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RESEARCH TAKES FORM Architect and explorer Kevin Vallely takes a daring journey to demonstrate the effects of climate change in Canada’s Arctic.
Revery Architecture’s Sustainable Energy Engineering Building opens at SFU Surrey; City Building Design Lab opens in Calgary.
36 REPORT 16
12 UNION STATION FOOD COURT Architecture meets systems design in a series of sculptural ceiling pods by PARTISANS with DIALOG and GH+A. TEXT Alex Josephson
16 SSENSE MONTRÉAL David Chipperfield’s first project in Canada is a masterful, minimalist adaptive reuse of a Montreal greystone for a high fashion retailer. TEXT Peter Lanken
Heather Dubbeldam reports on sustainability in Spain’s tile industry.
Unceded at the Canadian History Museum; Lab-École at the Maison de l’architecture du Québec.
LGA Architectural Partners designs Canada’s largest shipping container retail market.
22 STRATHCONA VILLAGE GBL Architects combines domestic and industrial uses in a Vancouver development modelled after stacked shipping containers. TEXT Steve DiPasquale
28 CANADIAN HIGH ARCTIC RESEARCH STATION ALEX FRADKIN
VOQ and NFOE blend science and community needs in the Arctic’s largest E educational and research building. TEXT Trevor Boddy
COVER Strathcona Village by GBL Architects. Photo by Ema Peter.
THE NATIONAL REVIEW OF DESIGN AND PRACTICE / THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE RAIC
JUNE 2019 03
CANADIAN ARCHITECT 06/19
ABOVE In Sellwood Bay, Northwest Territories, Vallely’s rowing team saw a chunk of ice that looked eerily like an outstretched human hand. They dubbed it the “hand of Franklin” after John Franklin’s lost expedition in search of the Northwest Passage.
ON THINNING ICE North Vancouver architect Kevin Vallely has a unique side profession: he is an internationally recognized explorer. He’s set a record for the fastest trek across Antarctica to the South Pole and was the first to ski the Iditarod sled dog race trail. He’s retraced a WWII death march through the jungles of Borneo and has biked the length of the frozen Yukon River. Recently, Vallely was part of a team of four adventurers that attempted to traverse the Northwest Passage completely under human power in a row boat, in a single season. By doing so, the team hoped to demonstrate the profound effect that climate change is having on the world: ice loss has begun to open up the historically impassable seaway. In 2007, the passage was ice-free for the first time in recorded history. The team braved frigid waters that could bring on hypothermia within minutes of exposure, winds that blew their boat backwards, and close encounters with ice that came close to crushing their vessel. The conditions were dreadful, and they ran out of time before finishing the traverse, with the ocean starting to freeze over at the end of August. The evidence of climate change surrounded them—particularly the overall decline in sea ice. “Just a century and a half ago, Sir John Franklin’s ships the Erebus and the Terror— 350 and 370 ton warships with hulls as thick as battering rams—were crushed and sunk in the sea ice,” says Vallely, who documented his journey in the book Rowing the Northwest Passage: Adventure, Fear, and Awe in a Rising Sea. “We headed out on the Passage in a 25-foot rowboat with a 1” plywood-and-fiberglass hull, without sail or motor.” For local Inuit, the effects of climate change have long been evident. The winter ice is setting in later each year. Thinning ice has made subsistence hunting far more dangerous. In Tuktoyaktuk, longer summers are leading to melting permafrost and the rapid erosion of the coastline: several homes have been moved to prevent them from sliding into the sea. Vallely’s team sighted a grizzly bear on Victoria Island—a species that is only recently
EDITOR ELSA LAM, FRAIC ART DIRECTOR ROY GAIOT CONTRIBUTING EDITORS ANNMARIE ADAMS, FRAIC ODILE HÉNAULT DOUGLAS MACLEOD, NCARB, MRAIC ONLINE EDITOR CHRISTIANE BEYA
starting to extend its habitat to the High Arctic because of the warming climate. The new Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS), reviewed by Trevor Boddy in this issue (page 28), centres on scientific research, but also acts as a community science hub to welcome locals with their intimate knowledge of the landscape. Vallely’s work as an architect also addresses environmental concerns: he’s a trained Passive House designer, and hopes to someday help design a healing centre for the community of Pangnirtung on Baffin Island, where in February 2018, 12 young people tried to commit suicide. Social, cultural and environmental issues are deeply intertwined in the North. The overall warming of the globe, sea level rise, and unstable weather patterns are all related to the changes that are being seen in the Arctic. “The Arctic is the proverbial canary in the coal mine for our planet,” says Vallely. ”Sea ice from space appears as a white surface and reflects most of the solar radiation back out of the atmosphere, but as ice melts, we’re left with an ocean surface instead. It’s a catch-22 situation... less ice means more ocean to be warmed by the sun, which means less ice.” In April, Environment and Climate Change Canada reported that, overall, Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. New ways of building must be found in coastal regions that contend with the certainty of future sea-level rise, but also in cities that face extreme temperatures, flooding and an imperative to reduce their carbon emissions. An Inuit saying goes, “Once the snow melts, you’ll see the dogshit.” As architects, we have a responsibility to create buildings that will weather the coming storms—literally and figuratively. We must moreover be leaders in changing the culture of building—adapting to the extreme weather conditions that are becoming the new normal, and finding new ways of constructing that will help mitigate the unfolding climate crisis. Elsa Lam
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 SALES MANAGER 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 firstname.lastname@example.org WEBSITE www.canadianarchitect.com 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: $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 email@example.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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Simon Fraser University (SFU)’s new Sustainable Energy Engineering Building has opened in Surrey, B.C. Designed by Revery Architecture, the academic research facility will house the new Sustainable Energy Engineering program, an integrated, multidisciplinary offering that supports the clean tech, renewable and sustainable energy sector. The five-storey facility is part of SFU’s development of an integrated academic precinct within the growing City Centre neighbourhood. The building is funded in part by the federal government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, with additional investment from provincial government and SFU’s own funds and donors. The building program is organized around a central atrium and includes wet and dry teaching and research labs; collaboration and study spaces; faculty, graduate and administrative offices; recreational rooms; undergraduate and graduate lounge spaces, student services, and plant maintenance facilities. The atrium’s sweeping staircase is punctuated by tree pods, bringing nature indoors. A 400-seat lecture hall on the southwestern portion of the ground f loor will serve the full SFU Surrey campus as well as the broader Surrey community. Approximately 515 students and 60 faculty and staff will use the research, innovation and commercialization space in the 20,717-squaremetre LEED Gold-targeted facility. Prefabricated precast façade elements allowed the building to be closed in quickly, and also minimized construction debris and noise impact on site. Made of undulating concrete sandwich panels, the design derives from abstracted circuit board imagery. www.reveryarchitecture.com
Montgomery Sisam to redevelop Innis College at the University of Toronto
Toronto firm Montgomery Sisam has been awarded the contract for the Innis College Addition and Renovation Project at the University of Toronto. The project builds on a feasibility study led by Montgomery Sisam, which concluded this spring. Montgomery Sisam worked with members from the Innis College Community, the Faculty of Arts and Science and the University Planning Department to develop a direction for the future of the existing 1974 building. The College’s main building at 2 Sussex Avenue, designed to serve a student popula-
Sustainable Energy Engineering Building Opens at SFU Surrey campus
ABOVE Simon Fraser University’s Sustainable Energy Engineering Building, designed by Revery Architecture, has opened in Surrey, British Columbia.
tion of 800, is now home to nearly 2,000, and a draw for students from across the campus. Montgomery Sisam’s conceptual design aims to remedy this space crisis, imagining a new path forward for Innis College that is both ref lective of its legacy and supportive of its future. It considers adding offices and classrooms, an expanded Innis Café, and a new library hub. Key design drivers include improving circulation, expanding green space, increasing informal study and social space, and managing sensitive neighbourhood conditions in and around the tight urban site.
The development includes two distinct buildings: a twelve-storey mass timber market mid-rise with 179 homes and a six-storey woodframed building containing 66 homes. A portion of the six-storey building will provide affordable homes to those who qualify based on household income. The project will benefit from B.C.’s recent change in building code to raise the height limit for wood buildings to twelve from six storeys. www.fdarc.ca
D’Ambrosio Architecture unveils design for twelve-storey mass timber project
D’Ambrosio Architecture and Urbanism is proposing a twelve-storey multi-family mass timber residential project called Speed Frances, located on Speed Avenue in the heart of Victoria, B.C. The project is being built for Mike Geric Construction and Aryze Developments. If built today, the development would be the tallest mass timber multi-family residential project in Canada. It makes use of laminated strand lumber (LSL) columns and beams, as well as cross-laminated timber (CLT) f loor and wall panels. According to Peter Moonen, National Sustainability Manager with the Canadian Wood Council, “Speed Avenue is the tallest building of its kind in Canada and will be fully constructed out of mass timber. Other proposals may include an element of mass timber, but not to the extent of Speed Avenue.”
