Page 1


JAN/18 v.63 n.01

CA Jan 18 FIN.indd 1


2018-01-09 3:31 PM

SET SOLID STRUCTURES IN MOTION. Capture depth and dimension with the extraordinary colors, sheen, textures and sizes of Endicott brick.

CA Jan 18.indd 2 72281_75587-Endicott-Ad-CanadianArchitect-Mag_bc.indd 1

Endicott Clay Products Company | Endicott Thin Brick & Tile, LLC

2018-01-09 3:30 PM 12/8/16 11:48 AM

cultural spaces


canadian architect

6 11:48 AM

January 2018

Michel brunelle

04 viewpoint

Bernard Flaman perceives a new appreciation of modern heritage.

06 News

Ice Breakers in Toronto; Calgary lauds urban design; architects honoured with Order of Canada.

10 review

Pamela Young reports from the CERSAIE exhibition in Bologna.

26 Long View

James Bligh reflects on Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room.



The Espace danse Wilder Building by Lapointe Magne and Ædifica lights up the street in downtown Montreal. TEXT David Theodore

20 Prairie tRANFORMation

33 Calendar

Design-related events across Canada and elsewhere.

34 backpage

Michael Turner ponders industrial imagery at the Polygon Gallery.

 emai Modern, Saskatoon’s new KPMB-designed civic art gallery, enriches the R physical and cultural landscape of the city. TEXT Leslie Jen


 he Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace transforms the Montreal Museum T of Fine Arts. TEXT Adele Weder

Lucky Charms (detail and full installation); neon, transformers and electrical wire, 2014/2017, by artist Pae White; at the KPMBdesigned Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan.

COVER and left

v.63 n.01


CA Jan 18.indd 3

The National Review of Design and Practice / The Official Magazine of the RAIC

2018-01-09 4:09 PM

Henry Kalen Photograph Collection, PC 29

canadian architect 01/18



­­Editor (2017-2018) adele Weder, hon. mRAIC

The 1964 Mendel Art Gallery, a modernist masterpiece in Saskatoon. Photo courtesy of the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.


The Revitalization of Heritage

Editor (on leave) elsa lam, mRAIC Art Director Roy Gaiot assistant Editor Stefan novakovic Editorial Advisor Ian Chodikoff, OAA, FRAIC Contributing Editors Annmarie Adams, FRAIC Odile Hénault Douglas MacLeod, ncarb, MRAIC Regional Correspondents Halifax Christine Macy, OAA Regina Bernard Flaman, SAA Montreal David Theodore Calgary Graham Livesey, MRAIC Winnipeg Lisa Landrum, MAA, AIA, MRAIC Vice president & Senior Publisher Steve Wilson 416-441-2085 x105

In the summer of 2004, I curated a small exhibition at Saskatoon’s Mendel Art Gallery that coincided with the 40th anniversary of its construction. Character and Controversy sought to tell a story about Saskatchewan’s modernist architecture and introduce the idea that these buildings could be appreciated for their heritage value. Now, more than a dozen years later, the understanding and reception of modern heritage is still an uphill struggle. However, as a conservation architect, I am hopeful for the future and see a younger generation looking at these buildings—even Brutalism—with fresh eyes, less baggage and sometimes even with a sketchbook in hand. There are also hopeful signs from two of our universities: Trent University has reached out to the conservation community to better understand and take care of Ron Thom’s masterpiece campus, and the University of Saskatchewan has created a heritage register for its Gothic-inspired campus– which includes buildings as late as 1987. All this provides some reassurance that the 1964 Mendel building, which has now been supplanted as the city’s flagship art gallery by the newly completed Remai Modern, will be treated respectfully as it takes on a new life as the Children’s Discovery museum. What’s clear is that heritage conservation is expanding outside of its traditional confines. I’ve recently had the pleasure of visiting several heritage-related projects in Ottawa, Toronto, Regina and Vancouver that illustrate this expansion of heritage thinking—from the copper roofing replacement on the dome of the Saskatchewan Legislative building, to the new home for my alma mater, the University of Toronto’s architecture school (Canadian Architect, October 2017) to the transformation of the Brutalist 1960s National Arts Centre (CA, July 2017). As well, I’ve seen projects in To-

CA Jan 18.indd 4

ronto and Vancouver that add significant, and sometimes startling, density to heritage sites, with huge contemporary additions to modest heritage structures conjuring up the image of Godzilla attacking Bambi; let’s just call this “GaB,” for short. One such “GaB” project is the QRC West development in Toronto. Designed by Sweeny & Co., it incorporates two historic brick warehouses and adds 13 storeys, supported on elegant delta-frames. This project does many things with integrity, such as separating the new addition from the historic building. While purists may be critical of the Godzilla architecture now looming over the modest centuryold warehouses, this project illustrates how cities can densify without completely wiping away the historic streetscape. Here and elsewhere, the architects have created something quiet and elegant, though the now-ubiquitous giant glass box still leaves me yearning for a more sophisticated approach to thermal resistance and management of moisture and natural light. As Carl Elefante, conservation architect and incoming American Institute of Architects president has warned: Beware the false paradigm of the glass sustainable building. With conservation and sustainability issues growing in importance in the public mind, we can imagine a convergence of heritage and contemporary innovation. So architects of all genres should review the Standards & Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada and develop a design concept that is visually quiet, durable, reparable and technically efficient. And it doesn’t have to be boring: Godzilla needs a stylish new skin.

sales MANAGER Faria Ahmed 416-441-2085 x106 Customer Service / production laura moffatt 416-441-2085 x104 Circulation President of iq business media inc. Alex Papanou Head Office 101 Duncan Mill Road, Suite 302 Toronto, ON M3B 1Z3 Telephone 416-441-2085 E-mail Website Canadian Architect is published monthly by iQ Business Media Inc.. The editors have made every reasonable effort to provide accurate and authoritative information, but they assume no liability for the accuracy or completeness of the text, or its fitness for any particular purpose. Subscription Rates Canada: $54.95 plus applicable taxes for one year; $87.95 plus applicable taxes for two years (HST – #80456 2965 RT0001). Price per single copy: $6.95. Students (prepaid with student ID, includes taxes): $27.00 for one year. USA: $105.95 US for one year. All other foreign: $125.95 US per year. Single copy US and foreign: $10.00 US. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Circulation Dept., Canadian Architect, 101 Duncan Mill Road, Suite 302 Toronto, ON M3B 1Z3. Postmaster: please forward forms 29B and 67B to 101 Duncan Mill Road, Suite 302 Toronto, ON M3B 1Z3. 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 416-441-2085 x104 E-mail Mail Circulation, 101 Duncan Mill Road, Suite 302, Toronto, ON M3B 1Z3 Member of the Canadian Business Press Member of the ALLIANCE FOR AuditED MEDIA Publications Mail Agreement #43096012 ISSN 1923-3353 (Online) ISSN 0008-2872 (Print)

Bernard Flaman, SAA, FRAIC

2018-01-09 3:30 PM


CA Jan 18.indd 5

2018-01-09 3:30 PM

canadian architect 01/18



and become a gateway to the waterfront, while providing access to important attractions and destinations, including Fort York National Historic Site, Ontario Place, Harbourfront Centre and the CN Tower. Design and construction of the Bentway was spurred by a $25 million donation from Judy and Will Matthews.

Simpson Tower gets radical facelift

Kipness Lantern at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. ABOVE

Kipnes Lantern to illuminate NAC

Ottawa’s National Arts Centre (NAC) now sports an eye-catching new feature: the threestorey, $225 million Kipnes Lantern, a signature element of the NAC revitalization by Diamond Schmitt Architects. Positioned above the Elgin St. entrance, the Lantern features the largest transparent LED screen in North America. It will showcase productions presented not only on NAC stages but also on the stages of performing arts organizations across Canada. The idea to create a “fifth stage” at the four-stage arts complex came from NAC’s chief executive, Peter Herrndorf, and architect Donald Schmitt during the planning process to update and transform Fred Lebensold’s 1969 Brutalist structure into a more inviting facility that engages the city around it. “The unique see-through technology of the screen complements the transparency established in the new public wings that enwrap the NAC and provide connection with downtown Ottawa and outstanding views of nearby landmarks,” said Schmitt. Vancouver-based ClearLED provided the transparent digital screens on four sides of the Lantern as well as smaller fin screens along the Elgin Street façade.

