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PUBLIC EDUCATION 04 VIEWPOINT

PATRICIA HOLDSWORTH

TOM RIDEOUT

CANADIAN ARCHITECT

SEPTEMBER 2019 03

Elsa Lam on finding the missing middle in Canadian housing.

06 NEWS

A memorial to Ralph Douglas Gillmor, founding director of the University of Calgary School of Architecture, Landscape and Planning.

09 REPORT

A city councillor and city planner examine the results of Edmonton’s Missing Middle Infill Design Competition. 14

29

14 MYHAL CENTRE FOR ENGINEERING INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP  he newest addition to the University of Toronto’s downtown campus is a softT spoken composition by Montgomery Sisam Architects in association with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. TEXT Stephanie Calvet

22 MACBRIDE MUSEUM EXPANSION Kobayashi + Zedda Architects weaves a new addition around—and atop— a Whitehorse museum’s heritage structures. TEXT Karen McColl

35 INSITES

Douglas MacLeod takes a deep dive into BIM technologies, and considers their promise (and peril) for the future.

40 CALENDAR

Winnipeg Design Festival, Toronto Biennial of Art, and more events across Canada and beyond.

42 BACKPAGE

David Steiner visits a student residence by ARK, with artwork by Nicolas Baier.

29 MÂMAWÊYATITÂN CENTRE ANDREW LATREILLE

A community centre in Regina by P3Architecture Partnership takes multi-functional programming and design to the next level. TEXT Adele Weder

COVER MacBride Museum Expansion by Kobayashi + Zedda Architects. Photo by Andrew Latreille.

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

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CANADIAN ARCHITECT 09/19

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VIEWPOINT STACKED ROW HOUSING

COURTYARD HOUSING

FOURPLEX GARDEN SUITE (ABOVE GRADE) GARDEN SUITE (AT GRADE)

ROW HOUSING (FOURPLEX / STACKED)

SECONDARY SUITE

HIGH-RISE APARTMENT (20+ STOREYS) HIGH-RISE APARTMENT (10 STOREYS) MID-RISE APARTMENT (LESS THAN 6 STOREYS, MIXED USE) COURTYARD HOUSING (SINGLE DETACHED, SEMI-DETACHED, MULTI FAMILY) ROW HOUSING (FIVEPLEX) ROW HOUSING (TRIPLEX)

LEFT The missing middle covers a spectrum of housing typologies, from row houses to midrise apartments.

FINDING THE MISSING MIDDLE From coast to coast, Canadian cities are showing increased interest in so-called “missing middle” housing. The term encompasses a range of typologies—from laneway homes and secondary suites, to duplexes, townhomes, and small apartment buildings—any housing larger than a box-in-the-sky condominium, but smaller than a single-family detached home. Building more of these types of housing, say advocates, will help to increase affordability by providing new ownership and rental opportunities. And building more densely, particularly in established neighbourhoods, will also contribute to the sustainability of cities, by putting people within walking and cycling distance from workplaces, schools and other day-to-day needs. The need for missing middle housing is especially apparent in Toronto. The recent book House Divided: How the Missing Middle Will Solve Toronto’s Housing Crisis points out that some 200 square kilometres of the city— an area twice the size of Manhattan—is zoned exclusively for detached single-family residential dwellings. This so-called “Yellowbelt,” named for the colour in which it appears on zoning maps, is 1.8 times larger than all other areas zoned for housing in Toronto. Even more low-rise residential areas are shielded from change by the City’s Official Plan, which expects development to “respect and reinforce the existing physical character of the neighbourhood.” While Toronto as a whole is growing, Yellowbelt neighbourhoods are actually losing population, as baby boomers hold on to houses after children have moved out, and affluent professionals (living singly, or with relatively small families) snap up available properties. “The average household size has fallen from 2.8 people in 1986 to 2.4 in 2016. And yet we each expect more space to live in,” writes Alex Bozikovic, one of the book’s co-editors. In his west-end neighbourhood, the schools, parks, and pools—created from 1945 to 1970, when the average home contained 3.5 to 4 people— now have plenty of spare capacity.

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ART DIRECTOR ROY GAIOT CONTRIBUTING EDITORS ANNMARIE ADAMS, FRAIC ODILE HÉNAULT DOUGLAS MACLEOD, NCARB, MRAIC ONLINE EDITOR CHRISTIANE BEYA

Meanwhile, there’s a scramble to provide amenities for new apartment tower neighbourhoods, built in the tiny sliver of space (about five percent of the city’s area) to which all new intensification is being directed. Things are starting to change, albeit slowly. Edmonton recently hosted a competition to design and construct missing middle housing on a city-owned parcel (see page 9). Vancouver has, since 2017, allowed some lots with laneway houses to be severed into separate strata titles. Toronto’s city council recently voted to explore new housing options in the Yellowbelt—a first step toward finding the missing middle. What would a city with more missing middle be like? Maybe like Montreal, suggests co-editor John Lorinc, who writes about the three-storey walk-ups, with an apartment on each floor, that side shoulder-to-shoulder in vibrant areas like the Plateau. Here in Toronto, I live opposite a block of three-storey social housing, where large families live in relatively small units. There’s sometimes a sense of division to the two sides of the street—the homeowners versus the renters. But it’s the Toronto Community Housing kids who are outside playing in all weather, and their parents and grandparents who sit on their porches throughout the day, providing the “eyes on the street” that add to the safety and life of the street. As the next generation contends with the climate emergency, it will be critical to reduce our society’s carbon emissions, especially by targeting transportation and buildings, says Bozikovic. A powerful tool will be creating more middle-density housing in existing, walkable neighbourhoods. Living more densely will have its challenges, but also its pleasures. “More neighbourhoods that are dense with people, dense with different kinds of activities, rich in amenities, and served with transit,” writes Bozikovic. “This is what Toronto needs now, and it is what the planet now demands from Toronto.” Elsa Lam

EDITOR ELSA LAM, FRAIC

REGIONAL CORRESPONDENTS MONTREAL DAVID THEODORE CALGARY GRAHAM LIVESEY, MRAIC WINNIPEG LISA LANDRUM, MAA, AIA, MRAIC VANCOUVER ADELE WEDER, HON. MRAIC SUSTAINABILITY ADVISOR ANNE LISSETT, ARCHITECT AIBC, LEED BD+C VICE PRESIDENT & SENIOR PUBLISHER STEVE WILSON 416-441-2085 x105 SALES MANAGER FARIA AHMED 416-441-2085 x106 CUSTOMER SERVICE / PRODUCTION LAURA MOFFATT 416-441-2085 x104 CIRCULATION CIRCULATION@CANADIANARCHITECT.COM PRESIDENT OF IQ BUSINESS MEDIA INC. ALEX PAPANOU HEAD OFFICE 101 DUNCAN MILL ROAD, SUITE 302 TORONTO, ON M3B 1Z3 TELEPHONE 416-441-2085 E-MAIL info@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: $15.00. USA: $135.95 USD for one year. International: $205.95 USD per year. Single copy for USA: $20.00 USD; International: $30.00 USD. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Circulation Dept., Canadian Architect, 101 Duncan Mill Road, Suite 302 Toronto, ON M3B 1Z3. Postmaster: please forward forms 29B and 67B to 101 Duncan Mill Road, Suite 302 Toronto, ON M3B 1Z3. Printed in Canada. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be re­produced either in part or in full without the consent of the copyright owner. From time to time we make our subscription list available to select companies and organizations whose product or service may interest you. If you do not wish your contact information to be made available, please contact us via one of the following methods: Telephone 416-441-2085 x104 E-mail circulation@canadianarchitect.com Mail Circulation, 101 Duncan Mill Road, Suite 302, Toronto, ON M3B 1Z3 MEMBER OF THE CANADIAN BUSINESS PRESS MEMBER OF THE ALLIANCE FOR AUDITED MEDIA PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT #43096012 ISSN 1923-3353 (ONLINE) ISSN 0008-2872 (PRINT)