University of Calgary opens City Building Design Lab
The University of Calgary’s newly renamed School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape has officially opened the doors of its City Building Design Lab—an innovative research hub in downtown Calgary. The hub was made possible through a partnership between the school (formerly known as the Faculty of Environmental Design) and East Village master developer Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC). The downtown location is on the main floor and in the basement of the Castell Building, the city’s former Central Library. A five-year lease for the space has been generously provided by the CMLC. The CMLC has made an investment of $1.5 million in the school over the next five years. The space and the programming this funding provides will give students unique opportunities to connect with the
CANADIAN ARCHITECT 06/19
COURTESY MIKE GERIC CONSTRUCTION ABOVE A twelve-storey mass timber building, designed by D’Ambrosio Architecture and Urbanism, will be part of the proposed Speed Frances development in Victoria, British Columbia.
building industry and community as they explore how innovations in design, construction and operational management can work together to make cities more resilient, equitable, vibrant, prosperous and healthy. “The City Building Design Lab is structured to function as a hub for trailblazing research and collaborative discussions about the future of city building,” says Dr. Ed McCauley, President, University of Calgary. “By connecting students, faculty, industry professionals, entrepreneurs and city officials, the City Building Design Lab will cultivate the next generation of talented innovators who will transform our natural and built environments for work, rest and recreation.” The space will be used to facilitate teaching, learning and research in architecture, planning and landscape architecture, and will also serve as a focal point for professional discovery and public discussion about the future of city-building. “We’re focusing on three major grand challenge thematic areas: Designing Out Waste, Metropolitan Growth and Change, and Cities for All,” says John Brown, Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. “In Designing Out Waste, for example, we’re using circular economy principles to reduce or even eliminate the concept of waste in the construction and operation of buildings.” The lab will contribute to the growth of the city by continuing to help diversify the economy, revitalize downtown and create new jobs in a range of industries. www.ucalgary.ca
Clay & Glass Gallery showcases 3D printed façades by University of Waterloo students
In partnership with the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery is hosting an exhibition of 3D printed façade systems by graduate students. The students were challenged to combine cutting-edge 3D printing technology and an ancient material to create innovative architectural solutions. Students worked in teams to create six wall or façade systems that explore the plasticity, elegance and architectural qualities of clay.
The installations include a wall that whistles with the wind, an ornamental screen wall and an archway that acts as a sundial. 3D printing technology allowed students to modify every brick individually, and enables more complex geometry than would be attainable using conventional brick-making methods. Material Syntax: 3D Printed Clay is coordinated by assistant professor David Correa and student Yesul Elly Cho. It is on display at the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery in Waterloo until June 8, 2019. www.theclayandglass.ca
Susan Dobson exhibits Back/Fill installation at University of Toronto
In an exhibition co-presented by the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design and Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, artist Susan Dobson’s sitespecific project Back/Fill explores the detritus of Toronto through images of construction debris dumped at the Leslie Street Spit. Featuring a massive mural adhered to the north elevation of the new Daniels Building and large-scale photographs mounted within, the project raises questions about the cyclical nature of the built environment’s material character, with its phases of demolition, construction, preservation and renovation. Commonly known as Tommy Thompson Park, the Leslie Street Spit is a manufactured peninsula and wilderness reserve built entirely from Toronto’s construction waste. Much of the rubble depicted in Dobson’s photographs can be traced to buildings demolished in the downtown core around 1980, a period when houses and significant 19th-century
CANADIAN ARCHITECT 06/19
ABOVE The Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery is exhibiting a variety of 3D-printed clay wall and façade systems designed by University of Waterloo architecture students.
brick buildings were torn down to make room for steel-and-glass business towers. Debris from the recent renovation and addition to the Daniels Building was also dumped at the spit. Dobson’s panoramic mural on the building’s glass façade stretches between two sloped earth walls. Her image reveals layers of rubble, creating the illusion of backfilling with material culled from the Daniels Building’s construction. To create the mural, Dobson digitally stitched together multiple photographs captured at the spit. Inside the Daniels Faculty, Dobson’s photographs of construction remnants retrieved from the spit—such as wire, brick, and piping—are positioned in the building’s main public space. Affixed to custom-built support structures, the works activate dialogues with the surrounding architecture and creative community. The exhibition is on display at the Daniels Faculty until July 12, 2019. www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Coming down from the cloud
I read with interest the editorial on “Computing in the Cloud” (CA, April 2019). The editorial highlighted some of the exciting possibilities associated with software applications, apps and file storage based on the Cloud. Yet the Cloud is not a panacea. As with any technological innovation, it comes with its own issues. Before committing to the Cloud for business critical usage, careful consideration should be made of the potential liabilities and damage that could occur if (or rather, when) things go wrong. Some of the concerns and issues to be addressed are to be found in an article entitled “Cloud Computing” on the Ontario Association of Architects’ website (www.oaa.on.ca). The article is not an official OAA document, but rather falls under the category of advice from your peers. If you are considering (or are already) computing in the Cloud, are you able to answer the following four questions? 1 - If your data is in the Cloud, is it being backed up, and if so, is the back-up site geographically remote from the main site, so that a flood or hurricane won’t damage both facilities at the same time? 2 - If your service provider fails, how do you get access to your data, particularly if the servers holding your data are in another country? 3 - If you are using Cloud-based software, will you be able to read archived files 10 or 15 years from now using the then-current software? This need can arise if the client wants an addition or if you need to defend an insurance claim.
COURTESY SUSAN DOBSON
CANADIAN ARCHITECT 06/19
ABOVE A photographic installation creates the illusion that the north façade of the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design has been backfilled with material from its construction.
4 - If a server outage causes the Cloud to be unavailable or inaccessible, do you have a business continuity plan? What happens if it causes you to miss a project deadline? I am neither advocating for nor against using the Cloud for all the convenience and advantages it can bring. Rather, I am advocating for due diligence, looking beyond the hype and sales pitches, and analyzing the risks before committing your business to any technology. The intent should not be to avoid all risk, but to properly manage the risk. AOL, WordStar, Ashton Tate’s dBase, MySpace, Lotus 123, Novell Netware, and Netscape Navigator—among many others—all had their day in the sun. Now they either don’t exist or are mere shells of what they once were. The same fate awaits some of today’s star performers. Do you have a business plan that will allow you to benefit from the Cloud today, and still continue if the software or service you are using comes to an end? Allen N. Humphries, Architect (Retired)
On parenting, architecture and equity
I continue to marvel at the number of my peers whose children have also gone on to pursue architecture as a profession. In my own case, I probably should not be surprised that my daughter is now an intern architect. As a single mother, I often dragged her with me to lectures and exhibitions. When we went on vacation, we visited interesting buildings more often than traditional kid-friendly places. When we went to Paris as a precursor to French immersion, we opted for the Centre Pompidou and Versailles over Disneyland and
the Ferris wheel. Another time, after my daughter broke her arm, a planned ski weekend turned into a mad drive to NYC to walk through the Gates installation in Central Park by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Does this make me a self-indulgent mother? Maybe, but I now realize that I exposed my daughter to some of the remarkable facets of our profession. Less easy to reconcile are the evenings my daughter slept in a tent in my office as I worked to meet a deadline—or some of the dinner conversations that focused on my frustrations, such as when a contractor built a detail wrong. My daughter’s embrace of architecture makes me reflect on the future of our profession and what will be passed on to the next generation. As the new president of the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), I am particularly concerned about ensuring an accessible, inclusive, diverse and equitable profession into the future. This goes beyond gender. Gone are the days when I was the only female at the table. If we are to attract the most talented students in our field, then we need to address our unconscious biases—including age, race and economic background—and ensure that there are clear and equitable paths to becoming an architect in Canada. This will ensure a future for the profession that is able to deal with the evolving challenges of our times, while also continuing to design and build quality projects. We also need to ensure that both men and women have the opportunity to have a balanced home life. Earlier in my career, I made choices to meld my personal and professional life that I now realize were not
ideal (like that tent in the office). Now, I have hopefully learned the importance of setting boundaries. It should be just as acceptable for a man to take time off because his child or parent is sick as it is for a woman. Paternity leave was introduced several years ago nationally, and our industry should embrace the true meaning of this initiative. The right to nurture and care for our children, regardless of our gender, is now recognized, and needs to be accommodated and celebrated within the practice of architecture. When I was chief architect at Scotiabank a few years back, one of my architectural staff took paternity leave. This person came back to the office as a changed person—a more focused individual who had figured out the importance of work/life balance. He also became more efficient in his work, so that he could get home in time for dinner with his son. I learned valuable lessons from my employee. In the same way that we nurture and learn from our children, we need to mentor each other, and be open to providing equitable opportunities for growth. While our more seasoned colleagues pass on knowledge accumulated through experience, our youngest colleagues share innovations and a new way of looking at the world.
Working with the interns on the OAA’s interns committee has been invaluable to me and has resulted in positive change to the registration process in Ontario. It is our youngest colleagues that understand and bring passion to issues like climate change, and who understand that equity is more than a right—it is an absolute! I believe that we can make a difference through participation—it’s why I’ve been involved with the OAA since 2014 and why I put my name forward to become president. It is part of ensuring the vibrancy of the profession for the next generation of architects—whether they grew up in the shadow of an architect parent, or come to the profession with a fresh and unbiased view. Kathleen Kurtin, OAA President, FRAIC
MEMORANDA June 17 registration deadline for Prix PitchTech Innovation Construction
Batimatech is sponsoring a pitch competition for technology entrepreneurs in the building and construction sector. www.batimatech.com
Submissions open for Montreal Architecture Review
The annual review for scholarship in architectural history and philosophy is calling for essays, book reviews, and discursive experiments on the theme of “Thinking Architecture.” The deadline is September 1. mar.mcgill.ca
Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence opens for entries this summer
Canadian Architect’s annual, peer-juried competition for future and in-progress projects is coming up. The competition opens this summer, with entries due in early September. Winners will be published in a special December issue. www.canadianarchitect.com
ERRATUM In our April 2019 article “Open Letter to Vancouver City Council,” Chris Knight of Gair Williamson Architects was misidentified as an architect. He is in fact an AIBC intern architect.
