitor for that moment in time. Just as in a natural landscape, slight undulations in the ground plane create gentle slopes; depressions in the floor level generate basins of water for bathing. At particular moments, volumes emerge from the ground to sculpt interior zones for the sauna and steam bath. Uniting the main space is a wood ceiling that echoes the movements of the floor: walls of white marble mosaic appear to melt at the point of contact with the warm-toned wood on the ceiling, resulting in accentuated architectural reveals. Heated cantilevered benches made of black slate offer visitors a warm place to pause in between hot and cold bathing cycles. Rounding out the holistic journey is a relaxation room where bathers can relax in rocking chairs or beanbag lounge chairs. clients who enter the hydrojet bath experience the dissolution of the floor plane, and the gently sloping wood ceiling above enhances the sensation. leFt the drum-shaped steam bath is sheathed in tiny textured mosaic tiles. toP

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Opalescent glass has been added to admit natural light through the building’s existing openings while providing a sense of privacy for the visitors. The light that permeates the bath area glows, adding to the purity of the space and the feeling of tranquility for bathers, all while keeping contact with city life. Along rue de la Commune, a thin cascading layer of water flows on glass surfaces, filtering views so that from the exterior, passersby can see only shadowed silhouettes of the figures within the hot bath.

marc cramer

georges adamczyk: La présence luminescente et mystérieuse de ce programme inséré dans les murs d’un édifice du Vieux Montréal, le long de la rue de la Commune, face au port et aux brumes du grand large auxquelles où on rève immanquablement, tient ses promesses lorsque l’on pénètre dans ce lieu dédié aux soins du corps. L’architecture intérieure et la subtilité des rapports visuels et tactiles proposent aux usagers une expérience sensorielle rare et précieuse, hors du temps. nader tehrani: Of the submitted projects, this one displays an incredible restraint accompanied by a meticulous technical control, such that any evidence of detailing is silenced. Within a banal context, right next to the sidewalk, the project “transports” and distances its audience to another place.

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client gestion rivière du diable architect team gilles saucier, andré perrotte, jean-philippe beauchamp, anna bendix, trevor davies, yves de fontenay structural stavibel mechanical/electrical leroux, beaudoin, hurens & associés contractor société desjardins-larouche area 1,000 m2 Budget withheld comPletion 2009

the cold shower area on the way to the hydrojet bath. aBove artificial and natural daylight illuminate water droplets in suspension to heighten the sensorial experience for those luxuriating in the circular steam bath. toP

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Marc craMer

governor general’s medal winner

Private residence and guest house

architect location

Saucier + Perrotte architecteS Mont-treMblant, Quebec

This single-family residence and guesthouse is located near the ski hills of Mont-Tremblant in the Laurentian Mountain range about an hour’s drive north of Montreal. Overlooking a verdant mountain landscape and located on the edge of a traditional log house development, the house is uncompromising in its contemporary architectural expression, both reflecting modernity and local building traditions. The house’s three main volumes, dedicated to the three activities of its occupants—eating, sleeping and living—slide on one another along an east-west axis. Pierced obliquely by an interior stair, the superimposed volumes are aligned with the entrancelevel pool. A translucent screened outdoor living room, typical of the region, projects into the woods at the point where the main volumes overlap, and emphasizes the sliding geometry of the project. The residence is placed within a fold in the landscape, creating an intimate exterior space framed by the north façade of the house and a threemetre-high rock outcrop. Inserting the building into the forest resists the temptation to vie for a more conventional open setting and allows for several practical advantages in terms of exposure to the public realm, the sun and the wind. Situated along the same horizontal plane as the entrance volume of the main house, the guesthouse is envisaged as a prism—formally analogous to the building blocks of the house—having slid westward, detaching from the main mass. Erosion, a process that naturally occurs in mountainous regions, seems to have caused the volumes to glide laterally, each out of sync with the other, yet altogether forming a practical and harmonious composition. A deceptively simple manipulation of building blocks, the residence seeks out the infinite information from elements belonging to the site: its topography, rock formations, trees, and ground cover. The building sur42 canadian architect 05/10

faces respond to the specificity of the wooded site, where the verticality of the trees and tones of grey, brown, and green predominate. The north façade reflects this dense context through irregularly spaced, rough-cut wood strips. While providing a unique façade pattern, the positioning of these strips permits several partially hidden slit window openings. The south façade, which screens the sun to varying degrees, is completely open to forest panorama. The lateral wood slats on this face of the building form a continuous band of wall, soffit and roof deck. Roughness and a preference for the natural, in both the interior and exterior finishes, acknowledge the craft of local building trades and create an unexpected element of nature within an overall precise geometric form. Openness is essential to appreciate the vastness of the surroundings. Luminous interior sub-volumes, translucent or opaque white, maintain the volumetric clarity of the project, even as they at times show traces of underlying wood grain. “Rooms” find themselves somewhere between flowing and compartmentalized, offering the occupants multipurpose or interpretive spaces. The formal movement of building elements is activated by the literal movement of people in space: whether approaching by car, descending the oblique stair, swinging the large sliding doors, or swimming lengths across the pool. Bernardo gómez-Pimienta: The architectural clarity of the plan and sections are enriched by the views of the landscape. It looks deceptively simple but has a complexity that starts with a deep understanding of construction. Betsy williamson: Here, the architects take the rustic vernacular to a level

of abstraction that goes beyond composition and reimagines the possibility of a contemporary house in the landscape. The perversity of the screenedin porch as prop for the shifting volume above brings lightness and complexity to this dynamic and beautifully detailed project.


Marc craMer Marc craMer

the Screened-in Porch ProjectS out froM the draMatic South façade. aBove the Screened Porch cantileverS over the Site, caPturinG draMatic viewS. leFt view of the Main reSidence froM the Pool decK. Bottom leFt the north façade of the Main reSidence. oPPosite toP

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client withheld architect team GilleS Saucier (lead deSiGn architect), andré Perrotte, anna bendix, GuillauMe SaSSeville, éric Majer, laurence lebeux, trevor davieS, vedanta balbahadur structural Saïa deSlaurierS Kadanoff et aSSociéS landscaPe Saucier + Perrotte architecteS interiors Saucier + Perrotte architecteS area 350 M2 (Main houSe); 125 M2 (GueSt houSe) Budget withheld comPletion 2008

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7 Kitchen 8 dininG area 9 livinG area 10 GueSt area 11 GueSt bedrooM 12 recreation area

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BAS10-6132_WE_Non-Resid_ad_1p_Cnd_Archi.indd 1 Docket #:

BAS10-6132

Magazine:

Canadian Architect

Colours:

cmyk

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CirCle reply Card 31


governor general’s medal winner

James Dow

James Dow

la grande BiBliothèque du quéBec

architects Patkau/Croft-Pelletier/menkès shooner Dagenais assoCiateD arChiteCts location montreal, QuebeC

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The Grande Bibliothèque consolidates a number of collections in Quebec, creating a resource li­ brary for the province as well as a central public library for the city of Montreal. The library is lo­ cated in the city’s Quartier Latin, between Boule­ vard de Maisonneuve and rue Ontario, diagonally opposite the green space of Place Dupuis. Below grade, the site connects to a major intersection in the Montreal metro system. The building is 400,000 square feet in size, and contains four major programmatic components: a general li­ brary, a children’s library, the collection Québé­ coise (a historic archive collection), and an as­ sortment of spaces outside of the library control zone including an exhibition space, an audito­ rium, a conference centre and meeting rooms, catering facilities, bookstores, a public lobby, and café. The street and subterranean metro system are separate but equally important public spaces. The project presented an opportunity to knit these spaces together. However, security issues associ­ ated with libraries tend to dictate a single point of access, which would have a deadening effect on the surrounding public spaces. To avoid this, city and metro pedestrian routes are connected at the street and metro levels, and the building has multiple public entrances to intersect with the capillaries of the city. Library spaces that do not require library control are located directly along pedestrian routes to connect the spaces of the li­ brary with the city. As part of a larger strategy of


James Dow

client bibliothèQue et arChives nationales Du QuébeC architect team Patkau arChiteCts—laura arPiainen, greg boothroyD, stePhan Chevalier, miChael Cunningham, miChael elkan, samantha hayes, John Patkau, PatriCia Patkau, Peter suter, Craig simms, niCk sully. Croft Pelletier arChiteCtes—marieChantal Croft, eriC Pelletier, Jean Chretien, benoit ruellanD, miChel thomPson, olivier grenier, CeDeanne simarD, remi hovington Jr. menkès shooner Dagenais arChiteCtes—yves Dagenais, gaetan roy, stePhan Chevalier, yvon laChanCe, luC DouCet, DominiQue Dumais, Catherine belanger, guillaume Delorimier, luC montPetit, mana hemami, anDrea maCelwee, alex Parmentier, Christine giguere, alain bouDrias, harvens Piou. consulting architect gilles guité arChiteCte architectural suPPort JoDoin lamarre Pratte et assoCiés arChiteCtes structural regrouPement niColet ChartranD knoll limitée/les Consultants géniPlus inC. mechanical/electrical regrouPement bouthillette Parizeau & assoCiés inC./grouPe hba exPerts-Conseils inC. lighting consultant nbbJ acoustic consultant legault DaviDson theatre consultant sCenoPlus elevator consultant kJa inC. Building enveloPe consultant PatenauDe Consultants inC. code consultant teChnorm inC. landscaPe sCheme Consultants Builder hervé Pomerleau inC. area 33,000 m2 Budget $100 m inCluDing furniture anD eQuiPment comPletion aPril 2005

anous and veil­like, this envelope enticingly re­ veals the library to the city. ComPriseD of fritteD glass louvres in front of the Curtain wall anD slatteD maPle sCreens behinD, the entranCe elevation sPeaks to the arChiteCts’ unComPromising ConCern for user Comfort anD a strong CiviC PresenCe; the main entranCe to the library at street level overlooks an oPen-air sunken CourtyarD. aBove the Central stair helPs orient visitors while aCCentuating the Central atrium’s vertiCality.

oPPosite, leFt to right

urban revitalization, avenue Savoie, a narrow lane on the west side of the building, is lined with bouquinistes and display vitrines. A sunken court provides daylight to below­grade spaces, and in­ terconnects the street and metro levels at a sig­ nificant scale. The public space of the city and the public space of the library are collapsed together to activate and support each other, to energize and enrich the idea of a new cultural space in Montreal. The two major library collections are located above the expanded ground of the street and metro levels. These collections are each housed within large­scale wooden containers, and are characterized by their relationship to the associ­ ated reading spaces. In the general library, the collections are centrally located, with the reading

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spaces at the perimeter, with access to view and daylight. In the collection Québécoise, the read­ ing spaces are centrally located, in a top­lit grand room, with the collections at the perimeter. Connecting the wood­clad collections to the expanded ground below is a promenade that rises from the primary library control point to the en­ trance of the collection Québécoise, then turns to circumnavigate the general library upward through a series of reading rooms. Diverse views of the city unfold as the promenade ascends. Complementing the promenade is a central sys­ tem of elevators and stairs that provides simple and efficient access to the general library. Enclosing the collections, the promenade, and the lower levels is a glass and copper envelope that represents the whole library. At times diaph­

Bernardo gómez-Pimienta: A very simple structural grid gets transformed using two meth­ ods: elimination of structural elements and sec­ tions of slabs, creating rich carved spaces, like the vertical circulation, the reading rooms, and the insertion of programmatic pieces creating a tension between open and closed spaces. A promenade architecturally takes visitors through wood­clad collections, unveiling city views and making the library an architectural icon in the city. Betsy williamson: The architects have deftly

controlled a complex and dense program to cre­ ate a civic landmark as well as a unique pedestri­ an urbanity that has been teased out through the manipulation of the ground plane. Nearly as im­ portant as the collections themselves, these paths that permeate the project from the subway and surrounding neighbourhood grow to encompass café and reading rooms that bring urban life up through the building behind the veil of the wood screens and slatted façade.

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governor general’s medal winner

saint-germain sewers and aqueducts mArc crAmer

Acdf* Architecture (AllAire courchesne dupuis frAppier_Architecture_ urbAnisme_intérieur) location sAint-hubert, quebec architect

mArc crAmer

The client—St-Germain Égouts et Aqueducs—is an expert in the manufacture of sanitary pipes and guttering since 1953. As a family business passed down through generations, the company intends to grow, requiring increased productivity and quality of service, and the construction of a new head office in St-Hubert. For this business deeply rooted in the SaintHubert region, siting was obvious: the new headquarters is located in an industrial quadrant between Highway 116 to the north and the railway to the south, next to fallow farmland and adjacent to a residential zone. The proximity to the highway facilitates the handling of products and increases visibility to the public at large. The plan enables the company to manage four key areas: administration, internal warehousing, external storage and manufacturing. Visually, the building appears to flow through the canal, a precious wooden box floating in a water basin. The wood volume illustrates a dual intention: firstly, the path of the product through the sequence of production, from factory to administration, then passing through the warehouse zones; and secondly, it is the reflection of the people who work there. The roasted-wood cladding represents the warm, close-knit nature of the family business in contrast to the austere rigidity of its concrete product. Visibility is one of the fundamental issues of the project; one of the primary objectives was that the building should showcase the expertise of the company. Thus, a showroom, adjacent to the reception area, houses a permanent installation detailing the company’s history and its range of products. To demystify the process of production, there are windows offering glimpses of the different phases of production, made possible by the slips and openings within the “canal.” A canopied recess in the façade demarcates entry into the building, located at the far end of a concrete footbridge “floating” above the basin.