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CANADIAN ARCHITECT 09/19

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NEWS

PROJECTS Moriyama & Teshima to design Canada Pavilion at Expo 2020

Moriyama & Teshima Architects has been selected to design the Canada Pavilion at Expo 2020, to be held in Dubai from October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021. The firm is part of a consortium led by EllisDon Construction. Global Affairs Canada anticipates that the fair will see 25 million visits. The pavilion aims to showcase Canadian innovation while promoting new business opportunities for Canadian companies. www.expo2020.canada.ca

IN MEMORIAM Ralph Douglas Gillmor

The University of Calgary School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape marked the passing of founding Director Doug Gillmor on July 27, 2019. Born in 1930 in Fort Frances, Ontario, Gillmor attended the University of Manitoba, where he received a Bachelor of Architecture degree and was the gold medalist in his graduating class. In 1954, he moved with wife Donna Mainland to Cambridge, Mass., where he earned his master’s degree in architecture on a scholarship at MIT. Moving back to Winnipeg, he became a partner in fledgling architectural firm Blankstein Coop Gillmor Hanna. They merged with Waisman Ross to become Number Ten Architectural Group. Gillmor worked on many prestigious projects, among them the John A. Russell Building at the Arch.qxp_Layout University of Manitoba, the Mendel ArtPage Gallery ad_shure_MXCW_Can 1 2019-08-06 2:49 PM 1

in Saskatoon, the Canadian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the Manitoba Theatre Centre, all while teaching at the University of Manitoba. In 1971, he and his family moved to Calgary, where he founded the Architecture program in the newly created Faculty of Environmental Design and became its first director. In CalRalph Douglas Gillmor gary, he finally got to design his dream house. Located on an acreage west of the city, the house was built on three levels, cantilevered over a steep hill. It had floor-to-ceiling windows and reflected many of the principles of Frank Lloyd Wright, an architect he admired. His commitment to architecture was all-encompassing. He was a member of the Advisory Design Committee of the National Capital Commission in Ottawa for three years, then chair for another three. He served on the jury for an international competition to design the Canadian embassy in Berlin and was a member of the 1988 Calgary Olympic Games Organizing Committee. In retirement, Gillmor remained a professor emeritus at the University of Calgary. He was National Director of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Syllabus Program, a member of the Banff Heritage Corporation for 13 years and a professional advisor for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. In everything he did, he was motivated not by personal ambition but by his pure love of architecture and its possibilities.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Star-struck

Thank you for including Jocelyn Lambert Squires’ review of the documentary City Dreamers in your August issue. The international surge of interest in uncovering the work of women architects and designers has helped Canadian women in architecture “slowly and surely” (in the words of Blanche Lemco van Ginkel) become household names. Women in architecture need role models, and we should be proud of the many contributions Canadian women have made to pioneering in this traditionally male-dominated profession, and to shaping the cities, building and landscapes we know and love today. As the list grows, however, I wonder if it isn’t time for more critical reflection. When Denise Scott Brown penned her now famous essay “Room at the Top: Sexism and the Star System in Architecture” years before she was overlooked by the Pritzker Prize committee, she was writing as an accomplished architect and educator painfully aware of being outshone by her equally accomplished partner. Based on her personal experience of her husband’s transformation into designer demigod by the architectural public and press, she wrote: “the star system, which is unfair to many architects, is doubly hard on women in a sexist environment, and … at the upper levels of the profession, the female architect who works with her husband will be submerged in his reputation.” At the time, her ideas were bolstered by the rising wave of the women’s liberation movement in North America, and the conviction, felt by many, that gender equality was possible, desirable and ethically necessary. As a social issue, however, it could only be definitively addressed by society as a whole. That women have now achieved their own architectural celebrity status is cause for celebration, certainly, but

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also an opportunity to question what we achieve by perpetuating the star system. The stories of women overlooked by histories of architecture help us to better appreciate how we, as architects, work in relation to broader social contexts, and how the conditions of architectural practice affect career trajectories. This is no longer just a conversation about women, but about how interwoven dynamics of class, race, sexuality, age, disability and gender shape our image of success. While women in architecture may seem bound by stories of discrimination, it is worth noting that our stars also share many privileges. Like many architects of their generation, they came from relatively aff luent families that supported their ambitions to challenge social and institutional norms. As aspiring architects, they had access to higher education, in some of the most prestigious schools in the world. They were able-bodied and mobile, encouraged to travel internationally and to absorb and learn from foreign cultures. Significantly, they were able to relocate as opportunities arose. I don’t mean to diminish the work of these bold women, but to point out the architectural cultures we create and perpetuate in telling their stories. What architects are doing is important, but so is how we talk about them, and how we use these conversations to cultivate a more inclusive and diverse professional culture.

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Generation gap

High marks for undertaking the colossal task of putting your finger on the pulse of the nation! In addition to many of the comments made about B.C. architecture, I would also like to point out the often forgotten role of volunteerism (including mentorship), without which much of the day-to-day operations of our profession simply could not happen. As you correctly point out in your editorial, climate change is indeed one of many important issues for the next wave of millennial architects. But many of us who are mentoring that generation—including the other architects with whom I was giving reviews at the AIBC a week ago—have seen that, even more than the most pressing issues, the next generation of architects want to see art and inspiration returned to our profession. As one intern we spoke to pointed out, this was the very reason they got into the profession in the first place! Sean Ruthen, FRAIC, Architect AIBC; RAIC Regional Director B.C./Yukon 

MEMORANDA Last chance to submit to Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence

Photo: Mendoza Photography

Entries are due on September 12 for Canadian Architect’s annual, peerjuried competition for future and in-progress projects. This year’s edition includes an architectural photography competition. Winners will be published in a special December issue. The jury includes Joe Lobko of DTAH, Cindy Wilson of LWPAC, Rami Bebawi of KANVA, and architectural photographer Ema Peter. www.canadianarchitect.com

OAA calls for conference submissions

The Ontario Association of Architects is calling for proposals for continuing education seminars and tours for its conference in Toronto from May 27 to 29, 2020. The deadline is October 7, 2019. www.oaa.on.ca

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CANADIAN ARCHITECT 09/19

REPORT 09

ALL IN FOR ARCHITECTURE TEXT

Sarah Hamilton and Christian Lee

A RECENT COMPETITION FOR MISSING MIDDLE HOUSING IS PART OF EDMONTON’S ONGOING CAMPAIGN FOR QUALITY ARCHITECTURE.