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CANADIAN ARCHITECT 06/19
CANADIAN ARCHITECT 06/19
THINGS ARE LOOKING UP THE NEW FOOD COURT OF TORONTO’S UNION STATION FEATURES MULTIFUNCTIONAL, SPACE-AGE CEILING PODS, WHOSE DESIGN WAS LED BY TORONTO STUDIO PARTISANS. ARCHITECT ALEX JOSEPHSON TELLS CANADIAN ARCHITECT HOW HIS UPSTART FIRM LANDED A ROLE IN THE RENOVATION OF CANADA’S BUSIEST TRANSIT HUB.
Union Station Food Court, Toronto, Ontario PARTISANS in collaboration with DIALOG and GH+A TEXT Alex Josephson PHOTO PARTISANS / Jonathan Friedman PROJECT
Cultivating a future client Seven years ago, I bought a ticket to a Charlie Burger event—one of those secret dinners where they f ly in a renowned chef. I was seated across from a tall, confident stranger who was wearing a bespoke western rodeo-inspired plaid suit. After realizing our common love for architecture and food, he passed over his card and explained that he worked for a real-estate holding and development company named Osmington. I had never heard of Osmington. Plus, that jacket?! A few months later, the stranger—Brad Keast—reached out to see if the studio that I co-founded with Pooya Baktash, PARTISANS, was interested in working on ideas competitions with him. He was clear that there was no guarantee for any work, but we would have an opportunity to try and impress some heavy hitters in the development community. Brad’s email arrived at a time when PARTISANS was practicing out of a 500-square-foot loft; we had just moved from the inside of a storage facility’s loading dock. For two years, we worked on competitions together. The best we did was second place. Bidding on a long shot We eventually learned that Brad had an important project on the go. Around 2006, Osmington had won the bid for a 75-year head lease over most of the retail spaces in Union Station, and was inviting designers to submit proposals for an interior fit-out. As part of a larger renovation, Union was being revalued as a significant place in the country. Osmington saw the potential for Union to become one of the world’s most engaging civic experiences. When PARTISANS inquired, we were told that the likelihood for us to be considered was slim to none—but that if we wanted to submit a bid, we were welcome to do so. We put a package together that included a partnership with the world-renowned Massimilliano and Doriana Fuksas. I had worked for them in Italy. The day of the submission, I delivered it in-person at the Osmington offices in a custommade box. They smiled, but explained that the project required a partner located closer than Italy, with more grey hair than mine. They needed insurance. But they ultimately decided that they wanted to keep us involved. Fuksas was out, but we had gotten our toe in the door. Finding a role In many ways, Union Station is a bit of a miracle, given the challenges that its redevelopment has faced. The base building architect, NORR , along with many collaborators, pulled a rabbit out of a hat in excavating a whole new level under the existing train tracks, which needed to remain in continuous operation. Much credit is due to them. PARTISANS was part of the interior fit-out team for the commercial spaces as well as helping to create the vision. We worked in collaboration with NORR , GH+A, DIALOG, Beauleigh, Hammershlag Joffe, RWDI, LightEmotion, and others. In 2013, our technology-driven studio contributed a stand-alone 3D BIM model that eventually became LEFT The sculptural ceiling pods in Toronto’s Union Station combine HVAC, lighting and sprinkler systems. Future retail areas in the station will also include the modules.
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CANADIAN ARCHITECT 06/19
14 On the lower level of Union, having a dropped ceiling would mean settling for a food court with an eight-foot-high ceiling. We concluded that a fully custom idea was needed to maintain the open ceilings, while accommodating everything from lights to fire sprinklers in the areas around the bulky HVAC runs. Do you remember that scene in Apollo 13 where the engineers convene in a room and work together to “build a filter”? That is exactly what happened at Union Station. On our final round of design, we were able to gather every engineer in one place and ask: “Can we come up with a way to house sprinklers and water pipes, HVAC ducts and diffusers, a light fixture, and speakers in one single component?” We looked around the world for precedents. The group was particularly inspired by the original open disk ceiling at the Marcel Breuer-designed Whitney Museum in New York (now the Met Breuer). For Union, the result was the Pressurized Ocular Diffuser—or POD for short.
ABOVE Two types of POD units were developed through extensive research and collaboration with aerodynamic, lighting and mechanical engineers. Since each POD acts as an HVAC duct, the containment and movement of air through the units was digitally simulated, and later verified through the testing of full-scale mock-ups. The inner shell of the vessel is shaped to diffuse light.
a design and construction tool for all participating architects, engineers and consultants. It not only demonstrated the scale and scope of the project, but also enabled an efficient sharing of information, facilitated the phasing of Union’s tenant fit-outs, and allowed for maximum flexibility while delivering the project. At first, our contribution of the BIM model was treated with skepticism by the base building and contracting teams. There were, after all, almost a decade of standard CAD drawings that constituted the project. Yet, we felt it was important to understand the exact dimensions and components of the spaces to be able to fit them out. To create the model, PARTISANS hired ten Revit-fluent Ryerson University graduates. The team compiled the existing drawings and used laser-scanning to develop the model, which offered a clear, three-dimensional picture of all the issues the project was facing. Pipe by pipe, duct by duct, wall by wall, the context emerged. We could finally start designing. Wrestling with MEP What we discovered through four rounds of design—during which we weren’t sure if we would keep our jobs—was that MEP systems drove everything. The complexity of these items tended to lowest-commondenominator solutions, like drop ceilings, which leave plenty of space for trades to do whatever they want above, but at the cost of beauty and complex future maintenance. Rem Koolhaas, at his Venice Biennale curatorial stint, commented on this problem, noting that present-day systems take up more space in buildings than even humans do!
Inside the PODs The sculptural PODs turn infrastructure into a set of aesthetically intriguing objects. 210 cloud-like structures playfully hover over the seating area, fitting in the spaces around HVAC runs and equipment to preserve the open ceiling. There are only two standard designs, but the amorphous form produces a strong sense of visual variety. The PODs are the culmination of extensive research into the architectural potential of combining multiple building systems into singular sculptural objects. Off-the-shelf products are economical, low-risk solutions to increasingly complex HVAC requirements—and their intractable practicality has become a significant (albeit de facto) part of architecture. The PODs disrupt this status quo and reinvent the possibilities of the ceiling by blurring the distinction between architecture and systems design. Each POD integrates an HVAC pressure vessel, light diffuser and sprinkler head into a single rigorously performative architectural object. It consists of two shells that nest together to form a plenum. The outer shell forms the HVAC pressure vessel and duct inlet, conceals lighting equipment, and provides hardware attachment points for installation. The inner shell acts as the luminaire. The gap at the edges of the two shells serves as the air diffuser; the sprinkler head is accommodated in a pocket at the apex. The geometry was developed collaboratively with consultants including aerodynamic, lighting and mechanical engineers. Numerous digital simulations, including computation fluid dynamics analysis and illuminance studies, were conducted for both individual and aggregated PODs to inform the geometry and demonstrate feasibility. Performance was later verified with extensive testing of full-scale mock-ups. Combining systems into a single object had the downstream benefits of streamlined coordination, accelerated installation and simplified layout changes. The food court portion of the retail concourse featuring the PODs opened to the public in late 2018. We learned, in working on Union, that design opportunities emerge from unlikely places—a meeting with a stranger in a plaid suit, a determination to overcome the obstacle of a ceiling duct. We learned that design requires a village and a lot of people willing to have an open mind in situations where that feels almost impossible. When enough time is allotted for failure and iterations, then, beauty emerges. Innovation takes time, patience and a lot of teamwork. Alex Josephson is co-founder of Toronto firm PARTISANS.
CLIENT OSMINGTON INC. | MECHANICAL THE MITCHELL PARTNERSHIP | ELECTRICAL HAMMERSCH-
LAG & JOFFE | CONTRACTOR PCL CONSTRUCTION | BUILDING PERFORMANCE RWDI | LIGHTING LIGHTEMOTION | CODE LRI ENGINEERING | RETAIL BEAULEIGH RETAIL CONSULTING | AREA 2,322 M2 | BUDGET WITHHELD | COMPLETION NOVEMBER 2018
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DOMINIK HODEL FOR SSENSE CANADIAN ARCHITECT 06/19
DOMINIK HODEL FOR SSENSE
BACK TO ESSENTIALS AN ONLINE HIGH FASHION RETAILER OPENS AN IMMACULATELY DETAILED STORE IN AN OLD MONTREAL GREYSTONE.
SSENSE Montréal David Chipperfield Architects (design architect) with Aedifica (local architect) TEXT Peter Lanken PROJECT
When you call the SSENSE phone number, the machine says, “For service in English, please press one;” then something unintelligible to me, then “Pour le service en français, faites le trois.” I am told that the unintelligible part translates to “For service in Mandarin, please press two.” Then you get lost in the usual maze of extensions and selections. Welcome to the world of modern high-fashion retailing. Of course, the reality of that world exists online, and the SSENSE website immerses you in it completely. It showcases huge arrays of apparel and accessories, all of it beautiful and/or surprising. Some of it is by familiar houses, more by designers whose names you don’t yet know. The site claims 76 million monthly page views. SSENSE (pronounced “essence”) is a Montreal-based distributor of high-end fashion. The company was founded in 2003 by brothers
Rami, Firas, and Bassel Atallah. Revenues are now reported to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. They have just one brick-and-mortar (or, rather, stone-and-concrete) outlet. It sits just below the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Vieux-Montréal, behind the exuberant greystone façade of a 150-year-old commercial building. You enter easily from the street, through a door you hardly notice because it fits so well with the old stonework. But what a door! Eleven feet high and half as wide, a single sheet of glass in a profiled steel frame. Its top corners are radiused to fit the stone. It is hung on not four, not six, but on eight 5” x 5” stainless hinges. Once inside, you are confronted with a few tall, grey mannequins sporting the latest fashions, posed against a concrete wall 22 feet high. You are standing on a stainless grate that exactly matches the ceiling.
