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CANADIAN ARCHITECT NOV/16

CIVIC LANDMARKS

THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE RAIC

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10 VIEWPOINT

DOUBLESPACE PHOTOGRAPHY

BRUCE DAMONTE

CIVIC LANDMARKS Is architectural crticism dead—or is it experiencing a resurgence? Elsa Lam reports on the Pop Can Crit symposium.

15 NEWS

National Music Centre’s Studio Bell opens in Calgary; plans for Parliament Hill Welcome Centre unveiled; remembering Bing Thom and John Bentley Mays.

25 RAIC JOURNAL 36

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36 PIERRE LASSONDE PAVILION

 n addition by OMA and Provencher_Roy to Quebec City’s Musée national des A beaux-arts bridges its city entrance and park setting. TEXT Olivier Vallerand

46 CENTRE D’ART DIANE DUFRESNE

A gleaming structure by ACDF Architecture anchors a new civic axis in the suburban town of Repentigny, Quebec. TEXT Nik Luka

52 GOLDRING CENTRE FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE SPORT

Patkau Architects and MJMA create a sophisticated structure that negotiates a tight site in downtown Toronto. TEXT David Steiner

60 CORKTOWN COMMON PARK AND PAVILION

 park by Michael Van Valkenburgh and pavilion by Maryann Thompson Architects A represent a resilient model for flood protection. TEXT Jon Scott Blanthorn

Call for entries to the 2016 Moriyama RAIC International Prize; Michelangelo Sabatino and Rhodri Windsor Liscombe share an excerpt from Canada: Modern Architectures in History.

68 INSITES

Douglas MacLeod, MRAIC, argues there’s an urgent need for architects to come together and improve energy efficiency in buildings.

72 PRACTICE

Jay Pitter interviews leading architects about how to transform social housing design.

76 BOOKS

Ken Greenberg, FRAIC , reviews a recent compendium of Jane Jacobs’s articles, speeches and interviews.

81 CALENDAR

The Buildings Show and International Architectural Roundtable in Toronto; World Architecture Festival in Berlin.

DOUBLESPACE PHOTOGRAPHY

82 BACKPAGE

Ruth Jones reports on an exhibition about the marginal spaces occupied by Hong Kong’s migrant domestic workforce. Pierre Lassonde Pavilion by OMA with Provencher_Roy. Photo by Bruce Damonte.

COVER

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

07

CANADIAN ARCHITECT

NOVEMBER 2016


From left to right, Trevor Boddy, FRAIC, Marco Polo, FRAIC, Shawn Micallef, David Theodore, MRAIC, and Sarah Gelbard take the stage at Pop Can Crit. LEFT

JOHN SERVISS / JOVISS VISUALS

CANADIAN ARCHITECT 11/16

VIEWPOINT

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Architecture Criticism is Dead. Long Live Architecture Criticism! What’s the state of architecture criticism in Canada? Have bloggers taken the place of journalists? How does social media affect the craft of criticism? Can a scathing review affect the outcome of a project? These questions swirled through the amphitheatre of Carleton University’s School of Architecture last month, in a gathering that brought together architecture critics (including this editor) and students from across the country for the day-long Pop Can Crit symposium. Just as art, dance and theatre critics are becoming scarce, Canada has few full-time journalists writing about architecture. But Alex Bozikovic of the Globe and Mail, one of the rare salaried architecture critics, argued that the “crisis of architecture criticism” is an illusion. The Bilbao Effect and the proliferation of such sites as ArchDaily have vastly broadened the availability of architectural imagery. As a result, there are more people talking about buildings, and as Bozikovic put it, “When people talk, we all win.” The quality and depth of that conversation is another matter, though. Sophie Gironnay, who used to write an architecture column in Le Devoir and now heads the Maison de l’architecture du Québec, championed a higher level of discussion. “What I consider my job is to fight against ugliness,” she said. She pointed to the trained eye for aesthetics, and the serious research into context, politics and process that a discerning journalist weaves into a balanced architecture critique. That kind of probing analysis can have an impact. For instance, the legendary New York Times writer Ada Louise Huxtable, the first full-time architecture critic for an American paper, was an influential advocate for preserving heritage New York City structures, including Grand Central Terminal. The symposium delved into the contemporary example of the Mirvish+Gehry Toronto towers to consider the effect of criticism on the final design. But how to untangle the voice of the professional critics from the blogosphere hubbub surrounding the project—and from the complexities of Toronto’s planning approvals? In Canada, architecture criticism can

often feel like a single (often faintly heard) voice in the increasingly bureaucratic processes of architectural production. Even though opportunities for architecturefocused journalism in popular media are diminishing, on the flip side, said Ryerson University’s Marco Polo, FRAIC (and former editor of Canadian Architect), “there is a corresponding increase of opportunity for criticism in academia.” In particular, Canada’s scholars are turning a critical eye to the nation’s modern architecture. This can help the case for the retention of mid-century buildings, especially since academic criticism allows for research-intensive articles. The subject of criticism is also expanding laterally. David Theodore, MRAIC, who teaches at McGill University, observed a shift of interest taking place—both in the schools and in popular criticism—from architecture towards urbanism. Spacing Magazine is a case in point. Co-founders Shawn Micallef and Matthew Blackett, who also took part in the panels, focus their readers’ attention on overlooked design artifacts in the urban landscape, from parking lots to suburban towers. The discussion touched on other forms of evaluating the built fabric. Design museums are frequently headed by former critics, who see exhibitions as an effective means of communicating the value of architecture to a broader public; curatorial studies programs are burgeoning at universities. Critic Trevor Boddy, FRAIC, pointed to design firms that engage in critical practice through research-oriented initiatives. Such pursuits are valuable, said Theodore, but are distinct from the discipline of architectural critique. At its essence, architecture criticism continues to demand a specific skill set: research and analysis, visual judgment, and argumentation using written words. It aspires to help readers see the world around them with fresh eyes, and to provide architects an objective viewpoint on the values underlying their work. It’s a long game, and a cause worth fighting— and writing—for. Elsa Lam

ELAM@CANADIANARCHITECT.COM

­­EDITOR ELSA LAM, MRAIC ART DIRECTOR ROY GAIOT ASSISTANT EDITOR SHANNON MOORE EDITORIAL ADVISOR IAN CHODIKOFF, OAA, FRAIC CONTRIBUTING EDITORS ANNMARIE ADAMS, FRAIC ODILE HÉNAULT DOUGLAS MACLEOD, NCARB, MRAIC REGIONAL CORRESPONDENTS HALIFAX CHRISTINE MACY, OAA REGINA BERNARD FLAMAN, SAA MONTREAL DAVID THEODORE CALGARY GRAHAM LIVESEY, MRAIC WINNIPEG LISA LANDRUM, MAA, AIA, MRAIC VANCOUVER ADELE WEDER PUBLISHER TOM ARKELL 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 elam@canadianarchitect.com 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: $6.95. Students (prepaid with student ID, includes taxes): $27.00 for one year. USA: $105.95 US for one year. All other foreign: $125.95 US per year. Single copy US and foreign: $10.00 US. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Circulation Dept., Canadian Architect, 101 Duncan Mill Road, Suite 302 Toronto, ON M3B 1Z3. Postmaster: please forward forms 29B and 67B to 101 Duncan Mill Road, Suite 302 Toronto, ON M3B 1Z3. Printed in Canada. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be re­produced either in part or in full without the consent of the copyright owner. From time to time we make our subscription list available to select companies and organizations whose product or service may interest you. If you do not wish your contact information to be made available, please contact us via one of the following methods: Telephone 416-441-2085 x104 E-mail 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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5th INTERNATIONAL LAFARGEHOLCIM AWARDS FOR SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION

Total Prizes of $2 Million We are committed to sustainable construction and projects that support PROGRESS - PEOPLE PLANET - PROSPERITY - PLACE. LafargeHolcim Awards Silver 2014 – $50,000 USD. Lieu de vie on the new Paris-Saclay university campus hosts a mix of activities including indoor and outdoor sports facilities, food outlets and various public spaces across more than 4,000 sq m of floor area. Using rough materials, robust and long lasting techniques, the “urban shelf” is organized vertically with its different activities superimposed on one another, using the roof as a panoramic playground for football and basketball games. Paris, France

LafargeHolcim Awards Gold prize – $100,000 USD. The central flower and vegetable garden at Benny Farm was always the neighborhood focus of social interaction. At the core of the design is the establishment of participatory models and investment in sustainable construction, centered on common energy, water & waste management. Montreal, Canada

Enter your project in one of these categories: l Architecture, building and civil engineering l Landscape, urban design and infrastructure l Materials, products and construction technologies Professional and Next Generation awards.

LafargeHolcim Acknowledgment Prize – $7,500 USD. The sustainable library and classroom building demonstrates environmental responsibility and stewardship for the student body and the community. Such forces are put to work in an ingenious way by the warped concrete roof that is shaped so as to increase the velocity of air currents, thus eliminating the need for mechanical ventilation. Vancouver, Canada

LafargeHolcim Acknowledgment Prize – $25,000 USD. Heritage Reframed: University building renovation and extension. The complete DFALD restores the architecture, landscape and urban design within the round of Spadina Crescent. The site’s hydrology is evident in the roof profile, shaped to guide water into pools, bio-swales and ultimately to cisterns for irrigation. Toronto, Canada

For more information: application.lafargeholcim-awards.org


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RESNICOW AND ASSOCIATES/MIR

NEWS

ABOVE The National Museum Centre of Canada’s new home, Studio Bell, was designed by Allied Works Architecture with Kasian Architecture.

PROJECTS National Music Centre of Canada completes Studio Bell.

The National Music Centre of Canada has officially opened Studio Bell, its new home in Calgary, designed by Allied Works Architecture with Kasian Architecture. The state-of-the-art cultural centre, which incorporates the site of the King Edward Hotel with its legendary blues club, includes a recording facility, broadcast studio, live music venue and museum. The structure comprises nine interlocking towers clad in glazed terra cotta. Its subtly curved design references acoustic vessels, while allowing for sweeping views of the Bow River and the surrounding cityscape. The project encompasses 15,000 square metres of new construction, including a 300-seat performance hall and 2,000 square metres of exhibition space. The King Edward Hotel has been fully refurbished and integrated within the program in Studio Bell’s west block, which features a radio station, recording studios, media centre, classrooms and artists-in-residence spaces. “In its many diverse spaces, Studio Bell echoes the variety of musical performance,” said Allied Works principal Brad Cloepfil. “Uniting audience and performer, student and teacher, the building creates instances of immersion, when the visitor is transported from daily life, and moments of transition between spaces, providing an opportunity for quiet contemplation. In our designs, we seek to create transformational spaces. For the National

Music Centre, Studio Bell’s nine towers are modeled by gravity and acoustics, and together create a silent and powerful instrument that emanates music and light.” www.alliedworks.com

+VG Architects renovates historic St. Michael’s Cathedral.

+VG Architects has completed a 14-year renovation of St. Michael’s Cathedral, the principal church of Canada’s largest English-speaking Catholic archdiocese, located in the heart of Toronto at 65 Bond Street. The extensive renovations to the 168-yearold cathedral included the creation of an underground chapel. “We excavated the crypt, where the first Bishop of Toronto, Michael Power, and other important figures in Toronto’s history are buried, and turned it into a formal crypt chapel,” says Terrance White of +VG. The original windows have been restored or replaced, including with new rose windows designed and fabricated by Vitreous Glassworks. New York-based Ecclesiastical Art restored painted decorations on the interior walls and ceiling of the cathedral. +VG replaced the existing balcony, which had been closed to the public since the 1990s. The organ, installed in 1880, blocked the entire opening of the great west window, and was removed. A new pipe organ called Opus 3907, by Casavant Frères of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, splits the pipe chests so that they flank the walls in front of the window, preserving views and daylight into the space. www.ventingroup.com

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GOVERNMENT OF CANADA

CANADIAN ARCHITECT 11/16

NEWS

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ABOVE Once Parliament Hill’s West Block is rehabilitated, it will welcome the House of Commons Chamber—pictured here in a rendering—for approximately 10 years.

Renderings released of Parliament Hill Welcome Centre and West Block rehabilitation.

The Government of Canada has unveiled its vision for the Parliament Hill Welcome Centre and the rehabilitation of the West Block, both currently under construction and due to be complete in 2017. The Visitor Welcome Centre, designed by IBI

Group with Moriyama & Teshima Architects, will improve visitor experience and enhance security at Parliament Hill. The four-level underground complex is designed to blend with the historical structures and natural surroundings of the Hill. Visitors will enter the centre from a plaza to the west side of Centre Block. Inside, they will find such amenities as an arrival hall,

security screening areas, and a gift shop. The first phase will be opened in 2017, and the project will eventually link the West, Centre and East Block buildings. The new design for the West Block, developed by Arcop and EVOQ architecure in joint venture, will allow the building to meet parliamentary needs for a decade, while rehabilitation of the Centre Block is underway. The building will accommodate legislative functions including the House of Commons Chamber, as well as support functions, committee rooms, and offices for assisting the Prime Minister, House Officers, Party Leaders and Party Whips. The Chamber occupies a former courtyard, and will be covered by a triple-glazed roof designed to filter sunlight and external sound. An advanced LED lighting system will allow for live broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings. Certain areas within the West Block have been designated as heritage spaces, and are being restored and modernized to meet current environmental and performance standards. Once rehabilitation work on the Centre Block is complete, the West Block will revert to a parliamentary building, containing 52 offices for Members of Parliament and their staff, and six committee rooms, including support functions.

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NEWS Plans unveiled for redevelopment of Montreal’s Viger Square.

Landscape architects NIPPAYSAGE have unveiled plans for the redesign and redevelopment of Montreal’s Viger Square. The renovation will begin next spring, as one of Montreal’s 375th anniversary legacy projects. Located just outside of the old city’s fortifications, Viger Square was the largest public square in 19th-century Canada. At that time, it was a prestigious public garden. The northward shift of elite francophone residential areas in the 1920s marked the beginning of the area’s gradual decline, which accelerated after the crash of 1929. Between 1963 and 1984, the construction of the metro tunnel and the VilleMarie Expressway under Viger Square led to its demolition and reconstruction. Three prominent artists—Charles Daudelin, Claude Théberge and Peter Gnass—participated in re-envisaging the square in the 1970s and 80s. The present-day development proposes to retain the fountain created by Théberge, but to demolish the urban-scale sculpture Agora, by Daudelin, which occupies much of the site. A petition contesting the demolition of the artwork circulated last year. The current plans for the square are part of a broader revitalization of the area, which

also includes the newly opened Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) and Viger hotel and station, slated for redevelopment with retail and office spaces. “Our mandate is to give the expected diverse new group of users a refreshed and creative concept that respects the built heritage and the mark left by the artists in the 1980s,” said Michel Langevin, partner at NIPPAYSAGE. The vision for the future Viger Square is built around several elements: user-friendliness, inclusiveness and a commitment to creating a space for all users, integration with the urban fabric, and commemorative elements that restore the space’s iconic character. www.nippaysage.ca

AWARDS RAIC launches call for submissions for 2017 awards program.

