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6 VIEWPOINT

PATRICIA HOLDSWORTH

JULIAN PARKINSON, FORMAT FILLMS

RURAL SANCTUARIES

CANADIAN ARCHITECT

JUNE 2020 03

Was Sidewalk Labs’ project to build a smart city on Toronto’s waterfront ever feasible?

8 NEWS

Sudbury calls for urban design ideas, Carleton architecture students win Vimy Ridge design competition.

10 LONGVIEW

Photographer Amanda Large examines Toronto’s legacy of modernist churches.

30 BOOKS

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12 OUR LADY OF THE SNOWS

Designed by Woodford Sheppard Architecture, a low-slung church makes room for the complexities of Indigenous Catholicism. TEXT Gabrielle Montpetit

Reviews of the CCA’s Houses for Sale, the McHarg-inspired Design With Nature Now, and other pandemic reads.

34 BACKPAGE

John Leroux considers the landscape-attuned design of the Fundy Amphitheatre, by Nine Yards Studio.

18 TEMPLE OF LIGHT

Patkau Architects’ yoga retreat space for Yasodhara Ashram draws on ongoing research into advanced construction techniques. TEXT Kai Woolner-Pratt

26 CHRIST THE REDEEMER JAMES DOW

A pre-engineered structure was the starting point for a church by P3Architecture that exhibits Prairie ingenuity. TEXT Paul Koopman

Temple of Light, Kootenay Bay, British Columbia, by Patkau Architects. Photo by James Dow.

COVER

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THE NATIONAL REVIEW OF DESIGN AND PRACTICE / THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE RAIC

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VIEWPOINT

FAREWELL, SIDEWALK TORONTO In early May, Google-affiliate Sidewalk Labs cancelled its pursuit to build Quayside, a smart city on Toronto’s waterfront. According to a statement by Sidewalk lead Dan Doctoroff, the decision was due to the economic uncertainty resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Reaction has ranged from frustration at a missed golden opportunity, to relief at dodging a massive data surveillance experiment. Many have pointed to the opportunity that still exists to develop a superlative waterfront project—both on the 12-acre Quayside site, as well as on the adjacent 880-acre Port Lands. Sidewalk had pressured the city to include a 180-acre chunk of this larger area in their plan—presented last June in a 1,500-page tome. They also asked for other special dispensations: a share of property taxes and development fees to build transit and underground infrastructure, the housing of information collected from embedded sensors in a data trust, and a role as lead developer—despite presenting little previous development experience. The Waterfront Toronto board rejected these proposals. They’d be glad to move forward with the project, they reported in the fall: but on the original 12-acre site. Sidewalk agreed to partner with established real estate developers, and no special financial arrangements would be made. As to data collection and storage, Sidewalk would need to comply with all existing and future legislation and regulatory frameworks. A close look at the architectural elements of the saga raises the question: was Sidewalk’s proposal ever feasible? The proposed district was a checklist of pre-pandemic urbanist dreams: mass timber high-rises, affordable housing, underground waste collection, robotic package delivery, and self-driving cars, all rendered in airy sketches and cheerful graphics. For some critics, it was all too much: “Urban trends from the last two decades piled up like a bike messenger crashing into a street juggler,” writes researcher Shannon Mattern. Several people who have waded through the 1,500-page document note how, despite its heft, it lacked the substance of a serious development proposal. Bruce Kuwabara, a former chair of Waterfront Toronto’s Design Review Panel, pointed to some basic errors—the alltimber buildings didn’t fit with their surroundings, besides which, they seemed to propose an exposed structure. “Before Sidewalk released its plans, designers wondered if this would be a case of the emperor having no clothes,” he

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wrote in Toronto Life. “Now it appears its all-inwood scheme literally has no clothes.” All along, there were questions about the financial viability of the ambitious proposal. It ultimately relied on the idea that parent company Alphabet would provide a generous amount of “patient capital,” using Quayside as a demonstration project for realizing returns over a much longer term than usual. Ed Hore, a former litigation lawyer and lobbyist specializing in intellectual property, speculates the purpose of Sidewalk’s Quayside venture was “not really to build a development on the Toronto waterfront” at all—but rather “mostly to help its sister company Google think through privacy and data ownership issues, with an eye to the U.S. political process.” A member of Waterfront Toronto’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee, Hore writes that “the data and privacy regime developed by Sidewalk, set out in the [500-page Digital Innovation Appendix] and honed through public consultations, was always the point. […] It is exactly what Google needs: the fruit of intensive background work for a possible regulatory regime it may ultimately propose in the U.S.” Data policy aside, Sidewalk seems to have gotten plenty of return for its investment. It’s spun off several side projects, including a generative design tool for urban planning, a community-based healthcare network, and continued work on factory-made mass timber construction. It’s launched Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, an entity funded by $400 million from Alphabet and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which aims to address urban needs throughout North America. New York governor Andrew Cuomo has enlisted former Google CEO Eric Schmidt to head a commission charged with “reimagining” a tech-forward, post-pandemic New York. Such a vision, points out Naomi Klein, would doubtless include many of the urban data collection mechanisms the company had hoped to deploy at Quayside. As for Toronto and Canada, we’ve tangled with some seductive ideas for urban development. The design consultants hired by Sidewalk—many of whom are Canadian—have built internal expertise. The best minds in the country have contended with data privacy, a pertinent topic as global cities deploy mass urban surveillance in the pandemic. Whatever comes next for Toronto’s waterfront, we’ll be prepared. Elsa Lam

EDITOR ELSA LAM, FRAIC ART DIRECTOR ROY GAIOT CONTRIBUTING EDITORS ANNMARIE ADAMS, FRAIC ODILE HÉNAULT DOUGLAS MACLEOD, NCARB, MRAIC ONLINE EDITOR CHRISTIANE BEYA REGIONAL CORRESPONDENTS MONTREAL DAVID THEODORE CALGARY GRAHAM LIVESEY, MRAIC WINNIPEG LISA LANDRUM, MAA, AIA, MRAIC VANCOUVER ADELE WEDER, HON. MRAIC SUSTAINABILITY ADVISOR ANNE LISSETT, ARCHITECT AIBC, LEED BD+C VICE PRESIDENT & SENIOR PUBLISHER STEVE WILSON 416-441-2085 x105 ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER FARIA AHMED 416-441-2085 x106 CUSTOMER SERVICE / PRODUCTION LAURA MOFFATT 416-441-2085 x104 CIRCULATION CIRCULATION@CANADIANARCHITECT.COM 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 info@canadianarchitect.com WEBSITE www.canadianarchitect.com Canadian Architect is published 9 times per year 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: $15.00. USA: $135.95 USD for one year. International: $205.95 USD per year. Single copy for USA: $20.00 USD; International: $30.00 USD. 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 circulation@canadianarchitect.com 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)

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PROJECTS

Three Carleton University Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism students—Scott Normand, Kevin Complido and Brendan Dyck—have won a national design competition for a water feature at the Vimy Foundation Centennial Park in France, commemorating the legacy of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Titled The Ridge: To Venerate a Buried History, the design is to be installed this summer and unveiled in the fall. “We are honoured to have the fountain selected and are very excited to see it built in such a hallowed space,’’ said Normand. Commissioned by the Vimy Foundation and the Love Family Foundation, the water feature will be a central element in Vimy Foundation Centennial Park. The park was designed by Ottawa landscape architect Linda Dicaire and opened in 2018. “What made The Ridge stand out from other designs was its use of echo chambers and agitators below the surface, which reverberate the sound of flowing water to create a contemplative environment in the park,” said selection committee members Jon and Nancy Love. “I’m delighted to have a team from our school win this opportunity,” said Azrieli Director Jill Stoner. “Their design reflects the visceral power of water to embody elemental connections between memory and landscape.” The Student Design Competition was open to all 2019 fourth-year undergraduate and graduate students in Canadian universities studying architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design and fine arts. The prize includes $5,000 funded by The Love Family Foundation, of Toronto. www.carleton.ca

THEAKSTON ENVIRONMENTAL Consulting Engineers

Wind Snow Exhaust Odour Particulate • MOECC• Approvals

SCOTT NORMAND, KEVIN COMPLIDO, BRENDAN DYCK

Carleton architecture students win Vimy Ridge design competition

ABOVE Three Carleton University students have designed a fountain to be installed near Vimy Ridge this summer.