OPPOSITE The greystone façade of a five-storey, 150-year-old building in Old Montreal has been carefully maintained and enhanced for the edifice’s new life as the sole physical outlet for a global online high fashion retailer. ABOVE The store displays select items from an online treasure trove. The clothing—along with the minimalist mannequins, racks and shelves that it is hung from—is presented with the precision of museum exhibitions.
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SIMON MENGES CANADIAN ARCHITECT 06/19
There are concrete walls to the right and left, and concrete panels behind you that reflect the exterior stone. You realize that you are in a five-storey concrete box erected within the shell of the old building. The wall before you is divided by a six-foot, full-height opening, which throws you onto the centre line. Then you are pulled forward into a room with an artsy installation surrounded by displays of clothing. By now you realize that the plan is bilaterally symmetrical, and rigidly so. Look at the little drawing to the top left of this page. Each example looks like capital-A-Architecture, because each is based on right-left symmetry. This is the basic principle of architectural design. It gives these plans power: you can imagine the ceremonies that take place in each. It is the first step in avoiding the difficult corners that diminish calm participation in whatever activity is underway. It is also difficult to achieve: it requires an exceptional intelligence rarely seen today. At SSENSE , confusion is avoided by design. The intention, after all, is to throw wonderful pieces of apparel into sharp focus. Beautiful garments of leather, wool, or transparent vinyl are displayed against grey concrete, on stainless racks suspended on floor-to-ceiling cables, or on concrete shelves mysteriously cantilevered from the walls. The rigour of the plan extends to the details. Formwork attachments are on a 60-cm square grid (close enough to 24” to not be disturbing to this reviewer, whose sensibilities were formed in the imperial system). The grid continues across the floor, with plugs for the cables or for other display apparatus. And, across the ceiling, general lighting, spots, sprinklers and cute little surveillance cameras are all regimented to the grid.
1 DISPLAY 2 CHANGE ROOM 3 STORAGE / UTILITY 4 ELEVATOR
Superb workmanship and disciplined design is evident in the store’s concrete and stainless steel surfaces. ABOVE LEFT A comparative drawing showing symmetrical plan compositions. Top row, left to right: Temple of Khons, Karnak, Egypt, 1198 BC; Temple of Poseidon, Paestum, ltaly, 460BC; Palazzo Valmarana, Vicenza, Italy, Andrea Palladio, 1563-64. Bottom row: Sainte-Marthe-de-Vaudreuil, Victor Bourgeau, 1865, measured by Peter Lanken; Robie House, Chicago, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1908-09; Ssense, Montreal, David Chipperfield, 2018. ABOVE RIGHT Customers can book appointments for which staff curate a personalized array of clothing. The change rooms, located on the second and third floors, are framed with stainless steel partitions. OPPOSITE PAGE
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COREY OLSEN FOR SSENSE
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ABOVE Ssense’s top floor is occupied by a skylit public café. Furnishings throughout the building—including the café’s long bar, table and benches— are made of Ductal, a high-performance, fibre-reinforced concrete.
Floors are of polished concrete, slightly different in colour from the walls, but not discordant. That colour is picked up on the concrete shelves, and on a thirty-foot counter, and table, in the skylit fifth-floor restaurant. Amazingly, they are formed in only one piece each. The stools are in matching concrete. The sales tables required drawers. Here the chamfered edges of their front panels, superbly executed, render them almost invisible. The overall aesthetic remains unbroken. And then there is the stainless. Doors without escutcheons. A continuous dividing wall between flights of stairs, 2-1/4” thick, with perfect 1/16” reveals between face and core all around. Changing room partitions are of more flawless stainless. Only once does the design fail: four-foot doors to some utility rooms are made of concrete. When the logic of your design leads to concrete doors—or transparent beams or paper exterior cladding—it is time to recalibrate your thinking. Especially when the model of an elegant stainless door exists just across the passage. The project is the work of David Chipperfield, an English architect now operating out of London, Milan, Berlin and Shanghai. Again, the modern world. When I called the Montreal firm which carried out the project for information, I was referred to their communications coordinator. He sent me, not to a designer eager and excited to talk about his/her work (and the work is very good), but to the real estate department at SSENSE . They, in turn, handed me to the SSENSE
press division. Welcome to the world of modern media management, of confidentiality agreements and concealment. Such suppression of information is not helpful to the cause of architecture in Canada. On the other hand, staff at the store (all young, handsome, well dressed, and with a live smart phone in each hand) were unfailingly pleasant and helpful. Every member was happy to be there and eager to share their enthusiasm. In this they were like individuals in almost every other great building I have ever visited: they were proud. Great architecture has that effect on people. Peter Lanken is a Montreal architect who still works, and believes in, feet and inches. He is currently studying the buildings of nineteenth-century Montreal architect Victor Bourgeau.
CLIENT LES INVESTISSEMENTS ATALLAH INC. | ARCHITECT TEAM DAVID CHIPPERFIELD, GIUSEPPE
ZAMPIERI, GIUSEPPE SIRICA, ADOLFO BERARDOZZI, PIETRO BAGNOLI, CLAUDIA FAUST, CORRADO BONGIORNO, FILIPPO CARCANO, FRANCESCA CARINO, CARLO FEDERICO CATTÒ, FABIANO COCOZZA, PAOLO DELL’ELCE, ANNA FRIGERIO, TSUKASA GOTO, NICOLA GUERCILENA, MARIS KOJUHAROV, CRISTINA MASSOCCHI, EUGENIO MATTEAZZI, SOFIA NOBIS, FILIPPO SERRA, LETIZIA SOMENZI, PIETRO TORRICINI | STRUCTURAL LATÉRAL | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL BOUTHILLETTE PARIZEAU | CUSTOM CONCRETE IL CANTIERE SRL, LAFARGE CANADA | ARCHITECTURAL METAL CARRITEC | ACOUSTICS ACENTECH INC. | LIGHTING ARTEMIDE SPA | FURNISHINGS CUCIFLEX SRL | CONTRACTOR DECAREL INC. | AREA 1,200 M2 | BUDGET WITHHELD | COMPLETION MAY 2018
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BLOCK BY BLOCK RESIDENTIAL AND LIGHT INDUSTRIAL FUNCTIONS COMBINE IN A VANCOUVER DEVELOPMENT MODELLED ON STACKED SHIPPING CONTAINERS. Strathcona Village, Vancouver, British Columbia GBL Architects TEXT Steve DiPasquale PHOTOS Ema Peter, unless otherwise noted PROJECT
If architectural form can be said to speak, it is material finish that colours its voice. The corrugated metal cladding of Strathcona Village, a mixed-use project in Vancouver, announces itself boldly and loudly. It borrows the language of stacked shipping containers to communicate a novel pairing of the domestic and the industrial. The project sits at the northern end of Strathcona, the city’s oldest residential neighbourhood, at the edge of a wide tract of industrial land and sprawling port infrastructure. This dichotomy has informed the area’s rich past and its complex present. Residents in the 1950s successfully fought against a proposal to raze existing homes—the area was then dubbed a slum—and replace them with concrete apartment towers. The 1960s saw neighbourhood advocates thwart a planned freeway that would have destroyed parts of Chinatown and Gastown. Today, owing in part to the area’s global shipping compound with its potential for smuggling controlled substances, Strathcona also exists as the centre of Canada’s opioid crisis. A few blocks down from the site, along the high street of Hastings, a sign declares the city’s intent
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The main façade of Strathcona Village addresses East Hastings Street with a variety of light industrial and production spaces. OPPOSITE A courtyard is carved into the project facing the main street, creating an outdoor public space. A two-storey atrium connects from the plaza down to the lane, passing through the parking garage and offering an unexpectedly delightful promenade.