Phase one of Bentway linear park opens

The multi-phase Bentway linear park has marked its first major completed element with the opening of a new skating trail. Snaking its way beneath the Gardiner Expressway, the kilometre-long trail has flexibly programmed public spaces designed by landscape architects Public Work and Greenberg Consultants. Repairing the urban fabric long ago disrupted by the expressway construction, The Bentway will link together seven local neighbourhoods

CA Jan 18.indd 6

A major recladding project has transformed a classic John B. Parkin/Bregman & Hamann tower in downtown Toronto, doing away with the building’s 1960s design language. Led by WZMH Architects and structural and façade engineering consultants WSP Canada, the 33-storey building at the corner of Bay and Queen streets—formerly known as the Simpson Tower—is being reclad with a new curtainwall system by manufacturer Cintec North America. Altering the modernist aesthetic through a new high-performance glass building envelope, the re-cladding project has drastically changed the highly visible face of the 1968 structure. The nearly complete project was initiated following the sale of the building from Hudson’s Bay Company to Cadillac Fairview. Quickly following the CF takeover, the project was spurred by the building’s deteriorating condition and sub-par thermal performance. In a conspicuous departure from the original bronze-tinted glazing, the new envelope is a combination of muted bluegreen curtain wall with lighter spandrel elements. Curvy 7 St Thomas tower rises in Toronto Tucked amid the much taller point towers that now dominate Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood, a newly completed office condo complex at 7 St. Thomas Street brings new commercial density to the downtown’s north end. Designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects for St. Thomas Developments, the nine-storey building’s sleek, fritted curtain wall rises above a row of preserved bay-andgable Victorian townhouses. Hariri Pontarini collaborated with heritage consultants ERA Architects to create a contextually appropriate design, preserving and highlighting the character of the site’s Victorian townhouses while introducing new density above. The project features landscaping by gh3, with a small public piazza, new street-level retail space and a commercial office lobby by Studio Munge.

Ice Breakers jazz up Toronto waterfront

Five projects have been selected for Toronto’s second annual Ice Breakers exhibition, which

introduces five playful installations to the downtown lakefront at Queen’s Quay Terminal. The winners include “Root Cabin” by Liz Wreford and Peter Sampson of Public City Architecture (Winnipeg); “Through the Eyes of a Bear” by Tanya Goertsen of People Places (Calgary), “Black Bamboo” by Bennet Marburger and Ji Zhang of 2408 Studio (Hangzhou Shi, China), “Winter Fanfare” by Thena Tak (Vancouver) and “Ensemble” by João Araújo Sousa and Joana Correla Silva of JJS Arquitectura (Porto, Portugal). Presented by The Waterfront BIA and Winter Stations, the event was opened up to an international competition and will be on display from January 19 to February 25.

ABOVE “Black Bamboo,” an Ice Breaker installation on the Toronto lakefront by Ji Zhang and Bennet Marburger of 2408 Studio.

WHAT’S NEW Bing Thom Architects becomes Revery Architecture

A year after the death of acclaimed Canadian architect Bing Thom, his namesake design firm is looking to the future, under the new name Revery Architecture. In December, principals Venelin Kokalov and Shinobu Homma shared a public letter outlining the company’s rationale for the name-change: “The studio has gone through many transformations over its 35-year history. Some changes have been subtle while others more pronounced, but all share the same objective of strengthening our core values and the passion we have for design excellence. With the passing of our firm’s founder Bing Thom in 2016, the past year has been one of necessary evolution and transformation at the firm.” The name Revery Architecture, asserted the letter, “reflects the firm’s enduring vision to strive for exceptional design, whilst paying homage to Bing who instilled in us all the courage to dream big.”

2018-01-09 3:30 PM


The world is changing. And so are we. You’ve always known us as ROXUL, the company behind high-quality stone wool insulation. But in a time when the potential energy savings of buildings has yet to be reached, how can we simply sit back? We can’t. United under one global name, we can innovate, explore and

develop new ways to do more for our customers and our planet. We are the leader in stone wool insulation. We are ROCKWOOL.

For more about what this change means for you, visit

ROXUL is now

CA Jan 18.indd 7

DOCKET #: 14782

FILE NAME: 14782-14782_ROX-P-002-2018-E


DATE: January 3, 2018 12:56 PM

2018-01-09 3:30 PM

canadian architect 01/18


News OAA introduces new two-year cycle for Awards of Excellence

The OAA Awards program is changing and will now operate on a two-year cycle, with Design Excellence and career achievement awards celebrated in even-numbered years and a new Challenge program introduced in oddnumbered years. A key change for this year’s submission requirements will include the building’s Energy Usage Intensity (EUI). Submitters will be required to include EUI based on modelled or existing building average data. Details and exceptions are provided on the online form. The updated online system is designed to be quick and easy. A step-by-step buide is available at the Online Nomination Walkthrough for 2018 on the OAA website. Details of the new Challenge program will not be announced until next spring, but its goal will be to highlight the distinct contribution architects and architecture bring to key societal issues. The OAA also offers Service Awards, and the association strongly encourages nominations of deserving candidates for each of the award categories. Award winners will be recognized at a special celebration at the 2018 OAA Conference in Toronto, from May 23–25.

Proposed Toronto office tower to match Canada’s tallest

A new skyscraper proposed for Toronto’s Commerce Court complex could tie First Canadian Place as Canada’s tallest office tower. Featuring a conceptual design scheme by Hariri Pontarini in joint venture with Dialog, the 64-storey tower would replace a pair of shorter International Style buildings, both of which were designed by Pei Cobb Freed with Page + Steele. The proposal is by developer QuadReal Property Group, a subsidiary of bcIMC. The project team includes heritage consultants ERA Architects and Montreal-based landscape architects Claude Cormier & Associés. As now proposed, the tower would reach a height of 298 metres, the same as the 72-storey First Canadian Place, its hypothetical future neighbor across the way at Bay and King streets.

AWARDS & HONOURS Calgary announces Urban Design winners

The City of Calgary announced its biannual 2017 Mayor’s Urban Design Awards (MUDA) winners, with the marc boutin architectural

CA Jan 18.indd 8

collaborative inc. (MBAC) dominating the field. MBAC receiving top honours in the Conceptual/Theoretical Urban Design Projects for its Fourth Street Underpass Enhancement project, in Approved or Adopted Urban Design Plans for its Civic District Public Realm Strategy (with PFS Studio), and in Civic Design Projects for C-Square. Nyhoff Architecture won in Urban Architecture for its King Edward Arts Hub & Incubator, and in Community Improvement Projects for East Village Junction.

Waterloo’s new Lazaridis Hall lauded Wilfrid Laurier University’s Lazaridis Hall has received a Civic Trust Award, the longest-running built environment awards program in Europe. Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects in association with David Thompson Architects, the building is the sole Canadian project to be recognized at the global awards showcase. The Civic Trust Awards highlight excellence in architecture, sustainability and universal design and that make a positive social, cultural, environmental or economic benefit to the local community. Built on the Laurier campus in Waterloo, Ontario, the facility houses the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics as well as Department of Mathematics and associated programs in entrepreneurship.

Order of Canada for three architects

ABOVE C-Square Plaza, a new hub for urban connectivity in Calgary, designed by MBAC.

Other winners include 5468798 (Urban Fragments category: Crossroads Garden Shed), Marshall Tittemore Architects with MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects (City Edge Development: Great Plains Recreation Facility), Green T Design (Green City award: Vegetated Roof Replacement project), City of Calgary Parks Department (Mawson Urban Design Award, Conserving Calgary’s Historic Streets), and Snøhetta/Dialog Design (Great City, Great Design: New Central Library). Modern Office of Design+Architecture (MoDA) won Housing Innovation for GROW, a Merit winner in last month’s Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence. People’s Choice awards went to Allied Works & Kasian Architecture (Building: Studio Bell/National Music Centre) and IBI Group with Lorne Simpson James Reid (Public Space: Bowness Park Rehabilitation). “Recognizing the people behind our vibrant buildings and spaces in our city is important,” said David Down, Calgary’s chief urban designer. “Well-designed space make people feel welcome, improves safety and accessibility and creates a memorable sense of place.” The awards were announced at the National Music Centre. A full list of winning projects, including honourable mentions, is available at the City of Calgary’s official website.