“People are excited about the future of design and city building in Edmonton—they’re all in for architecture,” says Kalen Anderson. As Director of Edmonton’s new City Plan, Anderson and her team have been working for the last two years to harness the energy and enthusiasm for, among other things, good design in Edmonton. Edmonton has been undergoing a transformation in the last decade in the design of the public realm and public institutions. No longer is the city satisfied with allowing a haphazard approach to architecture and design, which reached such levels of mediocrity in the early 2000s that it prompted one former mayor to declare, “Our tolerance for crap is now zero.” That impetus has continued through all levels of local government: this article is co-authored by a City of Edmonton councillor who trained in fine arts, and an architecture-trained senior planner for the City. Both of us believe in the value of good design, and are seeing constituents respond with enthusiasm to Edmonton’s architectural initiatives. “Edmontonians from all walks of life are advocating for improved public and private spaces,” explains Anderson. ”Our City is showing its ambition and creativity in redeveloping its plans, from the City Plan to the Zoning Bylaw Review, to better understand the choices that need to be made to make Edmonton a healthy, attractive, urban, and climateresilient city of two million people. More and more, we’re adopting a civic

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ABOVE Studio North, Gravity Architecture and Part & Parcel have won a competition to construct missing middle housing in Edmonton.

confidence that’s all about putting our money where our mouth is, to help spur greater design and enjoyment throughout our built environment.” Edmonton is also the last major city in Canada to retain the civic role of the City Architect. Traditionally, the City Architect would have been responsible for the design of civic buildings, but Edmonton’s City Architect has taken on an additional role—of advocacy and the promotion of excellence in civic architectural design, with the understanding that if a municipal government leads by example, others will follow. “Edmonton’s design language is becoming more sophisticated,” says City Architect Carol Belanger. “Our urban fabric is seeing a hopeful and optimistic renewal with residents, politicians, city administrators, city builders and city visionaries, all beginning to articulate the necessity for design that supports positive outcomes in the realms of community health, quality of life and aesthetic enjoyment.” Recently, the Borden Park Pavilion, designed by gh3, won a Governor General’s Medal in Architecture—the first time Edmonton has been recognized by the awards since 1992. Many studies have shown that the design of our public realm and urban fabric directly affects the quality of life and overall well-being of citizens. This is especially true within the residential context. The two of us have been involved in pushing for Edmonton to increase its density

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REPORT STUDENTORIENTED LOFT DWELLING

2-CAR GARAGE 3-BEDROOM FAMILYORIENTED DWELLING

ACCESSIBLE SENIOR DWELLING

ACCESSIBLE SENIOR DWELLING

DAYCARE CENTRE

SITE PLAN

through well-designed infill housing, as a means to address livability, affordability and the efficient use of existing infrastructure. Our efforts were part of the impetus for this year’s Missing Middle Infill Design Competition, which announced its winners this summer. It asked: What could economically feasible, “missing middle” density developments look like? The competition was unique in that the City was not the client. Instead, it invited architects to partner with developers, forming teams that would be willing to purchase the competition site on Spruce Avenue and finance the project. This would provide some certainty for all parties around the project actually being constructed. Our planning department faced challenges on how to solicit submissions. The requirements to submit were unconventionally tough; designs needed to be sufficiently resolved beyond the concept stage and technical issues such as stormwater and servicing were required to be addressed at a high level. Further, a pro forma was required, which would be vetted by the City’s internal technical committee. Residents of the community where the linked parcels of land are situated played a significant role in defining key criteria and values for the designs to respond to. These stringent requirements were critical in attracting serious applicants, says Jason Syvixay, Principal Planner with the City of Edmonton, who managed the competition. “Soliciting ideas that could be financed and ultimately built was a message that we wanted to resonate loud and clear for interested teams,” says Syvixay. “The competition helped nurture relationships between builders, developers and architects, who developed proposals that pushed the envelope for design and building creativity, while applying a healthy reality check to support financial viability for missing middle housing forms. Local, national and international interest—from applicant teams to media and industry and architectural associations—helped elevate the conversation around design in the City of Edmonton.”

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He adds, “As new plans and policy initiatives begin to contemplate the types of urban spaces and places that are needed to help people live prosperous lives, competitions like the Missing Middle Infill Design Competition offer a good place for urbanists, city visionaries, builders, architects and developers to start.” Nearly 100 renderings and 30 pro formas were received from across Canada. After two days of extensive conversation and debate, the national jury chose their top designs. “The winning submissions had very clear urban ideas. Row houses, courts, alleyways, porches and pocket parks created identity and gave unity to a missing middle neighbourhood,” says Talbot Sweetapple, one of the jurors. “The fact that this was an ideas competition that would ultimately be built by their team led to conceptual, clear and viable schemes.” “The more successful projects paid special attention to the scale of the streetscape, provided great urban connectivity and embraced the idea of community,” he adds. The designers behind the winning submission, The Goodweather, hail from Calgary, Alberta. Matthew Kennedy and Mark Erickson are the founding principals for Studio North, which teamed with Part + Parcel and Gravity Architecture to clinch the prize. Damon Hayes Couture, creative director for Studio North, describes how the project encourages a paradigm shift away from the status quo. “The Goodweather is an intentionally intergenerational community. Transitioning from the typical North American housing model that prioritizes independence to one that encourages interdependence, our ambition was to create an arrangement that will benefit everyone in their own unique way,” says Hayes Couture. “Young families benefit from the care and supervision that elderly residents can provide. The elderly, on the other hand, become part of a vibrant community—rather than being in retirement homes that can be really isolating.” The winning submission builds on the notion of equitability in design: Excellence in design should reflect a democratic sensibility, and not be

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limited to the highest earners. The design proposes a series of modular units that can be configured in various ways, from studios up to threebedroom units for larger households. The units at grade are barrier-free and accessible to persons with mobility challenges. For the Spruce Avenue site, the modules are combined into a 56-unit complex with a density comparable to a four-storey apartment, while maintaining the contextually sensitive massing of a two-and-a-halfstorey townhouse development. There were a number of key factors in accomplishing this feat. First, the proposal contemplated a creative solution to the parking configuration, as well as an overall reduction in parking stalls—a possibility because of a nearby Light Rail Transit station. Parking is restricted to the eastern edge of the site in attached at-grade garages that can only be accessed from the back alley, greatly increasing the amount of usable space on the site. Second, classic design gestures create the illusion of spaciousness while maintaining modest square footage. This includes vaulted ceilings, generous amounts of glazing and lighter colour schemes for the interiors. Last, efforts were made to ensure that most circulation spaces were charged with some form of secondary programming. On the interior, there are no pinching hallways. The studio and barrier-free units use the hallway as a kitchen. On the exterior, the circulation space between buildings doubles as communal courtyard amenity space. “We felt a responsibility to create vibrant social spaces, so, from the start we knew that the development had to be focused around a common courtyard,” says Mark Erickson of Studio North. “We wanted it to be a beautiful space that residents of the community would feel proud of and want to spend time in, extending their living space and making an outdoor living room. Just like Edmonton’s storied river valley that cuts through the downtown, the courtyard of The Goodweather is a meandering, forested path f lanked by terraced dwellings on either side.”

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OPPOSITE TOP The winning proposal, named The Goodweather, is designed to bring together different demographics and generations with a variety of typologies grouped around a central communal courtyard. TOP All of the site’s ground-level dwellings are accessible and barrier-free, making them well-suited for seniors. ABOVE Along the east side of the property, compact units with a upper loft are intended to appeal to students attending the nearby campus, and to young professionals taking the LRT downtown for work.