A studied contrAst between wood And steel. aBove the screened-in courtyArd provides A bit of peAce And quiet from the surrounding industriAl lAndscApe.

toP

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client st-germAin égouts et Aqueducs architect team mAxime-Alexis frAppier, benoît dupuis, sylvAin AllAire, guy courchesne, JoAn renAud, gAbriel villeneuve, robert dequoy, mAthieu st-hilAire, denis dupuis, luis mAriA AriAs duque, mArc-olivier dion, denis lAvigne, sophie leborgne structural métAux-spec inc. mechanical l&p lAvAllée inc./Aéro-mécAnique turcotte inc./ gicleurs Acme inc. electrical groupe sermAx inc./dimension plus landscaPe Acdf* Architecture + entreprise michAudville inc. interiors Acdf* Architecture contractor construction tigre inc. area 50,000 ft2 totAl (10,000 ft2 AdministrAtion) Budget $5.5 m comPletion June 2008


From this bridge, one is able to appreciate the glistening, rippling water in the basin via the lustrous reflective metal panels and the glass wall of the warehouse. In the reception area, visitors can enjoy the exhibition space displaying the company’s top products. From here, views to the interior courtyard and surrounding landscape are provided as is access to offices and conference rooms. The challenge of the warehouse space was its transparency and openness relative to the main entrance. The window permits visibility of the production line and the finished product prior to entry into the administration area, enabling natural light to flow through the building as well as offering views of the landscape. georges adamczyk: Ce projet casse la “boîte,” cette figure trop connue du gros entrepôt à la périphérie des villes. Les architectes ont su rendre lisible les activités de l’usine et de l’entrepôt. Le carré de bois flottant de la partie administrative transforme radicalement la présence de ce type d’industrie, en lui conférant une présence inattendue par un ajustement rigoureux des volumes et le choix judicieux des matériaux. Jane Pendergast: This project gives me hope on two fronts. Its straightforward contemporary architecture draws attention to traditionally under-celebrated infrastructure elements, and the project creates an elegant suburban campus of what might otherwise be a banal roadside setting.

mArc crAmer

right the utilitAriAn Aspects of wArehousing sewer pipes Are elevAted to A new level, thAnks to the wAter retention bAsin in the foreground.

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governor general’s medal winner

Promenade samuel-de-chamPlain Daoust Lestage Inc., WILLIaMs asseLIn ackaouI anD optIon aMénageMent, In consortIuM location Quebec cIty, Quebec

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lands’ archetypes and the power of the wind. The sublime atmospheres and textures are created by the interconnections of a variety of materials, and the use of stone boulders, timber assemblies and Corten steel thresholds, with native plants and trees, all complemented by vapour, shade, glowing lights and reflections on the water. The urban furniture, specifically designed for this project, maintains the robust simplicity of maritime harbour heritage, paramount to this site’s genius loci. The linear rhythm of benches

Marc craMer

toP right the ILLuMInateD fountaIns at QuaI Des fLots. right a range of neW LIghtIng anD seatIng Is IntegrateD Into the serIes of QuaIs; the WooDen rafts anD Ice fLoe-InspIreD pavIng pattern brIng an InforMeD anD WhIMsIcaL narratIve to thIs LanDscape.

de-Champlain requalifies a highway into a landscaped, permeable urban boulevard. The sinuous 2.5-kilometre pedestrian and bicycle path acts as the project’s connecting spine. Immersed in an all-encompassing green tide are four thematic gardens: Quai des Brumes, Quai des Flots, Quai des Hommes, and Quai des Vents. Each of these singular landscape follies captures and magnifies the material and poetic qualities of the local coastal environment. The gardens celebrate the mist, the sensory pleasures of the water, the memory of the dockMarc craMer

Honouring Quebec City’s 400th anniversary and drawing on the unique history and genius loci of the site, the Promenade Samuel-de-Champlain unites two icons of Quebec City’s identity—the river and the cliff—creating a coherent, active landscape façade for this capital city. The Promenade reclaims neglected industrial and infrastructural fringe, transforming it into a public, leisure-oriented natural environment and reactivating the city’s access to the St. Lawrence River and shoreline. The project delicately weaves together diverse experiences and atmospheres, navigating from the boundless visual expanse of the river to the tactile, sensory experience of human scale. The Quai des Cageux marks the western entrance of the project. The use of wood as the singular, signature material of the Pavilion and the Observation Tower references the harbour vernacular and the lumber pilings that characterized Quebec’s ports for decades. Reviving the imagery of a river pier, its structures and activities, the Quai des Cageux honours Quebec City’s past while creating a contemporary local landmark and light beacon on the horizon. The name—Quai des Cageux—refers to the fearlessness of restless lumberjacks who once danced on an endless sea of floating wood logs. The Cageux Pavilion is wrapped in wood inside and out. The building houses a multi-functional space with carefully choreographed covered outdoor spaces, all directly overlooking the river. Seamlessly extending out onto the belvedere’s public deck, the Pavilion’s 250 square metres are able to accommodate a variety of exhibits and events related to the Promenade Samuel-deChamplain. The Observation Tower sits at the southern edge of the Quai des Cageux’s belvedere and brings visitors 25 metres above the river. The tower, with its steel structure and latticed timber flanks, creates a panoramic window onto the river, the bridges and the new linear park. As an essential gesture, the Promenade Samuel-

Marc craMer

urBan designers


Marc craMer

and lights is complemented by freely placed furniture, dotting the landscape like rafts in a sea of greenery. The underlying achievement of the Promenade Samuel-de-Champlain is its contribution to the restoration of this unique, rich and diverse coastal ecosystem and the renewed accessibility to the St. Lawrence River and its banks. Jane Pendergast: This project animates the St.

tions of pure elements that are strung along the pathway system. Betsy williamson: There is no imposition of

the project on the pedestrian. The built moments are not only finely crafted but are quietly balanced between historical allusion and contemporary culture.

client coMMIssIon De La capItaLe natIonaLe Du Québec (serge fILIon, DIane sIMarD) design team réaL Lestage, renée Daoust, caroLIne beauLIeu, LucIe bIbeau, MartIn aDaM, MarIa benech, anDré naDeau, sIMon Magnan, racheL phILIppe-auguste, catherIne st-MarseILLe, hubert peLLetIer, neLson couture, JacQues MIchauD engineering genIvar anD snc-LavaLIn contractor poMerLeau lighting écLaIrage pubLIc area 2.5 kM In Length Budget $50 M comPletion June 2008