Architect Richard Henriquez and landscape architect Greg Smallenberg have been named Members of the Order of Canada, while landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander was promoted from Officer to Companion, the Order of Canada’s highest honour. Oberlander was cited for “her long-standing contributions to the field of architecture as a worlwide leader in promoting socially conscious and environmentally responsible landscape designs.” Henriquez was recognized for “his contributions to Canadian architecture, notably in shaping Vancouver’s urban landscape.” Smallenberg was lauded for “contributing to the urban fabric of Canada as an influential landscape architect.

MEMORANDA RAIC Festival of Architecture 2018

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and Architects’ Association of New Brunswick (AANB) are seeking volunteers to assist staff during the 2018 Festival of Architecture, to be held at the Hilton Saint John/Saint John Trade & Convention Centre from May 30 to June 2, 2018.

Registration opening for Banff Session

The Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) is hosting its biannual conference that will bring speakers from around the globe to share ideas. Taking place in Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff Session offers an arena of open dialogue unencumbered by workplace pressures and distractions.

2018-01-09 3:30 PM


canadian architect 01/18


CERSAIE 2017 Report

AEquae nis as doluptatet ium doluptae voloritis re pre dolupti dolore dolor aliquas am, sed quo experestrum que volut fugit, cum imeni omnimi, quisqui occae dusam.


text By

Pamela Young

Wine, opera, and motor scooters are among the exports most North Americans associate with Italy. But if you have attended the annual CERSAIE trade fair in Bologna, you understand the extent to which Italy is also the land of ceramic tile. In late September, CERSAIE 2017’s 869 exhibitors and more than 111,600 visitors transacted innumerable deals in 156,000 square metres of exhibit space. While there is also a significant bathroom fixtures component to CERSAIE—see Canadian Architect’s report on that side of the show in our online section—ceramic tile takes centre stage at this show. In monetary terms, Italy remains the product category’s leading exporter, with 32 percent of the global market; China (26 percent) and

CA Jan 18.indd 9

Spain (15 percent) rank second and third. However, China now exports twice as much tile as Italy does, accounting for 32 percent of the volume, compared with Italy’s 16 percent and Spain’s 15 percent. In this increasingly competitive market, Italians are investing heavily in technology to manufacture innovative higher-end products. Several North American architects and interior designers I spoke with at the show said they specify Italian ceramic tile because it convincingly emulates the look of materials such as stone, wood, and concrete, while offering impressive durability and ease of maintenance. Tile can also offer savings in both cost and weight. But in all applications, aesthetics is a huge factor, including for these following trends at CERSAIE 2017.

2018-01-09 3:30 PM

canadian architect 01/18


1. GRAPHIC ARTS Neutral expanses may dominate the show floor (and walls) at CERSAIE, but bold ideas are out there as well. Saltus from Vallelunga & Co.’s Decorandum collection amps up the fabricinspired trend of recent years by printing a toile pattern on 50 x 100-cm tiles. Meanwhile, in his Cementiles collections for Bisazza, architect David Rockwell plays with line weights, transparency and chromatic intensity in theatrical ways.

3. THICK AND THIN A major recent development has been the introduction of very large ceramic tile slabs in dimensions of up to 320 x 160 cm, yet only a few millimetres thick. Now that advanced printing technology makes it possible to simulate materials such as marble with great fidelity, the industry has seen demand from designers for thicker versions of these oversize slabs to install as countertops or on cabinetry doors, for example–applications in which a veneer-like thinness would compromise the illusion of stone. For this reason, manufacturers such as AVA Ceramica and Florim are now offering 320 x 160-cm slabs in chunkier thicknesses (12 to 20mm) as well as an ultra-thin profile of about 6 mm.

4. ARTFUL IMPERFECTION Weathered stone, metal, concrete and wood looks are plentiful, and options such as Tagina’s Ilcottotagina glazed porcelain tiles would complement the material palettes of adaptively reused industrial spaces. In addition to timeworn effects, many new collections mimic the imperfection of handmade objects. One subtle and ingenious example is Drawn, by the Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek for Decorati Bassanesi. Instead of being perfectly rectangular, each of the plain, serially produced 20x25-cm tiles has the slightly irregular edges of a hand-drawn shape. Installed in multiples, they lend a touch of wabi-sabi to what would otherwise be a clinically pristine surface.

2. TAKE IT OUTSIDE Collections such as Florim’s burnished metal-inspired Flowtech are suitable not only for wall and floor installation, but also for indoor and outdoor environments. In Europe, ventilated façades, or rainscreens, are becoming a popular means of minimizing problems that include thermal bridging and condensation. Assembly involves applying insulation to the exterior of a perimeter wall, affixing an air gap-creating framework to the wall, and attaching panels to the outer edge of the framework. The websites of companies such as Porcelanosa and Marazzi provide detailed information about these systems, which are not as yet widely used in Canada.

CA Jan 18.indd 10

2018-01-09 3:30 PM


canadian architect 01/18


6. SEE IT IN 3D Dimensional surfaces—raised or incised, or both—offer striking textural effects that beg to be paired with artful lighting. Options in Atlas Concorde’s 3D Wall collection range from the faceted geometric diamonds of Stars to the subtly rippling horizontality of Flows.

5. RETRO MASH-UP Ceramic tile can look like everything from terrazzo to crocodile leather, but there’s a lot to be said for tile that looks like tile. To get a sense of Futura, a collection of 15x15-cm glazed porcelain tiles from 41zero42, imagine throwing a bit of Bauhaus, a splash of ’50s modernism, and some ’80s graphics into a blender. End result: a set of upbeat, compatible patterns offering a Lego-worthy quantity of satisfying combinations. Another standout was Confetti, a 25 x 25-cm glazed stoneware collection from Ceramica Vogue: this series melds ’50s and the ’80s motifs into small-scale patterns that somehow have a progressive vibe.

7. PLAYING THE ANGLES Triangular and hexagonal tiles from companies such as Flaviker and Cotto Etrusco expand layout possibilities beyond the 90-degree angle. Meanwhile, many tiles that are rectilinear offset the fact with skewed or fragmented patterns. The diverse visual effects range from the tone-on tone subtlety of ResinaShades from Casalgrande Padana (in 45 x 45, 45 x 90, 90 x 90 and 90 x 180-cm sizes) to the voluptuously hued, hand-painted “paper airplane” shapes of Ceramica Bardelli’s 20 x 20-cm Corrispondenza tiles, designed by Dimorestudio and inspired by old, folded letters “that had been preserved like origami artworks from times gone by.”

For Best in Show, I nominate Marazzi’s Grand Carpet, designed by the Milan-based studio of Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel. The collection’s 120 x 240-cm slabs have a blurred, intermittent pattern inspired by oriental carpets, ephemeral South Indian floor decorations (Kholam) created with rice flour and chalk powder and Mehndi henna tattoos. The line’s designers position it as a response to “the paradox that often afflicts decoration in architecture, which must be neutral and yet still reinforce the project’s character and aims.” Suitable for wall and floor applications, indoors and out, Grand Carpet earns bravos for compressing utility, grace and aesthetic ideology into porcelain stoneware slabs that are a mere 6mm thick. Pamela Young is a Toronto-based communications manager and writer on architecture and design.