WHAT’S NEW Sudbury launches 2050 urban design ideas competition

The City of Sudbury, Ontario, has launched an ideas competition calling for a new vision for the urban core of the City of Greater Sudbury. Led by the McEwen School of Architecture in collaboration with the community, the competition seeks high-level design solutions. Entrants are asked to present an integrated vision for the city in 2050, which could include a new library, art gallery, conference centre, and performance centre, new housing typologies for a range of incomes, reimagining the space occupied by the railway lines, and a new arena and event centre. The competition also asks for the teams to suggest a strategy for public engagement, as well as ideas for municipal urban design guidelines. The competition includes $63,000 in prizes, with awards for the best professional entry, best student entry, and a People’s Choice award. Entrants may consist of individuals, teams, firms, or university students. There is no fee to enter. Registration is required, and submissions are due August 28, 2020. www.sudbury2050.ca

Canadian Architect wins in National Magazine Awards: B2B Wind Snow Exhaust Canadian Architect has won a National Magazine Award for Best Pub• Odour • Noise • Particulate lisher. The award was announced on April 28, 2020. Bestowed under the National Magazine Awards: B2B program, the • Ministry (519) 787-2910 spollock@theakston.com www.theakston.com Approvals award goes to the publisher whose brand best delivers on its editorial mandate through numerous platforms. The jury considered criteria • CFD Analysis including the achievement of journalistic excellence, presentation,

519.787. 2910 spollock@theakston.com www.theakston.com

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service to readers, innovation, and use of multiple content platforms to serve and grow the brand’s audience. “Canadian Architect is this year’s Best Publisher because they do an excellent job of covering the industry,” wrote the jurors. “Everything about it—from content to design—speaks in a language that’s relevant to its readers.” The award evaluated the success of Canadian Architect’s print and digital magazines, website, national e-newsletter, special issues, and  social media channels. The award also took into account the book Canadian Modern Architecture, 1967 to the present, co-published by Canadian Architect and Princeton Architectural Press, and the dozen cross-Canada lectures associated with its release last fall.

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In addition, Canadian Architect received Honourable Mentions in the categories of Best Editorial, Best Series of Articles, and Best Feature Article in a Professional Magazine. The awards were presented at a virtual ceremony held in mid-May. www.canadianarchitect.com

POST-PANDEMIC DESIGN This section continues our series of reflections on how Canadian architecture is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more articles on this topic, visit www.canadianarchitect.com/ideas

Lessons from a crisis, lessons for a crisis

The worldwide response to the pandemic has demonstrated that we can act dramatically and in a coordinated fashion at a global level when drastic circumstances threaten our health and well-being. We have seen huge shifts in all facets of our lives that seemed inconceivable a few months ago. Governments have acted boldly, communities and businesses have come together in innovative and caring ways, and individuals have shown a willingness to make major changes to their lives to respond to an existential threat. This seismic shift in the world’s awareness, resolve, and action could hold the seeds for our next big challenge: responding effectively to climate change. Government Leadership In the pending restructuring of our economy, we have a historic opportunity to reorder our priorities and to shift our economic system to a more sustainable one—financially, environmentally and socially. Rather than simply crank up the old system, our new investment can be used to encourage an emergent green economy. In effect, it would be a new New Deal for our times—one designed to put people back to work in a meaningful way that also reduces our environmental footprint. Our economy must evolve to one where we learn to add value to our precious resources rather than just extracting them. We must develop renewable energy sources to reduce our carbon emissions. We need to build transit that aligns with density, develop a public realm that encourages people to walk and bike, build better quality and more affordable housing, encourage local food production to improve supply chains and increase access to healthy food options . . . and so much more. Government leadership should establish a framework, set policies, and provide economic tools with the proper alignment of incentives and taxation to encourage and reward good environmental behaviour. Business and Community Action The response to the pandemic has demonstrated very strong community spirit, innovation, fresh thinking and resiliency. As we begin to rebuild our society and economy, we have an opportunity to reset our compass and adjust our priorities to find ways to lighten our collective footprint. Our industries can be retooled to build a more circular economy, to create local employment, and to replace blue-collar jobs with green-collar jobs. Companies can increase research and development, and improve supply-chains to provide more resiliency and self-sufficiency. We can all rethink our workplace and travel patterns. Schools that have demonstrated great agility to respond to the health crisis can focus their resources on reducing our carbon footprint. Cultural groups can inspire and encourage us to focus on the urgency of our task. Decisions can make both economic sense and ecologic sense if values are aligned. Saving energy also saves money. Durability increases buildings’ lifespan. Recycling and reusing means consuming fewer resources, as well as saving money. Healthy living promotes, well, healthy living.

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Individual Initiative The pandemic has demanded a drastic change in our individual lives and a cultural acceptance of new norms that seemed unthinkable a few short months ago. It has demonstrated a willingness to take individual responsibility, to alter our patterns of behaviour in support of a greater cause, and to consider the impact of our individual actions on the wider community. We have slowed down from our frantic pace, learned new skills, cooked and baked at home, planned gardens. We’ve curbed our appetites to buy more, travel more, and consume more. We’ve found more time for friends, family and neighbours. We have faced an existential threat and learned valuable lessons as individuals. People have had time to think about what is truly important to them, what they really need to lead fulfilling lives, the value of friendship and community. Those personal lessons can inform our behaviour as we turn our minds to the next challenge that awaits us when the pandemic subsides.

CANADIAN ARCHITECT 06/20

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The Next Chapter We are in the midst of a crash course in how to think globally and act locally to respond to a planetary threat. Now we need to direct the thinking, resolve, commitment and action that we have developed from this crisis and apply it to our slower-moving but even more critical climate crisis. As we emerge from this pandemic, we have the potential to embed sound environmental values in our economic system to build a future that is enduring, healthy and sustainable for us and the generations to come. We should not miss this historic opportunity. —Alex Speigel, partner, Windmill Development Group

For the latest news, visit www.canadianarchitect.com/news and sign up for our weekly e-newsletter at www.canadianarchitect.com/subscribe

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LONGVIEW

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50 MODERNIST CHURCHES TEXT AND PHOTOS