Marc craMer

Lawrence River edge with a lively array of outdoor places. I like the beautifully restrained composi-

the proMenaDe saMueL-De-chaMpLaIn terMInates at the fourth DestInatIon poInt— the QuaI Des cageux. Bottom left a MeDItatIve vertIcaL eLeMent WIth vIeWs out to the st. LaWrence rIver DefInes QuaI Des cageux. aBove

quai des Brumes

quai des flots

quai des hommes

quai des vents

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2010 raic GOld medal

GeOrGe Baird’s PrOvOcative WisdOm GeOrGe Baird is the 2010 reciPient Of the rOyal architectural institute Of canada’s GOld medal. havinG enjOyed a lOnG and rich career, Baird’s cOlleaGues, mentOr and fOrmer students reflect On his intellectual and PrOfessiOnal leadershiP. Partner, Baird Sampson Neuert Architects George Baird returned to Toronto from England in the late fall of 1967, having collaborated with Charles Jencks on the internationally celebrated book, Meaning in Architecture. Recruited by esteemed architect John Andrews—then Chairman of the Department of Architecture at the University of Toronto, George joined his colleague Peter Prangnell in the process of transforming the curriculum. When he was introduced to the faculty, he cut quite a figure in his slim jeans, leather jacket over a T-shirt, long woolen scarf and a Mick Jagger haircut. He was returning to the city of his birth after a heady period of graduate study and involvement in the vigorous London architectural scene, which included learning with the architectural historian and theorist Joseph Rykwert, who served as his advisor. The time spent in London had diverted his attention to theoretical musings on semiology and architecture that led to Meaning in Architecture as well as other critical writings. At such an early age he had already developed the reputation as a rising intellectual. The Toronto he returned to was a city that was being rapidly transformed by comprehensive redevelopment projects based on older Modernist principles. The process was actively encouraged by the instruments of city planning at the time— the official plan and zoning bylaws—and promoted by city politicians from the Establishment, along with a development industry that was not disposed to public scrutiny. George was part of a new generation of thinkers with attitudes and ideas that were open to the reappraisal of what had become the predominant manifestation of Modernism in Toronto—the redevelopment of whole blocks using tower-in-the-park or plaza typologies based on single-use zoning. A number of professional friends such as Jerome Markson who had been his mentor, and colleagues from his studies in architecture at the University of Toronto had ambitions to promote a new kind of Modern architecture based on different architectural and community-based sensibilities inspired by Scandinavian models and The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. Some of his colleagues worked in firms associated with the 54 canadian architect 05/10

Courtesy BsN ArChiteCts

Barry sampson

aBOve

GeorGe BAird eNjoys A momeNt with wife elizABeth, A CANAdiAN CuliNAry iCoN.

ongoing transformations of the city while others were involved in the growing Municipal Reform movement—individuals like James Lorimer and John Sewell, who sought his engagement and that of his students to criticize the big projects as part of a process of building community resistance and an alternative idea of city form and communitybased design. By 1972, when he established his firm George Baird Architect, he had already completed the renovation of his own house, and a very creative renovation of a small Victorian cottage for James Lorimer. Both were Modern in character, but highly responsive in sensibility to the underlying historical features of the host house. This ability to achieve a nuanced relationship between new and old—what I call a discourse through temporal space with previous generations—was indicative of a subtlety that George would bring to his contributions to the creation of an urban design scene in Toronto and Canada more generally, not to mention his role in broadcasting its accomplishments abroad. Four graduating students from the University of Toronto—Joost Bakker, Bruce Kuwabara, John van

Nostrand and myself—joined George in his new practice with the intention of doing competitions and whatever architectural projects might come next. More often than not, they were cryptically referred to as “back porch projects.” Most notable amongst these was a back and front porch commission for the much-loved film editor Don Haig, which was published in Progressive Architecture. What also came as a result of George’s writing and public engagement with issues of urban form were seminal urban design projects for Toronto, onbuildingdowntown, and Built-Form Analysis. Coauthored with Steven McLaughlin and Roger du Toit in 1974, onbuildingdowntown: Design Guidelines for the Core Area created a policy document never before seen in Toronto. It announced a new era concerned with urban design and included well-articulated issues on environmental design and insightful approaches to mapping. In 1975, a young planner by the name of Ron Soskolne was in charge of revamping planning controls for the downtown core. Soskolne commissioned George Baird Architect to undertake a “Working Paper on the Implications for Built Form of Land-Use Policies Relating to Housing,


Mixed Uses, and Recreation Space in the Inner Core Area.” This document brought the research capacity of the firm to the forefront, along with George’s ability to bridge between theoretical issues and observations relating to a developer’s response to zoning controls. It included analysis of form relating to a diverse range of existing precedents, as well as scenario-planning of potential development sites. It also yielded insights into the unintended consequences of various zoning regimes and planning practices. Most perplexing, it highlighted the finding that dramatic changes in building typology, from low-rise to high-rise, can be linked to zoning thresholds, thus calling into question the practice of planners brokering what appeared to be minor changes in density that were actually leading to completely different urban forms rather than expected outcomes. These landmark studies led to other innovative assignments. In 1976, the firm was asked to advise on the planning of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood, which was being reconsidered by a group within the City and supported by external consultants. The approach being taken was rational and focused on maximizing street-related built form and density. George’s firm observed that this resulted in an island-like approach to the block planning of the neighbourhood and risked unintended social consequences of a discontinuous urban fabric exhibited by the notorious Regent Park. A schematic map produced by the firm proposed an alternative street and block framework that would extend the north-south streets from the original ten blocks of the Town of York into the new development. For the St. Lawrence neighbourhood, we also proposed that the 19thcentury vision of the Esplanade as a linear park be recovered and serve as an east-west open-space armature for the new neighbourhood. These recommendations were adopted as the basis of a new planning approach that resulted in what has come to be celebrated as one of Toronto’s great triumphs in urban redevelopment. George’s success in Toronto led to further urban design consulting across the country. As his notoriety grew, he was invited to be a professional advisor for design competitions, including the internationally published Mississauga Civic Centre, as well as other urban redevelopments. He also involved himself with the organization of major international exhibitions that focused attention on the Canadian scene. Their titles, OKanada and Toronto: Le Nouveau Nouveau Monde, were provocative to a European audience and cleverly allusive of the Canadian character he was so proud of throughout his career. Having made a significant contribution to a culturally vigorous world image of Toronto and Canada, George was enticed to join a new intel-