Architects are invited to submit projects for the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s (RAIC) awards program. The 10 awards honour a wide range of achievements in the architectural profession. The program seeks to increase public awareness of architecture, contribute to the development of the discipline and practice of architecture, and promote collective learning

on the part of the architectural community. The awards include the Gold Medal, the highest honour that the RAIC can bestow in recognition of a significant and lasting contribution to Canadian architecture. Considered a lifetime achievement in the profession, the award has in the past been bestowed upon architects such as Brian MacKay-Lyons, FRAIC, Peter Busby, FRAIC, and Douglas Cardinal, FRAIC. The Architectural Firm Award recognizes a practice that has consistently produced distinguished built work. Recognizing the achievements of the firm, the award acknowledges its quality of architecture, service to its clients, innovations in practice, contributions to architectural education and to professional institutions and associations, and public recognition. The Young Architect Award goes to a practitioner under 40 who demonstrates excellence in design, leadership and service to the profession. The prize is intended to inspire other young architects to become licensed and to strive for excellence in their work. The Emerging Architectural Practice Award recognizes the principals of a studio that is consistently producing distinguished architecture. It honours the principals’ achievements: the quality of their built work, service to their clients, innovations in practice and public recognition.

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CANADIAN ARCHITECT 11/16

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NEWS The Prix du XXe siècle, administered jointly with the National Trust for Canada, recognizes significant buildings of the mid-20th century. The award can be given to a building in Canada, designed by an architect from any country, or a building anywhere in the world that was designed by a Canadian architect. The Awards of Excellence are bestowed every two years. They recognize individuals who have made contributions to the architectural profession but are not necessarily architects. Award categories include: Advocate for Architecture; Allied Arts Medal; Innovation; Green Building; and the President’s Award for Media in Architecture.

www.raic.org

WHAT’S NEW Living Lightly on the Earth explores building the Prince Edward Island Ark.

In 1976, Solsearch Architects and the New Alchemy Institute brought to life “an early exploration in weaving together the sun, wind, biology and architecture for the benefit of humanity.” The ambitious Ark bioshelter on P.E.I. integrated ecological design features to provide a self-sufficient house for its inhabitants. Forty years later, a new exhibition at P.E.I.’s

Confederation Centre Art Gallery explores the story of the Ark and its architectural vision. Living Lightly on the Earth: Building an Ark for Prince Edward Island, 1974-76 revisits this innovative experiment in sustainable building. The exhibition includes architectural models and plans, photographs, and a new video featuring project architects David Bergmark, FRAIC, and Ole Hammarlund. “Many people in the Maritimes and around the world have heard of the P.E.I. Ark and are inspired by the vision it represents; but it’s mostly understood in almost mythical terms,” explains exhibition curator Steven Mannell, FRAIC, who directs the College of Sustainability at Dalhousie University. “This exhibition presents the Ark as both a vision and a reality. The Ark reminds us of the power of optimistic action in the face of seemingly overwhelming environmental problems, and challenges us to be similarly bold today.” Bergmark agrees. “The Ark Project offered us the opportunity of thinking outside the architectural box,” he said. “Working with the New Alchemy Institute—an inspired organization committed to sustainable practices— shaped our thinking and ultimately our careers. The greatest impact wasn’t the Ark Project itself, it was the dialogue the Ark continues to inspire in our lives and work.”

The collaborative exhibition is produced by Confederation Centre Art Gallery with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and BGHJ Architects. The exhibition runs until April 30, 2017. www.peiark.com

IN MEMORIAM Bing Thom

Architect Bing Thom died unexpectedly from a brain aneurysm on October 4, 2016. He was 75. At the time, he was in Hong Kong working on the Xiqu Theatre for Performing Arts. Best known for his Chan Centre for the Performing Arts in Vancouver, the Arena Stage theatre in D.C. and his city-building Surrey projects, Thom was one of the country’s most respected visionaries. Thom received a BA in Architecture in 1966 from the University of British Columbia and an MA in Architecture in 1970 from the University of California, Berkeley. He went to work for Japanese architect-urbanist Fumihiko Maki in 1971, returning to Canada in 1972, when he joined Arthur Erickson Architects. In 1982, Bing Thom established his own firm, Vancouver-based Bing Thom Architects. In 2010, Thom and his firm were awarded the RAIC ’s


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NEWS Architectural Firm Award, and in 2011, he was awarded the RAIC ’s highest honour—the RAIC Gold Medal. “The work of few practitioners fulfills the spirit and intent of the RAIC Gold Medal as Bing Thom’s does,” the Gold Medal jury wrote. “It is generally understood that the Gold Medal should recognize and honour a life’s work: Work that is noteworthy, instructive, influential, and at its best extraordinary. Mr. Thom’s work addresses all of these interests.” Bing Thom Architects received the Governor General’s Medal in Architecture for Point Grey Road Condominiums and a Governor General’s Award of Merit for the False Creek Yacht Club, both in Vancouver. He was a Member of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Golden Jubilee Medal for outstanding service to his country. He holds honorary degrees from Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia. Thom’s work earned him and his collaborators five AIBC Architectural Awards since 2011 for projects such as the Guildford Aquatic Centre, Surrey City Centre Library, the SAIT Parkade and Tarrant County College’s Trinity River East Campus. “Bing Thom […] does not have a signature architectural style,” wrote Witold Rybczynski in a review of Trinity River East Campus for

Canadian Architect. “Perhaps this is the lingering influence of his early mentor, Arthur Erickson, whose work also defied easy stylistic categorization. Some BTA projects dramatize their structure, some don’t; some emphasize details, some don’t; some have a memorable form, some don’t. The architect to whom Thom bears comparison is Renzo Piano—both men are builders whose designs emerge from construction as well as from program and site.” In a statement released upon Thom’s death, AIBC President Darryl Condon, FRAIC, wrote: “Bing Thom’s vision encouraged us all to consider how buildings affect the world beyond their walls. Thom was an ambassador for this vision, as well as a true gentleman and generous mentor. He will be deeply missed by the architectural community, especially in British Columbia, which is home to so many of Thom’s award-winning works.” www.bingthomarchitects.com

John Bentley Mays

John Bentley Mays, the Canadian journalist and writer best-known for his art and architecture column in the Globe and Mail, died of a heart attack on September 16, 2016 in Toronto. Born in the American South, Mays came to Toronto in 1969 to teach in the humanities

division of York University. His novel The Spiral Stair was published in 1978, and was followed by numerous short fictions. In 1980, he was hired to be art critic of the Globe and Mail. While he was at the Globe, Mays wrote his first nonfiction book, Emerald City: Toronto Visited, a harvest of columns about local architecture and urbanism. He was cultural correspondent at large for the National Post from 1998 until 2001. After leaving the Post, Mays worked as a freelance journalist and, occasionally, as an exhibitions curator and teacher of university-level courses about architecture. Until his passing, he wrote a weekly column about residential architecture for the Globe and Mail, and contributed articles to periodicals including Canadian Architect. Two of Mays’ books have been national bestsellers: In the Jaws of the Black Dogs: A Memoir of Depression and Power in the Blood: Land, Memory and a Southern Family. Mays lectured widely on art, design and religion. Among his recent teaching assignments were a course on suburbia at OCAD University, and, at the University of Toronto, a lecture series and seminars on the architecture of Mies van der Rohe, and a survey of modern architectural criticism and theory. www.johnbentleymays.com

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25 RAIC Awards of Excellence Submissions are now open for the RAIC Awards of Excellence, which recognize innovation, advocates, green building, media coverage, and allied arts. The deadline for submissions is January 26, 2017. Also open for submissions are the Architectural Firm Award, the Young Architect Award, the Emerging Architectural Practice Award, the Prix du XXe Siècle, and the Gold Medal, all with a deadline of January 19, 2017. www.raic.org Prix d’excellence de l’IRAC L’appel de candidatures est maintenant lancé pour les Prix d’excellence de l’IRAC qui récompensent l’innovation, la promotion de l’architecture, le bâtiment écologique, la couverture médiatique et les arts connexes. La date limite de présentation des candidatures est le 26 janvier 2017. L’appel de candidatures est également lancé pour le Prix du cabinet d’architectes de l’année, le Prix du jeune architecte, le Prix du cabinet d’architectes de la relève, le Prix du XXe siècle et la Médaille d’or de l’IRAC pour lesquels la date limite de présentation des candidatures est fixée au 19 janvier 2017. www.raic.org Membership renewal RAIC members can begin renewing their memberships for 2017 in November. Not yet a member? Application forms for 2017 are available at www.raic.org with special introductory pricing. Renouvellement des adhésions Les membres de l’IRAC peuvent commencer dès novembre à renouveler leur adhésion pour 2017. Vous n’êtes pas encore membre? Vous trouverez le formulaire d’adhésion à www.raic.org. Un tarif spécial est offert aux nouveaux membres. IIDEXCanada Registration is open for IIDEXCanada, presented by the RAIC and Interior Designers of Canada. The show runs from November 30 to December 1 in Toronto. www.iidexcanada.com IIDEXCanada L’inscription est maintenant ouverte pour IIDEX Canada présenté par l’IRAC et les Designers d’intérieur du Canada. Le salon professionnel est présenté du 30 novembre au 1er décembre, à Toronto. www.iidexcanada.com

RAIC Journal Journal de l’IRAC John Crace, FRAIC, is a Halifax-based independent consulting architect focused on sustainability. He has illustrated two books and published dozens of cartoons over the past 40 years.

Ça alors! Un gratte-ciel en bois, et vert en plus! John Crace, FRAIC, est un architecte indépendant établi à Halifax qui axe sa pratique sur la durabilité. Il a illustré deux livres et publié des dizaines de dessins humoristiques au cours des dernières 40 années.

Enter to Win Big Participez, un prix substantiel est offert Canadian architects are invited to submit their outstanding projects for a chance to win one of the most generous architecture prizes in the world. The second edition of the Moriyama RAIC International Prize competition is now open for submissions, with a March 2017 deadline. The laureate will receive $100,000 and a sculpture at a gala in Toronto on September 19, 2017. The award also brings international media coverage. Founded in 2014, the Moriyama RAIC International Prize is unusual. It celebrates a single work of architecture that is judged to be transformative, inspired as well as inspiring, and emblematic of the human values of respect and inclusiveness. It is open to all architects, irrespective of nationality and location, and recognizes buildings that have been in use for at least two years before the entry deadline.

The RAIC is the leading voice for excellence in the built environment in Canada, demonstrating how design enhances the quality of life, while addressing important issues of society through responsible architecture. www.raic.org L’IRAC est le principal porte-parole en faveur de l’excellence du cadre bâti au Canada. Il démontre comment la conception améliore la qualité de vie tout en tenant compte d’importants enjeux sociétaux par la voie d’une architecture responsable. www.raic.org/fr

The inaugural winner was Chinese architect Li Xiaodong for the Liyuan Library, located in a village outside Beijing. “This project is about the relationship of a building to its surroundings and its role in serving the community, rather than a building as a discrete object,” Li wrote in his submission statement.

Les architectes canadiens sont invités à soumettre leurs projets remarquables et à courir la chance de remporter l’un des prix en architecture les plus généreux au monde. La deuxième édition du Prix international Moriyama IRAC est maintenant lancée et la période de présentation des candidatures prendra fin en mars 2017. Le lauréat recevra un prix de 100 000 $ et une sculpture lors d’un gala qui se tiendra à Toronto, le 19 septembre 2017. Le lauréat fait également l’objet d’une couverture médiatique internationale. Fondé en 2014, le Prix international Moriyama IRAC est un prix inhabituel. Il récompense un bâtiment jugé transformateur, inspiré et inspirant, et emblématique des valeurs humaines de respect et d’inclusion. Il est ouvert à tous les architectes, peu importe leur nationalité et leur lieu d’exercice, et il célèbre des bâtiments en usage depuis au moins deux ans au moment de la date limite de dépôt des candidatures. L’architecte chinois Li Xiaodong a été le premier lauréat de ce prix pour la bibliothèque Liyuan, située dans un village à l’extérieur de Beijing. « Ce projet porte sur la relation d’un bâtiment par rapport à son environnement et sur son rôle

Maria Cook Editor, RAIC Journal Rédactrice en chef, Journal de l’IRAC


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Continued from page 25 As in 2014, three Moriyama RAIC Student Scholarships will be awarded to students registered full-time in an accredited Canadian university architecture program.

• the quality of engagement with the broader context—social, cultural, historical and political;

“The inaugural Moriyama RAIC International Prize and Scholarships competition was a great success,” says Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama, FRAIC, who partnered with the RAIC and the RAIC Foundation to create the prize.

• timelessness.

“For the next, we hope the prize will attract an even greater number of outstanding submissions from architects and firms, nationally and worldwide,” he says. “I look forward to an innovative, transformative architecture to not only win the prize, but to awaken ideas and thoughts that will alter our collective aspirations for the future.”

Suite de la page 25 visant à desservir la population, plutôt que d’être un objet discret », a écrit Li dans son exposé de candidature. 

The jury will consider a range of criteria, including:

• craftsmanship;

Deadline is March 8, 2017. For details, visit moriyama.raic.org.

Le jury évaluera les candidatures sur plusieurs critères, dont les suivants :

Tout comme en 2014, trois bourses étudiantes du Prix Moriyama IRAC seront remises à des étudiants inscrits à plein temps dans un programme d’architecture d’une université canadienne.

• the efficiency and effectiveness of the building in use;

« Le Prix international Moriyama IRAC et le concours des bourses étudiantes ont connu un grand succès à leur inauguration », a déclaré l’architecte Raymond Moriyama, FRAIC, qui s’est associé à l’IRAC et à la Fondation de l’IRAC pour créer le prix.

• response to site, climate and environmental conditions;

« Pour cette prochaine édition, nous espérons qu’il attirera un nombre encore

• the building’s formal and experiential qualities;

plus grand de candidatures extraordinaires d’architectes et de cabinets d’architectes d’ici et d’ailleurs dans le monde », a-t-il ajouté. « J’espère qu’un projet d’architecture innovatrice et transformatrice remportera le prix et qu’il éveillera les idées et la réflexion qui modifient notre aspiration collective pour le futur de l’humanité ».

• les qualités formelles et expérientielles du bâtiment; • l’efficacité et l’efficience du bâtiment dans son usage; • l’adaptation à l’emplacement et aux conditions climatiques et environnementales; • la qualité de l’engagement dans le contexte élargi—social, culturel, historique et politique; • le savoir-faire; • l’intemporalité. La date limite est le 8 mars 2017. Tous les détails à la page moriyama.raic.org/fr.

In harmony with its surroundings, the 175-squaremetre Liyuan Library has made a significant contribution to education, economic development and quality of life in its rural community. The construction budget was CAD $185,000.

En harmonie avec son milieu, la bibliothèque de 175 mètres carrés a apporté une contribution importante à l’éducation, au développement économique et à la qualité de vie dans la communauté rurale. Son budget de construction était de 185  000 $ CA.


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Indigenous Voices Voix autochtones

Maria Cook Editor, RAIC Journal Rédactrice en chef, Journal de l’IRAC

A new RAIC task force aims to advocate for appropriate, sustainable and culturally sensitive design solutions in Indigenous communities and urban spaces in Canada.

consultant, Louise Atkins, previously an executive with the Government of Canada, to provide support and identify funding sources.

“Respecting culture in Indigenous communities through design and construction is important but largely ignored in places that have a history of multiple challenges,” says RAIC President Allan Teramura, FRAIC.

“This task force’s mission is to empower Indigenous voices in architecture,” says Smoke. “We intend to bring the authority over architectural projects back into our communities. We will attract Indigenous young people into architecture by establishing a network of peers and support, and by celebrating successes so far.”

Patrick Stewart, Ph.D., MRAIC, chair of the task force, observes that government-built settlements for Canada’s Indigenous communities often lack appropriate housing and basic municipal services such as fire-fighting, sewage treatment, and clean drinking water. “These settlements are frequently affected by preventable natural disasters such as seasonal flooding,” adds Stewart. “Spaces and structures that support traditional cultural practices, and therefore Indigenous identity, are seldom provided.”