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Amanda Large

My creative practice as an architectural photographer is centred around making evocative images that go beyond a straight documentation of buildings. How can a photograph—or a series of vignettes—tell the story of spaces and structures? My current project, Fifty/50, investigates this question through exploring modernist church architecture in Toronto, Ontario. From the late 1940s to the 1980s, Toronto experienced a high rate of growth and development, resulting in a wealth of modernist-style buildings. Due to an increasing population, parishes were also outgrowing their spaces and found themselves in need of new facilities. Consequently, there are many fine modernist churches in the city. This series is an ode to these buildings, albeit a half-century or so after their construction. Aesthetically, I am drawn to modernist architecture for its pared-down material palette, clean lines and elegant details. This is directly reflected in my choice to shoot with a minimal kit—a DSLR and a 50mm lens (my favourite focal length)—and to use the format of vignettes. I have chosen black and white processing as a unifying element, and as a nod to the fine art and commercial architectural photography of the mid-century. The series also challenges some tropes prevalent in architectural photography. I have purposefully chosen to photograph almost exclusively in winter and often in “bad” weather, to leave blemishes and damage to the buildings without retouching, and to include wires, signs, and other trappings of urban sites in the frame, rather than digitally removing them in post-production. These days church attendance and donations are dwindling, and the cost of maintaining parish buildings has become daunting. Toronto is in a housing crisis, and low-rise modernist buildings are frequently demolished to make way for new development. While it is somewhat de rigueur to convert older, more stately churches into lofts, the same cannot be said of their modernist counterparts. Beyond documenting a largely ignored subset of modernist architecture (and creating compelling imagery in its own right), Fifty/50 also raises questions about preservation and architectural legacy in my home city. St. Anselm’s Church (Arthur Taylor, 1966); Church of St. Luke Lutheran (Weir Cripps and Associates, 1959); Church of St. Andrew Anglican (1958/61); Church of Our Saviour (James A. Murray, 1962); St. Dunsten Catholic Church (1981); Central Christadelphian Church (John B. Parkin Associates, 1950). SECOND ROW St. Charles Borromeo (1948); Scarborough Church of God; Donway Convenant United Church (James A. Murray, 1956); Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1962); St. Maria Goretti Church (Brian T. Atkins, 1969); Hilltop Bible Chapel (1962). THIRD ROW St. Joseph Chapel, Regis College (Gordon Adamson & Associates, 1958); St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Latvian Church of Toronto (1964); St. Catherine of Siena (Bruno Apollonio, 1965); St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Church (1965); Our Lady Fatima Shrine (1960); Holy Eucharist Ukranian Catholic Church (Radoslav Zuk, 1967). FOURTH ROW Guildwood Presbyterian Community Church (George Robb, 1964); Bridletowne Park Church (1973); St. Andrew Kim Catholic Church (1969); St. Wilfrid’s Roman Catholic Church (1969); St. Roch’s Catholic Church (1976); The People’s Church (1962). BOTTOM ROW Canadian Martyrs (1950); St. Peter’s Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (Michael Bach, 1955); Wexford Presbyterian (Dunlop Matsui, 1963); West Ellesmere United Church and Christian Education Centre (Craig & Zeidler, 1958/61); Parkwoods United Church (Craig Zeidler Strong Architects, 1964); St. Ansgar Lutheran Church (1960). TOP ROW

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A FAITH OBSERVED A CHURCH IN LABRADOR IS SHAPED BY RESPECT FOR ITS HOST COMMUNITY—AND BY THE COMPLEXITIES OF INDIGENOUS CATHOLICISM. Our Lady of the Snows, Sheshatshiu, Labrador Woodford Sheppard Architecture TEXT Gabrielle Montpetit PHOTOS Julian Parkinson, Format Films PROJECT

ARCHITECT

The place of Catholicism in Sheshatshiu—an Innu Federal Reserve north of Goose Bay, Labrador—is complex. Several generations have lived through times when cultural assimilation practices and residential schools forced the Innu to keep their spirituality hidden. Some Innu reject the Church for all the harm it has done, but others have expressed the wish to practice the beneficial aspects of the Catholic faith, while also adhering to the teachings of Elders and traditional Innu belief sys-

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tems. For them, Catholicism and Innu spirituality are not seen as mutually exclusive.1 Today, these two faiths are practiced by many, and respond to different sectors of life. These intricacies are reflected in the architecture of a new Sheshatshiu church: Our Lady of the Snows. Designed by Newfoundland-based Woodford Sheppard Architecture, a practice led by architects Chris Woodford and Taryn Sheppard, Our Lady of the Snows was commissioned by the Elders of Sheshatshiu to complement a 1950s church with the same name. The existing church was too small to accommodate the large community gatherings that take place for weddings, funerals and baptisms. The old church was not demolished, and instead sits behind the new one, creating continuity between the past and the present.

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SITE

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NEWFOUNDLAND

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LAKE MELVILLE

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 1 BRIDGE  2 NEW CHURCH  3 LAKE MELVILLE  4 TOWN OF NORTH WEST RIVER

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Situated in the centre of Sheshatshiu, Our Lady of the Snows looks out onto Lake Melville and the Mealy Mountains, both important features in the area’s landscape. Nutshimit—the Innu-aimun word that designates the backcountry—holds a lot of spiritual and traditional knowledge. The architects wanted to allow the various functions that take place inside the church to spill out into this significant landscape. The entrance to the church facilitates this movement: a generous covered porch, carved out of the nave, encourages people to gather in a sheltered outdoor space. Our Lady of the Snows is the largest building in the town centre, but its low-slung form and materials make it a good neighbour to the surrounding homes. The church sports an asphalt shingle roof; its white wood cladding is punctuated by narrow gothic-style windows along the nave and across the apse. In the winter months, the church blends elegantly into its snowy surroundings. The architects played with the symmetry of the “steeple”, skewing it towards the lake and the mountains, such that it points to these spiritually significant landmarks. It is also topped with a modest white cross that aims to defer to the views of Innu ancestral lands. A simplified floor plan allows for a range of ceremonies and events to take place inside. Consisting of a nave and a square apse used for smaller gatherings, the interior space plays with traditional Catholic hierarchies of space. In lieu of a transept—which gives many traditional Catholic churches their signature cross shape—the architects created a notional separation between the nave and the apse by pinching in the roof and side walls. There are no confessionals, seeing as this kind of space has been used in harmful ways by priests in the not-so-distant past, notes Woodford.

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The apse is a perfect square. It’s designed to be a non-hierarchical ceremonial space where the community can sit in a circle for smaller weekly masses, behind the wooden altar. This space can fit about twenty people and has a high vaulted ceiling, imitating a bell tower. The nave was also conceived as a flexible space, with chairs instead of pews, and a capacity of around 200 people. As Chris Woodford explains: “We looked at it from two different aspects: how would this building feel if you were a group of twelve, and how would you use it if you were a group of 200?” The interior space is almost entirely finished in wood, with birch flooring and walls clad in plywood and pine planks. Decoration is kept to a minimum, giving emphasis to the materials, the flow of natural light and the surrounding landscape. Instead of stained glass, the windows frame views of the trees, lake and village, underscoring the idea that the space is dedicated to the community and to an Innu expression of Catholicism. “We designed a building that is recognizably a church, without using a lot of overt religious symbols, to let the congregation and community interpret that however they like,” says Woodford. The stations of the cross—a series of devotional images that appears in most Catholic churches —were designed and assembled specifically for the community by the architects and their team. Each of the 14 panels, displayed along the nave, consists of three layers of plywood: two intricate laser-cut layers depicting the different scenes in Christ’s journey to Mount Calvary, and a contrasting red-painted background. Each station has its title in Innu-aimun first, with a smaller English translation below. Our Lady of the Snows is built with a modest budget, as it was entirely paid for by the band council. It prioritizes the use of local materials and local labour: the architects wanted the community to be able to main-

Our Lady of the Snows is the largest building in the Innu First Nations community of Sheshatshiu, but it presents a modest presence, with a barn-like form topped by a small white cross. OPPOSITE The church includes a flexible gathering area in the apse, where the altar would be located in a traditional church. The nave is designed to host large, less frequent events including weddings, funerals and baptisms. ABOVE The interior of the church is finished with plywood and pine-plank walls, along with birch floors. Materials were chosen that would be easy to source and install in this remote region. Wood was also used in the design and fabrication of the Stations of the Cross—one of the few decorative elements within the sanctuary. PREVIOUS SPREAD