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REPORT

A checkerboard proposal designed by SPECTACLE with RedBrick won third place. LEFT The second-place submission by Leckie Studio Architecture + Design is a variation on the stacked townhouse typology. TOP

Discussions with Part + Parcel, Studio North and Gravity Architecture are well underway, with a sales agreement, rezoning and development permit in progress. The finished development will be used to inspire what’s possible for missing middle housing in other parts of the city, helping to realize a key goal in Edmonton’s 2018 Infill Roadmap. At the Art Gallery of Alberta late in May, awards were presented to the winners and the top two runners up. Bricolage by Leckie Studio Architecture + Design received the second-place award for its twist on classic urbanism, through a marriage of high quality, durable materials and simple, elegant shapes. Spectrum by SPECTACLE and RedBrick Group of Companies placed third for its innovative approach to site layout—distributing densities and amenity spaces through a checkerboard development pattern. City of Edmonton departments are already reviewing these, along with other highly ranked submissions, for their merits and transferability to other surplus city-owned sites. The Missing Middle Infill Design Competition was a way to stimulate conversation around well-designed and economically feasible medium-density housing. By encouraging missing middle housing forms, Edmonton can support a growing population by welcoming new

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people and new homes into our mature neighbourhoods—creating complete communities with a variety of housing options for people at every stage of life and income. With winning designs and plenty of ideas in tow, Edmonton is ready and eager to get started on this important housing goal, while raising the bar on city-building and design. Sarah Hamilton, a City of Edmonton councillor, is leading the creation of a design initiative to enhance the function and aesthetics of city spaces, and sees the value of infill as part of a modern, compact and efficient city. Prior to serving on council, Councillor Hamilton worked as an educator, journalist and small business owner, and holds a Master of Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Christian Lee is the Senior Planner for the Strategic Initiatives and Infill Liaison Team with the City of Edmonton, and is a graduate of the University of Waterloo School of Architecture. Christian worked in a private architecture firm in Toronto as well as in the City of Cambridge planning department prior to moving to Edmonton in 2013. For more information on the competition and to view all of the submissions, visit www.edmontoninfilldesign.ca.

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CAMPUS CLASSIC A NEW ENGINEERING CENTRE IS A RESTRAINED, DIGNIFIED PRESENCE ON THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO’S DOWNTOWN CAMPUS. PROJECT Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship, University of Toronto ARCHITECTS Montgomery Sisam Architects in association with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios TEXT Stephanie Calvet PHOTOS Tom Rideout, unless otherwise noted

While country-wide educational budgets continue to be strained, the University of Toronto’s downtown St. George campus maintains an ambitious construction program prioritizing design excellence. This is evident in the Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship, the outcome of a six-year joint venture between Toronto-based Montgomery Sisam Architects and the UK’s Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. Opened last September, the Myhal Centre is a cross-disciplinary research and teaching hub, which serves the University’s wide range of engineering disciplines. It marks a shift toward applied engineering; here, students, faculty, researchers, alumni and industry partners work together to foster active learning, encourage entrepreneurial activity and accelerate innovation. The building’s design is also a means to enable cultural change—stimulating multidisciplinary collaboration and social interactions was a key driver. Surrounded by a mix of buildings spanning the University’s 150-year history, the eight-storey Centre sits squarely on the last unbuilt site along the campus’s main thoroughfare. Its massing and footprint preserve sightlines and well-trodden paths between notable campus buildings, while

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PREVIOUS SPREAD The rhythmic façade of the new engineering centre takes its proportions and material cues from neighbouring campus buildings. LEFT An skylit atrium is a spatial surprise, creating a micro-community on the upper four storeys of the building. ABOVE The main auditorium replaces the usual stage-facing seats with small tables that allow for workshops and collaboration-focused seminars.

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  1 468-SEAT AUDITORIUM   2 ENTRANCE HALL / EVENT SPACE   3 CASUAL SEATING / STUDY SPACE   4 CAFÉ   5 INSTITUTE FOR MULTIDISCIPLINARY DESIGN & INNOVATION (IMDI) / INSTITUTE FOR ROBOTICS & MECHATRONICS (IMR)   6 IMR RESEARCH LAB   7 IMR UNDERGRAD LAB   8 PARTNERS FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLLABORATIVE ENGINEERING EDUCATION   9 ATRIUM EVENT SPACE 10 STUDY SPACE

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materials, composition and scale provide a clear architectural language that impresses without imposing. Precast concrete fins accompanied by an inlay of brick and dark bronze windows form an external gridded frame, which subtly responds to each façade’s respective solar orientation and context. Montgomery Sisam principal Robert Davies cites the understated works of abstract painter Agnes Martin as an inspiration for the simple, disciplined aesthetic of the building. Martin’s delicate hand-drawn lines, which sum toward the shape of a grid, “aspire to a kind of engineering precision while honouring the imperfections of the human hand,” says Davies. Similarly, the architects aimed for a restrained, dignified architectural expression, respectful of its academic setting. “I think there is a place for modesty, longevity, gravitas and seriousness in architecture,” says Feilden Clegg Bradley principal Peter Clegg. “That’s what this building is about—it is a backdrop to serious engineering.” The building is quiet; the creative buzz comes from within.

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DANIEL EHRENWORTH

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Lobbies and the birch-clad auditorium share space on the first and second storeys of the building. ABOVE Visible from the ground floor, the lower-level arena is a workshop space that includes securable garages for group projects. OPPOSITE

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The fully glazed, active ground floor creates both physical and visual connections to its surroundings. Wrapping the perimeter is a continuous sitting-height concrete plinth, walkways edged with planters, and a colonnade marking the building’s threshold. While the interior continues the use of well-appointed materials and carefully crafted details, it is decidedly unconventional in its space planning. This came about from the need to accommodate a variety of largevolume spaces on the tight infill site. A 468-seat auditorium occupies more than 60 percent of levels one and two. Tucked beneath its underbelly is the student arena, a versatile, double-height mix of maker space, garage-startup and lab. Connecting levels five through eight is a dramatic central atrium ringed by offices, meeting rooms and informal study spaces. This upper atrium—the visual showpiece of the design— is a surprise that is undetectable upon entering the building. Each of these areas has its own distinct character. The cavernous arena fosters a creative skunkworks culture, supporting Engineering’s 100-plus clubs and co-curricular activities, from music to mechatronics. Used 24 hours a day, this “play” space enhances student hands-on experience, enabling co-learning, co-creation and the collaborative ethic that drives entrepreneurship. A ramp allows for vehicular access—necessary for bringing in large materials and towing out autonomous cars, concrete canoes and the like—while garage door–lined alcoves around the edges offer dedicated project spaces. You can look into this dynamic maker-space from the double-height entrance hall above. But when you first set foot in the building, it is the imposing auditorium that is immediately visible. Clad in warm Baltic birch, its seemingly-suspended, sculpted presence dominates the vast

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entrance hall. It creates a void at the base of the building and a formidable challenge from a structural point of view. Inside, this first-of-its-kind interactive space doesn’t have rows of seats. Instead, it boasts seven tiers of bespoke tables outfitted with plug-andplay forms, with each table accommodating four to six students. This multi-functional format encourages group interaction, while allowing instructors to project work on a 18.3-metre-wide LED screen—the largest of its type in eastern Canada, according to the architects—that stretches the width of the room. Outside the auditorium, people stream through sunlit event and flex space, peppered with modular birch furniture. Wide terrazzo stairs with white frosted glass balustrades and oil-rubbed bronze railings draw visitors upwards to classrooms and design studios. Rising still higher, one is rewarded by the discovery of the most striking part of the building: the four-storey elevated atrium. It is topped by six conical light wells—which double as return air intakes—whose sculpted white forms provide a graceful counterpoint to the complex constructs below. The rooms surrounding the atrium are home to many of the faculty’s multidisciplinary research institutes and centres. Also here are innovative educational initiatives, like the Entrepreneurship Hatchery, a startup accelerator where students pitch ideas, engage mentors and meet with investors. Clustering these accommodations around and within the atrium allows visibility across different uses. The atrium acts as a social anchor, with a generous feature stair that encourages serendipitous interactions. What is absent is also notable. The traditional “chalk-and-talk” seminar room and hushed library are gone. Instead, technology-enhanced active learning spaces equipped with mobile furniture and interactive LCDs are intended to adapt to evolving pedagogical approaches. Rapid prototyping and fabrication facilities allow student innovators to build, test, iterate and bring their products to market. Notwithstanding the growing emphasis on group work, there are plenty of solitary study nooks scattered throughout. The building’s simple cubic geometry is realized through a robust, exposed cast-in-place concrete structure with large clear spans (and massive transfer beams) that enable long views through and across.