CA Jan 18.indd 11

2018-01-09 3:30 PM


Precast Concrete Resilient enclosure walls outperform other “rainscreen” walls in:

· Exceptional rain penetration control · Air tightness · Meeting and exceeding thermal performance requirements

· Low building maintenance · Faster sequence of construction · Durability & long life

Simons Vancouver Park Royal Store Vancouver, British Columbia By LEMAYMICHAUD Architecture Design



Visit to download your free copies of the Meeting and Exceeding Building Code Thermal Performance Requirements and High Performing Precast Concrete Building Enclosures – Rain Control Technical Guides Authored by: John Straube, Ph.D., P. Eng., RDH Building Science Corporation

TF: 877.937.2724 Member

For more information on CPCI Certification, please visit:

QAC .ca






CA Jan 18.indd 12





2018-01-09 3:30 PM




DANCING UP A FORM Wilder Building, Espace Danse Lapointe Magne and Ædifica TEXT David Theodore PHOTOGRAPHY Michel Brunelle, except as indicated PROJECT


In downtown Montreal, in response to longstanding requests for a dance centre in Quebec, the Espace danse Wilder Building has finally arisen. Centred on the historic brick façade of the 1918 Wilder Building, a former furniture factory and office, it’s eleven storeys high and half a block long. The architects, a consortium of Lapointe Magne and Ædifica, have not transformed the building into a seamless iconic sculpture, but that was never their intention. Instead, new additions break up this potential monolith into shifting, multi-storey boxes. Passersby might take it for three buildings collaged together side-by-side. A jumble, even. But make no mistake: the fragmentation is a sophisticated and characteristically Montrealish way of using architecture to make a city. Each element in the collage responds to a pragmatic decision about budgets and clients, honed

CA Jan 18.indd 13

with only as much precision as was worthwhile. Does it work? That depends on whether you value architecture more as a way to engage with the city than as a way to embellish it. Embellishment is fine, but engagement done like this is better. Espace danse groups together four dance companies: Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, l’Agora de la danse, Tangente, and l’École de danse contemporaine de Montréal. It also has four floors of offices for two Quebec government ministries (the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec). The jumble of materials and volumes identifies each of the architect’s six clients, inside and out. The architects have used this strategy before. For Théâtre Espace Libre, for instance, winner of a Governor General’s Medal

2018-01-25 10:42 AM




The ground-floor foyer runs from the main entrance on De Bleury Street to the Place des Festivals. The stairway at left leads to the Agora de la danse and Tangente performance studio above. The glass wall is integrated with Montreal artist Ianick Raymond’s work, L’entre-deux. BELOW The diagrams below show the insertion of the North and South Annexes around the original Wilder Building. The diagram on the right shows the superimposition of a major curtainwall along the Wilder Building’s façade that faces the Place des festivals. ABOVE

in 2006, Lapointe Magne made a playful collage of doors and stairs giving each of the three resident theatre companies their own civic address— in imitation of the way Montreal’s triplex row housing works. The design is particularly inventive in terms of section. Between the Wilder’s two arms, the architects slipped a six-storey wing containing a 160-seat performance venue for Tangent and the Agora, as well as four studios for the École de danse. To the South, an eight-storey wing houses the Grands Ballets. This includes seven studios of various dimensions, which can also be used for classes for amateurs, and a rehearsal hall that echoes the dimensions of the main stage at nearby Place des Arts. Each of these wings has its own internal staircases, but the principal circulation is in the Wilder. It acts as a spine for the entire project, with the various companies spiralling off in three dimensions. Each element also gets its own façade treatment. The north wing boasts striped lime-green fritted glass. The south wing is covered

in vertically set black brick, indicating the full-size rehearsal studio behind, and then above that a six-storey box of dance studios wrapped in white fritted glass. The choreographers asked for no direct sunlight, so the architects chose light-diffusing insulated panels. The white blob pattern covers the exterior in a single one-off image, while the green fritted glazing is made up from a repeating pattern. At the rear of the building, the designers faced an unusual urban challenge. The building once stood on a back lane but now forms the edge of the Place des Festivals, an open public promenade created by paving over what used to be the other half of the city block. This meant that the backside of the Wilder would now be one of the most prominent façades in the city, seen by every visitor to the cascade of downtown festivals now offered year-round. In turn, the rear façade, which shields administrative offices, needed considerable sound attenuation. The Place des Festivals additionally requested that the building serve


CA Jan 18.indd 14

2018-01-25 10:42 AM

canadian architect 01/18


ABOVE Dancers from Les Grands Ballets Canadiens rehearse in an eighth-floor studio. bElow On the second floor, a vertical glass slot links the South Annex and the 1910 brick Blumenthal Building, which now houses the Maison du festival de jazz.

CA Jan 18.indd 15

2018-01-09 3:30 PM

canadian architect 01/18


ABOVE The Agora de la danse performance studio on the second level is devoted to on-site creation, training, research and social innovation in dance. Accessible to other organizations in the Montreal dance and arts community, it is also available for private rental. opposite The façade presents a rich pattern by day and occasionally serves as a projection screen from the Place des festivals at night.


Ground Floor rue balmoral

North pavilion

Wilder building

south pavilion


7 8 13



rue mayor

1 5






5 6



rue mayor



niveau rue de bleury



7 rue de bleury

 1 studio  2 rehearsal studio  3 broadcast studio  4 laboratory studio  5 Terrace

CA Jan 18.indd 16

 6 the great Canadian

ballet production studio  7 Agora dance creative studio

 1 shops  2 electical room  3 delivery platform  4 laboratory studio  5 storage  6 reception

 7 restaurant  8 cafe  9 foyer 10 creative studio 11 boxoffice 12 jazz quay

13 Home of the

international jazz festival of Montreal 0


2018-01-09 3:30 PM

as a giant projection screen for their programming. Finally, the Wilder building has an exposed concrete frame structure with brick infill, which needed upgrading for thermal performance. The architects’ solution was to hang a new curtain wall, which contains a serigraphed pattern, in front of the old façade. The ghost of the old trabeated structure remains visible through the new glazing, especially at night. Yet another challenge came on the south side, which connects to the Blumenthal Building, headquarters of Montreal’s International Jazz Festival. Starting from an agreement to move the electrical substation further north, the architects arranged to integrate Espace danse with the Maison de Jazz. They closed off the back lane and made a new shared loading dock, and, most visibly, enclosed the lane so that the external wall of the Blumenthal building became the internal wall of the Espace danse. The two buildings made shared arrangements to meet fire code requirements. It’s in the lobby that you can begin to see the drawbacks to the design. The entrance lobby is tight—smaller than it should be, because room was needed for the addition of a rehearsal hall for the Agora. That hall is pushed into the basement, its glass enclosure the site of an artwork by Ianick Raymond, installed as part of Quebec’s art requirement for publicly funded buildings. Once inside, you can go up a stairway to the foyer of the small performance hall, or continue to the back where there is a café, an entrance to the restaurant, and a door to the Place des Festivals. In the lobby, the architects put a new round column, positioned a few inches away from one of the chamfered columns of the Wilder. They scrupulously scraped and cleaned the old, so that together, painted white, they provide a sculptural moment and a centrifugal point for the spiralling plan. Yet that is one of the few places where the old has been carefully incorporated; most of the time, the treatment of the old is much rougher. And that is simply due to budget constraints. The architects had $100 million to build 23,800 square metres, including remediation, three-quarters of which came from three levels of government, and the remaining amount through private fundraising, especially a contribution from long time President of Les Grands Ballets Constance V. Pathy. But that private money served to only to make the budget adequate, not to augment it. And there’s the rub. The approach to renovation seen in those two lobby columns might have been extended to the entire building. That’s how to do architecture right. The other drawback to this project is that its idiom has been mainstream for a long while. Budgetary and programmatic constraints mean that new cultural buildings in Montreal have all been using the same means: the same details, the same fritted glass, the same bricks. It’s perhaps excessive to suggest that an entire way of commissioning architecture has run out of steam, but the downsides of this project are all-too apparent in other recent projects, too. A review of government funding formulas would help, as would a review and expansion of the tendering procedures used for commissioning public architecture in Quebec, for there’s only so much that can be done with limited resources. Architecture is a collaborative effort. So let me be clear: the architects have done their job well. Now it’s up to the clients, the government and the citizens of Quebec to do theirs, by providing architects with the resources they need to take their work to the next level.