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tain and repair the building over time. Local materials—such as regional wood species—also respond to the climate of the area, including its cold, dry winters. There are a variety of expressions of Catholicism throughout the world: faiths are not fixed and evolve depending on time and place. Likewise, architectural expressions are flexible—particularly in areas such as contemporary Indigenous architecture, where, unfortunately, there are few precedents to reference. As a result, Woodford Sheppard had a certain freedom to imagine and create a church built particularly by—and for—the Innu community of Sheshatshiu, while also taking cues from Labrador’s vernacular architecture. Recently, many of the non-traditional aspects of Our Lady of the Snows were brought into question by a priest who was sent to the community by the Catholic Church. 2 For example, the chairs in the nave that allowed for a flexible space have now been replaced with pews. These kinds of functional aspects were not trivial elements of the architects’ design, as they sought to respond to the needs of the community. The flexibility of the architects’ design reveals how this space can be interpreted and manipulated in different ways. It also reflects how this church is a point of contact between perspectives: between the ranging perspectives within the community as well as the perspectives of the architects and the priest. Despite the ongoing changes that are likely to shape this church, one would hope that a respect for Indigenous expressions of this faith will remain. Indigenous Christianity is over four centuries old, and has been practiced on Turtle Island for just as long as many Western expressions of Christianity. 3 It is important to recognize the legitimacy of Indigenous Christianity in its own right, and to continue to explore how it can be conveyed through architecture.

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ABOVE A sheltered outdoor porch invites gatherings that spill from the church into the surrounding landscape.

1 Peter Armitage, “Religious Ideology Among the Innu of Eastern Quebec and Labrador,” Religiologiques 6 (1992): 68. 2 Sheshatshiu went without a priest for a long time, ‘sharing’ the priest who was based in Goose Bay, but who unfortunately passed away during the construction of the new church, according to Woodford. 3 Brian Gobbett, “Mission Christianity in Canada and the ‘Problem’ of Indigenous Christianity,” Direction 43, no. 2 (September 2014): 175. Gabrielle Montpetit is a recent graduate from the Masters in Art History program at Concordia University, in Montreal. Her thesis research focuses on Douglas Cardinal’s Circle of Life Thunderbird House in Winnipeg, and the decolonization of architecture and urban planning within Canada’s urban centres.

CLIENT SHESHATSHIU INNU FIRST NATIONS | ARCHITECT TEAM CHRIS WOODFORD (MRAIC), TARYN

SHEPPARD (MRAIC), JESSICA STANFORD, CHRIS PANTING, JOVANA RANDJELOVIC (DESIGNER - STATIONS OF THE CROSS) | STRUCTURAL KEN TOBIN, SOUND ENGINEERING | MECHANICAL NEIL CLEARY, CROSBIE ENGINEERING | ELECTRICAL DEAN HOPKINS, CROSBIE ENGINEERING | CIVIL ROBIN SUMMERS, MAE DESIGN | INTERIORS CARVEL AND HELM | CONTRACTOR SHIPISKAN CONSTRUCTION | LASER CUTTING FOR STATIONS OF THE CROSS MATTHEW FUDGE, MATERIALS LABORATORY AT MEM­ ORIAL UNIVERSITY OF NEWFOUNDLAND | AREA 422 M2 | BUDGET $1.5 M | COMPLETION JUNE 2019

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UNSEEN FORCES A SPIRITUAL RETREAT CENTRE UNVEILS NEW POTENTIAL IN STANDARD WOOD CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS. SITE PLAN

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 1 TEMPLE OF LIGHT  2 EXTERIOR DECK  3 ENTRANCE PLAZA  4 KOOTENAY LAKE  5 ASHRAM RESIDENCE  6 COMMUNAL FARM  7 SOLAR SHED 1 2 3 4

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Temple of Light, Kootenay Bay, British Columbia Patkau Architects TEXT Kai Woolner-Pratt PHOTOS James Dow, unless otherwise noted PROJECT

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The Temple of Light sits atop a cliff overlooking Kootenay Lake in British Columbia’s interior, an area that has historically been home to the Sinixt and Ktunaxa nations. The building, designed by Patkau Architects and completed in 2018, seems to be made for its site. But for the community of Yasodhara Ashram, it’s actually the third version of the Temple. The first version of the Temple of Light was a virtual one—well before the era of digital simulacrae. The Temple made its initial appearance in the dreams of Yasodhara Ashram’s founder, Swami Radha. Born in 1911, she lived through both world wars before emigrating to Canada. In the 1950s, she travelled to Rishikesh to study with the well-known Swami Sivananda. She eventually took ascetic vows before returning to Canada to spread their yoga teachings. Throughout her childhood, she had a recurring vision of a light-filled round temple overlooking a bay, with many windows and doors. In 1964, Swami Radha established a religious community on precisely the sort of lakeside site that she had seen in her dreams. The community laid a central stone to mark the location of the future structure, but for decades the Temple existed only as a guiding image for the community. Finally, in 1992, a physical temple—a white, octagonal structure—was completed. Throughout its construction, Swami Radha emphasized the inherently symbolic nature of the building. For her, its physical manifestation was a kind of emanation, or translation, from what she called the Unseen. She even kept a small model on her meditation shrine, which she removed once the Temple had been completed.

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DESIGN PROCESS DIAGRAM

Planar guides with four control points are created which define the centre line of the primary and secondary arches. These guides are polar-arrayed to create eight sets that are paired in a pinwheel configuration.

The ruled surface is trimmed to create ground-level openings. The resultant ruled surface touches the ground plane lightly.

The rule lines define the trajectory of linear joist members. These joists are connected by secondary discontinuous blocking as well as continuous rimboards which compose the frame supporting the ruled surface.

The panel frames are skinned on the interior and exterior with ruled surfaces, and then polar-arrayed to enclose the space.

A set of section guides are cut through an inverse cantenary shell and then polararrayed to define the hanging points for an array of illuminated cylindrical baffles. The acoustic chandelier mitigates the adverse focusing effects of the interior concave geometry.

Shearwalls composed of a glulam primary arch, welded plate steel secondary arch, and interstial timber framing are connected to the ocular compression ring to create a complete structural arch. Once all four structural arches are installed and stabilized, the ocular compression ring is released.

The lowest subpanel is installed spanning between the primary and secondary arch of adjacent structural arches in a pinwheel configuration. This lowest petal subpanel contains aggregate laminated veneer lumber members, which frame the glazing opening as well as bracing the arches against one another.

Additional subpanels are installed in a layered sequence towards the ocular compression ring. Subpanels are fastened together along rim joists, creating the opportunity for a continuous, robust seal and connection.

Once all of the subpanels are installed, glazing is infilled between the primary and secondary arches as well as along the ground level. A liquid PMMA membrane is applied to seal the envelope on the exterior; blown cellulose insulation bounded by curved gypsum is installed to finish the interior.

CONSTRUCTION PROCESS DIAGRAM

The base curb has been prepared to align with the eight structural support piers reused from the previous temple. The ocular compression ring is temporarily supported by a crane from above.