The task force plans to host an International Indigenous Architecture and Design symposium at the 2017 RAIC/OAA Festival of Architecture. Un nouveau groupe de travail vise à promouvoir des solutions de design appropriées, durables et sensibles à la culture dans les communautés autochtones et les espaces urbains du Canada.

The first meeting of the RAIC Indigenous Task Force took place on June 9 in Nanaimo, BC on Snuneymuxw territory, during the RAIC’s 2016 Festival of Architecture. It was the largest such gathering ever in Canada: nine First Nation and Métis architects, 12 people in total.

« Le respect de la culture dans les communautés autochtones par la conception et la construction est important, mais il est largement ignoré dans les lieux qui ont toujours éprouvé bien des difficultés », souligne Allan Teramura, FRAIC, président de l’IRAC.

Stewart and Eladia Smoke, MRAIC, gave a presentation at the Festival called Privileging Indigenous Knowledge, followed by a talk at the June 21 Aboriginal Day festivities in Ottawa.

Patrick Stewart, Ph. D., MRAIC, président du groupe de travail, fait remarquer que bien des villages construits par le gouvernement pour les communautés autochtones du Canada manquent souvent de logements appropriés et de services municipaux de base, comme les services de lutte contre l’incendie, le traitement des eaux usées, et l’approvisionnement en eau potable. « Ces villages subissent souvent des catastrophes naturelles qui auraient pu être évitées, comme les inondations saisonnières », ajoute Stewart. « Les espaces et les structures qui appuient les pratiques culturelles traditionnelles, et par conséquent, l’identité autochtone, sont rarement fournis. »

“We barely made it off the stage,” Stewart recalls. “There were so many questions. We suddenly realized that what is happening right now is historic. Together, we have an opportunity that no one has ever seen or imagined before. How will Indigenous cultures continue to shape Canada? What will this look like, how will it grow?” Since June, the task force has grown to 27 people. The RAIC has hired a part-time

La première réunion du groupe de travail autochtone de l’IRAC s’est tenue le 9 juin à Nanaimo (C.-B.), sur le territoire Snuneymuxw, pendant le Festival d’architecture 2016 de l’IRAC. C’était le plus grand rassemblement de ce genre au Canada : neuf architectes des Premières Nations et des Métis, 12 personnes au total. Pendant le Festival, Stewart et Eladia Smoke, MRAIC, ont présenté un exposé intitulé Privilégier le savoir autochtone. Plus tard, ils ont prononcé une allocution dans le cadre des festivités de la Journée nationale des Autochtones, le 21 juin, à Ottawa. « Nous avons eu de la difficulté à quitter la scène », se rappelle Stewart. « On nous posait tellement de questions! Nous avons soudainement réalisé que le moment était historique. Ensemble, nous avons une occasion que jamais personne n’a imaginée auparavant. Comment les cultures autochtones continueront-elles de façonner le Canada? À quoi le pays ressemblera-t-il? Comment s’exprimera sa croissance? » Depuis juin, le groupe de travail s’est élargi et compte maintenant 27 personnes. L’IRAC a embauché une consultante à temps partiel, Louise Atkins, une ancienne cadre du gouvernement du Canada, pour appuyer le groupe et trouver des sources de financement. « Ce groupe de travail a comme mission de permettre aux voix des Autochtones de se faire entendre en architecture », a dit Smoke. « Nous avons l’intention de ramener dans nos communautés l’autorité en matière de projets d’architecture. Nous attirerons les jeunes Autochtones dans la profession architecturale en créant un réseau de pairs et de soutien et en célébrant les succès remportés jusqu’à maintenant. » Le groupe de travail a l’intention de tenir un symposium international sur l’architecture et le design autochtones lors du Festival d’architecture IRAC/OAA 2017.

Left to right: Alfred Waugh, MRAIC, Wanda Dalla Costa, Harriett BurdettMoulton, FRAIC, Rachelle Lemieux, MRAIC, Patrick Stewart, MRAIC, Ouri Scott, MRAIC, Eladia Smoke, MRAIC, Jason Surkan, Ray Gosselin, MRAIC.

De gauche à droite: Alfred Waugh, MRAIC, Wanda Dalla Costa, Harriett Burdett-Moulton, FRAIC, Rachelle Lemieux, MRAIC, Patrick Stewart, MRAIC, Ouri Scott, MRAIC, Eladia Smoke, MRAIC, Jason Surkan, Ray Gosselin, MRAIC.

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The Power of Indigenous Placemaking La puissance de la création de lieux autochtones

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1 Thunder Bay Spirit Garden at sunset.

Calvin Brook, FRAIC Principal, Brook McIlroy Architects, Toronto Associé principal, Brook McIlroy Architects, Toronto

The Four-Percent Disconnect Indigenous people constitute four percent of Canada’s population. Though a comparatively small cohort, these 1.4 million Canadians are heir to a legacy of 12,000 years of history on Canadian land and water. Non-Indigenous Canadians number 34.6 million and, at best, can lay claim to 500 years (or four percent) of Canada’s twelve-millennia timeline of human settlement. However, when we look at the fabric of our communities, the character of our public spaces, and the design of our places of governance and education, the expression of Aboriginal culture is virtually invisible. Compounding this distorted identity, over 60 percent of Indigenous Canadians now live in urban areas and off-reserve. Though Aboriginal people constitute the fastest growing segment of Canadian society, there is little in the make-up of this country’s towns and cities that acknowledges the rich and diverse contributions of the founding peoples.

What does belonging look like if nothing of your culture, history, language or art is visible in the streets, parks and buildings where you live and work—how can you ever feel welcome there?

might we restore an Aboriginal presence in Canada’s public realm so that the most inspiring, everyday places are those where Indigenous and non-Indigenous people naturally come together?

The cultural apartheid identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as so damaging to Indigenous people has its imprint on the form of our communities. It also has a reciprocally debilitating effect on non-Indigenous Canadians. Deprived of the cultural knowledge, spaces and touchstones of Canada’s founding peoples, the points of access to create positive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals and groups simply don’t exist. Many well-intentioned non-Indigenous Canadians, who want to embrace reconciliation, suffer from a paralysis of inaction.

The three following examples are the products of co-design with Indigenous communities. They offer a glimpse of how interventions in our physical spaces can, in modest but profound ways, begin to address this need.

Hoop Dance: The Hoop Dance Indigenous Gathering Place at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, provides a space for learning, ceremony and social connection. Designed through a series of workshops with the elders of Six Nations and Mohawk College students, its form expresses Indigenous concepts of sustainability, time and inclusiveness.

Restoring Indigenous presence These missing sites and spaces are an issue that Canada’s design and placemaking professions must address. How

The Spirit Garden: Designed through a collaborative process with First Nations and Métis communities in Thunder Bay, Ontario page 32

2 View from inside the Deer Clan Longhouse. 3 Hoop Dance at Mohawk College. 4 Constructing the Thunder Bay Spirit Garden.

1 Le Spirit Garden de Thunder Bay au coucher du soleil. 2 Vue de l’intérieur de la maison longue du clan Deer. 3 Le pavillon Hoop Dance au Collège Mohawk. 4 La construction du Spirit Garden de Thunder Bay.

Photos: 1, 3—Tom Arban; 2, 4—David Whittaker

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Le décalage entre les quatre pour cent Les Autochtones représentent 1,4 million d’habitants au Canada ou quatre pour cent de la population totale du pays. Même s’ils ne sont qu’un groupe relativement restreint de notre population, ils sont les héritiers de 12 000 ans d’histoire des terres et des eaux canadiennes. Les Canadiens non autochtones sont quant à eux quelque 34,6 millions, mais ils sont les héritiers de 500 ans d’histoire tout au plus, soit quatre pour cent des 12 millénaires de la présence d’êtres humains au Canada. Pourtant, quand nous examinons le tissu de nos collectivités, le caractère de nos espaces publics et le design de nos lieux de gouvernance et d’éducation, nous n’y voyons pratiquement aucune expression de la culture autochtone. Cette absence d’identité est d’autant plus grave que plus de 60 pour cent des Canadiens autochtones vivent maintenant en zones urbaines et à l’extérieur des réserves. Les peuples autochtones forment le segment de la société canadienne qui connaît la crois-

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sance la plus rapide. Malgré cela, on trouve bien peu d’éléments qui reconnaissent la richesse et la diversité des contributions de ces peuples fondateurs dans les villes et villages de ce pays. Qu’est-ce que le sentiment d’appartenance pour celui qui ne voit aucun signe de sa culture, de son histoire, de sa langue ou de son art dans les rues, les parcs et les bâtiments où il habite et où il travaille—comment peut-il même s’y sentir le bienvenu? L’apartheid culturel que la Commission de vérité et réconciliation a trouvé tellement dommageable pour les peuples autochtones a laissé son empreinte sur la forme de nos collectivités. Il a aussi un effet réciproquement débilitant sur les Canadiens non autochtones. Privés du savoir culturel, des espaces et des pierres de touche des peuples fondateurs du Canada, les personnes et les groupes autochtones et non autochtones ne peuvent tout simplement pas trouver de point d’accès pour créer des relations positives. De nombreux Canadiens autochtones bien inten-

tionnés et désireux de réaliser la réconciliation sont paralysés par l’inaction. Restaurer la présence autochtone Les professionnels canadiens de la conception et de la création des lieux doivent se pencher sur ce manque de sites et d’espaces. Comment pouvons-nous restaurer une présence autochtone dans le domaine public du Canada de manière à ce que les lieux les plus inspirants que l’on fréquente tous les jours deviennent ceux où les peuples autochtones et non autochtones se rassemblent naturellement? Voici trois exemples qui illustrent le fruit de la collaboration des communautés autochtones au processus de conception. Ils montrent comment ces interventions dans nos espaces physiques peuvent de façon modeste, mais profonde, commencer à répondre au besoin d’une présence autochtone.

Hoop Dance : le lieu de rassemblement page 32

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RAIC Journal at the Modernist Vanguard Le Journal de l’IRAC à l’avant-garde du modernisme

1 Canada maps the unfolding of architectural modernity across the country. 2 This image of the Canada Packers plant in Edmonton (1936), designed by Eric Arthur, was published in the August 1937 issue of the RAIC Journal.

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In their newly published book, Canada: Modern Architectures in History, Michelangelo Sabatino and Rhodri Windsor Liscombe examine the place of Canadian design practice and thinking in the North American and international narratives of modernism. The following excerpt from Chapter 2 describes the role played by the RAIC Journal in disseminating new ideas. Chapter 2 The inaugural issue of The Journal, published by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), appeared in spring, 1924. Editor Isadore Markus defined traditional objectives—“To stress both to the architect and the public that architecture is an art and as such not to be overshadowed by the scientific and business activities that must accompany its practice”— although focused on promoting “Canadian work of national importance.” The Journal became a platform for discourse about architecture’s response to contemporary conditions—especially from November 1927, when Toronto architect Martin Baldwin favourably reviewed the English translation of Le Corbusier’s Vers une architecture. “The effect of the book”’ Baldwin declared, “is the same as that of a walk across hilly country on a windy day.” A British-born architect, Markus made a valuable contribution to progressive professional discourse and practice in

3 The July 1937 issue of the RAIC Journal featured a modernist cover by the English designer Eric Gill, depicting an outline of an Ionic column and simple typography.

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Canada that has been overlooked. In the March 1928 issue of The Journal, he quoted Ralph Adams Cram’s praise for American skyscraper architecture. In December 1930, he included the précis of a lecture Erich Mendelsohn had given at the Architectural Association School in London on the “Modern Movement.” In May 1931, came a longer piece by Jacques Carlu based on a lecture at the Art Gallery of Ontario in tandem with an exhibition he curated. In “Tradition and Modernism,” Carlu welcomed the opportunity afforded by: “A new age of steel and machines; culturally and socially the world is in a state of transition—a period of great architectural expression is open to us, a period of analysis and experimentation.” He wrote: “The architecture of tomorrow, clinging closely to essential truth, shall be sound, sober, clean, logical, forcible and unadorned as divinities; built for a certain purpose with the maximum of efficiency and minimum of effort and cost and shall be definitely freed from the oppression of costly styles.” The article “How to Appreciate Architecture,” which Markus commissioned from Toronto architect Eric Arthur for the February 1936 issue of The Journal, provides a vantage point to view Canadian imbibing of modernism’s medicine. Arthur encouraged architects to embrace the “machine age” in their design, recognizing that “modern materials and construction have

an intrinsic beauty” needing “no embellishment.” The new architecture, he wrote, was equivalent to the New Deal, which could expunge the Depression “of taste” that had shackled architects to “archaeological research” and “imitation.” Arthur became editor of The Journal in July 1937. He mounted a polemical campaign ahead even of his teaching and practice. He reprinted articles by leading modernists from the international as well as national scene. Most notable were William Lescaze’s January 1938 “A New Architecture for a Changed World”; Richard Neutra’s July 1938 “Time and the Individual in Architecture”; and Le Corbusier’s February 1943 “If I had to teach you architecture.” Arthur selected well and opened Canada to the world of emergent modernism at a time when travel (and direct observation of new buildings) for most architects was still out of reach. He commissioned articles from Toronto architect John Lyle and planner Humphrey Carver, a British immigrant, on the major international expositions. He also reprinted Lewis Mumford’s appraisal of the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Between 1937 and 1939, Arthur reproduced fine illustrations of widely located modernist architecture: Neutra’s contemporary architecture for dwelling and learning; R.A.H. Livett’s Quarry Hill Flats, page 32

1 Canada montre la progression de l’architecture moderne à travers le pays. 2 Cette illustration de l’usine Canada Packers à Edmonton (1936), dessinée par Eric Arthur, a été publiée dans le numéro d’août 1937 du Journal de l’IRAC. 3 La page couverture du numéro de juillet 1937 du Journal de l’IRAC était de style moderne, conçue par le designer anglais Eric Gill, avec le simple dessin en profil d’une colonne ionique et une typographie simple.