lectual scene centred at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. During the time he taught there, he commuted back and forth to Toronto to remain active with his firm. Over the years, many of those that began their careers with George’s firm have gone on develop their own distinguished firms. Bruce Kuwabara joined Tom Payne—who also worked at George Baird Architect—to form Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects in 1987. Joost Bakker decamped to the West Coast where he joined Norm Hotson at Norman Hotson Architects in 1973 (the firm eventually became known as Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden Architects and has since merged with Cohos Evamy). John van Nostrand formed his own firm in 1978, which he merged with Peter Clewes and others to form architectsAlliance in 1999. He subsequently left in 2008 to take over planningAlliance and found regionalArchitects. I left the firm for brief periods to do research work in Ontario and Paris, but returned to become a partner with George to form Baird Sampson Architects. It was later renamed Baird Sampson Neuert Architects in 1996, when a former student of mine, Jon Neuert, became a partner. Happily, the Baird Sampson Neuert Architects collaborative partnership has itself established a distinguished record of award-winning work including three Governor General’s Medals, an AIA Honour Award, the RAIC Architectural Firm Award in 2007, and many urban design awards. Don McKay, who worked with the firm in the early years, has become a distinguished designer and teacher of architecture at the University of Waterloo. Brigitte Shim, who worked with the firm in its middle period, has formed an internationally renowned partnership with her husband Howard Sutcliffe. Martin Kohn, who also was with the firm for a period of time in the ’80s, has partnered with John Shnier to form the high-profile design firm of Kohn Shnier Architects. In this regard, George’s legacy of ideas is not only embedded in his projects, but also in the people with whom he inspired a desire to utilize design research to move beneath the surface of everyday practice, and most particularly, to be wary of formulaic responses when reconsidering the design of the city. While George Baird was always too gracious to make unnecessary trouble, he was never averse to engaging in a battle of ideas. joseph rykwert

Paul Philippe Cret Professor Emeritus of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania School of Design I became aware of George Baird as the quiet, reserved person at the back of the lecture room at the Architectural Association in London, folding a copy of The Stage he was reading in order to listen to the lecture. This was years ago, and even then

puBlished iN juNe 1974, onbuildingdowntown remAiNs AN importANt urBAN desiGN doCumeNt for ArChiteCts ANd plANNers. aBOve As Advisors to A 1975 BloCk study for the CreAtioN of toroNto’s st. lAwreNCe NeiGhBourhood, GeorGe BAird’s firm proposed AN exteNsioN of the North-south streets from the oriGiNAl 10 BloCks of the towN of york iNto the sCheme. tOP

The Stage did not cater to architectural students’ interests, but instead provided an insider view of what was happening in the British theatre and cinema world, particularly exciting in the early ’60s. I was intrigued that anyone in my audience would have such enthusiasms—and as we became friends, I realized that his interests were as much socio-political as literary; we were both fascinated by the developments of linguistic theory through the following decades, not so much for the structural models it offered, but as a way of looking at communications and at human polity. This became central to the contribution George has 05/10 canadian architect

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vArious puBliCAtioNs ANd exhiBitioNs iN whiCh GeorGe BAird wAs iNvolved iNClude: Meaning in architecture (1968); alvar aalto (1969); vacant lottery (1978); the iNAuGurAl issue of trace, A short-lived But iNflueNtiAl ArChiteCture mAGAziNe (1980-81); the CAtAloGue for the oKanada exhiBitioN iN BerliN (1982); toronto: le nouveau nouveau Monde (1987); Queues, rendezvous, riots (1995); the space of appearance (1995). aBOve, left tO riGht

Founding Partner, Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects When I first met George Baird as an architecture student at the University of Toronto, he asked us to consider architecture within the context of the history of ideas and culture. The essay “Langue and Parole” contained in his book Meaning in Architecture opened up discourse on architecture as a system of signification which was subject to rules and individual interpretations of a common language to produce difference and expression. After graduating, I worked with George and my classmates—John van Nostrand, Barry Sampson and Joost Bakker—on a design competition sponsored by Casabella magazine that expanded on John’s thesis entitled “Getting to Know Eglinton,” which concerned the reinhabition of the highway and hydro infrastructure in Etobicoke. When George decided to open his practice, he invited us to work with him in his studio at 35 Britain Street, a cultural vortex of a building that included the publishing companies House of Anansi Press and James Lorimer & Company. His teaching and writing gave my generation a way of thinking about architecture as a gesture within a social and cultural context. He illuminat-

ed to us the deep structure of Toronto, and his early focus on the formation and construction of the public realm as one of the urgent projects of architecture and urbanism had an indelible impact on the way we look at the world. For decades, George has been the singular architect in Canada who has balanced theory and practice, and the intellectual that international architects and theorists talk about as a figure who has impacted their thinking. The brilliance of George Baird lies in his ability to articulate and make clear and evident what many of us might intuit on a good day. His ability to be “provocative, if balanced” as he was once described, reflects an intellect that is at once worldly, yet distinctly Canadian. Having left Toronto to teach at Harvard University for 10 years, he was the unanimous choice to succeed Dean Larry Richards to become the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto in 2004. It was there that he sustained a level of academic excellence and collegiality within the faculty that expanded and elevated design education. In 2008, he was able to consummate the largest gift to any design school in Canada—$14 million from John and Myrna Daniels.

miChAel AwAd

made to architectural thinking. Very few of his contemporaries were as acutely aware of how critical this issue was to all building and to the very nature of urban dwelling. Such concern spilled inevitably into teaching. What has made him one of the great teachers of his generation is not just the coherence of his own position but his humility, the enviable gift of making pupils feel that their ideas, however undeveloped, are valuable—such that he is able to nurture into maturity the callow and the raw presented to him. George is not only a thinker and a teacher, but very much a doer, and his ability to translate conviction into urban plans and projects gives body and substance to his ideas and beliefs.

Bruce Kuwabara

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joost Bakker

enology...epistemological crisis...animal laborans...” From this first encounter with George, we all quickly embraced his drive for broader platforms beyond the academic, but it was the establishment of George’s fledgling practice where we more directly encountered his restless intellect, drive and strategic design sense. George’s interest in wider cultural frameworks manifested itself at the school with more activist minds like Jim Lorimer and John Sewell. His keen urban/political interest eventually bloomed with projects like onbuildingdowntown. Cross-Canada work soon followed. Most significant for me, as a longtime Vancouver resident, was George’s 1982 Greening Downtown study. This, along with Roger DuToit’s Downtown South Study—planted the seeds for the urban phenomenon now smugly branded internationally as Vancouverism. George’s remarkably quick urban pattern-reading and political intuition coined notions like “double cross” and “green courts”—morphologies still resonant in this city. A stealthier platform that quietly emerged was George’s support of his partner Elizabeth’s remarkable talent. Unsuspectingly, what began as late-night dinners after work rapidly transformed into the celebration of Elizabeth’s inventive

culinary skill. George remains a champion of her ascendancy into Canadian food lore. The early ’80s also saw the launch of TRACE magazine, “founded to serve a national and international forum for the discussion and presentation of architecture,” signalling George’s foray beyond national boundaries. His evolving strategic vision ultimately allowed him to step onto the larger international academic stage. john van nostrand

Founding Principal, planningAlliance and regionalArchitects George Baird is the son of a dairyman from the “left bank” of Toronto’s Don River, and a student of Joseph Rykwert. He has simultaneously practiced and taught, and has masterfully managed to balance both. Nobody has a better understanding of what bridges meant to Toronto, or what the evolutioN of BAird sAmpsoN Neuert ArChiteCts’ NuANCed ApproACh to puBliC spACe CAN Be seeN iN three of their projeCts—triNity squAre pArk CompetitioN iN toroNto (uNBuilt,1983); two imAGes of Cloud GArdeNs pArk iN toroNto (1994); ANd old post offiCe plAzA iN st. louis (2008).