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SUB-PANEL ASSEMBLY DIAGRAM 1 L  iquid polymethyl methacrylate membrane with fleece interlayer on 2 layers of 9 mm plywood, borate-treated 2 19 x 64 mm plywood vertical vented cavity strapping, borate-treated, 200 mm OC 3 19 x 150 mm drainage mesh for horizontal ventilation 4 Vapour-permeable air barrier membrane 5 305 mm blown cellulose insulation

 4 x 305 mm laminated veneer lumber 6 4 joist. Neighbouring subpanels connected via bolts through adjacent laminated veneer lumber joists 7 19 mm plywood sheathing supports, borate-treated 8 4 4 mm laminated veneer lumber tapered cartridge with 50 mm diameter ventilation holes, borate-treated 9 Four-layer 19 mm plywood shear wall head rail

The 1992 Temple endured as the spiritual centre of a the community’s ensemble of buildings and gardens until it was suddenly destroyed in 2014, by an unexplained fire. The loss was profound for the Ashram’s residents, as well as for its global network of yoga centres, teachers and students. The news shocked me, too, having grown up in the area, in which the Temple is a well-known landmark, and spent a summer living at the Ashram as a teenager. The community’s leadership was quick to announce their intention to rebuild. To my happy surprise, the commission eventually went to Patkau Architects—a firm whose international renown seemed outsized for the Ashram’s comparatively modest aesthetic sensibilities. As I discovered in conversation with John Patkau, the architects themselves were also pleasantly surprised at the sophistication implicit in the Ashram’s receptivity as clients to their firm’s highly experimental proposal. The West Kootenays have a long history of being on the fringes of convention. When the Yasodhara Ashram was founded, the area was in the midst of receiving an influx of Vietnam War draft dodgers, who imported U.S. counterculture to the region and its homesteads, many of which were self-built. The form of the first Temple seems to nod

10 1 9 mm plywood membrane backer 11 44  mm discontinuous laminated veneer lumber shearwall rim blocking / closure 12 4  4 x 152 mm discontinuous laminated veneer lumber blocking, 1200 mm OC 13 V  apour barrier paint and two coats of concrete fill on 13 mm gypsum board 14 9  mm plywood chamfer edge cap 15 Ocular skylight flashing

16 Lumber stud framing with batt insulation 17 Tie-off anchor 18 152 x 457 mm hollow steel section compression ring with primary arch connection plates 19 265 x 760 mm glulam primary arch 20 19 mm plywood shearwall vented cavity sheathing 21 60 mm vented cavity strapping, 350 mm OC, borate-treated 22 Liquid polymethyl methacrylate membrane stripes

as much to the domes of Abrahamic religious architecture as to the geodesic dome, an enduring symbol of postwar “hippie modernism.” In the Temple’s most recent incarnation, mystical and architectural modes of imagination and representation converge. The Patkau-designed Temple is iconic in a way that remains coherent with the region’s sensibilities. Acknowledging the history of the Temple, with its ambivalent relationship to the material world, the design sets the solidity of the original octagonal dome into motion. An aesthetics of matter-as-movement happens to be coherent with the Patkau’s current research on complex geometries. Today, Baroque-like dynamic forms are often linked to parametric design. But where parametricism works “top-down” from abstract principles, the Patkaus take a “bottom-up” approach to arrive at their complex geometries. Their starting point is a careful study and testing of the standardized materials of the contemporary building industry. With projects like the Winnipeg Skating Shelters, they focussed on the manipulation of standard sheets of plywood, finding possibilities for bending the sheets into structurally stable forms. Their research has since moved into pushing the formal possibilities of dimensional lum-

Overlooking Kootenay Bay, the new dome-like temple is constructed on the foundations of a structure destroyed by fire in 2014. The eight petal-like forms are constructed from straight pieces of lumber, sheathed in plywood and finished with painted drywall. A ruledsurface geometry transforms the conventional timber into the framework for subtle, compound curved spaces. PREVIOUS SPREAD OPPOSITE

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A construction image shows the framing of the petal-like forms, which are integral to the structure. Like a ladder that is twisted into DNAstrands, the petals are made of straight two-by-fours, arrayed to produce curved planes. ABOVE RIGHT The plywood sheathing is in continuous contact with the structural frame, which bends the plywood into compound curved forms. OPPOSITE A compression ring at the top of the temple holds the structural arches in place, and introduces a source of soft daylight from above. ABOVE LEFT

ber. Responding to an open design competition for Daegu Gosan Public Library in South Korea, they proposed a timber shell structure made from staggered four-by-eight and four-by-fourteen members, clad with a triple layer of half-inch plywood. While they were not selected for the South Korean library, the Temple of Light provided a chance to test this material research at the scale of a building. A structural system of standard two-by-fours is at the heart of the building, contained within the white cladding of the eight petal-like forms which define the building’s envelope and are integral to its structure. Each petal is a smooth curve formed by the straight lines of the lumber. The petals, together with an octagonal frame, act monolithically as a shell structure. The Temple’s structural system is best appreciated through distinguishing it from other curved geometries. Whereas a building like the Guggenheim Bilbao depends on a rectilinear steel frame, upon which the curved enclosure is hung, the Temple of Light arrives at its tectonic rigour through a form that is fully integrated with its structure. The curves derive from the application of plywood onto a wood frame that has much in common with stick frame construction. But unlike standard construction, the frame is elegantly reworked through distorting its linear members along the joists in order to produce its curvature. In geometric terms, this form is called a “ruled surface”: a plane defined by a sweeping line.

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In the Temple’s structural system, this means that each beam contacts the plywood sheathing along its full length. The curvature of the plywood traces a trajectory that is defined by the linear members themselves, meaning that the complex geometry of the petals’ external form is fully integrated with their structural system. Further, the petals are themselves integral to the structure of the building as a whole. While they work together with a glulam octagonal frame, the gravity and wind loads are carried by a system that depends upon the petals’ structural capacity. In short, the Patkaus have achieved a building-scale system whose complex geometry is matched with an entirely coherent tectonic logic. There is something fittingly North American about inflating the balloon frame into a curved form. It is also a significant shift from the excesses of parametric design, setting complex geometries on a more rigorously tectonic footing. While relatively modest in size, the Temple of Light constitutes, in John Patkau’s estimation, one of the more important achievements of his career. Yet he never anticipated that the long-awaited opportunity to scale up his firm’s material research would come from a retreat centre in the West Kootenays. Further adding to the designers’ surprise was the exceptional expertise of digital fabricators Spearhead—an internationally-reputed company based in the area, located just across the lake from the Ashram site. This allowed prefabrication of the building’s components to take place locally and for them to be

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ABOVE A spectacular presence in a remote place, the temple signals the creativity and innovation that are possible in Canada’s rural areas.

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transported directly to the site by boat, rather than coming by truck from the Lower Mainland, as the Patkaus had originally planned. The exceptional, if surprising, cultural sophistication of the West Kootenays as a whole remains a well-kept secret. That may soon change: the disciplines of architecture and architectural history are starting to acknowledge the significance of rural areas in a new way. A current Guggenheim exhibition curated by Rem Koolhaas entitled Countryside, the Future is notable mainly because it issues from the infamous author of Delirious New York. In Canada, our rural regions have long been potential sites for exceptional formal experimentation. They might also form a horizon for architects to revise the urban/rural binary in Canada. Scenic (and all too Instagrammable) regions like the West Kootenays have recently started to attract a new sort of ex-urbanite. Throughout the twentieth century, rural idylls have been a destination for people looking to escape the city, but this has been enabled even more in recent decades by the increasing normalization of working remotely online. Today’s COVID-19 crisis has forced us to see the city almost purely in terms of risk, and to implement online work and education at a massive scale. It follows, then, that in the coming years, we will likely see more and more people making good on the postwar ounterculture’s injunction to go “back to the land.” What could it mean for the countryside to be the future of Canadian architecture? If it looks anything like the Temple of Light and the tight-knit community of the Yasodhara Ashram, we might find it to be a bright future, indeed. Kai Woolner-Pratt lives in Montreal.