EAST HASTINGS STREET
to launch expropriation proceedings against yet another deeply neglected single-room-occupancy building. At the public hearing for Strathcona Village, local sex workers voiced concerns about how construction of the project might disrupt their business, conducted beneath the rail overpass adjacent the site. The composition of the mixed-use program is informed by this specific social and urban context. Developed by Wall Financial, the project contains 280 market condo units along with 70 units of non-market housing (a third of which rent at rates not exceeding the shelter component of social assistance), as well as 5,670 square metres of light industrial space. The provision of rental housing is particularly meaningful for the area, but the project also makes its mark as a North American pioneer for co-locating a residential program with production-distribution-repair (PDR) uses. This designation, borrowed from a San Francisco initiative, aims to bolster the economy by providing small businesses with the needed space to produce goods locally. GBL Architects arranges these various functions into three towers punctured laterally by two offset bars—one abutting the street, the other recessed towards the lane—with the entire arrangement sitting atop a double-height base. In pragmatic terms, the site conditions are ideal for this scheme. The project addresses the busy Hastings corridor to the south; a two-storey drop between street level and the industrial lands to the north and east allows it to also border a working rail line. It would seem logical to locate all PDR functions exclusively off the back lane, retaining street frontage for more photogenic occupancies. But there is a different ethos at work in this project, a kind of progressive thinking and a design generosity that ask us to recalibrate expectations for utilitarian space and domestic character within a private development. Instead, PDR spaces are placed front-and-centre at street level. Some of these functions—a millwork shop, a fresh juice producer—are indeed located off the alley for solid logistical reasons. But even here, a critical perspective is at work: these spaces actually front the lane, with glazed doors bearing corporate logos and unit numbers, all set within a façade that is every bit as resolved as the other elevations of the building. While not qualifying as true addresses in the regulatory sense, these laneway entries function as such—an entirely sensible, but as yet emergent, notion in Vancouver’s urban planning. Moving up from the lane through two levels of parking offers what is certainly the most surprising moment of delight in the project. The design team worked with code consultants Thorson McAuley to craft a two-storey, open-air atrium in the upper levels of the parking area, connecting the alley below with the plaza at street grade. The procession up the stairway, offering a view of only sky, is a charming prospect. Were it not for security concerns that limit access, this space would be an attractive thoroughfare to get pedestrians from lane to street. At street level, the large cut between the centre and eastern towers serves as a well-proportioned plaza that just begs to be programmed as a restaurant patio—a very real possibility given the project’s zoning. But there is another, less expected public invitation at the north end
1 EAST HASTINGS STREET
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0 1 PRODUCTIONDISTRIBUTIONREPAIR 2 OFFICE 3 LOBBY 4 LOADING BELOW 5 PLAZA
1 ONE BEDROOM 2 ONE BEDROOM + DEN 3 TWO BEDROOM 4 TWO BEDROOM + DEN 5 COMMON ROOF PATIO 6 FLEX ROOM 7 GYM
1 2 3 3 3 1
SECTION 1 COMMON ROOF PATIO 2 MARKET RESIDENTIAL 3 NON-MARKET RESIDENTIAL
5 UNDERGROUND PARKING
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of this outdoor space. Glowing through the dim light of the breezeway is a kind of physical picture window framing an unobstructed view of the area’s industrial icons—the historic BC Sugar refinery, concrete silos, the port’s shipping cranes—layered up against the backdrop of the North Shore mountains. This device sets the material expression of the project firmly in its generative context. It is clear that the project architects have taken considerable care in designing this expression, especially in the residential towers. The push/pull operations of the curtain wall glazing, subtle shifts in window placement from f loor to f loor on the metal-clad faces, and yet more radical shifts in the relative placement of the balconies all make for façades that oscillate with interest without ever deteriorating into noise. In concert with the saturated colours and deep texture of the corrugated cladding, the slightly irregular stacking effect carries with it a kinetic energy that serves as a pleasing counterpoint to Vancouver’s litany of teal glass towers and their bland extrusions of the same. Pursued as aggressively as it is over different parts of the building, however, the shipping container aesthetic proves a slippery game. In one area, the proportions, colours and detailing convincingly mimic the volumetrics of a container bar. But in another, the treatment reveals itself as surface appliqué. One wonders if a few distinct materials might have been chosen to declare the different programmatic components, rather than relying on a single look to carry the entire work. Extending the material palette could perhaps have highlighted the critical recalibration of domestic and industrial character evident in the project. If residen-
tial towers can bear the countenance of industrial containers, what is an appropriate persona for a contemporary production space? Part of the value of mixed-use exists in its spatial efficiencies, and in the attempt to generate micro-ecologies of the creative class—say, in the section of Strathcona Village that stacks a design studio atop a millwork shop adjacent an animation studio. But its greater promise is in a serial replication of the model, such that urban life attains a pitch not possible in a city segregated by use. Strathcona Village contains the seeds of an ethos that will not just have its residents and mixed-use enterprise contribute to a thriving public realm on the street. It projects beyond the boundaries of its property lines to envision a new kind of city. Steve DiPasquale is an architect at HCMA Architecture + Design in Vancouver.
CLIENT WALL FINANCIAL CORPORATION | ARCHITECT TEAM DANIEL EISENBERG (MRAIC), STU LYON
(FRAIC), ERIC STACEY (MRAIC), THERESA WONG, ROD FORBES, BARRY HYDE, EMILY MILFORD, RODRIGO CEPEDA, JONATHAN TORONCHUCK | STRUCTURAL GLOTMAN SIMPSON | MECHANICAL NDY | ELECTRICAL NEMETZ & ASSOCIATES | LANDSCAPE PWL | INTERIORS BYU DESIGN | CODE THORSON MCAULEY | SUSTAINABILITY RECOLLECTIVE | ENVELOPE BC BUILDING SCIENCE | CONTRACTOR WALL CENTRE CONSTRUCTION LTD. | AREA 27,908 M2 | BUDGET $112 M | COMPLETION JULY 2018 ENERGY USE ENERGY USE INTENSITY (PROJECTED) 215.5 KWH/M2/YEAR | BENCHMARK (MULTI-UNIT RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS IN BC, 2014 LIGHT HOUSE STUDY) 215 KWH/M2/YEAR | WATER USE INTENSITY (PRO-
JECTED) 0.87 M 3/M2/YEAR | BENCHMARK (MEDIAN AMONG 44 ONTARIO MULTI-UNIT RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS, 2017 RYERSON UNIVERSITY STUDY) 1.5 M 3/M2/YEAR
KRISTA JAHNKE OPPOSITE BYU Design completed the interiors for the project, including the design for their own office. ABOVE The apartments enjoy views of Vancouverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s port and adjacent industrial lands, with the North Shore mountains beyondâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a context that informed the aesthetic and programming of the mixed industrial-residential project. RIGHT Red metal gates pivot open to the plaza from East Hastings Street. At the north end, the architecture frames a view to the industrial port lands. A stair and elevator descend to access the parking and back laneway.
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HIGH ARCTIC, HIGH DESIGN A MAJOR EDUCATIONAL AND RESEARCH CENTRE IN NUNUVUT BLENDS SCIENCE AND COMMUNITY NEEDS IN A CULTURALLY SENSITIVE DESIGN.
Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS), Ikaluktutiak (Cambridge Bay), Nunavut EVOQ + NFOE in joint venture TEXT Trevor Boddy PHOTOS Alex Fradkin, unless otherwise noted PROJECT
Two signal constructions of the 1970s in Iqaluit (then called Frobisher Bay) have cast long arctic shadows over the architecture of Nunavut. The Ron Thom-designed St. Jude’s Anglican Cathedral (1972) has been a muchloved building for local residents and visitors alike—so much so that it was rebuilt in a variation on the original design after a 2005 fire. The church takes the form of an igloo, with radial glulam beams exposed inside, rising to a single skylight at the apex. The Thom design updates a traditional Inuit building form, abstracting it somewhat without losing its emotional resonance, comparable to how Arthur Erickson employed Haida house forms in his UBC Museum of Anthropology a few years later. The contrasting tendency in Nunavut architecture is a more futurist one, embodied by the Gordon Robertson Education Centre (1971), designed by PGL Architects, led by Guy Gérin-Lajoie. The school uses pre-fabricated fiberglass panels—each one cast and insulated in a southern factory, then shipped and installed at off-vertical angles around a windmill-shaped plan. This panel-flanked school posits a new repertoire of high-tech forms for the north, complete with novel building plan geometries, the extensive prefabrication of building components, and even a questioning of the function and locations of windows.
There are echoes of both these Nunavut traditions in the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) in Cambridge Bay, designed by EVOQ in joint venture with laboratory consultants NFOE , both of Montreal. With over 8,000 square metres constructed in a multibuilding campus at a cost of $120 million, CHARS is the largest educational and research building in Canada’s Arctic. Announced in 2012 as one of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Northern Strategy Priorities, the building has an unconventional and unprecedented science and technology program for the Arctic. It combines advanced biology and geology laboratories as well as social science facilities with a range of services catering to the local community. The intent is to actively foster a dialogue with the holistic knowledge of elders and hunters, and to make space for celebrations and gatherings. In the words of EVOQ project architect Alain Fournier, FRAIC: “CHARS is as much a community science centre as a research station.” These overlapping missions—scientific, social and cultural—have generated a complex and hybrid building with overtones both of Thom’s symbolic-romanticism and Gérin-Lajoie’s techno-structuralism.