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LEFT The skylights topping the atrium bring diffuse daylight into the upper levels of the building, which house offices, meeting rooms and study spaces.

Nearly all spaces have access to daylight. Floor-to-ceiling windows cast ample natural light deep into the floor plate, while the raised atrium’s early morning sunlight carries a Kahn-like quality. Circulation is carefully choreographed as the architects pushed the limits on stair rise and run to create a continuous gentle ascent through the building. Places where people naturally congregate—such as open staircases, landings and balconies—are fattened, transforming choke points into dwell zones. Programmed space is balanced by an equal amount of in-between space: a recognition that learning happens everywhere, anytime. With a projected energy use of 110 kWh/m 2 , the Myhal Centre aims to be one of the most sustainable post-secondary facilities in Canada and an exemplar of low-energy design for the city. Initiatives include rooftop photovoltaics, passive solar shading and underfloor distribution ventilation. Tapping into the University’s district energy system also reduces emissions. Both in design and in use, the building is an expression and an incubator of creativity and innovation. The architects conceived the building to last 100 years—designing it to adapt to shifting trends in education, be durable as a structure and showcase sustainability in its engineering systems. It’s a laudable goal that seems like it may be achievable. The enduring, highly contextual architecture of the Myhal Centre quietly blends into its urban campus setting, making it seem as though it’s always been there. Stephanie Calvet is a Toronto-based architect and writer.

CLIENT UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO | ARCHITECT TEAM MONTGOMERY SISAM—ROBERT DAVIES

(FRAIC), JASON DOBBIN (MRAIC), WILLIAM HARISPURU (MRAIC), TONY ROSS (MRAIC), SHANNON WILEY. FEILDEN CLEGG BRADLEY—PETER CLEGG, JAKE ARMITAGE, SIMON DOODY. | STRUCTURAL READ JONES CHRISTOFFERSEN | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL SMITH + ANDERSEN | LANDSCAPE NAK DESIGN STUDIOS | INTERIORS MONTGOMERY SISAM ARCHITECTS | SUSTAINABILITY FOOTPRINT | ENVELOPE SYNERGY | HERITAGE ERA ARCHITECTS | CONTRACTOR BIRD CONSTRUCTION | SYSTEMS INTEGRATION CONSULTANT TED KESIK, PH.D., P.ENG. | AREA 14,864 M2 | BUDGET WITHHELD | COMPLETION APRIL 2018 ENERGY USE ENERGY USE INTENSITY (PROJECTED) 110 KWH/M2/YEAR | BENCHMARK (NON-MEDICAL INSTITUTIONAL/COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS IN CANADA AFTER 2010, STATISTICS CANADA) 305 KWH/M2/YEAR

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HISTORICAL OVERVIEW A REVAMP OF A WHITEHORSE MUSEUM CREATES A NEW, CONTEMPORARY ICON. MacBride Museum Expansion, Whitehorse, Yukon Kobayashi + Zedda Architects TEXT Karen McColl PHOTOS Andrew Latreille PROJECT

ARCHITECT

Until recently, the MacBride Museum in Whitehorse was made up of a patchwork of rustic old buildings. Its first home in 1951 was the former telegraph office, built in 1900. In 1967, it expanded into another log building, and added a third building a few years later. An administrative office went up in 2007. The rest of the property— which, in all, occupies five city lots of prime waterfront real estate downtown—contained an outdoor display area, train shed and courtyard. But despite its large footprint, the museum had under 800 square metres of public exhibit space—not nearly enough for its 40,000-item collection and archives on Yukon First Nations, mammals and birds, and the Klondike Gold Rush.

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Then, in 2016, the museum received $6 million in federal and territorial funding for a new 1,500-square-metre addition. Architects Kobayashi + Zedda were commissioned for the project, and proposed a design that boldly cantilevers over the 119-year old telegraph office. When they released their conceptual renderings, some people called their scheme “ugly” and an “eyesore” on social media. Others said it was too modern or didn’t suit the look of the waterfront. And, not everyone was happy with the price tag (which later increased to about $8 million). Patricia Cunning, executive director of the MacBride Museum, says much of the early criticism about the design faded once people understood the purpose of the mostly windowless design—to protect artifacts from sunlight—and after the exterior work was completed. “Tons of people talk to me about how beautiful it is,” she says. Jack Kobayashi of Kobayashi + Zedda says the design reflects Whitehorse’s modern history of mining and industry, in the same way the museum’s collection does. The museum’s façade combines a variety of materials, juxtaposing rust-speckled and shiny corrugated tin siding, cement board that imitates the look of wood while being non-combustible, and copper-painted aluminium panels. On the underside of the cantilever, hexagonal zinc tiles form a pattern reminiscent of wood shingles. The bric-a-brac composition pays homage to the industriousness of

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OVERHANG SHELTER CREATE MORE MUSEUM DISPLAY AREA

Whitehorse’s early founders: prospectors, miners and businesspeople drawn north by the Klondike Gold Rush, who built with scrap materials salvaged from industrial sites. “The bulk of the museum is metal, because that’s a Yukon vernacular material that goes all the way back to the Gold Rush,” Kobayashi says. “People used whatever they had available to them to clad their houses and put on their roofs.” Although pathways and green spaces line the Whitehorse waterfront today, it was a different story in 1899, when the townsite was established. Across from where the museum now stands were shipbuilding docks, warehouses and the train station. The circa-1900 telegraph office resides in its original location and is one of the oldest remaining buildings on the waterfront. Preserving it was a priority. Kobayashi + Zedda originally planned to enclose the structure inside the new building, but later decided it would be better showcased outside. The new three-storey building flanks the north and west sides of the telegraph office, and a cantilevered projection protects the heritage structure from the weather, while allowing for new gallery space in the two floors above. The age of the museum buildings and the site’s layout—with structures on every corner of the large lot—created a challenge for the architects.

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An addition cantilevers over the museum’s turn-of-thecentury telegraph office, shielding it from weather. OPPOSITE Within the addition, a new lobby connects to an existing building and opens onto a courtyard used for outdoor performances. ABOVE The underside of the addition is clad with zinc tiles that nod to the tin roofs of local buildings, and form a pattern reminiscent of wood shingles.

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ABOVE The telegraph office is spotlighted at night, while pinprick lights embedded in the museum’s façade are configured in the same pattern as the Cassiopeia and Big Dipper constellations.