RAIC Journal

Journal de l’IRAC

Dans leur ouvrage récemment paru, Canada: Modern Architectures in History, Michelangelo Sabatino et Rhodri Windsor Liscombe examinent la place de l’architecture et de la réflexion architecturale du Canada dans l’histoire internationale et nord-américaine du modernisme. Le texte qui suit est une traduction libre d’un extrait du chapitre 2 dans lequel les auteurs décrivent le rôle joué par le The Journal de l’IRAC dans la diffusion des nouvelles idées. Chapitre 2 Le premier numéro du The Journal, publié par l’Institut royal d’architecture du Canada (IRAC), est paru au printemps 1924. L’éditeur, Isadore Markus, définissait ainsi les objectifs traditionnels de la publication : « Souligner aux architectes et au public que l’architecture est un art et qu’à ce titre, elle ne doit pas être éclipsée par les activités scientifiques et commerciales nécessaires à son exercice », tout en insistant sur la promotion des « œuvres canadiennes d’importance nationale ». The Journal est devenu une plateforme de discussion sur l’intervention architecturale en contexte contemporain—surtout à compter de novembre 1927, après la publication d’une critique favorable de l’architecte torontois Martin Baldwin sur la traduction de Vers une architecture de Le Corbusier. « Ce livre a le même effet qu’une marche en montagne par une journée venteuse », a-t-il déclaré. On a oublié la contribution de Markus, un architecte né en Grande-Bretagne, à la théorie et à la pratique progressives de la profession. Dans le numéro de 1928 du The Journal, il rappelait à quel point Ralph Adams Cram était fier de l’architecture des gratte-ciel américains. En décembre 1930, il publiait le résumé d’un exposé livré par Erich Mendelsohn à l’Architectural Association School de Londres sur le « mouvement moderne ». En mai 1931, The Journal a publié un plus long article de Jacques Carlu, sur une conférence présentée au Musée des beauxarts de l’Ontario en parallèle avec une exposition dont il était le commissaire. Dans « Tradition and Modernism », Carlu saluait l’occasion offerte par : « Un nouvel âge de l’acier et des machines; sur les plans culturel et social, le monde est en état de transition—une période de grande expression architecturale s’ouvre à nous, une période d’analyse et d’expérimentation. » Il écrivait aussi : « L’architecture de demain, étroite-

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ment liée à la vérité essentielle, doit être solide, sobre, propre, logique, vigoureuse et sans artifices, selon la tradition; bâtie dans un but particulier avec un maximum d’efficacité et un minimum d’efforts et de coûts; elle doit être absolument libérée de l’oppression des styles coûteux. » L’article « How to Appreciate Architecture » de l’architecte torontois Eric Arthur que Markus a accepté de publier dans le numéro de février 1937 du The Journal offre un point de vue particulier sur l’accueil réservé par le Canada à la médecine du modernisme. Arthur encourage les architectes à intégrer « l’âge de la machine » à leur design, reconnaissant que « les matériaux et la construction modernes ont une beauté intrinsèque » et qu’il n’y a « nul besoin d’embellir ». Il établit un parallèle entre la nouvelle architecture et la Nouvelle Donne en disant qu’elle peut mettre fin à la Dépression « du goût » qui a menotté les architectes et les a limités à la « recherche archéologique » et à « l’imitation ».

Arthur est devenu le rédacteur en chef du The Journal en juillet 1937. Il a monté une campagne polémique à laquelle il a consacré plus d’énergie qu’à son rôle d’enseignant et de praticien. Il a republié des articles rédigés par les principaux modernistes de la scène mondiale et de la scène nationale, dont les plus importants sont « A New Architecture for a Changed World », de William Lescaze, publié en janvier 1938; « Time and the Individual in Architecture », de Richard Neutra, en juillet 1938; et « If I had to teach you architecture », de Le Corbusier, en février 1943. Arthur savait choisir ses articles et il a ouvert le Canada au monde du modernisme émergent à une époque où les voyages (et l’observation en direct des nouveaux bâtiments) étaient hors de portée pour la plupart des architectes. Il a commandé des articles à l’architecte John Lyle, de Toronto, et à Humphrey Carver, un urbaniste d’origine britannique, sur les principales expositions internationales. Il a également republié

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RAIC Journal

Journal de l’IRAC

Continued from page 30 in Leeds, UK (1938); the Tecton Group’s Penguin Pool at the London Zoo; Sven Markelius’s Stockholm Building Trades Club; Serge Chermayeff’s house Bentley Wood at Halland, in Sussex, UK; and Oscar Niemeyer, Lucio Costa and Le Corbusier’s Ministry of Education in Rio de Janeiro (1939-43). Michelangelo Sabatino, Ph.D., is professor and director of the doctoral program at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Forthcoming publications include Arthur C. Erickson: Architec-

ture into Landscape (2017). Rhodri Windsor Liscombe, Ph.D., is professor emeritus in the Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory at the University of British Columbia. His most recent book is Architecture and the

Canadian Fabric (2011).

Tom Arban

Canada: Modern Architectures in History is available at bookstores and online for $45.

Continued from page 29 and built using traditional bentwood fabrication methods, this contemporary expression of Indigenous placemaking hosts a wide range of community events and has become an emblem for the city.

Deer Clan Longhouse: Located within a reconstructed 15th-century Iroquoian Village in the Crawford Lake Conservation Area in southern Ontario, this contemporary cultural centre hosts 70,000 school children a year. The Longhouse replicates the form of a 15th-century Wendat longhouse village, but within its interior, provides a space reflecting Indigenous modernity.

exprime par sa forme les concepts autochtones de la durabilité, de la temporalité et de l’inclusion.

Le Jardin des esprits : conçu selon un processus de collaboration avec les communautés des Premières Nations et des Métis de Thunder Bay, en Ontario, et construit en bois courbé selon les modes de fabrication traditionnels, ce jardin est une expression contemporaine de la création de lieux autochtones. Il accueille divers événements communautaires et il est devenu un emblème de la ville.

Indigenous placemaking provides one means for architects and allied professions to contribute to reconciliation—and in the process, transform our streetscapes and landscapes to better reflect who we are, and want to become, as Canadians.

La maison longue du clan du Daim : situé dans un village iroquoien reconstitué du 15e siècle, dans l’aire de conservation du lac Crawford au sud de l’Ontario, ce centre culturel contemporain accueille 70 000 élèves chaque année. La maison longue reprend la forme d’une maison longue du village des Wendats. À l’intérieur, elle offre toutefois des espaces qui reflètent la modernité autochtone.

Suite de la page 29 autochtone Hoop Dance au Mohawk College, à Hamilton, en Ontario, est un lieu d’apprentissage, de cérémonie et de contacts sociaux. Conçu dans le cadre d’une série d’ateliers avec les aînés de Six Nations et des étudiants du collège, ce lieu

La création de lieux autochtones offre aux architectes et aux membres des professions connexes une façon de contribuer à la réconciliation et, ce faisant, de transformer nos paysages, urbains et autres, afin de mieux exprimer notre nature réelle et nos aspirations en tant que Canadiens.

Detail of Hoop Dance at Mohawk College.

Suite de la page 31 l’article de Lewis Mumford sur l’Exposition universelle de New York de 1939.

Détail du pavillon Hoop Dance au Collège Mohawk.

Entre 1937 et 1939, Arthur a reproduit de magnifiques illustrations de l’architecture moderniste de différents endroits dans le monde : des maisons et des établissements d’enseignement contemporains de Neutra; les Quarry Hill Flats de R.A.H. Livett, construits à Leeds, au RoyaumeUni (1938); le bassin des manchots du Groupe Tecton, au zoo de Londres; le club des métiers du bâtiment de Stockholm, de Sven Markelius; la maison Bentley Wood de Serge Chermayeff, à Halland, dans le Sussex, au Royaume-Uni; et le siège du ministère de l’Éducation, à Rio de Janeiro, des architectes Oscar Niemeyer, Lucio Costa et Le Corbusier (1939-43). Michelangelo Sabatino, Ph. D., est professeur et directeur du programme doctoral à l’Illinois Institute of Technology de Chicago. Il publiera sous peu

Arthur C. Erickson: Architecture into Landscape (2017). Rhodri Windsor Liscombe, Ph. D., est un professeur émérite du département d’histoire de l’art, d’art visuel et de théorie de l’Université de la ColombieBritannique. Son plus récent ouvrage s’intitule

Architecture and the Canadian Fabric (2011). Canada: Modern Architectures in History est disponible en librairie et en ligne au prix de 45 $.


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OMA’S NEW PAVILION FOR A QUEBEC CITY MUSEUM PUTS GENEROUS PUBLIC SPACES AND AN INTERNATIONAL-CALIBRE ART COLLECTION IN THE FOREGROUND.

CIVIC ART

Pierre Lassonde Pavilion, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Battlefields Park, Quebec City, Quebec ARCHITECTS OMA (design architect) with Provencher_Roy (associate architect) TEXT Olivier Vallerand PROJECT

The new Pierre Lassonde Pavilion for the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ ) in Quebec City is an unusual beast. It’s a worldclass building by a pre-eminent international firm, an exceptional occurrence in the province. Added to that, it was designed on a tight budget. The collection it houses is equally surprising—while the


NIC LEHOUX ABOVE The pavilion’s cascading gallery blocks are connected by a projecting staircase with views towards the Plains of Abraham. A generous entrance lobby faces the city’s Grande Allée.

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MNBAQ’s galleries focus on local artists, the quality of the work is on par with the best in the world of art. Unlike other “blockbuster” cultural projects of recent years, the Lassonde is relatively discreet, letting the art collection shine through. It also makes a considerate companion to the collection of buildings surrounding the original 1933 museum, to which the pavilion is connected, and establishes a thoughtful relationship to its verdant setting on the historic Plains of Abraham, at the edge of Old Quebec. The creation of a new pavilion was first discussed more than a decade ago, leading to the acquisition of a former convent and a still-in-use presbytery next door to the museum’s campus. A 2009 international

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GROUND FLOOR  1 PIERRE LASSONDE PAVILION   2 PRESBYTERY   3 PEDESTRIAN TUNNEL   4 CENTRAL PAVILION   5 GÉRARD MORISSET PAVILION   6 CHARLES BAILLAIRGÉ PAVILION

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design competition called for a new gallery building on the convent grounds. The open competition is still a rare thing in Quebec (and in Canada), where tight budgets and popular scepticism towards its benefits usually prevail. As it turns out, the MNBAQ’s competition was launched at a particularly opportune moment, with the effects of the 2008 financial crisis impacting leading firms around the world. It is impossible to know if a starchitecture firm such as OMA , whose New York office under the leadership of Shohei Shigematsu won the commission, would have been attracted to this relatively low-key project in another context. The austerities of both the global and local economic situations were ultimately also a boon to the design, leading the team to eschew iconic gestures and focus on the museum as a space devoted to the public. In typical OMA fashion, the winning design is at once exceedingly simple in its concept and complex in its execution, the latter completed with Montreal-based Provencher_Roy. Three boxes containing the gal-

leries are stacked up and slid out: OMA’s conceptual diagrams show a slice of park pried up to create a space joining the museum and the city. Under the cantilever, a Grand Hall houses the ticket counter, museum shop and café. In the competition design, accessible gardens were planned on top of every box. In the final version, budgetary and climatic considerations limited access to only one section of a single roof. A second roof is landscaped with sculptures that cleverly complement the contemporary gallery from which they can be viewed. This volumetric parti yields a building with vast interior spaces that manages to avoid being overly imposing from the exterior. Its scale coexists harmoniously with the neighbouring church, existing museum buildings and historic park. Glazed walls adjoining social and circulation spaces (as well as some exhibition galleries) connect back out, offering visitors views towards the park and the city. Although simple in appearance, these gestures necessitated innovative approaches by the architects and engineers. For the walls, they developed


NIC LEHOUX BRUCE DAMONTE OPPOSITE, TOP TO BOTTOM The translucent façade glows softly at night; a gallery displaying contemporary art faces a rooftop sculpture garden. ABOVE, TOP TO BOTTOM The Grand Hall is detailed as an extension of the outdoor plaza; JeanPaul Riopelle’s 40-metre-long triptych Hommage à Rosa Luxembourg is displayed in its entirety in a tunnel connecting the pavilion to the historic museum buildings.

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SECTION  1 GRAND HALL  2 TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS  3 AUDITORIUM  4 PERMANENT COLLECTION  5 INUIT GALLERY  6 OFFICE  7 WORKSHOP  8 MECHANICAL ROOM

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ABOVE A wood-clad bookstore faces a courtyard framed by the presbytery and former convent buildings. OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Spacious lobbies and lounges offer places for visitors to rest and socialize, combatting museum fatigue; the galleries include darkened spaces to preserve fragile artworks, as well as areas with controlled natural light; a sculptural stair connects the lower three levels; a curved wall invites visitors to enter a tunnel connecting museum buildings; the glass-enclosed projecting stair provides sweeping views of the surrounding parkland.

triple-insulated glass units composed of five layers of fritted, coated and clear glass, tinted green to match the church’s roof. The units control light, temperature and humidity to the museum’s exacting standards in the face of Quebec City’s highly variable climate. This bespoke glass adds much weight to an already impressive cantilever, which extends 20 metres over the hall. While most of the structural elements are hidden in the ceiling, alongside mechanical ductwork, some are left visible; the fritted-glass wall pattern is sized and placed to underscore the diagonals of the visible structure. The impressive Grand Hall is designed as continuous with the urban plaza: a curtain wall offers direct views into the museum, while granite floor tiles take their rhythm from outside. Diverse experiences encircle the space, yet it avoids feeling cluttered thanks to its vast scale and the

clear expression of its different functions. The feature stair performs as visual spectacle; it is positioned opposite an OMA-designed, woodclad bookshop. Along the northeast of the hall, a massive concrete wall covers the side of the presbytery and frames a portal towards a reconfigured courtyard. The Grand Hall is much larger than strictly necessary—a strategy repeated in numerous event spaces spread throughout the pavilion, including three restaurants, that function effectively in punctuating the museum goer’s experience. One of the main problems in museum design is creating circulation that averts visitor fatigue—here rendered even more challenging by the need to connect, through an underground tunnel, to the older parts of the museum complex, more than 100 metres away. Visitors are drawn towards the tunnel by Jean-Paul Riopelle’s Hommage à Rosa Luxembourg,


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a 40-metre-long triptych exhibited for the first time as one continuous piece—unfortunately, protected under glass from the circulation space. Despite the presence of the powerful Riopelle, one of Quebec’s most important works, the tunnel remains a place of movement, filled with visitors intent on reaching the other side. Creative intentions similarly inform the circulation elements inside the new pavilion, with greater success. From the Grand Hall, a dramatic circular staircase descends to a glass-walled auditorium at the tunnel level, and rises to the second-floor gallery entrance. The stair’s dimensions are deliberately large-scale to slow down visitors and encourage them to experience the vast space and views. The stair will become even more integral to the museum experience if the long, curved wall alongside it is hung with large-scale works, as hoped for by the architects. Likewise,

they designed the stair landing with extra room to allow it to display sculptures. The landing is itself an unusual experience, equipped with a window that provides glimpses into a gallery. Visitors climb from the second to the third floor by way of a glass staircase slung alongside the building, suspended over the park. A sumptuous golden elevator also adorns every floor. From outside, the metallic shaft echoes the forms of the church’s bell-tower and a nearby nineteenth century prison watchtower, from a building that has since been converted into a museum pavilion. The elevator’s shimmering tone is also a nod to the pavilion’s main donor, mining entrepreneur Pierre Lassonde. Just as donor names are visible throughout the museum, from the tunnel wall to the stair risers, the burnished elevator highlights the new role that private money

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GROUND FLOOR  1 MUSEUM PLAZA  2 CAFE  3 TICKETING  4 GRAND HALL  5 COAT CHECK AND STORAGE  6 COURTYARD  7 BOOKSTORE  8 TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS  9 ATRIUM STAIR

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is playing in cultural institutions in the province. Museum director Line Ouellet says that visitors are surprised to see so many donor names—but are also impressed and grateful for this new form of community engagement. On the other hand, it is also a sign of the government’s increasing financial disengagement in cultural development. OMA’s first building in Canada delivers. While it is not the firm’s most extravagant realization, it is a top-notch structure that already attracts much interest. Attendance has exploded, and many Quebecers are expressing pride in the new pavilion. The Lassonde succeeds through its simple but bold form, which is entirely at the service of the art and the visitors coming to see it.


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The feature stair includes a landing large enough to display artwork and a window that offers a peek into an adjacent gallery; the structural trusses are an integral part of the gallery design and feature prominently on the façades. ABOVE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP The pavilion is conceived as a link between the city on one side and the riverfront Battlefields Park on the other; one of the museum’s rooftops is accessible to visitors; windows from the lower level lobby face into the auditorium. OPPOSITE, TOP TO BOTTOM

The pavilion is also an ode to Quebec City’s particular change of seasons: its apparent material simplicity constantly reacts to seasons and hours of the day. From the inside, the park becomes its wallpaper. From outside, the glass exterior ref lects changing light and becomes a lantern at night, making the museum a visible presence in the city. Rain or shine, the Lassonde is a comfortable environment—a museum in the vanguard of a new generation of cultural institutions that are truly civic buildings. Olivier Vallerand is an architect with 1x1x1 Creative Lab, and is starting postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design.