COURTESY ESTATE OF GUY GÉRIN-LAJOIE
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The complex includes the main research facility, two triplexes for housing visiting researchers, and a maintenance building. ABOVE LEFT Modelled after an igloo, St. Jude’s Anglican Church, in Iqaluit, was rebuilt in a version of Ron Thom’s original design following a fire. ABOVE RIGHT The Gordon Robertson Education Centre in Iqaluit, by PGL Architects, exemplifies a technologically driven approach to arctic design. TOP
A High ‘IQ’ Design Process Alain Fournier worked for PGL A rchitects a few years after the firm had finished a number of buildings in Iqaluit in the early 70s, including the Gordon Robertson school. In the early 80s, he went on to assist Guy Gérin-Lajoie with the design of the same community’s iconic yellow-coloured air terminal. Later, as a partner in EVOQ’s predecessor firm, FGMDA , Fournier designed another terminal in Kuujjuaq, inspired by the form of kayaks. Fournier also completed a range of cultural and educational buildings for the Inuit of Nunavik (northern Quebec). Few southern firms have this depth and range of knowledge of building in the North. EVOQ was deeply invested in community engagement for the planning, design, and especially the art program for CHARS. Local residents became constant advisors to the design team, prompting them to apply Nunavut’s Inuit Qaujimatjatuqangit principles—translated as “that which has long been known by the Inuit.” In their 2013 pre-design report, EVOQ states that they wished their building to “make an international statement” and “be an architectural representation of northern culture, Inuit Qujimajatuqangit (IQ ) in particular.” Under the notion of IQ , CHARS resisted becoming a northern outpost for the imposition of hard physical and social sciences, but rather embraced the concept that the ideas and experiences of local residents should be incorporated into nearly every research mission, and just as importantly, into the architecture of CHARS. One cannot help but be impressed that the knowledge of wildlife and landscapes of Ikaluktutiak (Cambridge Bay) hunters and elders was tapped through the entire period of planning and construction. Exhaustive interviews and dialogues sought to understand how people once lived and continue to live in the arctic, and how the work of Inuit artists could be presented at novel scales and in a large variety of media. Now that researchers are starting to arrive to use CHARS, there will be an ongoing two-way interaction of southern and northern ways of thinking. This notion of Qaujimatjatuqangit might serve as a broader model to Canadians of how the academy—and architecture with it—should change. Translating IQ into building forms invoked some other concepts. An important one was qalgiq, the communal igloo of multiple domes connected by passageways. At the bubble-diagram stage of space planning, these domes became overlapping circles of activity, especially in the community portion of the building. Unfortunately, a byproduct of this process is a set of public areas with compromised spatial clarity. In section, the conical, teepee-inspired room for dialogue and elders passes through the glulam-framed main roof that surrounds it almost incidentally. There is a similar tension in plan, with the circular base of the cone aligned on the central axis of the lab wing, then the outside walls pulled and twisted in ways that yield a string of leftover spaces, designated as multi-use and exhibition areas. The translation booths and sound studio outside this circle take up the geometry of the outside walls and flanking wings, instead of the main space they serve. A Hybrid Result Studying the main research building’s plans reveals layouts that are a laminate of two quite different architectures, each with their own spatial form and material expression. A spiral spatial deflection is seen to the southwest, with centrifugal undulations to the exterior walls, sine-wave desks and floor art, and an angling-out of the office wing from the big metal box of the laboratory wing. This undulating public and office zone wraps two sides of a contrastingly simple big metal box; the latter contains the laboratories, workshops and teaching spaces. Each half of the CHARS building program has a different repertoire of finishes and space-definers, inside and out. Functions that might have been separate academic pavilions on a southern campus are amalgamated
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The research centre is located at the edge of the town of Cambridge Bay, looking out towards the Northwest Passage. RIGHT The design pairs wood-framed, community-oriented gathering and exchange spaces with a steel-framed box containing the laboratories, workshops and teaching spaces. ABOVE
here into a hybrid: consolidated by the strong local forces of harsh climate, high construction costs and the day-by-day needs of users. Echoes of Ron Thom’s sensibilities are most evident in the public rooms and administrative spaces that wrap the south and west sides of the main research building, with their views down to the Northwest Passage and towards the regional landmark of Mount Pelly. In this portion of CHARS, there are some very assertive references to the spatial qualities and construction techniques of igloos—but pointedly not their resulting spatial form. EVOQ focused on the notions of open, nested spaces and building in spirals, as snow houses are traditionally assembled from rising rings of packed snow blocks. Here, this is expressed through the use of copper-painted metal panels. In a 2018 presentation to the Ontario Association of Architects, Fournier described this detail as “copper-coloured, upward-spiralling, igloo-like steel cladding shingles—a nod to the Copper Inuit, the host community, and Inuit Nunangat (community).” The design team was particularly drawn to how metallic copper surfaces catch the rich light of the low-angle arctic sun, contrasting with the snow that surrounds them for nine months a year. Similarly, there are references to pole tupiqs (skin-covered tents), qarmaq (a hybrid tent and sod house), and other summer or inter-seasonal structures created by the Inuit of the Arctic Islands. Fournier says that the ingenuity of these stick-built assemblies inspired the heavy glulam structure framing the station’s high-ceilinged public spaces. The key wood members are laminated small-dimension black spruce, manufactured in Quebec by Nordic Structures. Summarizing their approach
ENVELOPE - METAL CLADDING & WALLS COPPER COLOURED METAL CLADDING
STRUCTURE - WOOD & METAL GLUE-LAMINATED TIMBER STEEL STRUCTURE
GATHERING & EXCHANGE SPACES 1 TEACHING LAB 2 OPEN OFFICES 3 CAFETERIA 4 KNOWLEDGE SHARING CENTRE
STRUCTURE - WOOD & METAL
PUBLIC SPACES RESEARCH SPACES
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in a pre-design report, EVOQ proposes that “CHARS will attempt to translate into built forms the Inuit way of doing things, not simply in the past, but as they have evolved over time. Architecture is an important platform for expressing identity. We will strive to develop a communicative iconography for CHARS.” In contrast, the laboratory area is housed in a steel-frame rectangular building that borrows light and vistas from a flanking atrium. If the symbolism of the public areas results from CHARS’s self-consciously culturalist aims, there is no such agenda in the scientific heart of the building. The laboratories, classrooms, guest and staff researchers’ offices are all finely conceived, comfortable and flexible—surely the most handsome and thoroughly-outfitted scientific installations in the Arctic. Nunavut has the vocationally oriented and multi-location Arctic College, but no researchoriented post-secondary institution. While CHARS will host about 60 permanent researchers, research-managers and support staff, most of those who use its facilities will be visiting biologists, geologists, botanists, archeologists, and other specialists from around the world—up to 100 of them in high summer—staying for periods ranging from a few days to many months. There is a need for classrooms for short courses, hot desks for researchers checking in from field work, and fully equipped dry and wet laboratories capable of allowing for the necropsy of a walrus or small whale. Perhaps the most revealing drawing of CHARS is an axonometric, which clearly shows the rectangular lab functions as a large steel box, with a structural timber frame wrapped around its water-facing sides. The latter varies in span and transitions from a gridded frame to a radial arrangement, centred on the large cone of the knowledge sharing centre, a top-lit room framed and ringed by massive glulams. While engaging
conceptually, this laminate of steel-box scientific labs with copper-andwood zones serving the cultural needs of the broader community is, in places, uneasy in execution. The copper-wrap façade is punctuated with boxed-out sections in red-painted metal, and crowned with a tupiq-like projection intended to provide a land-scale marker. But the igloo-inspired metal cladding veers close to pastiche, and the visual assertiveness of the projection is incongruous for what is already a very big building in a low-scale town of less than 2,000 residents. Inside the base of this projection is the large cone of the knowledge sharing centre. It is equally problematic for this reviewer—a top-lit room, framed and ringed by massive glulams, coming across as more of a set piece than a place to sit, less about dialogue than spectacle. The Everyday and the Extraordinary There were no displays in the exhibition area when I visited, but one of the great successes of CHARS is its art program, in which new works from Nunavut artists, commissioned through an Inuit Nunangatwide art competition coordinated by Isabelle Laurier, are permanently integrated throughout the building. EVOQ worked with local artists to scale up their work: a soapstone carving of a polar bear by Cape Dorset’s Koomuatuk Curley is digitally replicated at larger size to guard the public entrance airlock. In other cases, artwork is realized in contemporary materials: a voluptuous parade of multi-coloured sea creatures based on drawings by the late Tim Pitsiulak is set into the atrium’s flooring. There are also more conventional prints and paintings, and one of the most delightful pieces is a quilt by Cambridge Bay elders, where, along with scenes of hunting and travelling on the tundra, there is a needlework
OPPOSITE LEFT Modelled after a traditional Inuit sealskin tent, or tupiq, the knowledge sharing centre is ringed by glulam columns that rise to a central skylight. OPPOSITE RIGHT Some lab spaces are sized to accommodate the examination and dissection of a small whale. ABOVE A double-height atrium joins the areas for scientific research, at right, with community meeting rooms and administrative offices, at left.
28 28 27
GROUND FLOOR 1 21 15
1 COAT STORAGE 2 RECEPTION / SECURITY 3 EXHIBITION AREA 4 KNOWLEDGE SHARING SPACE 5 MEDIA SPACE 6 MULTI-USE SPACE 7 INTERVIEW ROOMS 8 OPEN OFFICES 9 BUSINESS INCUBATION 10 CLOSED OFFICES 11 REFERENCE COLLECTION 12 TEACHING LAB 13 FREEZERS AND REFRIGERATORS 14 AQUATICS LAB 15 ANIMAL NECROPSY LAB 16 FIELD LOADING DOCK 17 LAY-DOWN SPACE / MECHANICAL WORKSHOP 18 COLD LAB 19 DIGITAL IMAGING 20 CLEAN LAB 21 GENERAL AND RECEIVING DOCK 22 MEETING ROOMS 23 GLASS WASH (CLEAN) 24 GLASS WASH (DIRTY) 25 COMPUTER LAB 26 GENERAL ANALYTICS LAB 27 ELECTRICAL ROOM 28 MECHANICAL ROOMS 29 ADMIN. PRINT / MAIL ROOM 30 CHEMICAL STORAGE 31 MULTI-USE LAB 32 GROWTH CHAMBER 33 GENOMICS LAB 34 EQUIPMENT STORAGE 35 SC STORAGE
RESEARCH SPACE PUBLIC SPACE
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CANADIAN ARCHITECT 06/19
ABOVE Copper-painted metal panels wrap the exterior of the community-oriented areas. The upward spiralling pattern of the panels refers to the construction technique of igloos, which are assembled from rising rings of packed snow blocks.