They were tasked with upgrading existing infrastructure, designing a new building and seamlessly connecting everything together. These connections start underground, where the basements of two previously separate buildings were joined, creating a new storage space. At ground level, a large and airy lobby—dubbed Aurora Hall—relocates the museum’s formerly elevated main entrance to street level, improving curb appeal and easing access. Large windows on two sides allow people on the sidewalk to see through the lobby and into the courtyard, where the museum hosts popular live music and storytelling events. Aurora Hall connects to the 1967 log building, which Kobayshi + Zedda reinforced and opened up to create a “longhouse feel” for the First Nations Gallery. That exhibit now has room to display more than 350 artifacts, compared to the 40 previously on display. The two new floors above Aurora Hall are treated as a black box, with environmental controls to protect artifacts. Patios on either side of the upper floors provide some relief to the exterior, while showing off a 360-degree view of Whitehorse’s cityscape. Executive director Patricia Cunning says all the museum’s spaces were designed to be multifunctional. While the work-in-progress top floor will display exhibits about Yukon innovators and icons—politicians, pilots and mountaineers, to name a few—it can double as a venue for cocktail parties and wedding receptions. The second-floor gallery showcases local artists and a rotating selection from the museum’s collection of 1,500 historic photos. Other additions to the museum include a map and reading room, and a “Discovery Zone” where visitors will be able to don a Yukon-made parka and enter a minus-30-degree-Celsius walk-in freezer to experience what a Yukon winter could feel like (notwithstanding the effects of global warming, which is taking place in the North at twice the global rate).

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While the freezer will likely be a popular attraction during the summer months, it’s during winter, when darkness prevails, that the exterior of the museum really shines. Outdoor lights—built into the zinc-tiled ceiling of the cantilever—highlight the telegraph office, while dainty lights on the façade trace the Cassiopeia and Big Dipper constellations. Although the museum advertises year-round hours, it’s unclear if it will be open during regular hours this coming winter. That’s due to an ongoing property tax dispute with the City of Whitehorse. Rick Nielsen, chair of the non-profit museum’s board of directors, told the CBC in April that the museum may have to reduce operations if the city does not forgive $154,000 in owed back taxes. Despite that unsettling prospect, the museum appears to be more popular than ever. Cunning says visits were up 30 percent in 2018, and another 16 percent as of July of this year. She attributes that to the renovations. “It’s 100 percent because of the building,” she says, adding that one man calls every week to ask when the rest of the exhibits will open (September, she says). “People are keen to see it.” Karen McColl is a Whitehorse-based writer.

CLIENT MACBRIDE MUSEUM; PATRICIA CUNNING (DIRECTOR) | ARCHITECT TEAM JACK KOBAYASHI,

LAUREN HOLMES, DAVID TOLKAMP, VANCE FOK, PHILIPPE GREGOIRE, ANDREW MALLOY | STRUC-

TURAL ENNOVA STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS | MECHANICAL NORTHERN CLIMATE ENGINEERING

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ELECTRICAL DORWARD ENGINEERING SERVICES | CIVIL NA JACOBSEN | LIGHTING MARGOT RICH-

ARDS | ENERGY RELOAD CONSULTING | ACOUSTIC RWDI | CODE JENSEN HUGHES | HARDWARE BANKS CONSULTING | CONTRACTOR KETZA CONSTRUCTION | AREA 1,477 M2 | BUDGET $8.5 M | COMPLETION MARCH 2018 ENERGY USE

ENERGY USE INTENSITY (PROJECTED) 103 KWH/M2/YEAR | BENCHMARK (NON-MEDICAL INSTITUTIONAL/COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS IN CANADA AFTER 2010, STATISTICS CANADA) 305 KWH/M2/YEAR

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ALL IN IT TOGETHER A MULTI-USE CENTRE IN REGINA TAKES ON A DEEP INTEGRATION OF PROGRAM, WHERE SPACE CAN INSTANTLY SERVE DIFFERENT GROUPS.

mâmawêyatitân centre, Regina, Saskatchewan P3Architecture Partnership TEXT Adele Weder PHOTOS Patricia Holdsworth PROJECT

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In a marginalized Regina neighbourhood known as North Central, the contemporary mâmawêyatitân centre stands out amid the humble vinyl-sided and eroded clapboard houses. Mâmawêyatitân (roughly pronounced mama-WAH-yah-tin-tin) is a Cree word meaning “let’s be all together.” In this case, the moniker is quite literal: the building is a conf lation of high school, daycare, community centre, library and satellite police station. It’s a weave of wildly variegated, potentially conf lict-generating programs within a single complex—which is why its strategic design is so crucial to its success. Designed by Regina-based P3Architecture Partnership (P3A) and funded jointly by the Regina Public Schools (Province of Saskatchewan), City of Regina and Regina Public Library, the mâmawêyatitân centre was completed in 2017 after a long process of negotiation and consensus building. First, the architects and other stakeholders had to establish trust and buy-in from community members, largely Indigenous and lower-income, who had a right to be skeptical. Aside from belonging to demographic groups that have been systematically marginalized, they had endured vague (and then broken) promises about the proposed centre since the idea was first discussed in 2001. By the time design development finally got underway, the program faced serious provincial funding cuts and had lost two major components—a health clinic and a food store—that were originally supposed to be embedded within it.

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PREVIOUS PAGE The mâmâmeyatitân centre is a bright, contemporary presence in a marginalized community in Regina. TOP The path to the community entrance is flanked by fruit tree saplings, which will grow into a small orchard in the years to come. ABOVE The extensive glazing and wide openings of the library, which is shared between the high school and the public, generate a welcoming atmosphere. OPPOSITE, TOP LEFT A view of the central commons with the open-wall high school in the background. The designers softened the austerity of the space with suspended wood grid panels; an installation of hanging bicycles was later added. OPPOSITE, TOP RIGHT The Elders and Ceremony space is positioned next to the community entrance at the Elders’ request. The windows can be sheathed with blinds when the room is used as a healing lodge.

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When construction started, the project extracted some harsh tradeoffs: the new construction obliterated all the existing buildings on the site, including a century-old brick high school. That particular building was arguably of heritage value, but also carried an unfortunate visual evocation of residential schools for its mostly Indigenous student body. The existing community centre, of more recent vintage, also had to be demolished in order to construct the new unified, multi-programmed building. The centre aims to embody Indigenous principles in its materiality, by abstracting the Prairie locale’s wide horizons in its opaque sky-blue glass and Tyndall-stone base. “The building is about the place itself, but also everyone’s experience of the place,” says P3A principal James Youck. In its programming, the centre goes far beyond the typical multifunctional building, where different users have separated zones, or distinct groups use a facility on weekdays and on weekends. The logistics of creating a deeply integrated space—that is, space that can instantly or in some cases simultaneously serve multiple purposes—required much research and many conversations. The high school, for instance, needed to access the commercial kitchen, workshop, art studio, theatre and library—all spaces which would be available for community use as well. And yet certain zones—the after-school hangout room, councillor’s office, daycare (devoted strictly to students’ children) and faculty quarters—would be accessible only to the high school students and staff. The central administrative and reception area would be partially shared, partially integrated; that is, city and school staff would have their own specifically designated work stations, but both would share office supplies and equipment anchored in a back room. The architects collaborated with the usual gaggle of government bureaucrats, but also with local residents and Indigenous Elders. The latter advised on everything from colours to the particular placement of the Elders and Ceremony Space, which they directed the architects to position prominently beside the main community entrance.