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GROUND FLOOR  1 ENTRANCE PORCH  2 ENTRY HALL  3 COAT & SHOE STORAGE  4 TRANSITION SPACE  5 WORSHIP SPACE  6 ACOUSTIC CHANDELIER  7 EXTERIOR DECK  8 FLOWER-ARRANGING STATION  9 S EATING / MUSICAL INSTRUMENT STORAGE 10 JANITOR’S ROOM

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CLIENT YASODHARA ASHRAM SOCIETY | ARCHITECT TEAM JOHN PATKAU (FRAIC), PATRICIA PATKAU (FRAIC), LUKE STERN, MIKE GREEN, JOHN LACY, TOM SCHROEDER, PETER SUTER | STRUCTURAL EQUILIBRIUM CONSULTING | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL INTEGRAL GROUP | CONTRACTOR ALFRED HORIE CONSTRUCTION | TIMBER FABRICATION SPEARHEAD | AREA 185 M2 (PRIMARY REFLECTION SPACE) / 139 M2 (AUXILLARY) | BUDGET WITHHELD | COMPLETION JUNE 2018 Temple of Light Patkau Ar chitects

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LITTLE CHURCH ON THE PRAIRIE A STRIKING CHURCH SANCTUARY INGENIOUSLY ADAPTS A PRE-ENGINEERED AGRICULTURAL SHED.

ABOVE Bands of curtain wall glazing, hidden gutters, and other strategic details make the Church of Christ the Redeemer a landmark in Saskatchewan’s prairie landscape.

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Christ the Redeemer Roman Catholic Parish Sanctuary Addition, Swift Current, Saskatchewan ARCHITECT P3Architecture TEXT Paul Koopman PHOTOS Patricia Holdsworth PROJECT

Driving across the prairies of Saskatchewan, there is a hypnotic effect to the open horizontality of the landscape. Subtle features in the countryside that would normally pass unnoticed become welcome visual accents here. Copses of trees, the rhythmic pattern of overhead power lines, and shiny steel grain bins become objects of contemplation and curiosity. Punctuating this scenery are agricultural sheds and barns situated on the land like dice on a board game. Multiple generations of these buildings are on display: classic gambrel-roofed red barns, half-domed Quonsets, and contemporary pre-engineered steel sheds. While the materials and shapes vary, these simple structures share a total adherence to functionality in their design. The question of form versus function is not even part of the conversation: they’re simply the same thing. This is the landscape that surrounds Swift Current, in the southwest part of the province. The Roman Catholic congregation of Christ the Redeemer church sits just outside of the small city, amidst the gently rolling hills of the prairies—and it shares a design ethos with its pragmatic agrarian neighbours. The parish moved to this site from a downtown location in the early 2000s to accommodate a growing congregation. They took over a former car dealership, with large interior spaces, ample on-site parking,

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and plenty of land for a future addition. In 2015, they commissioned P3 Architecture Partnership (P3A) to design that addition, meant to accommodate a new sanctuary and support spaces. When the architectural team arrived on site, they found the original dealership structure largely unchanged by the parish. Except for a large cross on the roof, all the renovation work was to the interior and most of it had been completed by church volunteers. P3A principal James Youck describes the dealership-come-church as a great example of Prairie ingenuity: “It’s a rural mentality where you count on yourself and on volunteers. You say, ‘Let’s take something and be inventive and be flexible, and figure out how to make the best use of it.’ A tractor breaks down, and two neighbours get together and weld a piece of steel to it and keep going.” From the outset, the client wanted the largest possible space for a limited budget. With this in mind, the architects chose a pre-engineered agricultural building system as the basis of their design. Working within the constraints and opportunities of this pre-determined kit-of-parts, project architect Brad Pickard devised a diamond-shaped floor plan, with a central roof spine. The client was on board with a pre-engineered building, but they didn’t necessarily want it to look like one. From certain angles, the sanctuary is similar to its pre-engineered cousins. Moving around it, though, the nature of the geometric shifts and the obtuse shape of the building start to play with one’s perspective. The tight vertical lines of the glazing further define the building’s character. “For me, it was about the formal relationship of the traditional agricultural shed in the

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landscape, and how it’s this singular object in space,” says Pickard. “When we’d drive into Swift Current, I would see all these commercial ag-sheds—for some reason, they had ornamental vertical painted lines on the corners. This was one of the starting points for the window rhythm on the exterior.” He adds, “There’s a sense that the building fits within this landscape because of its relationship with these commercial sheds.” Closer up, the resemblance to industrial buildings fades further as bespoke detailing reveals itself. The finer pedigree of the sanctuary’s architecture is evident in curtain wall glazing that goes right up to the roof edge, carefully articulated detailing in the steel wall panelling, and a concealed rainwater system. The addition makes a clear break with the old car dealership. A new linking wing bridges the scale of the new and the old, and serves as the entrance to the complex as a whole. On the inside, the continuous vertical windows result in bands of light punctuating the sanctuary space. To maintain consistency with the exterior and to hide distracting ductwork and structure, P3A interior designer Meghan Campbell connected the vertical windows with a series of banded drywall ceiling bulkheads. Overall, it creates the impression of a singular idea of bands wrapping the space. “It looks so simple, but it was really complicated,” says Campbell. At the threshold of the sanctuary, there is a sense that one is entering a vessel. This notion is reinforced by the raked floor slab that gently slopes down towards the altar. The continuous banding suggests a modern re-boot of Gothic architecture, where the eye can follow a single rib from the floor to ceiling and back down again. Like its stone counterparts, OPPOSITE TOP The sanctuary is an addition to the church’s existing building, which occupies a former car dealership. OPPOSITE BOTTOM The exterior glazing is extended in ceiling bulkheads that traverse the lozengeshaped structure. The sense of movement is reinforced by a gently sloping floor slab and walls that chamfer inward.

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Christ the Redeemer’s exterior walls are thick: drywall build-outs between the windows hide structure and are chamfered inward, further shaping the light coming into the room. The thickness lends a sense of bulk and permanence to the ordinarily thin walls of a pre-engineered structure. The architecture of this church is unapologetically modern, dispensing with many of the symbols traditionally associated with Christian places of worship. “Our starting point was an old car dealership—it set the tone,” says Pickard. “I think this allowed us more freedom.” The few traditional elements that do exist in the buildings—such as the repurposed wood pews, central altar and the large lit cross on the building’s exterior—take on an elevated meaning against the otherwise minimalist architecture. And while short on literal iconography, the space exudes a sense of sacredness, faith and community. In the wide-open Prairie landscape, it sometimes feels that we are drawn to the modest structures of barns and sheds because of the absence of other visual landmarks. Yet these modest structures also possess an undeniable beauty. There is a straightforward confidence to these elemental structures as they appear in this stillness. Christ the Redeemer Church similarly captures the spirit of this place. “Saskatchewan can be quite conservative at times, but that also drives innovation,” says Pickard. “It’s interesting how people can be so open-minded to ideas—if they are the right ideas.” Paul Koopman (MRAIC) is founder and principal architect of Saskatoon-based Koopman Architecture. CLIENT CHRIST THE REDEEMER ROMAN CATHOLIC PARISH | ARCHITECT TEAM JAMES YOUCK (MRAIC), BRAD PICKARD (MRAIC), MEGHAN CAMPBELL, WYATT ECKERT, MARSHALL GAETZ | STRUCTURAL JC KENYON ENGINEERING & ROBERSTON BUILDING SYSTEMS (PRE-ENGINEERED STRUCTURE) | MECHANICAL HDA ENGINEERING | ELECTRICAL ALFA ENGINEERING | CIVIL | LANDSCAPE P3ARCHITECTURE | INTERIORS P3ARCHITECTURE | CONTRACTOR WESTRIDGE CONSTRUCTION | AREA 1,050M2 | BUDGET $5 M | COMPLETION 2018

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BOOKS

Houses for Sale By Michael Meredith & Hilary Sample (Canadian Centre for Architecture and Corrani Edizioni, 2019). REVIEW Elsa Lam

“At first glance, children’s books seem like the simplest things in the world,” write Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample in a postscript to a new picture book they’ve created for the CCA. “But the reality is the

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opposite: there is an incredible sophistication in the naïvité of children’s books.” In Houses for Sale, a family’s search for a home takes them on a journey to the great houses of modern architecture—from Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio in Oak Park, Chicago (1888-1889) to Ryue Nishizawa’s Moriyama House in Tokyo, Japan (2002-2005). In all, the family visits some 36 houses, each illustrated in a jaunty spread, with colour-block characters roaming across a black background.