OPPOsite BOttOm, left tO riGht

sAm feNetress

steveN evANs

Principal, Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden Architects For over 43 years, I have witnessed the unfolding of George Baird’s remarkable life trajectory, one that is carefully balanced between generosity of vision and strategic drive. In his 1995 book The Space of Appearance, George postulated that “...it is possible to see how 1968...constitutes a sort of pivot point in the whole 20th-century evolution of ideas about human affairs.” It was also the moment George chose to return to Canada, coinciding propitiously with major revolutions about to hit the University of Toronto. As fresh new students in 1967, we encountered vestiges of old Modernism embodied in severe men in lab coats insisting that grey paper shapes be composed on 8” x 10” white card. Subsequently debating aesthetic nuances of 40-card compositions was a perplexing introduction to architecture. Barely into that first term, the “winds of change” roared into the school, spearheaded by John Andrews and Peter Prangnell. Bowled over and hardly able to catch our breath, we sensed another presence in the studio—shaggy-haired in jeans, boots and a brown leather jacket—formulating incomprehensible terms like “...phenom-

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Hannah Arendt meant to architecture. He was the first teacher to suggest that we might take a closer look at Toronto—and at the same time read from Rem Koolhaas’s Delirious New York. I remember helping George prepare for a lecture about Yonge Street. We drove to every major intersection— from Yonge and Queens Quay up to Yonge and Davis Drive—taking slides from the centre of each intersection. George showed them all during his talk. In 1972, George purchased 35 Britain Street with Jim Lorimer and opened George Baird Architect—which he began under pressure from Bruce Kuwabara, Don McKay and myself. We were joined shortly thereafter by Joost Bakker and Barry Sampson. One of our earliest projects involved the preparation of something called “design guidelines” for Toronto’s downtown. We split a day into three eight-hour sessions that were spent walking set routes prescribed by our colleagues to draw and otherwise document what we saw. George drew the all-night shift—which he happily accepted. The following day, we pinned up our drawings and these formed the basis for onbuildingdowntown. George is a brilliant theoretician with a wonderful sense of place. He has influenced an entire generation of architects—in Canada and the US. I am honoured to have been part of that generation. donald mcKay

Associate Professor, University of Waterloo School of Architecture Over a recent Christmas dinner, I asked George what he had been reading. His answer was (more or less) “nothing, entirely.” The truth has always seemed to me to be more about “everything.” We need architects who know everything, and remain confident that they know “nothing, entirely.” That is what George has taught us: as much as architects might want it to be all about architecture, it is really all about everything. “Everything” gives George context, and the meaning of what we do is inevitably in that context. And, it is in George’s nature to know everything. At some moment in 1974 or ’75, Barry Sampson and I made slides for George as a bit of lastminute help to complete a lecture. We cropped the images with care and presented a gorgeous set of slides. George was disappointed. We had cropped out the “bookness” of the images, and their immediate context. These days, I think I understand: no context provides no understanding. George is right. john sewell

Mayor, City of Toronto (1978-80) George Baird is known for his wondrous analytical and critical interpretation of architecture, but what first brought him to my attention was his impressive practical approach to built form. In 58 canadian architect 05/10

1973, the new Toronto City Council was struggling with how to approach its downtown. Members of City Council like myself were angry with the large number of tall buildings that were dominating the downtown, and we were pushing to reduce allowable densities. Ours was a particularly innocent approach, attacking height and size as the evil to be confronted. But our city staff, then an innovative bunch, retained George to give his advice. He produced a report titled onbuildingdowntown which, to put it mildly, opened my eyes to the new world of possibilities. He put his finger on things that not many of us on City Council realized were problems—the open plazas around the big buildings; the many bland banking halls that deadened the street; the wide setbacks that killed the idea of public space; the importance of selecting sidewalk materials to ensure they clearly communicate public space that all are entitled to occupy; the need for identifiable public furniture. To me, these were revolutionary ideas and far more sophisticated than our simple approaches. They helped shape City Council’s new plans for the city in the 1970s. George had opened the eyes of the Reform Council to a more intelligent approach to setting rules which would build a good city. I only wish that City Councils in the last three decades had asked for his practical advice. It would have served the city well. The other example was about community design. As a City Councillor, I was heavily involved in the creation of the St. Lawrence community to the south and east of the downtown around the historic St. Lawrence Market. It was a derelict and forgotten area occupied by scrap yards, auto wreckers, open-air storage for coal yards, and decaying railways sidings. I helped lead the fight for the City to acquire these lands and build a new mixed-use area. But we needed something to pull the plan together, which was hampered by unused railroad tracks at its very heart. City staff called on George. His idea was absolutely brilliant: use the railway land as a long narrow green space of walkways, parks and schoolyards. Treat it as the spine of the new community. And that is what it has become in the last three decades. Treating the railways lands as green space totally flummoxed the railway companies and they quickly agreed to sell the land to the city. The space took shape with a long tree-lined walkway along one edge and it seems busy day and night, giving a sense of public safety to the whole of St. Lawrence. The rest of the land is used for public purposes—wading pools, dog runs, areas to read and chat, and schoolyard playgrounds. George had done it again. robert Glover