CLIENT MUSÉE NATIONAL DES BEAUX-ARTS DU QUÉBEC | ARCHITECT TEAM OMA—SHOHEI SHIGEMATSU, JASON LONG, CEREN BINGOL, LUKE WILLIS, RAMI ABOU-KHALIL, JACKIE WOON BAE, MATHIEU LEMIEUX BLANCHARD, CARLY DEAN, MARKUS VON DELLINGSHAUSEN, PATRICK HOBGOOD, MICHAEL JEFFERSON, DEMAR JONES, SUE LETTIERI, TED LIN, TSUYOSHI NAKAMOTO, CASS NAKASHIMA, MARTIN RAUB, RACHEL ROBINSON, SARA INES RUAS, RICHARD SHARAM, ANDY WESTNER, SANDY YUM. PROVENCHER_ROY—MICHEL ROY, CLAUDE PROVENCHER, PASCAL LESSARD, JONATHAN AUDET, RÉAL BARIL, ANIK BASTIEN-THOUIN, MÉLANIE CARON, VÉRONIQUE DE BELLEFEUILLE, KONSTANTIN DEMIN, DANIELLE DEWAR, DANIEL LEGAULT, LAYLA MACLEOD, SONIA MAILLOUX, GUILLAUME MARTEL-TRUDEL, CÉLINE CORALIE MERTENAT, KATELL MEURIC, FANETTE MONTMARTIN, FRANCK MURAT, AUDREY PICHÉ MANDEVILLE. | STRUCTURAL SNC LAVALIN | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL BOUTHILLETTE PARIZEAU/TEKNIKA HBA | LANDSCAPE FAHEY + ASSOCIÉS | CONTRACTOR EBC | CODE TECHNORM | ACOUSTICS LEGAULT & DAVIDSON | VERTICAL TRANSPORT EXIM | COSTING CHP INC. | LIGHTING BURO HAPPOLD | FAÇADE DESIGN FRONT | FAÇADE ENGINEERING PATENAUDE TREMPE, INC., ALBERT ESKENAZI, CPA STRUCTURAL GLASS | AUDITORIUM TRIZART ALLIANCE | LOCAL ADVISOR LUC LEVÉSQUE | AREA 14,900 M2 | BUDGET $104 M | COMPLETION JUNE 2016

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For a video tour, visit: canadianarchitect.com/features/dufresne/

NESTING BOXES AN ELEGANT ARTS CENTRE IS THE NUCLEUS OF A NEW CIVIC HUB FOR AN OFF-ISLAND SUBURB OF MONTREAL. Centre d’art Diane Dufresne, Repentigny, Quebec ACDF Architecture TEXT Nik Luka PHOTOS Adrien Williams, unless otherwise noted PROJECT

ARCHITECTS

A quiet but elegant declaration has been made on the outskirts of Montreal. Gracing the off-island suburb of Repentigny, facing one of the oldest stone churches in North America, the Centre d’art Diane Dufresne by Maxime-Alexis Frappier, FIRAC, and his team at ACDF Architecture is the centrepiece for a new municipal hub. The beautiful building announces that civic architecture can take its rightful place in the sprawling suburban landscapes that ring Canada’s major urban centres. The Centre sits within a series of handsome frames: it’s surrounded by the bucolic lawns and gardens of a municipal park, encircled by hardscaped elements in stone and wood, and perched upon a platform fronted by an elegant reflecting pool. From the last arises a well-scaled colonnade of nine bays, the Centre’s front porch. The building itself takes shape as a glass-fronted atrium, into which are set a sensuously Aalto-like set of wood-clad boxes. These house a large exhibition hall, a multifunctional room for activities, events, and artists-in-residence, and a series of smaller dedicated program spaces. One of these, a music room, includes practice chambers used by the local school board, as part of an initiative to help reintegrate high-school dropouts who now seek to finish their diplomas. The interior colonnade functions as both threshold and ceremonial space, unifying the zones dedicated to exhibition, production, performance, and administration in a stately yet intimate manner, and tipping its hat to the larger civic site in both winter and summer. The context is typical of Canada’s postwar built environment, yet has certain unique qualities. A village node has existed in Repentigny for centuries. The town’s main street, Rue Notre-Dame, was the first permanent road built during the French regime—the Chemin du Roy, or King’s Way, linked the rogue merchant town of Ville-Marie with the colonial capital of Quebec City. Nowadays, Notre-Dame is a mix of pre-Confederation vernacular structures confusingly juxtaposed with (to paraphrase Henry Miller) the banal pan-continental “air-conditioned nightmare” of the suburban strip. Practitioners, state agencies and academics have directed our attention to the challenges of reworking similar contexts across North America, which Nina-Marie Lister, who teaches ecological design and landscape


The Diane Dufresne Centre’s brushed stainless steel columns are lit in silhouette at night. The rhythmic colonnade flanks a reflecting pool. The wood-and-metal building is the anchor of a future civic hub for the Montreal suburb. A concert hall is planned across the plaza. New urban gardens, along with the exisiting town hall and library, will complete the precinct.

OPPOSITE ABOVE

planning at Ryerson University, aptly terms “trashed space”.1 Repentigny is enjoying greater success than other suburbs as it revamps its old village core with a new morphology that is defined neither by heavy-handed “cityness” nor by turgid attempts to appease the forces of suburban functionalism. It is part of a slow but exciting wave of continent-wide projects and strategies for re-urbanizing postwar urban form in ways that respond to the positive qualities of the context. It also exemplifies an approach that takes the heritage value of these settings seriously, as cultural landscapes, without resorting to prewar pastiche. 2 The Centre strengthens its context with a particularly Canadian subtlety. Consider the central colonnade, which echoes the allées of mature trees along the site’s long axis, recalling the ancient seigneurial system of long-lot farms. It anchors the Centre in an enfilade of spaces that bring the experience of entering and exiting the pavilion fully into the public landscape, effectively unifying the institutional, commercial, infrastructural, and semi-pastoral elements of its surroundings. An awkward backto-back relationship with nondescript bungalows on the southwest part of the site is deftly handled through the use of pathways to nudge pedestrian traffic to the front side, without resorting to stark visual barriers. Visually, the Centre engages in a friendly conversation with the church across the street (dramatically named Église de la Purification-de-la-Bienheureuse-Vierge-Marie). The facilities cleverly share a parking lot, which is politely hidden behind a screen of vegetation. The materiality of the church’s tinplate roof and steeples is echoed in the use of brushed steel on both the colonnade and the main volume of the Centre. Behind the matte metal envelope, the wood-clad volumes protrude from the building, spilling back into the landscape. At once containing and contained, the Centre is somehow reminiscent of Russell’s paradox of sets that do not contain themselves, rendered beautiful in architectural form. This weave

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SITE PLAN  1 CENTRE D’ART DIANE DUFRESNE  2 REFLECTING POOL  3 PLAZA  4 FUTURE PERFORMANCE HALL  5 HISTORIC CHURCH AND PRESBYTERY (1725)  6 L’ASSOMPTION DEVELOPMENT CENTRE

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ABOVE The materiality of the pavilion continues on its rear elevation, which carves out a quiet area for lounging and reading. OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP An atrium provides access to the exhibition hall, auditorium, and music studios, housed in curved wooden volumes; the exterior colonnade creates a classic promenade alongside the building; a view inside the exhibition area.

of nesting forms rewards both the passer-by seeing the Centre as a tableau, and the active participant moving through it as a physical space. Public enthusiasm has greeted the Centre since its gala opening, which culminated what Frappier describes as one of the most rewarding processes of designer-client interaction he’s experienced. The architect credits a mayor with a strong vision, a supportive administration, and a keen citizenry, all of whom participated in the development of the project. Among the individuals most delighted by the project is the person for whom it is named—Diane Dufresne, a beloved Quebecoise musician and painter, whose artistic work has merited knighthood in both the Ordre national du Québec and France’s Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur. Context matters here more than in most institutional projects in suburban landscapes. Frappier’s Centre d’art acts as the nucleus of a civic axis for Repentigny planned by another excellent Montreal firm, Daoust Lestage, in an earlier commission. The future hub, dubbed Espace culturel, will eventually boast a concert hall and a series of urban gardens, connecting the Centre to the existing town hall and public library, about 400 metres to the northwest. The central elements of this civic axis will be linked to the nearby St. Lawrence River by new mixed-use buildings and a handsome series of parkettes and small squares. To play a unifying role in a larger urban composition designed by others is challenging, and Frappier and his team have done exceptionally well. It bears noting that, unlike other important cultural buildings in the province, the Centre was not the fruit of a design competition. A conventional call was put forward with clear, robust criteria for an excellent design that would help to eventually consolidate a civic hub where people will actually want to spend their free time. The Espace culturel will take several more years to complete—but what Repentigny has already put forward is remarkable and encouraging for the reworking of Canada’s postwar metropolitan landscapes.

Nik Luka is an associate professor who holds joint appointments with the School of Architecture and School of Urban Planning at McGill University. [1] N.-M. Lister, “Trashed Space: Reclaiming Urban Junkscape” in J. Knechtel (Ed.),

Trash (MIT Press, 2006, pp. 63-74). [2] Two good American compendiums are noteworthy: E. Dunham-Jones & J. Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs (Wiley, 2011) and P. Lukez, Suburban Transformations (Princeton Architectural Press, 2007). In Canada, excellent work is being done by researchers at Université Laval in Québec City; see A. Fortin, C. Després, & G. Vachon, “The Suburb as Heritage: Food for Thought” in Heritage, 4(1), pp. 25-28; G. Vachon & C. Després, “Réaménager le territoire des banlieues : propositions urbaines et architecturales” in A. Fortin, C. Després, & G. Vachon (Eds.), La banlieue revisitée (Éditions Nota Bene, 2002, pp. 259-285), and G. Vachon et al., “Collaborative Planning and Design for a Sustainable Neighborhood as part of Québec City’s University Campus,” in K. Thwaites, S. Porta, O. Romice, & M. Greaves (Eds.), Urban Sustainability through Environmental Design: Approaches

to Time-People-Place Responsive Urban Spaces (Routledge, 2007, pp. 129-135).

CLIENT VILLE DE REPENTIGNY | ARCHITECT TEAM MAXIME-ALEXIS FRAPPIER, JOAN RENAUD, MARTIN CHAMPAGNE, MAXIME BOISELLE, MATHIEU ST-HILAIRE, FRANCE PERRAS, CHRISTELLE MONTREUIL JEAN-POIS, ÉTIENNE LAPLANTE, GUILLAUME PELLETIER | STRUCTURAL DUBÉ BEAUDRY ET ASSOCIÉS | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL WSP | CONTRACTOR L’ARCHEVÊQUE ET RIVEST | LANDSCAPE BC2 | THEATRE SCÉNO PLUS | ARTISTS JEAN-PAUL MOUSSEAU (LAMP), MARCELLE FERRON (STAINED GLASS), RICHARD LANGEVIN (EXTERIOR SCULPTURE) | AREA 1,365 M2 | BUDGET $6 M | COMPLETION AUGUST 2015


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PERIMETER PLAYER

A DOWNTOWN TORONTO SPORTS CENTRE SQUEEZES UP AGAINST ITS LOT LINES TO FOR VARSITY COMPETITIONS, ALONG WITH FITNESS AREAS OFFERING STUNNING CA


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Set alongside a varsity football pitch, the new sports centre presents a glazed façade that offers field-side views from the upperstorey workout areas. ABOVE Backlit panels surround elevators and stairs that bring spectators to the lower level court for intercollegiate and intramural basketball and volleyball games. OPPOSITE The competition-sized court is housed underground where the floorplate could extend fully to the lot lines, allowing for bleachers on all sides. Tall clerestories provide additional opportunities to see games from the adjacent walkways. PREVIOUS SPREAD

For a video tour, visit: canadianarchitect.com/features/goldring/

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The best way to watch live sports is in the round. Cheering on all sides generates excitement for players and spectators alike, especially in basketball and volleyball. This was the premise for an invited competition entry by Patkau Architects and MJMA for the University of Toronto’s Goldring Centre, a facility for high-performing athletes. Creating a powerful spectator experience was one of the initial design challenges. The other was less glamorous: providing sufficient space for material handling and garbage truck access to service the Centre and three nearby buildings. Two pragmatic problems, both with a profound effect on the resulting structure.

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Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, Toronto, Ontario ARCHITECTS Patkau Architects + MJMA TEXT David Steiner PHOTOS Tom Arban, unless otherwise noted PROJECT

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SITE PLAN  1 GOLDRING CENTRE  2 BATA SHOE MUSEUM  3 KOERNER HALL  4 ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC

 5 ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM  6 MCLAUGHLAN PLANETARIUM  7 GARDINER MUSEUM

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ABOVE The upper storeys of the building, including the workout areas, are suspended from six trusses that span the length of the Centre and bear on the exit stairs. OPPOSITE A corrugated aluminum rainscreen wraps the building on all sides and frames the action taking place within it.

Attend a varsity match in the Field House, as the court is called, and it becomes obvious that setting the two thousand seats on all sides was the right choice. Yet on a tight site, with a six-metre setback along the front and rear, there are limited options for getting FIBA-regulation basketball court dimensions to fit. The design team determined that the only place for this volume was below grade, because then it could reach out to the property line on all four sides (setbacks only apply above ground). “Everything flowed from there,” says Shane O’Neil, an associate at Patkau Architects and one of the lead designers. The team’s big idea was to stack the main rooms: Field House at the bottom; a twostorey tiered fitness and weight room space above; and the little bits at the top—labs, test facilities, offices. An additional volume at the north end of the site handles materials and trash. If no one pointed out this space, the casual visitor would likely miss it. It has no distinguishing features (other than a big overhead

door) and is covered in the same black perforated screen as the rest of the building. Inside, it houses a giant turntable to spin garbage trucks around, so they drive in and out front-first, as mandated by the city. The garage foundations and structure are oversized to accommodate a future 17-storey tower for academic space, currently being designed. The building presses right up against all four property setback lines, with 20 percent of the site area dedicated to the garage. For the mass of sports fans who trundle down the stairs to reach the court, the entry is unusual—yet exhilarating. It increases the feeling of impending competition, a boon for school spirit. Patkau Architects and MJMA avoid claustrophobia by setting the entry stair in the same volume as the court (the two are separated by a concrete wall). The ceiling is almost 10 metres above the bottom step, and luminous walls, equipped with f luorescent tubes behind corrugated polycarbonate panels, create further drama.

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 1 LOBBY  2 RETRACTABLE SPECTATOR SEATING  3 PLAYING COURTS  4 STORAGE  5 CONCESSION

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 1 ENTRANCE PLAZA  2 LOBBY  3 LOUNGE  4 STEPPED RAMP  5 O PEN TO FIELD HOUSE BELOW  6 STUDENT LANEWAY  7 NORTH LOBBY  8 COMMON SERVICE BAY


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In essence, says MJMA partner Ted Watson, MRAIC, the building section is an “iceberg”. “There’s a lot going on below grade,” he adds. If there is a lot occurring out of sight, beneath the feet of those about to enter the building, there is an equal amount of engineering design hidden above grade. What looks like a simple rectangular building, albeit with a supersized white truss zigzagging across the east façade, is actually a black box wrapped around a very inventive structure. The four-storey volume above the ceiling of the Field House is suspended from six trusses that span the length of the building and bear on the north and south exit stairs. The trusses at the east and west perimeter are four-storeys deep. The interior trusses are one-storey deep—the fourth floor rooms are woven among the structural members; floors two and three hang below. Slender columns punctuating the fitness space are actually suspension rods holding up the floors. They consist of cables encased in circular steel sections, which are filled with concrete for fireproofing.