canadian architect 01/18


David Theodore is Canada Research Chair at the McGill University Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture. Client société québécoises des infrastructures | Architect Team michel Lapointe, Patrick Bernier, jean-philippe brouillard, nicolas bokobza, julie bélanger, vincent coreini, robert leclerc, robert magne, nguyen trong tuan, julie charrette, françois massicotte, frédérick boily, jean-luc vadeboncoeur, naomi frangos, guy favreau, yves proulx, joannie brouillard, pascale-lise colin, yuan june hong, philippe pellegrino, dany durand-courchesne, sylvain hardy | Structural nicholas chartrand knoll, sdk et associés | Mechanical bouthillette parizeau Electrical snc-lavalin | scenography trizart alliance | acoustics octave acoustique | Contractor pomerleau inc. | area 23,800 m2 Budget withheld completion february 2017

CA Jan 18.indd 17

2018-01-09 3:30 PM

canadian architect 01/18


long view

CA Jan 18.indd 18

2018-01-09 3:30 PM

Reflections on Infinity

canadian architect 01/18


yayoi Kusama is bringing her endless space to the Art Gallery of Ontario

Infinity Mirrored Room: The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away Yayoi Kusama TEXT James Bligh Art

Courtesy of David Zwirner, N.Y. © Yayoi Kusama Photo by Cathy Carver


CA Jan 18.indd 19

Architects love the notion of dematerialization. All the ref lective glass we put on buildings is an attempt to provide what would be there in their absence. Perhaps there is no more successful attempt at dematerialization than Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror rooms. The spaces we design have order and understanding: plans, elevations, a parti. The spaces we inhabit contain things we recognize: named objects that give meaning and security; borders and boundaries that we can see. But when you enter an Infinity Room, there’s none of that. You are in space, where there is no reference to anything else. Kusama has created an un-space, an illusory space. Or maybe the opposite, as the title has it, an infinite space. To those of us whose profession is predicated on defining, measuring, and crafting physical space, it’s thrilling. Like The Weather Project, Olafur Eliasson’s 2003 installation at the Tate Modern, and Moshe Safdie’s Yad Vashem Children’s Holocaust Memorial completed in Jerusalem in 1987, the Infinity Rooms have lights and mirrors that reflect each other to expand the dimensions of the room beyond comprehension. (The material list includes wood, metal, glass mirrors, plastic, acrylic panel, rubber, LED lighting, acrylic balls and water.) Kusama has arranged a series of very compact rooms—in material terms, less than 14 feet by 10 feet and with a platform barely large enough for two or three people to crowd onto—but once you are inside, the dimensions vanish. The orbs of light seem to be floating in space, and no matter which way you look, you will see more and more and more lights, with no end, everywhere, with the exception of a small black strip of floor on which you stand. You’ll notice and be irritated by the 30-second time limit: it’s much too short. You leave the room before you fully comprehend it. Just enough time to enter the space, appreciate that you’ve found something extraordinary, and then get kicked out by museum staff. But you want to stay there all day, contemplating this tiny space that ironically seems to go on forever. It’s like being in a dream where you sense that you are about to wake up, and you don’t want the dream to end, but with the gallery staff ’s sharp rap on the door, it’s over. All you are left with is your memory, enough for the mind to fill in the blanks that transcend the reality. Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors is on exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto from March 3 to May 27. Advance ticket sales begin January 16th. James Bligh is an intern architect with Proscenium Architecture + Interiors in Vancouver.

2018-01-09 3:30 PM

adrien Williams

canadian architect 01/18


CA Jan 18.indd 20

2018-01-09 3:30 PM

canadian architect 01/18


PRAIRIE TRANSFORMATION Saskatoon’s new civic art gallery enriches the physical and cultural landscape of the city

Remai Modern Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan KPMB Architects with Architecture49 TEXT Leslie Jen PHOTOS Tom Arban and Adrien Williams PROJECT


ABOVE The stacked, overlapping and cantilevered forms of the Remai Modern Art Gallery reach out to the city and river on both east-west and north-south axes, engaging fully with the waterfront site.

CA Jan 18.indd 21

Saskatoon, considered by many to be a charmingly scenic but sleepy community, was for most of its existence overshadowed by the country’s more glamorous urban centres. But times are changing for this prairie city of 270,000, with an economic reversal of fortune that has enticed both former residents to return and newcomers to settle, attracting substantial investment from outside the province. In fact, Saskatoon is one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada, supporting a flourishing entrepreneurial culture that has spawned the typical hallmarks of big-city sophistication such as boutique hotels and locavore-inspired restaurants and cafés. Part of this story of transformation is the remarkable Remai Modern, which officially opened to the public on October 21, 2017. Saskatoon’s new civic art gallery replaces its much-loved but much-smaller predecessor, the Mendel Art Gallery, and occupies another waterfront site further down the South Saskatchewan River. It is the latest addition to River Landing, a phased development that takes into account Raymond Moriyama’s Meewasin River Valley 100-year conceptual master plan of 1978, which sought to balance conservation and development along 80 square kilometres of riverbank in Saskatoon and surrounding area. The unfortunate demolition of a number of historically significant buildings began as early as 1989, but did eventually pave the way for a revitalized South Downtown precinct with new office, retail and cultural facilities, along with an activated waterfront landscape that engages a diverse and growing community.

2018-01-09 3:30 PM

tom arban

canadian architect 01/18


Adrien Williams

ABOVE Viewed within a larger site context from the south bank of the river, Remai Modern is visible behind the iconic Traffic Bridge, which is currently undergoing reconstruction. Below Stairs connect the gallery to the meandering pedestrian and bicycle pathways along River Landing. opposite left Although directly connected to the building housing Persephone Theatre to the north, Remai Modern establishes its own independent entrance beneath the cantilevered volume of the second floor. opposite right The sleek composition of volumes on the southern faรงade communicates a pleasing interplay of material contrasts; a second-floor balcony promenade hovers over the wood-decked outdoor terrace of the restaurant.

CA Jan 18.indd 22

2018-01-09 3:30 PM

The gallery sits on a key piece of land just south of the downtown core where the river momentarily bends in an east-west orientation, occupying what the project’s lead designer, Bruce Kuwabara, calls a “privileged site.” Its central location in this reinvigorated, dynamic part of the city enjoys immediate adjacency to the scenic river and pedestrian pathways, offering up panoramic views of the entire city from its upper floors. However, the lack of a coherent master plan for River Landing that anticipated the inclusion of the gallery means that it is hemmed in on three sides: the hulking concrete mass of the neighbouring Idylwyld Freeway blocks western access to the site, and buildings of distressing mediocrity obscure the north and east aspects to an extent that the building is scarcely visible from any road leading to the gallery. Consequently, we are denied the anticipatory frisson of approach and arrival: only pedestrians and cyclists are lucky enough to take in the entirety of the building’s primary façade as they traverse the waterfront pathways to the south, and a distant perspective can be had from across the river in Rotary Park and on Saskatchewan Crescent East. These considerable site constraints are addressed by designing the building as a series of stacked, overlapping and cantilevered boxes, reaching out towards the river and the city on both east-west and north-south axes. The cantilevered steel structure enables the creation of longer-span spaces required by the program, but also connects building to site in a very direct fashion, much as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater does through multiple layers that merge with the landscape. Here at Remai Modern, views are panoramic and vast, and embrace the expansive flatness of the prairie. As much as the primary elevation takes advantage of its river view and southern orientation, mitigation of the intense prairie sun and consequent heat gain required the mediating device of the copper-hued metal screen that sheathes the glass curtain wall. The screen is constructed of expanded metal plate—essentially a sheet of steel that is cut and pulled to create an open mesh. The apertures are angled in such a way as to draw the eye down, “curating the experience of the river and composing the view,” says Kuwabara. Compellingly, the mesh also animates the building’s interior with striking dappled patterns of light and shadow. As for its colour, Matthew Wilson, KPMB associate in charge of the project, said that it was inspired by the copper roof of Saskatoon’s Bessborough Hotel, the historic architectural icon that was completed in 1932. It also riffs on the materiality and colour of the nearby 1907 steel-and-concrete-truss Traffic Bridge that is currently being reconstructed following its closing in 2010 and subsequent demolition in 2016. The well-proportioned interiors of the building are spare and elegant, with spaces that are comfortably scaled and appropriate for their function.