Partner, Bousfields Inc., Director of Urban Design, City of Toronto (1998-2001) When I was an architecture student at the Univer-

sity of Toronto in the early 1970s, Toronto’s planning and development thinking was being challenged. The rules, processes and decisions that had provided the basis for the city’s postwar development were being reconsidered. George Baird was the conduit for bringing much of this debate, and a number of leading thinkers and politicians at the time—including a very young John Sewell— were invited to speak at the school. As architecture students, we followed the debate closely, which was often reflected in our student work. Following the election of a Reform Council in 1973, Mayor Crombie and his allies, aided by the ideas of Jane Jacobs, were challenging the way we thought about the city—politically, physically, and through its infrastructure and character. I first got to know George personally when, in 1972, he taught us the new third-year core studio entitled “Settlement.” Conceived by George, the studio was focused on teaching architecture students ideas that are now commonly thought of as being in the realm of urban design. Importantly, George’s understanding and teaching of urban design went beyond a singular focus on architectural patterns or replicating context, but made references to the political, social, planning and technological forces that extended beyond the static certainty of a master planner’s mindset. Inspired by this approach to urban design, I ended up working for Toronto’s Planning Department in 1980, thereby combining the field of urban design with land-use planning. In those days, I often consulted with George on my professional work, which included a diversity of projects such as the large-scale Harbourfront, Railway Lands and Ataratiri projects, along with various infill and redevelopment projects throughout the city centre. During the 1990s, George’s presence was limited by his teaching schedule at Harvard, but I think that his influence can still be seen in the King-Spadina, King-Parliament and University of Toronto plans of this decade. George’s presence and influence is so much a part of the design DNA of Toronto that we sometimes take him for granted. His contribution to Toronto’s approach to urbanism is the result of a lot of hard work by an amusing, intelligent, thoughtful and highly principled architect and urban designer. Peter rowe

Raymond Garber Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, Harvard University Graduate School of Design; Dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Design (1992-2004). I first came to know of George Baird as, I suspect, did many others, with the publication of Meaning in Architecture in 1969, which he co-edited with Charles Jencks. Almost 25 years later, I got to know George, as an esteemed colleague and friend when he agreed to join the faculty of the Graduate


George thomas Kapelos

Associate Professor, Ryerson University Department of Architectural Science From my perspective, what distinguishes George Baird is his ongoing and persistent interest in the local and regional condition, and his steadfast commitment to nurturing an architectural culture here at home. I first encountered George’s enthusiasm for the local in 1976 when we were presenters at the an-

nual meeting of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada (SSAC), a small but important organization passionate about Canadian architecture. Our meeting led to a series of collaborations which celebrated historical and contemporary Canadian architecture, locally and abroad. George’s 1978 keynote address at “Conserving Ontario’s Main Streets” presented a case study of Brantford, Brockville and Napanee, focusing on the significant public spaces and the rich architectural traditions found in these Ontario towns. Ironically, his message about the value of public spaces and historical Main Street architecture still resonates today as communities struggle to retain their identity in the face of declining downtown populations, large-scale retail incursions, questions about reusing redundant historic buildings, and rapid suburbanization. In fostering a Canadian architectural culture, George addressed current practice, exposing contemporary Canadian architecture to an international public. Two exhibitions—OKanada (Berlin, 1982) and Toronto: Le Nouveau Nouveau Monde (Paris, 1987)—celebrated our nascent architectural culture, and contextualized Canadian architectural production in the world at large. In working with George on these initiatives, I grew to appreciate his promotion of a local architectural culture, which recognized the value of our collective architectural past and simultaneously nurtured innovation and talent necessary to ensure a vibrant architectural present and future. George’s passion continues. Last spring, at the SSAC meeting held at Toronto’s Ryerson University, he commented on Toronto’s infatuation with “starchitecture.” He lamented that recent projects undertaken by name architects from abroad had not enriched the local architectural scene, unlike projects of earlier decades. Finally, and with a typical positiveness, George suggested that Toronto could well learn from Barcelona, where a strong, local architectural culture was fostered by editorial policy of the regional press. There, in the 1970s and ’80s, local architects were invited to discuss architectural projects and cultural activities in the larger world, while international architects were invited to comment on the local Barcelona architectural scene. Such a move, George contended, supported and expanded dialogue, and contributed to the evolution of an influential architectural culture in that city. In celebrating George Baird’s accomplishments, therefore, I am grateful that this voice for the local remains strong and unequivocal. donald chong

Principal, Donald Chong Studio It is entirely plausible to suggest that I am a direct beneficiary of the evolving legacy of George Baird. He personifies what I believe might be the cornerstone of the quintessential practice in archi-

tom voGel

School of Design at Harvard University. Not long after, in 1995, he graciously gave me a copy of his then-new book, The Shape of Appearance, in which he took up a similar question: “What is architecture’s place in the world?” In it, George both thoroughly and meticulously probed Postmodern expressions of a Modernist critique that began in the 1960s, more specifically around the political and socio-cultural turning point of 1968. The point of this literal bookending is to suggest a very important, sustained, creative and precise intellectual contribution on George’s part, about the relevance and, indeed, the fate of architecture. It is a discussion George has been having with many others over the years, often with profound effect, including numerous and by now influential former students. Moreover, it is a discourse at the ends of which he appears to be advocating much the same sentiments, namely “advocating designing within user experience with neither arrogance nor indifference,” if I’m quoting correctly from the first book, and the “construction of a public sphere of appearance that is large and diverse enough to make places for us all,” from the second book. Beyond this perhaps overly cryptic account, there is a generosity to George’s message. It is broad in the scope of its intended social and cultural engagement. It is not trendy, nor populist, but wisely reflective. It recognizes but ultimately eschews both the pessimism of many recent critical theoretical accounts, as well as other overly bright and sanguine positions. It challenges us and takes measures of architecture that require living up to. This, after all, is the point of standards. It is also interpretatively open enough, leaving literal and metaphorical space to work with and to fruitfully consider architecture’s future. Not surprisingly, the same or similar qualities have suffused George’s role as a leader in architectural education. He played, for instance, a very significant role in guiding the course of architectural education at Harvard for more than a decade, officially as Program Director. During any number of discussions he would often remind the rest of us on contentious points and the need to think further, rapidly running his hand across his chin and saying, “Well! Let’s not forget that...” followed by a pithy and pertinent set of predicates.