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Walking through the mâmawêyatitân centre, I’m struck most of all by the deceptively complex floor plan. I say “deceptively” because on entering the building, it reads like a fairly standard (and slightly corporate) building. But a close analysis of the ingress and egress points, and the placement of the various multipurpose rooms bespeaks a highly strategic Rubik’s cube of transformable and interactive spaces. There are no demarcation lines between user groups; instead, spaces seep or surge into one another. Certain rooms, like the workshop and commercial-grade kitchen, serve different end users once the school day ends, and they are designed with embedded moveable walls to expand, contract and secure the spaces as needed. Other areas, like the library and the commons area, serve different user groups simultaneously. (The library is open to the public throughout the day, when it’s also used by students.) These zones have a different spatial strategy. Architecturally speaking, each of these spaces is “non-binary,” as it were, projecting an identity like a hologram projects an image that is ever-changing as the viewer shifts position. The central commons area, for instance, reads much like a traditional community centre lobby when one approaches it from the building’s main public entrance. But from atop the bleacher steps of the second-storey high school zone, one’s view focuses on an installation of suspended bicycles hanging from the ceiling of the commons. It’s a youth-centric gesture that seems to “belong” to the high school while not seeming out of place for the larger community. In the middle of the building is the largest space: the main multipurpose room, overseen and used mostly by the City of Regina as a community gymnasium. For performances and larger events, it can be rendered even larger by activating the attached stage and opening the room’s folding glazed doors to let it spill into the commons. The commons, in turn, opens onto the rear outdoor space, landscaped with Indigenous-inspired plantings. A rather stark paved area between the building and the landscaped zone was designed to be screened and

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visually enriched by a wood pergola, which has not yet been realized due to budget cuts during design development. Be advised that the architectural firm’s name—derived from its earlier iteration as Pettick Phillips Partners Architects—bears no relationship to the notorious development process known as “P3”. And for sure, it would have been challenging—maybe impossible—to pull off a project with this degree of foresight and inclusivity under the standard P3 process, which blindly favours the immediate cost cut over the qualitative benefit. So much daylighting, so many entrances and exits? Not strictly necessary on a blindly functional basis, and yet crucial to delivering efficient, secure multipurpose programming. The building’s generous glazing and multiple access points allow users to instantly see if, when and how a space is occupied from their dedicated ingress point. For the neighbourhood outside, the transparency of the highly activated building also ensures that Jane Jacobs’s “eyes on the street” are present for the neighbourhood. A thoughtful attention to spatial occupation and sightlines plays out throughout the building. Both the daycare and the satellite police station are tucked discreetly out of the sightlines of the high school entry zone— close by, but not overtly in the face of the students. The high school’s student washrooms are designed as a panoply of separate single-user rooms, rather than the near-universal communal washrooms. That strategy—though a little more costly in terms of space and dollars—avoids creating one of the most fertile grounds for bullying in a school. Two years after completion, how is the approach of being “all together” working out? Inside and out, the structure still looks pris-

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  1 PUBLIC LIBRARY   2 PROJECT ROOM   3 COMMERCIAL KITCHEN   4 MÂMAWAI CAFE   5 SHARED PROJECT ROOMS   6 ELDERS AND CEREMONY SPACE   7 CITY OF REGINA ENGAGEMENT ROOM   8 DANCE STUDIO   9 ART STUDIO AND BLACK BOX THEATRE 10 STAGE 11 MULTIPURPOSE ROOM (CITY OF REGINA) 12 CENTRAL COMMONS AND GATHERING SPACE 13 SHARED ADMINISTRATION AREA 14 SCOTT STUDENT SUPPORT AREA 15 REGINA POLICE SERVICES COMMUNITY POLICING AND CULTURAL ENGAGEMENT 16 GYMNASIUM (SCOTT COLLEGIATE) 17 SCOTT INFANT AND TODDLER CENTRE 18 FITNESS STUDIO 19 TEACHER COLLABORATION SPACE 20 PROJECT STUDIO 21 MAKER SPACE 22 WOODSHOP 23 S TUDENT COMMONS (GRADE 12) 24 LEARNING STUDIO 25 M ULTIMEDIA SUITE AND RECORDING STUDIOS 26 TEACHER COLLABORATION SPACE 27 ELDERS OFFICE 28 LOCKERS / NUTRITION STATION / HOME-LIKE WASHROOMS 29 S TUDENT COMMONS (GRADE 11) 30 SPECIALTY STUDIOS: SCIENCE 31 “PERCH” SEATING AREA 32 PRESENTATION STAIR 33 STUDENT GATHERING SPACE 34 S TUDENT COMMONS (GRADE 10) 35 S TUDENT COMMONS (GRADE 9) 36 RE-ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM ROOM

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tine, with virtually no traces of vandalism. That attests to its acceptance and embrace by the community, says Youck. But he also notes that the acceptance was hard won, and is an ongoing, ever-renewing process. An outdoor pergola, if and when it receives funding, will add much-needed organic warmth and a brise-soleil to the rear area. The centre’s highly f lexible common spaces do allow for an informal popup grocery and periodic visits by a mobile health unit, but the loss of the on-site health clinic and food store remains Youck’s biggest disappointment about the project. Both the architects and the community are cognizant of the need for more services, more resources and more time to overcome the disadvantages of long-standing marginalization, says Youck. The mâmawêyatitân centre is designed to facilitate this restorative process during adolescence and beyond. But Youck himself acknowledges that it will take years to know the true measure of the success for the building. “It’s really the next generation where we’ll see this come to full fruition.” Adele Weder is an architectural curator and critic based in British Columbia.

CLIENT CITY OF REGINA, REGINA PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND REGINA PUBLIC LIBRARY | ARCHITECT TEAM CHRIS ROSZELL (MRAIC), JAMES YOUCK (MRAIC), BRENDA-DALE MCLEAN (MRAIC), SHERRY

HASTINGS, NITISH JOSHI, ASHTON FRAESS, REBECCA HENRICKSEN, DEB CHRISTIE | STRUCTURAL JC KENYON ENEGINEERING | MECHANICAL MACPHERSON ENGINEERING | ELECTRICAL ALFA ENGINEERING | CIVIL ASSOCIATED ENGINEERING | LANDSCAPE CROSBY HANNA & ASSOCIATES | INTERIORS P3ARCHITECTURE PARTNERSHIP | KITCHEN BURNSTAD CONSULTING | COST BTY GROUP | LEED/COMMISSIONING MMM (NOW WSP) | CONTRACTOR QUOREX CONSTRUCTION SERVICES | AREA 10,500 M2 | BUDGET $32 M | COMPLETION SEPTEMBER 2017

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2019-08-20 12:44 PM


CARLETON IMMERSIVE MEDIA STUDIO (CIMS)

CANADIAN ARCHITECT 09/19

INSITES 35

THE FUTURE OF BIM TEXT

Douglas MacLeod

THE NEXT GENERATION OF BIM OPENS UP NEW HORIZONS—AND FRESH CHALLENGES—FOR ARCHITECTS. With this article, I will have written for Canadian Architect for half my life. In that time, I have seen no development that has had—or will have—as profound an impact on the profession as Building Information Modeling (BIM). With Computer Aided Design (CAD), we merely emulated hand drafting and rendering using computers, but BIM challenges the very way we think about buildings and design. Getting a handle on BIM is itself difficult. As Bruce McGarvie, department head of CAD and BIM Technologies at Vancouver Community College, pointed out to me, “There’s BIM and then there’s BIM.” What he meant was that BIM cannot be separated from the dramatic ways that architectural practice is evolving in light of new approaches such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, Cloud Computing and Blockchain. BIM is just one of a tsunami of changes that are flooding over the AEC industry. Scott Chatterton, formerly HDR’s international BIM integration lead and digital design leader for BIM planning and quality, believes that “Drawing packages will go away eventually. Traditional contract paper delivery doesn’t contain a tenth of the data contained within the Building Information Model.”