CA Jan 18.indd 23

Adrien williams

Adrien williams

canadian architect 01/18


2018-01-09 3:30 PM

canadian architect 01/18





3 section



3 6

 1 gallery Administration space  2 public spaces  3 gallery spaces  4 multi purpose room  5 meeting rooms / roof terrace 6 underground parking

6 0


1 DN




2 DN

third Floor




 1 Back of House Gallery Support  2 picasso Gallery  3 feature Gallery  4 Persephone Theatre (Existing)  5 Changing Exhibition Galleries  6 Gallery Lounge

6 0


Third Floor 1 2 3 4 5 6

Back of House Gallery Support Gallery Shell Space Persephone Theatre (Existing) Gallery Shell Space Changing Exhibition Galleries Gallery Lounge

High ceilings give sufficient breathing room for the art on display, and for ambulating the premises. Circulation outside the galleries continually focuses on the building’s primary southern orientation facing the river, and draws visitors repeatedly to that sublime view. Detailing of the interior is seamlessly executed and pristine. Gracefully expressed thin steel columns stand erect in measured cadence amidst a restrained palette of polished concrete floors alongside walls and steel balustrades painted in matte-finish black and white, balanced by the warmth and natural grain of white oak floors in the galleries. In parts, even soffits and wall panels are oak, perforated to ensure sound absorption and superior acoustic performance. A soaring atrium in the ground-floor lobby draws the eye upwards and establishes a visual and spatial connection between the building’s volumes. Soft upholstered seating arranged casually in front of an extended fireplace and hearth creates a sort of living room, a social condenser that imparts a welcoming sense of intimacy. Opposite, a thoughtfully curated gift shop entices with art and design objects, next to an all-day full-service restaurant. Both shop and restaurant face the river directly and are suffused with light; in warmer months, an outdoor terrace running the entire length of the building expands the restaurant’s seating capacity.

CA Jan 18.indd 24

The favoured architectural device of the stair is utilized to great effect in the atrium, creating a striking object within the space that seduces with its sculptural contours. The sleek white curving form of the balustrade is complemented by an underbelly of white oak, and the stair’s switchback configuration encourages a slow, meandering pace and contemplative engagement with the space. A pause on the landing provides an additional cinematic vantage point from which to appreciate the buzz, movement and activity of the lobby below. Recognizing the paramount importance of the art and the critical relationship that it establishes with the viewer, the design team, working in close collaboration with executive director and CEO Gregory Burke, dedicated roughly 30 percent of the square footage to exhibition space— an unusually high percentage for such a large gallery. Temporary exhibitions occupy a ground-floor gallery, while several interconnected galleries on the second floor feature the institution’s significant permanent collection, drawn from nearly 8,000 works acquired by the Mendel Art Gallery over its lifetime. On the third floor, three generously sized rooms constitute the majority of the gallery’s exhibition space: the Feature Gallery currently displays a selection of 142 of the 406 Picasso

2018-01-09 3:30 PM

Adrien Williams

canadian architect 01/18


adrien Williams

above The sculptural entity of the stair animates the ground-floor lobby and leads visitors up through the atrium, establishing a visual and spatial connection between the building’s volumes. right Interior spaces possess a sectional richness and a restrained palette of polished concrete, white oak and painted steel.

CA Jan 18.indd 25

2018-01-09 3:31 PM

The work of the late Saskatchewan abstract painter William Perehudoff, a key figure in the province’s history, is included in one of several interconnected galleries focusing on the institution’s significant permanent collection. Here, the salvaged and restored wall murals bearing Perehudoff’s colourful anthropomorphic forms were originally commissioned in 1953 by Fred Mendel for his office at Intercontinental Packers, and are installed precisely to scale as they were 65 years ago. below Part of the Oliver & Bonacini restaurant empire, Shift faces the river and is bathed in southern light. In warmer months, an outdoor terrace running the entire length of the building expands the seating capacity. Left

Tom arban

Tom arban

canadian architect 01/18


linocuts in the holdings of Remai Modern, and two additional galleries accommodate a variety of excellent national and international works chosen by Burke and chief curator Sandra Guimarães. Remai Modern is no less than dazzling, and elevates the quality of the city’s architecture to a level not seen since the 1960s with its confidence, elegance, gravitas and power. From an urban design perspective, the gallery anchors and brings coherence to a crowded River Landing site that is becoming denser by the day: intensive development sees the rapid rise just 50 metres away of a slick hybrid hotel/condominium project, to be joined by two office towers shortly thereafter. While all of this seems to support Bruce Kuwabara’s assertion that building Remai Modern was not just about the gallery, but rather “an act of making a city,” the question remains as to whether the project’s architectural merits and

CA Jan 18.indd 26

opening fanfare are enough to ensure the financial sustainability of the institution. The projected attendance figure of 220,000 visitors per year may be overly optimistic, and skeptics of the desired “Bilbao effect” doubt that travellers will make the journey to this relatively remote prairie city, no matter how extraordinary the art or architecture. Additionally, a $12 admission fee is hardly steep but may be inhibitory; the Mendel Art Gallery offered free admission and welcomed even the most impoverished through its doors year-round. Remai Modern will have to work hard to engage the local community and beyond to ensure that the ambition and scope of its undertaking does not become its undoing. Born and raised in Saskatoon, Leslie Jen, FRAIC is former Associate Editor of Canadian Architect and a design journalist/consultant based in Toronto.

2018-01-09 3:31 PM

Tom arban

canadian architect 01/18


tom arban

Remembering the Mendel

The administration spaces on the fourth floor are primarily open-concept, and floor-to-ceiling glazing on all sides guarantees an abundance of natural light and limitless views. above A supergraphic emblazoned on the entire west façade of the fourth floor announces the gallery’s visual identity and logo: rRemai mModern. The metal mesh that sheathes the glass curtain wall mitigates heat gain while giving the building façades a compelling texture and warm copper hue. top

Client City of Saskatoon and Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan | Architect Team KPMB—Bruce Kuwabara, Shirley Blumberg, Matthew Wilson, Paulo Rocha, Matthew Krivosudsky, Terry Kim, Marcus Colonna, David Poloway, Jessica Juvet, Klaudia Lengyel; Architecture49—Grant Van Iderstine, Ron Martin, Brad Cove, Jim Yamashita, Rick Linley, Corrine Golden, Phil Harms, Geoffrey Bulmer, Calee Gushuliak, Ian Douglas | Structural Entuitive | Mechanical Crossey Engineering | Electrical Mulvey + Banani | Landscape Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg | Interiors KPMB Architects | Contractor EllisDon | lighting Tillotson | cost ttcm2r | building science Transsolar | Acoustics Daniel Lyzun & Associates | Vibration Engineeing Aercoustics | IT/AV Mulvey Banani | LEED Consultant Enermodal | Civil and Transportation MMM Group | Code Leber Rubes | Signage karlssonwilker inc. | Museum Planning Consultants Lundholm Associates Architects | Area 126,000 FT2 | Budget n/a | Completion October 2017

CA Jan 18.indd 27

Although its stakeholders position the Remai Modern as a brandnew project, its genesis is the 1964 Mendel Art Gallery and the first philanthropic initiative on which the current project builds. European emigré Frederick Mendel first proposed a civic gallery in 1960 and committed almost half of the total $410,000 construction cost. Winnipeg-based firm Blankstein, Coop, Gillmor and Hanna Architects (now Number TEN Architectural Group) designed the original building as a graceful expression of midcentury modernism: modest in scale and responsive to its prime riverfront site; clad in dark brown brick with a skylit sawtooth roofline that filtered soft northern light into the interior. (See “Viewpoint,” p. 4.) Fred Mendel’s donation of over a dozen paintings by Emily Carr, Cornelius Krieghoff and the Group of Seven would be the nucleus of the gallery’s permanent collection of almost 8,000 works. The Mendel Art Gallery opened at a pivotal moment: the thriving art scene at that time included a robust fine-arts department at the University of Saskatchewan, and the annual Emma Lake Artists’ Workshops, which attracted luminaries such as Clement Greenberg, Jules Olitski, Kenneth Noland, Donald Judd, Frank Stella and John Cage. For myself and many others growing up in subsequent decades, the Mendel and its attached Civic Conservatory proved to be an enriching and transformative experience, critically important to the cultural life of Saskatoon. In the 2000s, the gallery planned for an on-site expansion, but in 2009 the gallery board overturned those plans in favour of a new build on the south side of downtown. The result was a protracted battle among the citizenry, the board, gallery staff, and two of Fred Mendel’s descendants. The new project was itself threatened by delays and funding shortfalls until 2011, when Saskatoon philanthropist Ellen Remai stepped in with a contribution package worth $53 million, divided between construction costs, programming, and a $20-million donation of hundreds of linocut prints by Pablo Picasso. She would later make an additional commitment of up to $50 million over the next 25 years for acquisitions and programming. — Leslie Jen