A reCeNt portrAit of GeorGe BAird, tAkeN duriNG his teNure As deAN of the johN h. dANiels fACulty of ArChiteCture, lANdsCApe ANd desiGN.

aBOve

tecture: one which invites, fosters and expects dialogue at the intersection of practice, academia and the city. Perhaps it is fitting that my reflections—that of an emerging practitioner whose age likely equals the years George has devoted to his profession and the city—may further illustrate how his ideas continue to resonate across borders and across decades. Through George, I have enjoyed aligning and conflating cross-generational ideas of key figures in my formative years—among others, Jane Jacobs, Barton Myers, Bruce Kuwabara, Detlef Mertins and Brigitte Shim, in the works of Vacant Lottery, onbuildingdowntown, The Presence of Mies, and Site Unseen. My practice owes much of its own enrichment and ambitions to these oral traditions; cradled by my teachers, catalyzed by George in his trajectories, offerings and threads of discussion. My privileged vantage point of a well-steeped, real-time thesis unfolding before my eyes shows that George has quite simply blazed trails. Enough so, that my generation may feel it incumbent upon itself to give back to the next and carry these conversations forward. One wonders, then, whether this is the real project for architecture in the everchanging city— one that recognizes mentorship as the one true, sustainable framework for urban equity, and a lasting balance for layered, critical thinking well beyond that of a single generation. George Baird’s ongoing narrative of teaching, writing and building has coalesced into a career committed to the civic art of architecture. ca 05/10 canadian architect

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Mitsubishi introduces hydra-dan Mitsubishi Electric introduces its new Hydra-Dan units as part of its City Multi building comfort solution. City Multi is the world’s first two-pipe, simultaneous heating and cooling system equipped with the notorious VRF technology. As it collects the rejected heat energy from individual cooling zones, Hydra-Dan make use of this energy for domestic hot water use or hydronic heating. City Multi and Hydra-Dan maximize personal comfort and energy savings, ultimately helping your future projects to achieve LEED certifications. www.HydraDan.com

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ProFeSSional directory

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May 4-November 15, 2010 This exhibi­ tion at the Archives of Ontario, lo­ cated at York University in Toronto, explores the role that the process of dialogue has played in both the construction and experience of the structures/spaces designed by Mori­ yama & Teshima Architects. www.ontario.ca/archives Architecture en vers

May 18-October 31, 2010 This exhibi­ tion at the Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal consists of five architec­ tural installations by groups of archi­ tects and glass artists, including Pierre Thibault, Éric Pelletier archi­ tectes, Menkès Shooner Dagenais LeTourneux Architectes, Suzanne Bergeron of Amiot Bergeron archi­ tectes, and the C­M­R collective. www.banq.qc.ca doors Open toronto

May 29-30, 2010 This annual citywide celebration featuring free access to 150 architecturally, historically, cul­ turally and socially significant build­ ings, is back for its 11th year. www.toronto.ca/doorsopen design and health canada 2010: Global Perspectives, local identities

June 7-8, 2010 This international symposium takes place at the Isabel Bader Theatre, University of Toron­ to, and is dedicated to exploring global perspectives on enhancing health, well­being and quality of life within the local context of healthy

ingerid helsing almaas lecture

June 8, 2010 This lecture at Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Architecture and Planning will be delivered by Norwegian author Ingerid Helsing Almaas at 7:00pm. http://architectureandplanning.dal.ca/ current_events/index.shtml Performance Matters—the next Generation of Buildings and communities

June 8-10, 2010 The third annual Canadian Green Building Council National Conference takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre, with sessions and workshops on how to foster an energy conservation and efficiency culture. www.cagbc.org/cagbc/conference/

City Multi is again at the forefront of leading-edge HVAC technology. Introducing City Multi HydraDan. Mitsubishi Electric’s advanced Booster and HEX units allow City Multi systems to convert recovered heat energy into hot water for sanitary use or hydronic radiant heating and cooling applications. This highly efficient system facilitates virtually no energy waste, reduced CO 2 emissions and drastically reduced operating cost. Also, with a reputation for exceeding industry efficiency

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Architectural Dialogues: Moriyama & Teshima

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June 14-16, 2010 Held in Chicago, the 42nd annual NeoCon World’s Trade Fair—the National Exposition of Contract Furnishings, is North Am­ erica’s largest exhibition of contract furnishings for the design and man­ agement of the built environment. www.neocon.com

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April 8-September 6, 2010 The Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal presents three approaches to the ideas of an adventurous journey that start­ ed 40 years ago after the 1969 moon landing. For architects Greg Lynn, Michael Maltzan and Alessandro Poli, space has provided not only a rich context for experimentation, but also an extreme condition in which to test new ideas for life on earth. www.cca.qc.ca

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THINK GREEN

June 15, 2010 This lecture at Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Architecture and Planning will be delivered at 7:00pm by Sami Rintala of Rintala Eg­ gertsson Architects in Oslo, Norway. http://architectureandplanning.dal.ca/ current_events/index.shtml

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BackPage

POrtraits frOm aBOVe

a recent study of hong Kong’s informal rooftop housing reveals an entire world built on top of existing buildings.

teXt

rufina wu and stefan canham stefan canham

PhOtOs

No publicly accessible maps or guidebooks offer the specific locations of Hong Kong’s rooftop communities. The best way to find them is to simply walk the city, with your head tilted upward. There is a broad range of selfbuilt rooftop structures: in more affluent areas they are used as storage sheds; others are living-space extensions from the floor below. The roofs of tenement buildings constructed in the 1950s and 1960s are often transformed into low-cost housing catering to low-income groups and new immigrants. Quite a few consist of intricate two- to three-storey-high structures equipped with amenities like high-speed Internet connections and rooftop gardens, while others provide little more than basic shelter. Self-built settlements on the roofs of high-rise buildings have been an integral part of Hong Kong’s history for over half a century. The rise of rooftop communities is closely linked to the migration history from the Chinese mainland to Hong Kong. Large influxes of migrants arrived in the city with each of China’s tumultuous political movements in the 20th century. The resultant severe housing shortage fostered the emergence of a plethora of informal settlements, and the flat roofs of buildings became attractive sites for bricolages of self-built homes. The majority of rooftop residents climb four to nine storeys to their homes. When seen from higher buildings across the street, the roofs resemble small villages. A maze-like system of corridors and stairs provides 66 canadian architect 05/10

when viewed from a distant rooftop, hundreds of illegal dwellings built atop existing apartment buildings have the cumulative effect of a rural village.

aBOVe

access to each unit. Building services, typically found on the exterior of the building envelope in subtropical climates, are easily extended upwards to serve rooftop units. The strata of various building materials offer clues to the evolution of a rooftop settlement. The metre-high parapets act as secure armatures for subsequent layers of construction, and the first layer of units provides the foundation for a second, and sometimes a third. Over time, the huts grow to be structurally dependent on each other. Remove one, and the rest may collapse. Today, rooftop housing remains a vibrant phenomenon in the city’s older districts. For the underprivileged, rooftop housing continues to be an affordable housing choice where it is needed—in central urban areas, in the vicinity of employment opportunities, and in areas with well-established social networks. Officially, rooftop structures are classified as “unauthorized building works” and are subject to demolition at any time. In the course of the city’s rapid urban renewal, areas with older buildings and a large number of inhabited roofs generally receive a tabula rasa redevelopment approach—whole building blocks and traditional urban fabric are demolished to make way for new, more profitable developments. In the face of imminent urban renewal, the future of Hong Kong’s rooftop legacy remains precarious at best. ca Portraits from Above is a book and exhibition project by Rufina Wu and Stefan Canham. For more information, please visit www.peperoni-books.de.


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