Engineering the below-grade Field House was no less formidable. Because it’s a big, open subterranean space, it required perimeter walls that are braced to hold back a large quantity of earth. Blackwell Structural Engineers placed a six-metre-wide, post-tensioned concrete apron around the opening to connect the walls at their tops and resist lateral load from the soil. The apron carries the exterior landscaping within the setbacks on the east and west sides of the site. Black as a colour choice for cladding seems to have become pervasive in Toronto over the last decade and is often intended to bestow an air of contemporary chic. But in this context, one might initially wonder how that colour and the perforated, corrugated aluminum screen fit into the context of a narrow, leafy university street where Massey College— a Ron Thom brick masterpiece—sits a few buildings to the south and a two-storey, century-old stone construction resides immediately north.  For one thing, the primary relationship is to the university football

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 1 OPEN TO LOBBY BELOW  2 ADMINISTRATION OFFICES  3 CHANGE ROOMS  4 STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING CENTRE  5 O PEN TO NORTH LOBBY BELOW  6 COMMON SERVICE BAY

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ABOVE Development on the University of Toronto’s downtown campus requires inventive solutions for working within dense urban sites.

EAST WALL SECTION

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field, an energetic, colourful design, directly across the street, and completed just seven years ago. Ultimately, black works here because it lets the viewer’s focus settle on the moving bodies, colours and material palette of the Field House below grade—visible through clerestory windows from both the street and rear laneway—and the exercise room above it. As both Watson and O’Neil characterize it, the Centre is a black box with a bright interior. Indeed, the exterior screen is a purely dramatic device: it ties the façades together aesthetically and creates a kind of darkened stage set highlighting the action within. A simple and efficient rainscreen, with corrugated, galvanized metal cladding set 200 millimetres behind, keeps the weather out. The density and cost of construction in Toronto, nowhere more acute than on the University of Toronto’s downtown campus, drove innovation in all aspects of procurement, design, engineering and construction. The university selected the winning design from a shortlist of architects who submitted competition drawings along with a rough estimate of cost. The school then held another competition for a design-builder to commit to a fixed price to construct the winning design and oversee the working drawings produced by Patkau and MJMA . To make the price work, the contractor tendered out the mechanical and electrical subcontracts as their own fixed-price, design-build packages, achieving further value and cost certainty. As the University of Toronto campus builds up, more is being asked of the architects who work within it: greater coordination of services, innovation in making occupied spaces overlap with service spaces, and accommodation of future growth. Over the last twenty years, both Patkau Architects and MJMA have built portfolios largely around public work, with a nod to sculptural forms and dynamic interior spaces. Goldring expands on this: the character of the building, inside and out, provides the exciting architectural experience the school desired, while fulfilling the weighty demands of the site, the program, the municipality and the future. David Steiner is a freelance writer living in Toronto. He writes about architecture and

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CLIENT UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO | ARCHITECT TEAM PATKAU ARCHITECTS—JOHN PATKAU, PATRI-

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CIA PATKAU, SHANE O’NEIL, MIKE GREEN, ETIENNE LEMAY, TYLER BROWN, JAMES EIDSE, MARC HOLLAND, DIMITRI KOUBATIS, THOMAS SCHROEDER, DAVID SHONE, LUKE STEM, MICHAEL THORPE. MJMA—TED WATSON, DAVID MILLER, ANDREW FILARSKI, ROBERT ALLEN, VIKTORS JAUNKALNS, AARON LETKI, MIGUEL FERNANDEZ DE AGUIRRE, KRISTEN BEITES, TIMOTHY BELANGER, RAZMIG TITIZIAN, TAMARA HAINS. | STRUCTURAL BLACKWELL ENGINEERING | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL SMITH + ANDERSEN | LANDSCAPE PLANT ARCHITECT LTD. | CIVIL EMG GROUP | BUILDER ELLIS DON | INTERIORS PATKAU ARCHITECTS + MJMA | SUSTAINABILITY ENERMODAL ENGINEERING | AREA 140,000 FT 2 | BUDGET $59.2 M | COMPLETION NOVEMBER 2014 0

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PARKS AND REGENERATION A DOWNTOWN TORONTO GREEN SPACE REVAMPS A BROWNFIELD INTO A VIBRANT PUBLIC PLACE THAT GIVES BACK TO THE ENVIRONMENT.


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Corktown Common Park and Pavilion, West Don Lands, Toronto, Ontario DESIGNERS Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. Landscape Architects (park) and Maryann Thompson Architects, Inc. (pavilion) TEXT Jon Scott Blanthorn PHOTOS Nicola Betts, unless otherwise noted PROJECT

Toronto’s waterfront has been a place of contention for residents and politicians for many decades. In 1971, when Toronto celebrated the opening of Eb Zeidler, FRAIC ’s futuristic Ontario Place, there was hope that the banks of Lake Ontario would usher in a new wave of development for public enjoyment. Yet few of the discussed plans came to fruition. And while subsequent builds around Queens Quay serviced the downtown core, other than the Waterfront Trail for cyclists there was no singular vision to unite the communities that stretched the full length of the Greater Toronto Area for almost 30 years. Private developers eventually began fragmenting the waterfront with large-scale condominiums. A tangible promise of change came in 2000, when the federal, provincial and municipal governments each committed $500 million to renew one of Canada’s largest designated waterfront areas. Together, they established Waterfront Toronto to bring together the varied areas along the lakefront with an environmental, economic and social development plan. The now fully functional Corktown Common park in the West Don Lands not only helps realize this promise, but also sets a standard for how thoughtful design can rejuvenate seemingly unusable space, while bringing together surrounding communities. Waterfront Toronto commissioned New York-based landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) to turn 7.3 hectares of land into the neighbourhood park. However, MVVA was also charged with a broader mandate. As associate principal Emily Mueller De Celis says, they were asked to set “a regenerative ecology in motion by establishing a new benchmark for ecological diversity in Toronto Corktown Common borders the Canary District, a mixed-use development that initially housed athletes during the 2015 Pan Am/ParaPan Am Games. The park incorporates a raised landform that protects the eastern part of downtown (including the Canary District) from flooding.

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COURTESY OF WATERFRONT TORONTO

Parks” and create a green space that also served as flood control infrastructure. The site for this ambitious program was a brownfield on the north side of a GO commuter train yard. As disused industrial land, it was possibly contaminated with hazardous waste. Railroad tracks, highvoltage power lines and the Don Valley Parkway sit along its borders. MVVA has transformed the site into a multi-use communal space, re-naturalized with woodlands, meadows and aquatic plants within a variety of microclimates. Planted spaces exist harmoniously beside playgrounds, splash pads and a pavilion by Boston’s Maryann Thompson Architects (MTA)—all of which provide social and recreational zones across varied topographic levels. For MVVA, the design was informed by both the location’s history and its current conditions. “This site has a storied environmental HURRICANE HAZEL, 1954

FLOOD PROTECTION LANDFORM (FPL) PROTECTS 209 HECTARES OF THE CITY FROM FLOODING

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Water used in the play area and rain captured from the pavilion roof are filtered through the wetland to feed irrigation points across the park; the pavilion’s folded roof provides shade while opening up towards the sky. ABOVE Sliding doors can be pulled close to block wind and snow. A fireplace allows the pavilion to act as a cozy shelter in the winter months and on cool evenings in the shoulder seasons. OPPOSITE, TOP TO BOTTOM

history,” says Mueller De Celis. “Generations of urbanization, industrialization and infrastructural projects in the Don Valley watershed exacerbated the site’s flood potential.” Deindustrialization and shifting land forms over the last century resulted in a constant threat of flooding to 209 hectares of surrounding land, thereby preventing restoration of the park and development of the whole neighbourhood. To protect the area, a four-metre-tall, 750-metre-long earthen landform was constructed out of compacted clay that reshapes the river’s floodplain, preventing excess water from traversing towards the Canary District. The berm also forms the basis of the park. Land throughout the site was filled with 50,000 cubic metres of clean soil to nurture new growth. MVVA was then able to introduce both deciduous and evergreen trees, plants, flowers and mosses native to Canadian forests, pro-

viding habitat and sustenance for migratory birds and pollinators. The park also includes a marsh that increases the viability of waterfowl and other wildlife in the city. Self-seeding native perennials were selected, says Mueller De Celis, to encourage the propagation of regrowth within and beyond the park boundaries. The adjacent Canary District is rapidly growing to include 6,000 new condo units, so the park also needed to be a place where the community could socialize. At the height of the park , the pavilion stands as a central focal point. With this structure, Maryann Thompson Architects created an architectural feature marked by several pitched roof segments made of Canadian red cedar. “The design of the pavilion is meant to orient you to the top of the hill and sky,” says partner Maryann Thompson. “Because you approach from below, you really notice the underside of the roof—so

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The park includes a variety of areas, including a wetland that is frequented by waterfowl and migrating birds. ABOVE RIGHT Native flora was chosen for use throughout the park, which weaves together natural habitats and recreational zones.

ABOVE LEFT

it was important to make this beautiful and evocative.” The segments purposefully allow light to come through, heightening the sense of the sky above. To support the roof, the architects created compound columns tied together by metal rope—“like bundles of sticks that you can see the light between,” says Thompson. The park and pavilion are designed to function year-round. Across the site, the planting palette celebrates all four seasons. Trees such as birch, larch, cottonwood and oak flourish and change throughout the spring to fall months, while pine, holly and red cedar add colour and life in the winter. The topographical plan also transforms in the cold months: green hills and sloped pathways can be used in the snowy season for sledding, and a flat-surface play area doubles as a skating rink. For its part, the pavilion includes a fireplace for roasting marshmallows in the winter, and concrete tables that can be used throughout the year for communal meals. Translucent, moveable walls can be closed to provide protection from wind and pelting snow. Power for the pavilion comes from solar panels, mounted on the south face of the fireplace, where they are likely to stay free from ice. Less noticeable, but perhaps most relevant to the project’s transformational aspirations, is the way it manages water. “The entire site is a gigantic water treatment plant,” says Thompson. The clay fill comprising the flood protection landform and supporting the built elements made it impossible to use site water to re-charge groundwater supplies. This presented MVVA with the opportunity to devise an innovative system unique to Corktown Common. In summer, the splash pad consumes some 570,000 litres of water each week. Instead of being wasted, it is UV-filtered and combined with a park-wide underground drainage system that collects storm water. The treated water is discharged into the marsh, which functions as a tertiary

treatment system, and used for park-wide irrigation. The folded pavilion roofs are part of the system, capturing and directing rain through a grate into a storage reservoir. “Each drop consumed in play or produced by rain is redirected [from the] landscape construction into a living natural system,” says Mueller De Celis. Visiting Corktown Common now, it is difficult to imagine it hasn’t been part of the community for years—if not decades. The natural habitat has grown to provide areas of tranquility, cut off from the surrounding city. The playground and parks are well used, not just by the local community, but also by those who travel to the site as a destination to meet friends, walk their dogs and hang out with their families. It’s a space that has benefitted from the close collaboration between a government body with a clear vision and experienced design experts with innovative solutions. Since opening to the public, Corktown Common has been widely praised as a model for future builds. Its success suggests the potential for other unused public spaces in the city to be regenerated into environmentally and aesthetically pleasing areas. In this sense, transformation from the industrialized to the natural could occur literally anywhere in the urban sphere. Jon Scott Blanthorn is an architecture writer and critic based in Toronto.

CLIENT WATERFRONT TORONTO | DESIGN TEAM PARK—MICHAEL VAN VALKENBURGH, LAURA SOLANO, EMILY MUELLER DE CELIS, NEIL BUZINSKI. PAVILION—MARYANN THOMPSON, HOPE STRODE, MARTHA FOSS, EVAN MATHIESEN, BILL PEVEAR. | STRUCTURAL PARK—ARUP TORONTO; PAVILION – RICHMOND SO ENGINEERS | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL ARUP TORONTO | CONTRACTOR EASTERN CONSTRUCTION COMPANY (CONSTRUCTION MANAGER) WITH BUTTCON CONTRACTORS (BUILDING CONTRACTOR) AND ALDERSHOT LANDSCAPE COMPANY (LANDSCAPE CONTRACTOR) | AREA PARK—6.5 HECTARES; PAVILION—225 M2 | BUDGET PARK—$14.1 M; PAVILION— $1.45 M | COMPLETION JULY 2012


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CINDY BLAZEVIC

THE HEAT IS ON TEXT

Douglas MacLeod

IMPROVING ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN NEW AND EXISTING BUILDINGS IS ESSENTIAL IN CANADA’S EFFORTS TO COUNTER THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE—AND IT COULD BE A NOW-OR-NEVER PROPOSITION.

WINTER 1

1

1

10

-10°c

12

2

20°c

Electricity generation/use (predicted)

6

9

8

October - May

+12 Mwh 3

-22 Mwh

SUMMER 1

1

1

4 11

30°c

5

24°c

2

7

11 12

11

11

April - September

DIALOG

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-10 Mwh 3

ELECTRICAL SYSTEM  1 PHOTOVOLTAIC PANELS WITH MICROINVERTERS  2 NET METER  3 GRID CONNECTION  4 DISPLACEMENT FAN  5 AIR CONDITIONING

THERMAL SYSTEM

 6 SOLAR HEAT GAIN  7 DEEP OVERHANG

SHADING  8 RADIANT FLOOR  9 WOOD-BURNING HEARTH 10 HEAT-RECOVERY VENTILATOR 11 NATURAL VENTILATION 12 TRIPLE-GLAZED WINDOW ASSEMBLY

+28 Mwh

INSULATION R60 ROOF ASSEMBLY R40 WALL ASSEMBLY R30 INSULATED SLAB

Net Positive

+8 Mwh/yr

ABOVE AND LEFT The Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre by DIALOG generates more energy than it consumes. OPPOSITE HDR’s Jim Pattison Centre at Okanagan College targets net zero energy.

July was the Earth’s warmest month on record, according to NASA . While this figure was pushed upwards by the presence of El Niño, the fact remains that the planet is heating up, sea levels are rising and extreme weather events are becoming more frequent. We may soon reach a tipping point where some of these effects become irreversible. Nations around the world have dithered for decades about making the necessary changes that would slow, stop or even reverse this process. This makes the Canadian government’s consultative effort to take action on climate change a “now-or-never” proposition. In this context, all members of the AEC industry must work together to ensure that energy-efficient buildings are part of the discussion. Better buildings are the easiest, fastest, most efficient and least expensive means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions—bar none. As Stephen Selkowitz of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory said in 2008, “Building energy efficiency is not low-hanging fruit, it is fruit that is lying on the ground rotting!” Our current federal government crafted its climate change initiative at a meeting of the Prime Minister and first ministers this March. Among other things, their Vancouver Declaration established four working groups on clean technology, innovation and jobs, carbon pricing mechanisms, adaptation and climate resilience, and specific mitigation opportunities. According to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, “The working group on specific mitigation opportunities has looked at approaches to reducing emissions in key sectors, including the built environment.” These groups will report back to the federal and provincial governments this fall, and the implementation of their recommendations will begin shortly thereafter. Given the significant role that buildings play in climate change and the urgency of the situation, eleven organizations (including the RAIC) recently signed an open letter to the Ministers of Natural Resources and the Environment and Climate Change, proposing “A Bold National Action Plan for Energy-Efficient Buildings.” This five-point plan recommends that the federal government:


ED WHITE PHOTOGRAPHICS

1 Set an ambitious goal of improving Canada’s buildings sector; 2 Create impetus to act with accessible information on energy use

and reporting;

3 Protect consumers and provide industry with certainty through

the progressive application of codes and standards;

4 Incentivize private investment in energy efficiency and carbon

reduction through strategic use of public funds;

5 L ead by example and use public sector investments in public

buildings to accelerate demand and innovation.