2018-01-09 3:31 PM

Olivier blouin

canadian architect 01/18





Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts opens up to the city

CA Jan 18.indd 28

2018-01-09 3:31 PM

pawel karwowski

canadian architect 01/18


Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts ARCHITECT Atelier TAG with Jodoin Lamarre Pratte architectes TEXT Adele Weder PHOTOGRAPHy Olivier Blouin, Marc Cramer, Pawel Karwowski PROJECT

Directors and designers of museums are rethinking the end-use of the typology. Are they hallowed halls of education and spiritual replenishment, like old-fashioned libraries and churches, to which the visitor makes a pilgrimage? Or are they something else altogether now? For the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the design consortium of Atelier TAG and Jodoin Lamarre Pratte, the purpose is emphatically

CA Jan 18.indd 29

olivier blouin

opposite The Pavilion for Peace is diagonally set back at street level and diagonally projects at the upper level, expanding and revitalizing its connection to the city. Above and right The Bishop Street entrance showcases the pavilion’s restrained material palette of concrete, oak and granite.

shifting towards that socially minded imperative. The 2013 competition brief for a new fifth pavilion to its Sherbrooke Street building itself called for a redefinition of the museum for the 21st century, recalls Katsuhiro Yamazaki, who with Manon Asselin of Atelier TAG, led the design team. ““It was more about how museums contribute to society, instead of mere contemplation and consumption of artwork,” he says. “We asked ourselves: How does it serve the community and visitors? Does it compete with theatres and other entertainment venues? Or does it hold its own place?” For the museum’s newly completed Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace, the answer, in this critic’s mind, is all of the above. The design approach dovetails with the prevailing worldwide ethos of repositioning the museum concept as something more accessible and

2018-01-09 3:31 PM

CA Jan 18.indd 30

olivier blouin

marc cramer

canadian architect 01/18


2018-01-09 3:31 PM

olivier blouin

canadian architect 01/18


engaging than the fusty neoclassical piles and somber white-cube galleries of yore. And as part of that repositioning, the design team has transformed what we think of as functional, transitional, neutral space within a museum to serve this larger purpose. The pavilion is based on the former site and footprint of two Victorian houses demolished to make way for the new pavilion, so the floorplate is compact. But the ambition is large and emphatically vertical. The upper three levels house much of the Museum’s international collection from medieval to contemporary. The lower two levels are devoted to art therapy and education, with focused attention on programming for children and youth. These latter components dovetail with the architectural transformation to make the building a true anchor of the community. Vertical bands of slender aluminum mullions scrim the glazed façade, blanketing the corridors and stairways with diffused light and transforming into a giant urban lantern after sundown. The sense of spectacle is pervasive—and intentional. The five-level stairway presents itself as the main space of the pavilion—in a subversion of the usual architectural relationship, the galleries to which it leads seem deferential to it. The scissor-form stairway is not just for getting from one floor to another but to engage with other visitors on the stair-seats—la plage, as the design team calls it, with the same spirit and nomenclature as “the beach” stair-seating in Ryerson Student Centre by Snøhetta. At a visual level, visitors then engage with the city itself through the slender aluminum mullions of the glazed façade. It’s a stark contrast to the conventional museum formula (operatic stairway to the mezzanine level, followed by opaque walls and utilitarian stairways). Moshe Safdie had played with the idea and form of the museum stairway in the 1994 design of its Desmarais Pavilion at the Sherbrooke Street side: that stairway’s low risers and deep runners made ascension a more contemplative process—challenging, even. You need to be more conscious of where your feet are heading on Safdie’s oddly proportioned steps or you’ll stumble. But the Peace Pavilion’s stairway makes ascension not just contemplative but also social. The short hallways between stair and gallery are not neutral conduit spaces or architectural intermissions but distinctive programmes in themselves. A strategic slot-reveal on the top level’s corridor wall provides a visitor with a sliver-glimpse of dark spaces filled with medieval art. Generously sized and bathed in daylight, theses spaces bear a warm aes-

CA Jan 18.indd 31

marc cramer

opposite left The Peony Knot , a 2015 sculpture by Paris artist JeanMichel Othoniel, hangs over the stairway and contrasts with the backdrop of white oak, which is rift-cut to present a tight linear grain. opposite top Diagram of the event stair. opposite bottom The large corridor spaces function as impromptu rest areas and social spaces. above The interior gallery links the Peace Pavilion to the main Desmarais Pavilion. bottom right Bishop Street aerial view of the WIlder Building. The building responds to scale of the adjacent Victorian houses and at night transforms into a giant urban lantern.

thetic of rift-cut white oak, black Jet-Mist granite and polished concrete. The entry point for these programmes is through the pavilion’s Bishop Street entrance, a gesture that effectively shifts the centre of gravity as well as purpose of the venerated museum. The façade itself literally shifts, in a diagonal setback from the street at ground level and then projecting over the street in an opposing diagonal at the third level. The Peace Pavilion is separate from the two main pavilions of the museum, but it has connections for visitors to access the main museum at both the third level and the basement. At ground level, the foyer multi-tasks as functional and social space, a kind of nerve centre for the rest of the pavilion, but eminently welcoming. From there, visitors are directed to their specific goal: on-site art classes, childhood activities, art therapy. This is museum as interactive community resource, rather than a passive recipient of a visitor’s gaze. As Yamazaki points out, this kind of architecture is never “finished”— it is now up to the museum and to the people to carry it forward and activate it. “It will be interesting to see how the museum is appropriated by different communities, how they will find common ground there in that space. That’s a much broader idea of art.” Client montreal museum of fine arts | Architect Team Atelier tag—Manon Asselin, katsuhiro yamazaki, Pawel Karwowski, Mathieu Lemieux-Blanchard, Benjamin Rankin, Éole Sylvain et Cédric Langevin; Jodoin Lamarre Pratte—Nicolas Ranger, Olivier Millien, Guylaine Beaudoin, Serge Breton, Michel Bourassa, Israel Ludena Cermeno, Christine Trudeau-Guertin | Structural NCK—jacques chartrand and guillaume leroux | Mechanical/Electrical Smi énerpro—pierre lévesque and fabien choisez | exhibition design MMFA Staff, Architem, PRAA | lighting consultant cS design— conor sampson | acoustic consultant jean-pierre legault | Contractor pomerleau | Area 4,363 m2 | Budget $23.7 M | Completion November 2016

2018-01-09 3:31 PM

canadian architect 00/17


Product Showcase


Wind Snow Exhaust Odour Particulate MOECC Approvals

(519) 787-2910

Natural Adair® Limestone


Quarried in Ontario, Adair® Limestone is available in Blue Grey or Sepia tones, and delivers both unmatched beauty and durability. Adair® Limestone Masonry Units can be installed using traditional masonry detailing and construction techniques. Arriscraft also offers Adair® Tile, landscape units and anchored dimension stone that is cut and sized to your unique specifications. 1-800-265-8123

BEHLEN is Canada’s Top steel building manufacturer. We are devoted to supply pre-engineered steel buildings solutions for industrial, commercial, recreational and institutional facilities.