representation of the CHARS building itself. This said, the artworks are traditionalist in themes and media—one hopes that younger and edgier artists could be given a future platform here. Musician, novelist and visual artist Tanya Tagaq was born and raised in Cambridge Bay, and one of her early paintings is permanently installed in the local high school. While invited to propose an artwork, Tagaq did not submit. I hope another opportunity emerges before too long, as an interactive sound installation using her astonishing range of throat-singing vocalizations could help provide emotional glue to bring together CHARS’s public spaces. EVOQ is also responsible for the other CHARS campus buildings, namely two triplexes and the Field and Maintenance Building. This service building houses storage, “dirty” labs, mechanical services, and repair facilities for snowmobiles, four-wheelers and other equipment for researchers. This reduces noise and vibration to the main labs, not to mention saving money by building more simply. As a straightforward, metalpanel-clad box, the service building is much more similar to standard arctic construction than either the rational high-tech of CHARS’s laboratory wing, or the sculpted and warmly-finished public areas. In the spectrum of design intentions, ranging from the symbolic-romanticism of Ron Thom to the techno-structuralism of Guy Gérin-Lajoie, the services building represents a third, almost default option—those serviceable structures concocted by engineers or steel building suppliers. High design— as seen in CHARS’s complex double ambitions—is necessarily rare in the high arctic, where most buildings are obliged to be functional sheds. Springing from architecture’s evolution in the Canadian arctic since the 1970s, he CHARS building was created through a thorough research
and consultation process, one that looks to the needs of both a tight-knit local community and widespread international researchers. But despite their intentions to bring these users together, the architecture as built and detailed enforces a sense that these two worlds that still sit apart. The ambitions, craft and social mission of CHARS are admirable and impressive. Still, Canada’s high arctic remains daunting in the challenges it presents, for residents, scientists and architects alike. Vancouver architecture critic and curator Trevor Boddy FRAIC saw three books off press in the past eighteen months: City-Builder: The Architecture of James K M Cheng from Images Press, Melbourne; and from Vancouver’s Figure 1 Press, Stantec: Airports and Glacier Skywalk (with Clea and Jeremy Sturgess).
CLIENT INDIGENOUS AND NORTHERN AFFAIRS CANADA (INAC) | ARCHITECT TEAM EVOQ—ALAIN
FOURNIER (FIRAC), CAROLYNE FONTAINE, NEIL MCNULTY, ROXANNE GAUTHIER, ISABELLE LAURIER, LAURIE DAMME-GONNEVILLE, FELIX-ANTOINE THIBAULT. NFOE—ALAN ORTON (FIRAC), GENEVIÈVE MARSAN, DEIRDAN ELLIS, FREDERICK IAN CHU, KARINE DUGUAY, KATE SOKOLENKO, JESSICA CUEVAS, DAVID ESTALL | STRUCTURAL/MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL SNC LAVALIN | INTERIORS EVOQ + NFOE | CONTRACTOR ELLISDON| LABORATORIES AND SURVEYING EXP | TRANSLATION SERVICE UQSIQ COMMUNICATIONS | COMMUNITY LIAISON PANAQ DESIGN | AUDIO-VISUAL GO MULTIMÉDIA | COST HANSCOMB | CODE GLT+ | ELEVATOR LES CONSULTANTS EXIM INC. | KITCHEN BERNARD ET ASSOCIÉS | MICRO-CLIMATE STUDIES RWDI | LIGHTING CS DESIGN | AREA MAIN RESEARCH BUILDING (MRB)—4,855M2; FIELD & MAINTENANCE BUILDING (FMB)—1,645 M2; TWO TRIPLEXES—1,025 M2 | BUDGET $120 M | COMPLETION IN PHASES BETWEEN AUGUST 2015 AND NOVEMBER 2018 ENERGY USE ENERGY USE INTENSITY (PROJECTED) REDUCTION BY 55% COMPARED TO A REFERENCE BUILDING WATER USE INTENSITY (PROJECTED) REDUCTION BY 50% OR MORE COMPARED TO A REFERENCE
Global LafargeHolcim Awards winner. Architect, Denmark/USA.
“ Winning the LafargeHolcim Awards gave our project global exposure”
Design competitions boost projects, careers, and networking opportunities. Be part of the 6th International LafargeHolcim Awards for exemplary projects and visionary concepts in sustainable construction. Prize money totals USD 2 million. Independent expert juries evaluate submissions from architecture, engineering, urban planning, materials science, construction technology, and related fields using the “target issues” for sustainable construction of the LafargeHolcim Foundation. www.lafargeholcim-awards.org An initiative of LafargeHolcim, represented in Canada by
CANADIAN ARCHITECT 06/19
SPANISH TILES GO GREEN PROJECT
SUSTAINABILITY IS AT THE FOREFRONT OF CONTEMPORARY TILE PRODUCTION IN SPAIN.
Every February, the city of Valencia, Spain, plays host to Cevisama, a international fair for ceramic tile. The words “Spanish tile” may conjure up elaborately decorated glazed tiles with bright colours and patterns, but in reality, today’s Spanish ceramic tiles are very different from their historic precedents. With a focus on innovation, the industry is producing a vast array of contemporary ceramic products while also putting sustainability at the forefront. Traditionally, ceramic materials were almost exclusively employed as wall and f loor coverings. Now, these products are being increasingly used in more architectural applications, including in ventilated exterior façades and raised f loor systems. Ceramic ventilated façades are widely used in Europe due to the material’s durability and resistance
to pollution, weather and salt. These rainscreen systems are becoming a popular means of minimizing typical envelope problems, including thermal bridging and condensation. Large-format tiles—as big as 320 x 160 cm—appear to be a leading product within both the tile industry and the design community. These amazingly strong tiles, available as thin as 3 mm, require less material to produce and cover larger areas which results in fewer, less noticeable grout joints. Thicker ceramic “slabs” of up to 15 mm allow the largeformat surfaces to be used for counters. Another notable trend is that of ceramics made to emulate the appearance of other materials, mainly wood f looring, concrete and stone. Although not an entirely novel approach, this new generation
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OPPOSITE The Children’s Education and Innovation Centre in Valencia, Spain, is covered with colourful Natucer porcelain tiles. The glazed tiles act as a rainscreen, and are fastened to slotted tracks. TOP Marazzi’s Grande Marble Look tiles come in large-scale, thin slabs that require less material to produce than standard tiles. BOTTOM LEFT Roca Bathrooms’ London showroom, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, includes a dynamic tiled floor and walls made of large-scale tile. BOTTOM RIGHT Neolith tiles include imitation wood designs that can be used to add visual warmth to wet spaces.
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ABOVE The Grespania ceramic tile factory relies extensively on automated processes, which have been engineered to reduce energy use, save on water consumption, and recycle scrap material into new product.
of ceramic products so convincingly mimics both the colour and texture of their original counterparts that at times you have to touch them in order to differentiate between the two. Though I am a strong proponent of authenticity, these products afford an opportunity to introduce the warmth and colour of wood to commercial and high traffic areas where durability and ease of maintenance are critical, and where a more durable product ultimately results in a more environmentally friendly approach. As a building material itself, ceramic is inherently sustainable, made of natural and plentiful materials such as clay, sand, feldspar and quartz. Ceramic products also contribute to indoor air quality as they emit no VOCs, do not absorb contaminants or other odors, inhibit the growth of mold and other organisms, can be easily cleaned, and do not require toxic products to maintain. They have an average useful lifespan estimated at 50 years, with easy replacement of individual damaged tiles at any point in time, while being both water and fire resistant. Historically, the manufacturing of ceramics has had a large environmental footprint through the generation of greenhouse gases, excessive water use, steep electrical and thermal energy use (powering the heating of kilns to 1400 degrees celsius for the firing of tiles), and the production of waste by-products that were typically diverted to landfills. Fortunately, this is no longer the case. For decades, Spain’s ceramic tile industry has been developing advanced sustainable approaches to production, focusing on energy- and water-saving measures, along with innovative recycling initiatives. For instance, heat siphoning and reuse are employed in the clay firing and spray-drying processes, and the invention of roller kilns in the 1980s sped up the process of firing tile:
what once took a full day now takes hours. Solar energy is widely used in Spain and cogeneration is becoming more prominent, resulting in energy savings between 15 and 40 percent compared to more conventional sources. Tellingly, in the past 20 years, ceramics production in Spain has tripled—but the industry has simultaneously reduced gaseous emissions by 75 percent from the consumption levels of the 1970s. In addition, the ceramic tile industry has been reusing manufacturing waste-products. A Spanish multi-organizational initiative called LIFECERAM aims to attain zero-waste manufacturing. Manufacturers involved have developed a method of recycling scraps as they are cut. Reminiscent of pie crusts, the excess trimmings are sent back to the beginning of the process to be reground and reformed into new raw material. Some manufacturers have also begun incorporating recycled materials from other industries—such as glass and electronic appliance waste—into the production of tiles. A pilot project called FERTILIFE focuses on the reuse of greenhouse gas emissions from the ceramics industry for agriculture. In this initiative, CO2 is captured in water destined for orange grove irrigation, as citrus trees prefer slightly acidic water. In the beautiful surroundings of Valencia, it is abundantly clear that design excellence and environmentally conscious design are not at odds with one another. As designers, it is up to us to educate ourselves and to keep abreast of new developments in the industries from which we source materials, to ensure we fulfill our commitment to a healthy and sustainable built future. Heather Dubbeldam, FRAIC, is principal of Dubbeldam Architecture + Design.