Unsatisfied with what they find—Michael Grave’s Hanselmann House “seemed complicated,” Frank Gehry’s residence in Santa Monica “looked unfinished,” Rem Koolhaas’s Maison à Bordeaux left them “overwhelmed and bored”— the family eventually decides to build their own house. This leads to another adventure, in collected building elements and materials, and trying out different construction techniques. Although sparse in words, the book is some 126 pages—a length that gave me pause before

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first reading it with my toddler. Another false idea about children’s books is that the stakes are low—why bother with quality if your readers are aesthetically unsophisticated? On the contrary, the stakes are enormously high. If a kid likes a book, it means that parents are bound to read it at least 100 times (sometimes, multiple times in a single sitting). More than a few kid’s books that didn’t make the cut have been quietly purged from our shelves.

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Happily, this is a book that’s delightful for both kids and parents—especially if those parents are architects. For the preschool set, it has layers of captivating detail—my son enjoys searching for the family’s two pet dogs in each spread, tracing the path of an errant golf ball into a house’s chimney, and spotting cameos by penguins and monkeys. (There are no houses from Antarctica, but Lina Bo Bardi’s Casa de Vidro in Brazil includes simians climbing up its columns.)

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For the grown-ups, there are savvy references and in-jokes in each illustration—Brigitte Bardot walks atop Casa Malaparte, the Vanna Venturi house is surrounded by a flock of ducks, two cartoon contractors appear to be strangling one another. It’s also a canny selection of buildings, with a few residences that aren’t well known to me. The book is smart and substantial enough to grace a living room in a kid-free house, too. I’ll keep Houses for Sale within my kid’s reach for a while yet.

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BOOKS

The Kitchen By John Ota (Penguin Random House Canada, 2020) REVIEW Adele Wede r

The kitchen—always the most functional room of the house—has become the most socially pertinent room in recent times, and never more so than now. Author John Ota researched and wrote this book before the pandemic—and to be sure, his cross-border kitchen-hopping to the kitchens of Frank Lloyd Wright, Julia Child, Georgia O’Keefe and others is currently untenable. But the renewed need for home cooking has reminded us of the primordial importance of this domestic space. The book offers an entertaining fly-through of 13 historic kitchens across North America, most of them selected more for the prominence of past occupants than for design significance. Although the book projects no scholarly pretence, Ota’s varied career in architecture enriches the breezy discussion, with a handdrawn floor plan and perspective drawing launching each chapter. To be sure, the limited design analysis does whet the appetite for a meatier architectural exploration. I’d welcome a follow-up book from this author.

Biennials/Triennials: Conversations on the Geography of Itinerant Display By Léa-Catherine Szacka (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2019) REVIEW Jon Scott Blanthorn

Considering the inherent limitations around exhibiting architecture, it is a wonder that so many architectural biennials and triennials have taken root around the globe. The very nature of architecture, arguably, is about user experience.

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So presentations at glamorous locations (Venice being the most prestigious) are inevitably showcases—interpretational representations, although often engaging in their own right. Canadian ex-pat Léa-Catherine Szacka, a scholar at the University of Manchester, has focused her research on architectural exhibitions. Her recent book compiles her discussions with luminaries from the world of architecture biennials and triennials. It explores the many advantages and drawbacks to these temporary exhibitions, but leaves the reader feeling that, ultimately, the “eventification” of architecture is failing to move the industry forward or help practices succeed. This is not actually a criticism of the book; rather, it seems simply the reality of current times. The introduction offers a short history of the genre, starting with Aldo Rossi’s experimental Teatro del Mondo—a temporary, f loating wood and steel theatre erected in 1979 for the first Venice Architecture Biennial, in 1980. Rossi’s structure set the tone for exhibitions that would become progressively more about the objectification of architecture—observations of architectural ideology, rather than commentary on the capabilities of emerging practices or practicalities of construction. This, in turn, has had an effect on practices themselves. Szacka interviews Andre Tavares, the co-curator of 2016’s Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa, who says “the discourse that is being shaped around architecture is dismissing many aspects of its effective practice, and ignoring the question of how commissions are attained.” He adds that architects’ interest in theories is “beautiful, but when it comes to designing a staircase, they don’t get it.” We’ve all heard the stories of large-scale, much-publicized build-

ings that have highly engaging designs—but that fail when it comes to mundane aspects such as f low, access, or construction details. On the positive side, architectural biennials and triennials provide a valuable experience to attendees who might not otherwise be exposed to high-design spaces. If architecture is indeed dependent on user experience, then getting more people to engage with capital-A architecture—regardless of how temporary or impractical the installations are—is a good thing. These are the people who might eventually benefit from bigger thinking around progress and living conditions—albeit, not necessarily the usual audiences at such events. With the postponements entailed by COVID-19, perhaps it’s a fitting moment to reconsider the purpose of such events. Biennials and trienniales could remain showcases for a particular, art-focused aspect of the industry. Yet the pandemic has demonstrated that online forums can open up global involvement despite location, and may be better places to address practical matters of construction, and issues such as affordability and sustainability.

The Transscalar Architecture of COVID-19 By Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation and Iván López Munuera

Part of The World Around, an online Earth Day summit, this 13-minute film is a visual compilation of the pandemic’s spatial impacts—from drive-through virus testing to socially distanced classrooms in Asia. Drawing from global news coverage, it includes stunning images of the often-masked human faces of the crisis, learning to navigate spaces in new ways. www.theworldaround.com

2020-05-21 11:10 AM


THE EMPTY ROOM

CANADIAN ARCHITECT 06/20

33

SHANNON MATTERN

FRAGMENTED THOUGHTS ON SPACE

REZA ALIABAD (RZLBD)

Design with Nature Now Edited by Frederick Steiner, Richard Weller, Karen M’Closkey, Billy Fleming REVIEW Ashita Parekh

Our society is grappling with the effects of an anthropogenic climate crisis. Intensive industrialization and resource consumption lie at the core of this crisis, and the implementation of rigorous regenerative policies and practices—from all disciplines of work— will be critical in the coming years. For landscape architects, urban designers and planners, Ian McHarg’s 1969 book Design with Nature played a crucial role in introducing design strategies for balancing the needs of humans and the natural world. A new book—Design with Nature Now—commemorates the 50th anniversary of McHarg’s volume, offering a collection of 25 contemporary projects that are exemplary in combining social, ecological and urban goals. The book starts with essays—by James Corner, Laurie Olin, Anne Whiston Spirn, and other prominent designers and theorists—that reflect on McHarg’s teachings and design philosophy, and assert their relevance today. The case studies at the core of the book show how McHarg’s principles are being successfully deployed in large-scale urban areas. Qianhai Water City in China is one example: it revives an old landfill and transforms it into a master-planned city adapted to tidal patterns, mitigating flooding in the region. The book also examines the wildlife corridor connecting Yellowstone National Park and the Yukon, Bjarke Ingel’s BIG U, designed to combat future flooding in Manhattan, and Medellin’s new River Parks master plan, aimed at fostering social equality through a

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system of public parks. Each example is richly illustrated with plans, sections, renderings, photos and maps. These projects are bookended by another set of essays, including a text by Canadian designer Nina-Marie Lister, that draw attention to both the potential and limitations of design in the face of our climate emergency. Challenges include the role of governance and difficulty of coordination amongst disciplines, the disparate impact of design policies on various cultural groups, and the varied effect of design policies at different scales. Overall, Design with Nature Now is a timely reminder that ecology is not something to be “remedied, fixed and transformed,” as essayist James Corner puts it. Rather, the tools and precedents exist to design in ever greater harmony with the natural world. It’s a book that brings home the urgency of taking action—and leaves this reader with the inspiration to design better.