Steel Building Systems Beyond Your Vision MADE IN CANADA MARKETED WORLDWIDE

BEHLEN is also using a state of the art technology to produce rigid frame and frameless steel structures in Canada. 1-888-315-1035

BEHLEN Steel Buildings Are a Perfect Fit Our engineers collaborate with you on design to give your buildings the functionality you need and the aesthetic you want. From planning and problem solving to manufacturing and assembly, we are committed to helping you build success. GET YOUR PERFECT FIT. (888) 315 -1035 | © BEHLEN Industries LP 2016 Assiniboine Community College in Brandon MB. Developed in partnership by Cibinel Architects Ltd. and BEHLEN Industries

2 Hour Fire Resistive Glass Floors from SAFTI FIRST The GPX FireFloor System offers the largest tested and listed individual glass panels for fire resistive glass floors. It meets CAN/ULC-S101 up to 2 hours and tested with a load of 100 psf. It is top-loaded for easy installation and available in multiple glass make-ups and frame finishes. TM

MapeWrap™ 31 Slow-Set provides longer working time MAPEI’s new MapeWrap™ 31 Slow-Set, a 100%-solids, moisture-tolerant, medium-viscosity epoxy resin, provides a longer working time for applicators to saturate and encapsulate carbon and glass fiber fabrics in the MapeWrap™ composite system. Once the high-performance laminate is cured, it provides additional strength to structural elements. For more details, visit:

Automation for Window Coverings Somfy is the leading global manufacturer of strong, quiet motors with electronic and app controls for interior and exterior window coverings. During the past 40+ years, Somfy has designed products for both the commercial and residential markets.

CA Jan 18.indd 32

The George Brown School of Architectural Studies is located in the heart of downtown Toronto. Our programs are designed to simulate a work environment that combines both design with business acumen. Our students represent the ideal mix of education, technical abilities and workplace skills.

2018-01-09 3:31 PM




Saint John





True Nordic: How Scandinavia Influenced Design in Canada The influence of Scandinavian design on Canadian culture, at the Vancouver Art Gallery.


N. Vancouver The inaugural exhibition of the Polygon Gallery presents multiple artists whose works reflect the shifting nature of their locale.

Edmonton 03/13

The Prairie Wood Design Awards Gala 2018 Lauding exceptional design in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Banff 05/11—05/12

Banff Session 2018 Alberta Association of Architects’ biannual conference brings speakers from around the globe. At the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.



Interior Design Show Canada’s premier showcase of new products and furniture, with prominent national and international designers presenting and speaking.


The Evidence Room In its final weeks at the Royal Ontario Museum, Robert Jan van Pelt’s installation shows architects’ terrifying role at Auschwitz.


Winter Stations Winter Stations’ fourth annual international design competition of temporary installations to The Beach area of Toronto.


Architect@Work At the Enercare Centre, the twoday event offers innovation-focused seminars for architects and interior design professionals.


Indigenous Design Thinking Symposium Presented by University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design, the event will feature panel discussions and keynote addresses from architect Douglas Cardinal.

Winnipeg 04/18—04/22

Architecture + Design Film Festival Festival of critically acclaimed films focusing on the importance of architecture and design in everyday life.

CA Jan 18.indd 33

Ottawa 03/15—03/18

Passive House Design and Construction Workshop A four-day course of the technical, economic and policy elements of Passive House construction.

Greystone: Tools for Understanding the City The material history of Montreal’s Greystone buildings from the late 17th to early 20th century. Curated by Phyllis Lambert, at the Canadian Centre for Architecture.

St John’s 05/22—05/25

Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada Conference This year’s conference will be held at the base of Signal Hill, a National Historic Site overlooking the entrance to St. John’s Harbour.


The University Is Now on Air: Broadcasting Modern Architecture Massive open online courses offer a way to reach wider audiences but also raise questions about who produces knowledge and who is responsible for mass education. This exhibition offers a close reading of a pioneering case study: A305, History of Architecture and Design, 1890– 1939. This third-year arts course, offered by The Open University via television and radio broadcasts between 1975 and 1982, was a radical project for sharing knowledge through the convergence of mass media and mass education.  Founded in 1969 in the United Kingdom, the Open University was a key experiment in distance and adult education, and part of the socially progressive reforms of the 1960s Labour Party. The Open University extended higher education beyond a typical class of students by using media as a tool to transform both the production and transmission of knowledge across an entire country. Curated by Portugese architect Joaquim Moreno.


Red Star Over Russia: A Revolution in Visual Culture 1905—1955 Russia and the Soviet Union, as seen by artists,designers and photographers. At the Tate Modern.


New York —04/08

Thinking Machines: Art and Design in the Digital Age Artists, architects, and designers operating at the vanguard of art, computers and technology.




55th International Making Cities Livable Conference The International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) movement’s 55th Conference will take place in Ottawa, with the theme “Healthy 10-Minute Neighborhoods.”

RAIC Festival of Architecture RAIC’s annual conference of continuing education, tours, awards.

A student watches the televised programming of Open University, 1971. ABOVE

Photo by Peter Trulock, @Hulton/Getty Images


Toronto Design Offsite Festival A cultural celebration of design, with over 100 exhibitions and events forming Toronto’s design week.


canadian architect 01/18


Coverings The largest international tile and stone show in North America.

Vienna —04/04

Form follows Rule Architekturzentrum Wien exhibition explores how acts, guidelines and standards affect civic design.

2018-01-09 3:31 PM


Courtesy of the Monte Clark Gallery

canadian architect 01/18



Michael Turner

the inaugural exhibition of the polygon gallery challenges our perception of time and place Burrard Inlet, so named by George Vancouver after his friend and fellow British sea captain, Sir Harry Burrard, is a coastal fjord that has for thousands of years served as the home and workplace of the Musqueam, Skwxú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh people. Since Vancouver’s visit in the summer of 1792, the inlet has become a staging ground for global industry. Today, it features two impressive bridges, the comings and goings of cargo ships and ocean liners, a sulfur pyramid and, closer to its second narrows, grain towers. And now, on the North Vancouver waterfront, the Patkau-designed Polygon Art Gallery. The Polygon and its inaugural exhibition— N. Vancouver—both recognize the historic place of industry in the development of the region (from sawmills to shipyards), but also that re-

CA Jan 18.indd 34

gion’s symbolic production: how local artists work with and against the world of our making though the use of its materials, its manufacturings and its modes. Among the highlights of the inaugural exhibition is Greg Girard’s 2013 work Untitled (Grain Terminal). At first glance, this 30 x 37 inch pigment print irks me, evoking as it does the artificially hued splash of a stockprospectus cover image. Or maybe it’s more than that. Maybe the angle of the shot, its postproduction touch-ups and its commercial veneer have it closer to a full-page ad for a luxury condo tower. But whatever the case, I wonder, where’s the art? Maybe that’s the point: in a region where real estate has less to do with homes than with other global commodities stored in these siloes, the artist is pushing us to think twice about what we think we are seeing.

ABOVE Untitled (Grain Terminal), 2013, by artist Greg Girard, part of N. Vancouver, at the Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver.

Le Corbusier pointed out something similar in Vers une Architecture (1923). Integral to his emphasis on Mass, Surface and Plan, to his appreciation of the historic use of Regulating Lines, is the engineer who, unlike the Beaux Arts-trained architect, uses emergent technologies—not in the service of artifice, but in an effort to keep things honest, effective and simple. Le Corbusier provided numerous examples, some of which continue to act as players in the staging ground that is Burrard Inlet, most notably those cargo ships and ocean liners, but also the grain towers that came to replace what in George Vancouver’s time were colonnades of fir and cedar. Michael Turner is a Vancouver-based writer of fiction, criticism and song.

2018-01-09 3:31 PM

CA Jan 18.indd 35

2018-01-09 3:31 PM

MAPEI provides wear-resistant protection for National Arts Centre of Ottawa

A variety of MAPEI structural-strengthening products was used to bring concrete beams, columns and slabs up to new building requirements for the renovation of Canada’s premier performing arts center – the National Arts Centre of Ottawa. In addition to the structural strengthening of concrete columns with the MapeWrap ™ composite system, Carboplate ™ E 170 fiber plate was placed along two large beams and then wrapped in MapeWrap C Uni-Ax 300 fabric. MapeWrap C Fiocco anchors were also used in a unique approach to strengthening concrete slabs. MAPEI products used: • MapeWrap Primer 1 • MapeWrap 11 • MapeWrap 21 • Carboplate E 170 • MapeWrap C Uni-Ax 1200 • MapeWrap C Uni-Ax 300 • MapeWrap C Fiocco

MAPEI Americas

CA Jan 18.indd 36

products used:

2018-01-09 3:31 PM

Canadian Architect January 2018  

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

Canadian Architect January 2018  

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