In moving forward, however, there are serious questions that the profession needs to address. First, we need to agree on the impact that buildings have on the climate. In Canada’s Second Biennial Report on Climate Change by Environment Canada, buildings are shown as contributing only 12 percent to our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2013. The Ministry of Natural Resources has clarified that the GHG emissions from the use of electricity in buildings “represents an additional five percent, for a combined total GHG emissions from buildings and houses of 17 percent in 2013.” And yet, a report from the Council of Canadian Academies, entitled Technology and Policy Options for a Low-Emission Energy System in Canada, which apparently uses the same data tables, arrived at the conclusion that “emissions from residential, commercial, and institutional buildings (referred to collectively as the buildings sector) accounted for roughly 29 percent of energy use in Canada and almost a quarter of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions as of 2012 (including the indirect emissions from electricity generation).” Thomas Mueller, Hon. FRAIC, President and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), notes that his organization has used a consistent standard for developed countries to calculate that “the heating and cooling of buildings accounts for 30 to 35 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions.” Moreover, he says, the emissions associated with manufacturing and transporting building materials could add an-

other 10 to 15 percent. In an urban context, Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan suggests that buildings of all types account for a whopping 56 percent of that city’s GHG emissions. These discrepancies are huge. The difference between 17 percent and 35 percent is enormous. Canada emitted a total of 732 megatonnes (MT) of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2014. Using a figure of 17 percent, our buildings emitted 124 MT of carbon dioxide equivalent—but this amount more than doubles to 256 MT if the figure is actually twice as high. This is why the second recommendation of the National Action Plan— to “create impetus to act with accessible information on energy use and reporting”—is so important. As Jonathan Wilkinson, Member of Parliament for North Vancouver and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, noted, “If you don’t measure something, or if you don’t measure it effectively, then it is never going to improve.” Apparently, we are not measuring very effictively—nor are we designing effectively, for that matter. A 2014 study, entitled Do our Green Buildings Perform as Intended?, studied nine green buildings from across Canada. In three of those buildings, the actual performance (in terms of kWh/m 2/yr) was significantly worse (by a quarter or more) than the predicted performance. According to architect Jennifer Cutbill, MRAIC and RAIC Regional Director for British Columbia and the Yukon, who worked on the National Action Plan, “The RAIC stressed that one of the keys to the plan had to be the measurement and tracking of buildings, because we have no idea of how they are performing.” To address the gap between performance and design, we need energy benchmarking—a process that tracks buildings’ energy performance in order to gauge changes in performance over time. Cutbill adds, “We need to do similar monitoring on the design side and create a continuous improvement cycle, in terms of the performance of predictive models.” One of the problems with benchmarking is that it only works if everyone is comparing the same things in the same way. If the performance

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ED WHITE PHOTOGRAPHICS

INSITES

ABOVE Proscenium Architecture + Interiors designed Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Vancouver headquarters to underscore the company’s sustainability agenda, using daylighting and advanced air control systems that allow it to be 70 percent more energy efficient than a conventional office building. BELOW The interior uses a heavy timber structure and includes a feature stair that links between workgroups. OPPOSITE For the State Street Financial Centre, Quadrangle Architects performed a deep retrofit of a 1950s office building, including a replacement of the exterior skin and HVAC systems.

of different buildings is measured in different ways, then the data is useless—like comparing apples and oranges. The CaGBC report Green Building in Canada: Assessing the Market Impacts and Opportunities recommends that the Energy Star Portfolio Manager be used as our national framework, since it is already employed throughout the United States and is being adapted for Canadian use by Natural Resources Canada. The lack of an effective benchmarking framework has not stopped various groups from setting ambitious targets for the reduction of GHG emissions—but again, these are all over the map. The National Action Plan calls for 25 percent to 50 percent energy reductions for 30 percent of the building stock by 2030, and for all new construction to be nearly net zero energy by then. The CaGBC is recommending a 30 percent reduction in GHG emissions from buildings by 2030. Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan wants to reduce energy use and GHG emissions in existing buildings by 20 percent over 2007 levels by 2020, and mandate that all buildings constructed in Vancouver from that year onwards be carbon neutral in operations. Perhaps most ambitious of all is a commitment made by Public Services and Procurement Canada as part of the Environment Partnership Action Plan, crafted during the North American Leaders’ Summit held in June of this year, to “increase the percentage of electricity they purchase from clean energy sources [to operate the buildings they own] to 100 percent by 2025.” Given that the federal government possesses some 27 million square metres of buildings, this is a substantial undertaking. By my rough calculations, it is akin to meeting all of the electrical requirements of a city the size of St. John’s, Newfoundland, with renewable sources. Rather than simply purchase “clean” electricity, wouldn’t it make more sense to make the buildings they own and operate more efficient? As Mueller puts it, “If we really want to save the planet, we need to retrofit existing buildings en masse.” This would involve deep retrofits, which are more than superficial renovations. A deep retrofit looks at a whole building and how its systems can work together to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent or

ED WHITE PHOTOGRAPHICS

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more. This may involve improved insulation, passive solar, active solar equipment, and air movement and moisture control. Moreover, it integrates these components and monitors the outcomes, in order to verify and fine-tune performance. The federal government has a 27-millionsquare-metre deep retrofit opportunity—and we can’t let them waste it. Beyond reducing emissions, improving the energy performance of buildings also presents a major economic opportunity. With manufacturing jobs heading offshore and oil prices at rock bottom, the construction industry is now one of the most active sectors of the Canadian economy. Tom-Pierre Frappé-Sénéclauze, a Senior Advisor at the Pembina


BRENDA LIU / A-FRAME INC.

Institute and one of the authors of the National Action Plan, points out, “Shifting our money from wasted energy to energy efficiency creates more jobs and puts more money in people’s pockets.” He maintains that every million dollars invested in energy efficiency creates 15 to 17 jobs. The National Action Plan relies heavily on a study called Energy Efficiency: Engine of Economic Growth in Canada, commissioned by Natural Resources Canada from the Acadia Center in 2014. This study looks at the “total net macroeconomic impacts” of energy efficiency—not just in buildings but in all sectors—and finds that it is “the persistent effects of the savings realized by consumers and industry that drive 75 to 85 percent of the overall macroeconomic impact.” Analyzing three different investment scenarios (business as usual, mid-investment and high investment), the study estimates that every dollar of program spending would generate $5 to $8 of GDP. An aggressive investment scenario would result in $19 billion to $48 billion of annual net increase in GDP and 121,000 to 304,000 net jobs annually. By comparison, Canada gained 158,000 jobs in 2015. These gains are predicated on a very substantial government investment. To realize the maximum gains of the high investment scenario would cost on average $8.5 billion per year for 15 years, or $127.5 billion in total. By comparison, the output value of the Canadian construction industry in 2015 alone was $370 billion. On the other hand, Canada continues to make dubious investments in fossil fuels. For example, in 2012, oil and gas companies walked away from a carbon capture and storage project because it wasn’t profitable enough—despite the fact that the federal government was prepared to invest $342.8 million and the government of Alberta was to contribute $436 million more. Similarly, while G20 governments have pledged to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, the Pembina Institute estimates that in Canada such subsidies still amount to more than $700 million annually. Yes, $8.5 billion is a lot of money, but most of that investment would help local economies and regional building trades. Significantly, the economic advantages of deep retrofits do not depend on any major technological breakthroughs or innovations. This is a design problem, not a technological one. Nor are we lacking ideas. In the course of writing this piece, Peter Busby, FRAIC, board member at Perkins+Will and the managing director of its San Francisco office—and arguably Canada’s greenest architect—found time to phone me from an airport lounge at eight o’clock in the evening before he boarded a flight. In the course of a few minutes, he burst forth with more than a dozen ideas about what we need to do: update the national building code; raise the price of energy so that photovoltaics make economic sense; make feed-in tariffs nationwide; retrofit all existing buildings; use wood and low-carbon concrete; build district energy systems; encourage the proliferation of electric automobiles; and “get off this craze of glazed slab edges that are just radiators of energy.” And yet, Busby has offered to share his experience and expertise with successive federal governments (including the current one) and they haven’t taken him up on it. Similarly, Frappé-Sénéclauze says that the Pembina Institute has yet to receive an official response to their National Action Plan. The Minister of Natural Resources Canada, Jim Carr, was too busy to speak with me directly, but his staff allowed that I could attribute the following quote to him: “Clean energy innovation and energy efficiency will play an important role as we bolster our resilience to climate change and transition towards a low-carbon economy. Reducing emissions from buildings and homes can play a big part in these efforts. All of this contributes to the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change that we are developing with the collaboration of governments, Indigenous groups and industry leaders.” Sadly, in my experience, these are the kind of platitudes that politicians offer when they intend to do nothing at all. It raises the question: If creating better buildings is such an obvious economic and environmental solution, then why aren’t they the centrepiece of our government’s climate action plan? As David Helliwell

of Pulse Energy once said, “the biggest problem with energy efficiency is nobody cares.” Mueller echoes this sentiment when he notes, “retrofitting buildings is unsexy, hard, grunt work.” While it would be convenient to blame our governments for their indifference to energy-efficient buildings, in reality we are the architects of our own misfortune. Danny Harvey, a professor of geography at the University of Toronto, wrote in a paper called Reducing Energy Use in the Building Sector that, “The main obstacles to achieving these high energy savings in new buildings is the lack of knowledge and motivation within the design profession.” Or as Busby says, “The number one thing we need to do is educate people.” These are obstacles we can—and must—overcome. All of our national organizations, all of our provincial regulators, all of our schools of architecture and every single Canadian architect needs to work together and lobby all levels of government to ensure that they understand, and act on, the importance of energy efficient buildings—unsexy though they may be. We need to vigorously support initiatives like the National Action Plan; we need to plague government officials and the media until they understand the importance of this issue; and we need to insist that energy efficient buildings be a critical part of Canada’s climate action plan. If you believe that architecture can make a difference, now is the time to prove it. Douglas MacLeod, MRAIC, is Chair of the RAIC Centre for Architecture at Athabasca University.  With the exception of the CaGBC’s Market Impact study, all of the reports in this article are freely available online.

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PRACTICE

SHAI GIL

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NEW VISIONS FOR SOCIAL HOUSING TEXT

Jay Pitter

HOUSING AFFORDABILITY IS REACHING A CRISIS POINT IN MANY CANADIAN CITIES. HOW CAN ARCHITECTS LEARN FROM THE PAST TO BUILD SOCIAL HOUSING FOR A NEW GENERATION OF RESIDENTS?

A couple of years ago, I returned to study the social housing community where I lived as a child, before my mother completed her post-secondary education and moved us to a suburban enclave. The research aimed to explore how social and spatial issues contributed to community challenges such as isolation, despair and violence. While I witnessed a number of disturbing incidents in my childhood community, an under-aged sex trade that tragically claimed the life of a friend’s older sister haunted me. North America’s social housing dates back to the 1930s, when the first state-run initiatives had three aims: to initiate the systematic clearance of slums; to resolve and prevent public health risks emerging from slums; and to squelch public unrest and insolvency resulting from both the Depression and the postwar era. While some early social housing advocates hoped to provide stable housing for low-income and working-class families, the approach wasn’t particularly collaborative. Within a relatively short period of time, a large number of social housing communities were developed, mostly in the Corbusian “towers in the park” style favoured by Robert Moses. When auditing my childhood community, I noted a number of design deficiencies resulting from this approach. The height and girth of my former building obstructs access to a park and ravine out back; the basketball court is sunk below grade where it can’t be easily supervised; and there are an inordinate number of undesignated spaces that play host to illicit activities. Better design could have improved some aspects of life in this community. Obviously, many issues—particularly lack of appropriate funding and prohibitive by-laws—extend well beyond the purview of design. An integrated design, policy and social development approach is needed to address the increasingly complicated array of challenges surrounding social housing.

ABOVE Designed by CS&P Architects, the Regent Park Community Centre and an adjacent school are integral to their neighbourhood. OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Designed by Joe Wai, Vancouver’s Skwachays Lodge combines a boutique hotel with affordable housing for Aboriginal artistsin-residence; the Woodward’s Redevelopment by Henriquez Partners Architects includes nonmarket housing; L’Oeuf Architects has designed a number of affordable housing developments in Montreal’s Benny Farm.

Architects, with their inherent visioning and problem-solving skills, have an important role to play in transforming social housing, working alongside other stakeholders. I recently spoke with a group of design leaders, based in Toronto and Vancouver, with extensive expertise in this area. Michael Geller is a Vancouver-based architect, planner, real estate consultant and property developer with over four decades of cross-sectoral experience, including as a former official with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. Gregory Henriquez, FRAIC, is managing partner of Henriquez Partners Architects, and author of the recently released book Citizen City. Michael McClelland, FRAIC, is founding principal of heritage-focused ERA A rchitects and co-editor of The Ward. Graeme Stewart, MRAIC, principal at ERA Architects, is a key initiator of The Tower Renewal Project and co-edited Concrete Toronto. Sheila Penny is a Toronto-based architect and vice-president of facilities with Toronto Community Housing, with 20 years of public sector experience. Here’s what they had to say.

ON BUILDING TRUST AND CONSENSUS Michael McClelland: Trust is one of the greatest challenges working within social housing communities. The average person—not just social housing residents—lacks the design literacy to fully grasp ideas such as zoning, planning and permissions. So we have a situation where people have little understanding of concepts that have a big impact on their lives. At ERA, we’re currently developing a booklet clearly outlining a recent zoning by-law, Residential Apartment Commercial, which will


BOB MATHESON HOLCIM FOUNDATION, NIKKOL ROT

CRAIG MINIELLY / AURA PHOTOGRAPHICS

create more complete social housing communities and encourage local economic development. We’ve also worked closely with local organizations and spent many volunteer hours building relationships to address the trust issue. Distrust in planning (and the decisions made in the name of planning) is very broad throughout many communities, but I think that in social housing communities, this distrust may be more warranted.  Michael Geller: There’s also a level of mistrust looking at social housing communities from outside of them. There are numerous myths and misunderstandings surrounding social housing. People generally become uncomfortable when they’re no longer living among their “own kind” and fear crime or reduced property values. These concerns can be alleviated by incorporating more community engagement and trust-building into schools of architecture, and by architects taking more time to get to know communities and municipalities conducting research. Graeme Stewart: I think consensus building is a major issue. Stakeholders on all sides need to be clear about what is being discussed, what the real budget is and the best way to spend it, and what is truly possible on any given project.