OCTOBER 26–30, 2019 TORONTO 50+ Speakers 16 Architectural Tours
Renzo Piano, FRAIC
Chairman and Founding Partner, The Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Elizabeth Chu Richter, FRAIC
CEO, Richter Architects
Vishaan Chakrabarti, FRAIC
20 Continuing Education Sessions
RAIC International Prize Gala Expanded 3-Day Trade Show Pop // Can // Crit
Register by June 30 and save! Sponsorship and Trade Show opportunities still available Space is limited – Book Now! Call 1-844-856-7242 x 216 today
Adaptive reuse of heritage buildings The RAIC and Parks Canada offer a three-day design charette, using heritage buildings in the Yukon as learning tools.
10 Habits of Effective Communicators Led by GSD lecturer Emily Waugh, this workshop explores how principles like clarity, authenticity, storytelling, and persuasion can be used in the design professions.
Unceded—Voices of the Land Created to represent Canada at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, this exhibition features the work of 18 Indigenous architects and designers from across Turtle Island.
Back/Fill Dobson’s site-specific project explores the detritus of Toronto through images of construction debris dumped at the Leslie Street Spit. Presented in partnership with the Contact photography festival, it features a massive mural adhered to the north elevation of the new Daniels Building and large-scale photographs mounted inside the Faculty.
Our Happy Life The CCA’s current exhibit interrogates architecture and well-being in the age of emotional capitalism.
Particles for the Built World Centering on a sculptural installation, this exhibition delves into Omer Arbel’s experiments with concrete over the past five years. www.surrey.ca
BUILDEX Alberta This trade show enables architecture, design, construction, and property management professionals to immerse themselves in dialogue and build community. www.buildexalberta.com
New Monuments for New Cities This public art exhibition at the Bentway will travel to five cities that are part of the Highline Network, a group of industrial reuse projects. www.thehighline.org
another landscape show This exhibition at the Art Gallery of Alberta simultaneously shifts and critiques landscape’s place in Canadian art and popular discourse.
Architecture+Comics: Canadian Cartoonists and the City This exhibit at the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation looks at how contemporary Canadian cartoonists are drawing cities, streets and buildings, exploring architecture as spaces we inhabit and as spaces that inhabit us. www.winnipegarchitecture.ca
Chicago Architecture Biennial The third edition of the Biennial is titled “and other such stories,” and considers questions of land, memory, rights and civic participation. www.chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org
Influencers: The Pritzker Prize To mark the prize’s 40th anniversary, the Heinz Architectural
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RAIC Festival of Architecture Highlights of this year’s Festival of Architecture include the third biannual presentation of the RAIC International Prize, an Awards Gala, and the Pop Can Crit symposium. Ottawa
ABOVE Innovative school designs are showcased in the Lab-École exhibition at Montreal’s Maison de l’architecture du Québec.
Lab-École This exhibition and an accompanying publication document the effort to revitalize Quebec schools through architectural upgrades, opportunities for physical activity, and healthy food. www.maisondelarchitecture.ca
SIDIM 2019 Montreal’s design fair offers opportunities to mingle with experts, view product launches, attend seminars and take in new interior design trends.
Center displays visionary works by Pritzker laureates, all from its collections. www.cmoa.org
Washington, DC —07/28
Secret Cities This exhibition at the National Building Museum looks at the architecture and planning of three top-secret cities built to accommodate researchers for the Manhattan Project during World War II. www.nbm.org
New York City 07/19—21
From point cloud to existing conditions BIM with Revit RAIC partners with the Carleton Immersive Media Studio (CIMS) Lab in a weekend-long workshop focused on using BIM to work with heritage buildings and existing conditions. www.raic.org
Quebec City —06/15 09/30—10/04
Woodrise Conference Co-organized by FPInnovations and France’s FCBA, the Woodrise conference on mid-rise and highrise wood-building construction expects to attract 1,000 attendees. www.woodrise2019.ca
The Value of Good Design Beginning with MoMA’s Good Design initiatives from the late 1930s through the 1950s, this exhibition explores the democratizing potential of well-designed, affordable contemporary products. www.moma.org
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CANADIAN ARCHITECT 06/19
PRODUCT SHOWCASE 41
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SHIPPING NEWS TEXT
CANADA’S LARGEST RETAIL SHIPPING CONTAINER MARKET OPENS IN TORONTO. In 2014, architect Janna Levitt was contacted by Matt Rubinoff, a young Toronto entrepreneur with a background in real estate and marketing. Rubinoff lived near a vacant, cityowned site next to Fort York, and wanted to see something done with it—along the lines of the container markets that were then popping up in London, England. He reached out to Levitt’s firm, LGA Architectural Partners, because they had built Market 707, a set of retrofitted shipping containers for start-up retailers next to the downtown Scadding Court Community Centre. Five years and miles of bureaucratic red tape later, the largest shipping container market in Canada—dubbed Stackt—has opened. “It started out as a line of shipping containers along Bathurst,” recalls Levitt of Rubinoff ’s initial idea. As the team explored the constraints of the two-block site, they uncovered different zoning designations, which began to suggest ways the whole 2.4-acre-area could become inhabited with a range of activities. LGA approached the project as an urban planning exercise, designating a main street that stretched from the primary Bathurst
Street entrance to the secondary Tecumseth Street entrance, with side streets and laneways branching off from it. A food and beverage area flanks a big lawn, and south-facing courtyards look out towards the active rail corridor, providing sunny areas for lounging in the summer and trainspotting in the shoulder seasons. A microbrewery at the rear of the site—which uses shipping containers for its bar, brewing, and washroom areas—anchors the project. A variety of retailers—from coffee and artisanal donut shops to a tattoo parlour—occupy the ground floor containers. To meet health and safety regulations, new shipping containers needed to be used for these occupancies. However, the team also wanted to introduce recycled containers. To do so, they built up a second and third storey of reclaimed containers that cantilever and zig-zag across the site. These rougher elements, towering above, give the project an industrial-cool aesthetic, and their Jenga-block-like placement adds to the feeling of urban adventure in exploring the project’s offerings. Seen from the nearby Gardiner Expressway and the neigh-bouring
condo towers, the snaking containers create a signature presence for the project. LGA designed the individual retail containers using a kit-of-parts strategy, with the same glass doors, sidelights, mechanical systems and amenities. Larger units are composed from multiple modules. Minimalist window frames and black metal hardware contrast with the roughness of the corrugated shipping container walls, the exterior of which have been finished in matte black. The uniform details aimed to level the playing field for retailers, but also will allow the containers to eventually be re-deployed to other sites. There is no guarantee that Stackt will stay on its current site more than a few years—and there are plenty of vacant sites in the city where a mini- or mega-version of Stackt would add vibrancy and amenity. Levitt points in particular to development sites that sit empty for several years while they are stranded in the limbo of the municipal approvals process. They are a perfect place for temporary occupation with the Stackt units, she says. “You can’t take a building down and redeploy it, but you can do that with containers.”
Photo: ManikMati Photography
Balancing Technology with Historical Integrity The renovation of Parliament Hill’s West Block was an $863 million project that finally wrapped up in fall 2018, uniting the charm of a Victorian Gothic structure that was completed in 1865 with the technological advancements of 21st-century construction. During the renovations, architects looked at every conceivable angle to modernize the facility while also maintaining the building’s historical integrity. “The West Block was last renovated over 50 years ago,’’ said Georges Drolet, a partner in EVOQ and an architectural historian. The firm formed a joint ventured partnership in 1995 with Architecture 49 to plan and design the West Block Rehabilitation Project. “In that time span, all the expectations and standards of operating and working in a parliamentary office building changed, from security concerns to communications networks, energy efficiency targets, hazardous materials management, universal accessibility standards, broadcasting and public engagement programs and so on.” One of the most fascinating and unique projects in the overhaul of West Block was a complete roof overhaul. A striking, self-supporting, curved glass roof stands overtop the central courtyard, which will serve as the temporary home for the House of Commons. The project by Seele included 2,485 square meters of triple-glazed glass, 938 tons of steelwork for roof and tree columns, 2,554 square meters of laylight glazing under the roof, and 1,813 square feet of open-grid flooring for a service catwalk at the roof level. The roofing project alone required more than two years of labor. Several other roofing sections also required roof hatches to access attic space. Aluminum roof hatches with copper cladding and prime painted galvanized steel hatches were custom-made by The BILCO Company of Connecticut and were installed by Heather and Little and Covertite. The hatches were installed on flat roofs and even on some seriously sloped steeples. “The hatches were a bit harder to install mostly due to the complexity of the design,’’ said Brian Marshall, a Project Manager for Heather and Little. “They were installed on a sloping roof that was in a near vertical position.” Marshall said his team also installed fire-rated floor hatches to gain access to attics and mechanical space, and LadderUP® safety posts to help ensure safety for workers entering and exiting the roof hatches. They are also manufactured by BILCO. Perhaps the most essential task for architects and engineers in the renovation was overhauling the structure while remaining true to the historical integrity of the building. Drolet said all interventions made
Photo: Heather + Little
on designated federal heritage buildings have to comply with a national document, the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. “Every part of the building that is historic has been carefully preserved and enhanced,’’ Drolet said.
Photo: Heather + Little
In essence, all of the teams involved in the project have weaved together the imperfect marriage of buildings designed in different centuries into one beautiful, harmonious, safe and technologically advanced structure. “Each decision was analyzed, discussed and reviewed by dozens of professionals, specialists and project managers to make sure that the transformed West Block would meet the challenges of a 21st-century legislative function while celebrating its 19th-century origins,’’ Drolet said. “I believe that globally this goal is achieved.”
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