The Empty Room: Fragmented Thoughts on Space By Reza Aliabadi (Actar, 2020) REVIEW Elsa Lam

In this pocket-sized manifesto, Persian-Canadian architect Reza Aliabadi explores the idea of emptiness as the essence of architecture. In a culture that prioritizes form-making—the flashier, the better—Aliabadi calls for architects “to pause, take a moment, go inward, search for the essentials, and hope to rediscover a principle which is at once basic, even generic, and timeless.” His touchstone is the idea of an empty room, formed by subjective experience and inhabited by individual and collective memories. “I believe that is what architecture is all about—how to treat the

emptiness,” writes Aliabadi, “It is to construct a perception, to create a void, to respect the space and not fill it up.” This idea is embodied in the spare, spacious format of the book itself. On each spread, the right page presents a quote on emptiness, slowness, silence, or space by thinkers ranging from Mario Botta to Lao Tzu. Facing it on the left is an aphoristic, loosely connected ref lection by Aliabadi. A short prologue and epilogue bookend the volume. There are no illustrations, and apart from a back-cover quote by the late John Bentley Mays, no promotional references to the work of Aliabadi’s Toronto-based firm, Atelier RZLBD. “Why repeat similar thoughts over and over, and juxtapose them with many affirming quotes?” asks Aliabadi. “Well, I guess, the point was to soak in and be saturated in this very idea of the empty room, rather than just tasting it. After all, to get drunk, you have to keep drinking.”

Post-It Note City By Shannon Mattern

A visit to Sidewalk Labs’ workshop at 307 Lake Shore Boulevard in Toronto grounds this incisive analysis of the now abandoned Quayside project for a smart city sporting a panoply of urban innovations. Mattern’s essay delves into the civic design tools that the Google sister company used for public engagement, including how data was collected at the workshop itself. These technologies have significant ramifications for the relation between cities and their citizens— which will surely extend beyond the shelved plans for the 12-acre Toronto site. www.placesjournal.org

2020-05-21 11:10 AM


BACKPAGE

JULIAN PARKINSON

CANADIAN ARCHITECT 06/20

34

FUNDY AMPHITHEATRE TEXT

John Leroux

A GEOMETRIC STRUCTURE NESTLES INTO THE ROBUST LANDSCAPES OF FUNDY NATIONAL PARK. The water-carved Flowerpot Rocks at Hope­ well Cape, part of a UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve, may be the most ubiquitous image of New Brunswick. The rocks are robustly dramatic and surrounded by constant movement and action. They’re the perfect precedent for a new amphitheatre at Fundy National Park, just up the coast from Hopewell. Approximately 300,000 visitors come to Fundy National Park every year. The park’s wilderness trails and spectacular shoreline are the main draws, but immersion in nature isn’t the only attraction. The park boasts a popular golf course and enormous saltwater swimming pool, and it can now claim one of New Brunswick’s most animated works of contemporary architecture. Channelling the physical mass and erratic contours of the bay’s rocky shores, the new Fundy Amphitheatre has brought dramatic architecture to a dramatic location. Nine Yards Studio designed the new amphitheatre to replace an older version that was notable in its own right—the arched bandshell was installed in 1950, the year the park opened. The new amphitheatre has already become popular, providing, in pre-pandemic

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times, a welcoming space for visitors and locals to experience almost daily performances including plays, films, concerts, lectures and dance performances—not to mention spontaneous uses, and the hosting of Atlantic Canadian talent during the annual Rising Tide Festival. The new amphitheatre sits directly on the site of its predecessor, near the campgrounds and the park headquarters. It uses this siting to its benefit, maintaining the previous wraparound wooden bleacher seating and open view of a pond and rolling field beyond. Clad in a black standing-seam metal shell with a darkly stained cedar plank front, the stage is sheltered by a multifaceted geometric form intended to flow with the park’s natural landscape. The dark tones are a kindred neighbour to the towering spruce trees only a ball’s throw away. The form’s angles were carefully designed to accommodate acoustics, provide uninterrupted views of the stage, and avoid disruption to the park’s vistas. The structure encompasses a back-of-house area, change rooms, a green room for performers and a storage area—all barrier-free. It also contains lighting, sound and technical amenities that were absent in the older version.

ABOVE Designed by Nine Yards Studio, a new amphitheatre is a dynamic showcase for regional programming and performances.

Large pivoting doors on either side of the stage do double duty as curtain legs for theatre and live performances, while effectively securing the structure during the winter offseason. Silva Stojak, the project designer, says she was driven by the fact that there was little that “held the park together” architecturally as compared to other national parks. Considering the prominence of the château-style hotels at Banff and Lake Louise or the more recent Glacier Skywalk at Jasper, built forms can certainly be a vital part of the Canadian national park experience. The architects aimed, as they put it, to “geographically fit in the landscape and explore different, more exciting geometries.” By so doing, they have enabled the Fundy Amphitheatre to host new types of visitor experiences, while showcasing the park’s landscape and character. They’ve done this using the most dynamic showcase: architecture with people at centre stage. John Leroux is a retired architect and currently the Manager of Collections and Exhibitions at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton. He is the author of nine books on New Brunswick architecture.

2020-05-21 11:10 AM

CA Awar


CANADIAN ARCHITECT INVITES ARCHITECTS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS TO ENTER THE 2020 AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE

Deadline: September 10th, 2020 Architecture project entry fee: $175 * Architectural photo entry fee: $75 *

OPEN FOR ENTRIES JUNE 1

* PLUS APPLICABLE TAXES

MODERN OFFICE OF DESIGN + ARCHITECTURE

Since 1967, our annual national awards program recognizes the architectural excellence of projects in the design phase. This year, we are also presenting the third edition of the Canadian Architect Photo Awards of Excellence, open to professional and amateur architectural photographers.

CA 20.indd CA Jun Award of EX 35 53 ad2.indd 4

Winners will be published in a special issue of Canadian Architect in December 2020. For more details and to submit your entry, visit: www.canadianarchitect.com/awards

2020-05-21 2020-05-21 11:10 10:31 AM AM


114 4 E. Newpor t Center Dr. Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

Date: May 6, 2020

2:20 PM

Colors: CMYK Process, 4/0

N O T E : C O L O R S V I E W E D O N - S C R E E N A R E I N T E N D E D F O R V I S U A L R E F E R E N C E O N L Y A N D M A Y N O T M A T C H T H E F I N A L P R I N T E D P R O D U C T.

MAPEI provided a prestigious museum with a durable, polishable flooring to match

Canadian Science and Technology Museum Ottawa, Ontario

The renovation of one of Canada’s premier museums called for a high-performance, polishable concrete flooring solution, and MAPEI had the answer. MAPEI’s Planibond EBA bonding agent was installed over the old concrete floors to ensure the proper adhesion of MAPEI’s Ultratop PC, a self-leveling, cementitious topping that is optimized for polishing and is extremely dense, hard and durable. MAPEI products used: Planibond ® EBA and Ultratop® PC For details, visit www.mapei.ca.

CA Jun 20.indd 36

2020-05-21 11:10 AM

Profile for IQ Business Media

Canadian Architect June 2020  

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

Canadian Architect June 2020  

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

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