ON CLIENT ENGAGEMENT Gregory Henriquez: One of my mentors was Jim Green, a not-for-profit housing developer and community activist. I applied for a job working in partnership with him 25 years ago. When I walked into the room, there was a scantily clad young woman with numerous piercings sitting at one end of the table, and Jim sat at the other end. Jim said that the young woman was the head of the housing committee, and so naturally, I directed my presentation to her. After winning the job, I learned that everyone else had ignored her and presented to Jim. Sheila Penny: Having extensive experience working in the public sector, I’ve had close contact with communities throughout my career. For example, I’m currently working on a resident-led pilot focused on how a holistic capital repair program can transform both the built environment and social conditions. Residents participate in meaningful ways—they’re part of the architect selection process, establishing design principles and identifying service priorities—to ensure sustainable success. I make it a point to attend local design team meetings because I learn a lot about each neighbourhood while fulfilling

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The process is often more important than the product. Architects often design first and then present. We can achieve better results when we listen first, by consulting residents early on in the process. For instance, one time when I was at a public meeting, a resident insisted that the plan would not work because of the traffic layout. I initially thought he was trying to stop the project—but as I discussed the issue with him, I realized that this resident, who had daily experience with the local traffic patterns, was right. He was able to identify something that the phasing design team hadn’t contemplated.

ON AIMING HIGHER

Gregory Henriquez: I think social housing designs should be relevant and speak authentically to the surrounding community, while being a symbol of hope. When I worked on the Bruce Eriksen project, a social housing community for individuals facing numerous social barriers due to poverty and mental illness, I collaborated with a visual artist to design the balconies. Residents came up with words like “trust,” “faith” and “dream,” which were incorporated into the design. Although the area is frequently tagged by graffiti artists, these balconies have not been touched. We have to find ways of making the poetic programmatic—so that whatever we create will reflect and be respected by the community.

RICHARD JOHNSON PHOTOGRAPHY

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ABOVE The latest phase of Toronto’s redevelopment of Regent Park includes the social housing-oriented Block 22 by Giannone Petricone Associates Inc. Architects.

my lifelong commitment to really working in a collaborative manner with  whomever I am building for. The outcome is always a stronger solution. Graeme Stewart: When we think about centralizing residents, we consider their lived reality on the ground: the systems and structures that shape their daily experiences, support their aspirations, and allow their community to thrive. This thinking really helped us to clarify key ideas that we used to advocate for the Residential Apartment Commercial (RAC) zoning. Toronto is a city of hundreds of tower neighbourhoods, and most of them lack the basics that many neighbourhoods take for granted—local access to services, shops, and other conveniences of daily life. We found that these uses were not just missing, but were not permitted in these neighbourhoods due to 50-year-old zoning rules—rules that never anticipated today’s needs nor evolved as neighbourhoods changed. The RAC zoning changes this, allowing for mixed-use in tower neighbourhoods—from outdoor pop-up markets, to service and educational programs in the base of towers. The aim of RAC is to remove barriers and allow residents to shape their neighbourhoods, and for the neighbourhoods themselves to evolve in response to community needs. Centralizing residents in social housing projects extends beyond consultation. It requires creating the framework whereby residents can truly engage their neighbourhoods and be key actors in neighbourhood change.

ON PROCESS AND PRODUCT Michael Geller: It’s important to listen. Architects are highly skilled in many areas, but we’re often not terribly good listeners. I worked for over 10 years with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and have spent a large part of my career listening to residents.

Michael Geller: Architects should become engaged in community affairs long before the beginning of a project. We should join neighbourhood associations or volunteer for not-for-profit organization boards. Although we have very busy schedules, other professionals, like lawyers and accountants, tend to have more presence in communities. We should be more involved. Sheila Penny: It’s important to remember that all housing is part of a larger neighbourhood system—including schools, childcare, recreational services and access to healthy food. When we consider social housing transformation initiatives, we should think about them in relation to this system. For example, back when I worked for the school board, we needed to accommodate a large number of students in a tower community because of an influx of newcomers. If we applied a conventional solution, we would have built a second school on a different site. After consulting with the community, we decided to expand the existing school instead. For parents living in the towers, keeping their children in the local school—where they could monitor them from their balconies or quickly make their way over to the school—was important. Considering housing within a larger neighbourhood system is important both on the grassroots and governmental levels.

ON REDEFINING VALUES Michael McClelland: It would be a good idea to reflect on how we value places considered precious and urban—which tend to be costly, accessible to the rich, and situated in the city’s core. In order to reimagine the transformation of social housing communities, we need to get away from a single set of values steeped in class and location. We have to think about how people living outside of the core or in huge social housing towers might define value. We need to recognize that these people have, in many instances, chosen these places and are in many ways happy living in their communities. We have to ask more questions about how we can expand our narrow notions of value to be more inclusive and constructive—so that we can help to translate, increase and support the development of value within social housing communities. Jay Pitter is an author, placemaker and stakeholder engagement director. She coedited Subdivided: City Building in the Age of Hyper-Diversity with urban affairs writer John Lorinc, released earlier this year.


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Vital Little Plans: The Short Works of Jane Jacobs Samuel Zipp and Nathan Storring, editors. Random House Canada, 2016.

PHIL STANZIOLA FOR NEW YORK WORLD TELEGRAM

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Jane Jacobs holds up documentary evidence to contest the Lower Manhattan Expressway at a press conference in New York in 1961.

ABOVE

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of Jane Jacobs’ birth, and events across North America commemorate the legacy of the celebrated urbanist. Many will be familiar with the seminal book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. But that’s not all that Jacobs had to say. Vital Little Plans, a remarkable compendium of Jacobs’ writing released this fall, covers a 69year span, beginning well before the publication of Death and Life in 1961 and ending decades after. This long view reveals the power of an extraordinary intellect. Without disciplinary blinkers, Jane Jacobs’ intense curiosity pushed her to search high and low for previously unnoticed relationships and patterns, constantly testing, probing and ultimately producing powerful new insights about how cities generate wealth, create synergistic opportunities, and are compelled to solve problems through compression. Skilfully edited by Samuel Zipp and Nathan Storring, the chronological collection shares Jacobs’ periodic reports from the field. Of particular interest to Canadian readers will be Jacobs’ insights relative to her move from New York to Toronto as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War. In 1969, the Globe and Mail asked the newly minted Torontonian whether she found the city exciting enough. She replied that she found it hopeful and healthy, “unmangled” with options, but remained in much suspense as to what would come. This marked the beginning of an almost 40-year engagement. In 1984, she told an audience at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam about Canadian successes in integrating newcomers and making room for compound, multicultural identities. Tracking the remarkable evolution of her adopted city became a passion that often caused Jacobs to venture into far-flung areas, away from the familiar neighbourhoods of the inner city. In a 1993 interview in The Idler, she clearsightedly addressed aging: despite her physical limitations, she maintained an insatiable curiosity about how the world around her was shaping up. “My knees are creaky and my eyes aren’t as good, but on the whole I don’t resist getting older because I want to see how things turn out.” Many of the ideas Jacobs explored were prescient of present situations, like the need for more creative stewardship of valuable city lands. Beginning in 1957, in a piece in Architectural Forum, she turned her attention to “surplus lands” and called for cities to be more resourceful in using derelict sites for new purposes. This foreshadowed infill development and transformational infrastructure projects, like the Bentway under Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway. She also anticipated the mounting problem of supporting the operation and

maintenance of city systems. In 1964, she spoke to an audience at the White House about the growing gap between money to build things and money to run them—signalling the great maintenance deficit we are now painfully aware of in our transit systems, community facilities, utilities, schools and streets. Vital Little Plans contains an immense repository of foundational wisdom that could help guide us in the future. In 1958, speaking at the New School in New York, Jacobs reflected on the influence of ideas we carry about the city. She pointed to the importance of “what is going on in people’s heads” and looked at how pernicious concepts (and good ones) shape cities—including the illogical continued onslaught on her Greenwich Village neighbourhood. She recalled her liberating realization as a young arrival in New York (from her hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania) that cities are “never finished”: an instrumental insight that would inform all of her subsequent work in battling overly prescriptive visions for perfect, complete cities. In this vein, in 1970, she outlined a more open-ended approach to zoning at an Earth Week Teach-In— a model based on performance criteria as opposed to rigid recipes for built form and land uses. In 1967, Jacobs addressed the Royal Institute of British Architects on the patterns of “explosive growth” and displacement in cities, an observation that would be key to her later book The Economy of Cities. Critical problems, from pollution and transportation to poverty and disease, come to a head in cities, she asserted, and it is only in cities where they can be solved. In her new foreword to Death and Life from 1992, she argued that natural ecosystems are a parallel to city systems, in the way that both foster complex interdependencies. In a lecture from 2004, Jacobs insisted on the inherent unpredictability of city ecosystems, and the key concept of indeterminacy—insights that emerged from a lifetime of intense observation. Following this sequence in Jacobs’ writings, talks and interviews, we see how, piece by piece, she constantly expanded the range of her thinking into the next ring of connected ideas, periodically consolidating her reflections into a book or an article. Over time, she edged ever closer to a unified theory linking ecology, economy, ethics and social mores with their manifestations in real places. Like her fundamental observation about the city itself, her work was never finished—opening ever more avenues of inquiry than it closed. Ken Greenberg is an urban designer, teacher and writer. He was formerly Director of Urban Design and Architecture for the City of Toronto.


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CCPPP National Conference

Kate Orff lecture

What Shapes the City?

One of a Kind Show

The world’s largest annual gathering on public-private partnerships meets in Toronto, bringing together senior government officials and business leaders from a cross-section of professions, including architects and engineers.

Landscape architect Kate Orff, founder of New York firm Scape and director of Columbia University’s urban design program, presents the Harry J. Webb lecture at Robson Square in Vancouver.

Presented by Richard Florida and Adam Greenfield, this lecture examines the role the design disciplines play in creating more culturally engaged, ecologically sustainable, socially just, and artfully conceived artifacts, cities and environments.

A yearly tradition since 1975, Toronto’s One of a Kind show features an array of vendors, selling everything from hand-crafted jewelry to original finds in home decor.

November 14-15, 2016

www.p3-2016.ca

David Cabianca lecture November 15, 2016

Architecture alumnus-turnedgraphic designer David Cabianca lectures at the University of Manitoba as part of the Faculty of Architecture’s 50th anniversary celebrations. www.umanitoba.ca

Heather Dubbeldam lecture November 17, 2016

The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Architects hosts a lecture by Toronto-based architect and designer Heather Dubbeldam, FRAIC, at LSPU Hall in St. John’s, Newfoundland. nlarchlectureseries.com

November 18, 2016

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World Architecture Festival November 16-18, 2016

November 21, 2016

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Held in Berlin, the World Architecture Festival is a global event for architects and interior design professionals that features a seminar program and live crit-style presentations by finalists in the WAF awards program.

Book Launch: Architecture on Ice

Buildings that Give More Than They Take

www.mqup.ca

www.worldarchitecturefestival.com

November 21, 2016

This panel discussion in Toronto explores how superkül’s Active House models a way forward for sustainability in new residential construction. www.gardinermuseum.on.ca

November 24, 2016

This book by historian Howard Shubert explores the architectural and cultural history of skating rinks and hockey arenas in North America. Its Toronto launch will be held at Ben McNally Books. John Patkau lecture

November 24, 2016 John Patkau, FRAIC, lectures at

the Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton as part of MADE ’s City Building lecture series. www.joinmade.org

November 24-December 4, 2016

www.oneofakindshow.com

Designing Resilient Buildings in the Face of Climate Change November 30, 2016

The 2016 International Architectural Roundtable, presented as part of Construct Canada in Toronto, rounds up global insights on how to design for the realities of our changing climate. www.constructcanada.com/iart

The Buildings Show

November 30-December 2, 2016

Held at Toronto’s Metro Convention Centre, North America’s largest AED exhibition encompasses six shows, including Construct Canada, IIDEX , Real Estate Forum and more. www.thebuildingsshow.com

http://www.cca.qc.ca

So, what comes after environment?

This is the landing page of the CCA website from 18 October 2016. The exhibition It’s All Happening So Fast: A Counter-History of the Modern Canadian Environment explores the contradictory relationship between Canada’s idealized wilderness and its simultaneous exploitation through a series of stories. 16 November 2016 – 9 April 2017. Magistrate Jack White and RCMP constable arriving by motor boat at a fishing community near Bonne Bay, Newfoundland, 1960. Photograph by Chris Lund. Library and Archives Canada, National Film Boards fonds e010975529

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BACKPAGE

EDDIE C.Y. LAM

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MAKING SPACE TEXT

Ruth Jones

IN HONG KONG, MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS SQUEEZE INTO TINY LIVING QUARTERS FOR SIX DAYS OF THE WEEK, THEN CLAIM THE CITY’S PUBLIC PLAZAS ON THEIR DAY OFF. Hong Kong pushes people together, with tiny apartments Tetris-stacked into high-rise buildings and a steady flow of traffic streaming into every available transit space. For migrant domestic workers (MDWs)—women mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, who keep the city running by taking over house, child and elder care for a large percentage of its residents—the compression is even more dramatic. Legally required to live in-house, MDWs occupy whatever space their employers can spare: a bed in a room with a member of the employing family, a bunk rigged up over a toilet or a washing machine, a converted closet, a cot in the hall. Rarely does a woman employed as a MDW have a room to call her own, and even then, all the domestic space she touches is part of her place of work. In the exhibition How to Make Space, which ran over the summer in Hong Kong, Canadian curators Jennifer Davis and Su-Ying Lee assembled work that addresses the lives of the city’s domestic workers and the spaces they occupy. Filipina-Canadian Stephanie Comilang’s video Lumapit Sa Akin, Paraiso / Come to Me, Paradise uses a combination of drone and cell phone footage to imagine a science fiction-like view of migrant workers’ lives, while Quebec artist Devora Neumark addresses

CA Nov 16.indd 82

the personal and particular lives of MDWs with letters of gratitude solicited from employers, and by organizing the women themselves to nominate their employers for a newly created “Best MDW Employer Award.” Trained in architecture, Tings Chak undertook analytical research into accommodation, and articulates the spatial consequences of labour law, restricted space, and the idea of “suitable accommodation.” Her 1:1 scale drawings based on women’s descriptions of their living conditions stretched up the walls and along the floor of the gallery, while conceptual “advertisements” borrowed their style from Hong Kong’s exclusive real estate market. They “promote” (with more than a little irony) the kinds of spaces accorded to the city’s maids, housekeepers, nannies and caretakers. The Oasis Gallery itself is located in the city’s former Central Market, situating the artists’ commentary in the singular area where the women do have a physical and social presence. On Sundays, their one day off, MDWs descend on this section of Hong Kong, making space for themselves by constructing makeshift structures of cardboard, umbrellas, sheets and blankets. In parks, along the causeways that connect downtown buildings, in the halls of Central, and in the open plazas of corporate

ABOVE Migrant domestic workers socialize in Hong Kong’s former Central Market, opposite an exhibition that includes 1:1 drawings of the tiny spaces in their employers’ apartments that they live in during most of the week.

buildings, groups of women eat, nap, visit, do each other’s hair, and play cards and other games. As curator Jennifer Davis noted in a talk at Brooklyn’s Asia Art Archive in America in August, architects account for and accommodate users in the abstract when designing buildings and cities. But those same users are rarely seen as having an active role. Architecture stops when construction does. Yet without altering structures in any permanent way, MDWs in Hong Kong affect patterns of movement, program, ambience, and divisions between public and private in the spaces they occupy. How to Make Space tracks the invisibility of domestic workers against their Sunday visibility, juxtaposing the limits imposed on them with their spatial agency. By making the public city not only private but also domestic, the women, despite their vulnerable position, challenge the urban conventions of Hong Kong. One day a week, the hypermodern centere of global capital is home to rooms with cardboard walls—inside, laughing women paint each other’s nails. How to Make Space was on display from June 25 to July 23 at Oasis Gallery in Hong Kong. Ruth Jones is a Torontobased writer and editor. She teaches at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California.

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Canadian Architect November 2016  

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

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