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ABOVE Carleton Immersive Media Studio (CIMS) used BIM to produce a highly detailed model of the Library of Parliament.

BIM does, and will, play a critical role in these changes. The key to understanding BIM is to reimagine a building as a database of information in which the drawings, the specifications and the contracts are just different manifestations of the database. The science fiction writer Bruce Sterling, in a remarkable non-fiction work called Shaping Things, took this idea even further. At the turn of the millennium, as BIM was just taking off, he anticipated a future in which “the model is the entity” and “the object is mere hard copy.” In other words, he thinks of the virtual model as the true essence of the physical thing—even when that thing is a building. The logical endpoint of BIM technology is a future where a building is just a manifestation of its BIM presence. Architects tend to emphasize the importance of individual buildings over the means of production but, in fact, those means are crucial. Prior to the Renaissance, for example, there weren’t a lot of scaled and measured architectural drawings, because buildings such as cathedrals were constructed with full-scale templates and onsite discussions between craftspeople. After the Renaissance—and particularly after Alberti exhorted architects to work with “true angles” and “specific and consistent

2019-08-20 1:10 PM


INSITES

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measurements”—there were plenty of them. And, of course, scaled, measured drawings were essential for everything from the scientific revolution (designing microscopes requires exacting drawings and dimensions) to the industrial one (such drawings are the only way to ensure that widgets made in Birmingham as the same as those made in Manchester). Architectural drawing really did change the world—and BIM has the potential to do the same. Drop the word “Building” and you are left with “Information Modeling”—precisely what the world needs in order to take advantage of the Internet of Things (IoT). Without a common data structure, the data generated by the IoT will be largely gibberish, but with Information Modeling, information from multiple sources can be shared, manipulated, analysed, used and reused in ways that we can’t even imagine. This includes the idea of “Digital Twins,” in which an exact and functional virtual model is created and maintained to mirror the presence and activity of a physical-world system or entity. As Chatterton explains, “You maintain a model that is an exact replica of the final building, that, for example, a city can use as part of their larger planning for infrastructure, community planning and sharing of resources.” The virtual model can alert you when the real-world building’s HVAC systems need to be maintained, or windows upgraded; or you can run a simulation on the digital twin to see what its energy consumption will be. The only way to accurately maintain these digital twins is by constantly updating their data and status with an array of sensors of various kinds placed throughout the building. This is why the integration of BIM and IoT is so critical.

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As BIM evolves, it is like a snowball rolling down a hill that gets larger and larger as it collects more data. It is even gathering dimensions. The three dimensions of the physical world are just the beginning. There’s 4D BIM (which adds in scheduling, or the dimension of time), 5D BIM (which adds in costing information), 6D BIM (sustainability) and 7 D BIM (facilities management)—although people disagree about what’s included in any given dimension. Others are now talking about 10D BIM and more. The fact of the matter is that BIM should be able to accommodate any and all data about a building. That, however, is not a simple task. In 2008, to bring some order to the chaos, the American Institute of Architects established five Levels of Development (LODs) that establish what kinds of information should be included at each stage of the design process; from LOD 100 (concept design), where only basic information such as height and location is required, to LOD 500 (as-built), which requires non-geometric information for maintenance and management. Since then, they have also added LOD 350 (construction documentation). Ten dimensions and six LODs only begin to suggest the cognitive overload that is so much a part of BIM. It’s not just about learning a new software package—although that can be difficult enough. It’s about a new way of working that affects everyone from the newest intern to the oldest partner. When I was a practising architect, I was always secure in the knowledge that the boss could roll up his or her sleeves and sketch, draw and draft as well as (if not better) than me. Today, however, it is rare to find a partner or principal who could even open a model in Revit let alone do anything useful with it. Most of the experts I interviewed for this article—and they are some of Canada’s best in BIM—are not licensed architects. If we, as architects, lose control of the means of production, then how long will we remain relevant to the building process? It’s not that senior management needs to know how to operate BIM software, but they must understand its potential and the extent to which it will change their practice. On the other hand, we may be “de-skilling” the profession with an emphasis on tools like BIM. As an educator, I often see students who move their designs too quickly into BIM software, with the result that their designs are not as fully explored (and hence not as creative) as they could be. The software itself often seems to constrain their designs, much as the early use of CAD once did. Chatterton also notes, “My colleagues and I have found a decrease in the ability of our newly graduated staff members to bring together a drawing package, or even the ability to ‘cartoon’ the development of a project’s drawing package, as required during the early stages of a project.” BIM is also disruptive to the finances of architecture firms. Early on, practitioners noted that BIM requires a lot more information in the early phases of the design process than we usually provide. Given that design fees are usually lower during schematic design and design development, this can upend the economics of a building project. Moreover, a full implementation of BIM involves much more than just a drawing package. Increasingly, to organize and monitor the complexity of a BIM-based project, design teams are resorting to BIM Execution Plans that, according to McGarvie, include “which firms are going to use what software; levels of development; agreements to share models; server sites; and how things are going to be named and numbered.” This level of complexity and disruption, however, does raise the question: Why bother? The reasoning is that BIM and other technologies are exactly what the AEC industry needs to lift it out of its productivity doldrums, its schedule delays and its cost overruns. One study by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that construction productivity could be improved by 50 to 60 percent using tools like BIM—with a corresponding rise in the value of the industry of $1.6 trillion USD!

2019-08-20 1:10 PM


INFORM BY IBI GROUP

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OPPOSITE The Library of Parliament project, which garnered a 2018 CanBIM award, aimed to create an accurate heritage record, as well as capture the sense of awe inspired by the building. ABOVE IBI Group’s InForm Office asset management solution won two CanBIM awards. The cloud-based platform allows organizations to plan and manage spaces, as well as track assets, including desks and phones.

But when the industry itself is in such a state of f lux, how can we hope to prepare our students for the changes wrought by BIM and other technologies? Andre Lucena, Senior Technology Instructor at NAIT and a Ph D candidate at the University of Calgary, is preparing an in-depth study of BIM instruction at architecture schools across North America. In general, he finds that we are not doing a very good job. Some schools, such as Carnegie Mellon and Yale, have embraced digital design and are exploring its possibilities, but he notes that, on the whole, “there is resistance in academe to using a tool to support design activity.” This is a shame, because for educating architects, the pedagogical opportunities of BIM are enormous. It’s not so much about digital twins that mirror buildings in the real world, but about what Klaas Rodenburg, president of the Alberta Council of Technologies Society, calls “Crash Test Models.” These are models that students can change, query and interact with to learn about the essential aspects of architecture. Crash Test Models could be used to simulate earthquakes, fires and floods, so students could see how buildings respond. Or they could model the energy performance of buildings, allowing students to swap in different kinds of insulation or glazing, or change the orientation, to see (and understand) the difference it makes. Such intelligent and interactive models could help teach everything from building codes to cost estimating, and once created, could be shared online with students everywhere. Lucena believes they can do even more. The thrust of his research is how BIM can be used to help design. This can be accomplished, he explains, by using BIM to “give support to design decisions.” As an example, he cites how the Dynamo plug-in for Revit can provide BIM with parametric modelling capabilities for form generation using customized code. Dynamo is a visual programming language—much like Grasshopper for Rhino—that can be used to quickly and efficiently create complex shapes and forms, such as a set of beams where each one is a different size.

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The combination of Dynamo and Revit is another example, like the Internet of Things, of how the power of BIM is greatly enhanced when it is combined with other emerging technologies. Blockchain is another such technology, which provides a secure digital ledger for all information, by encrypting a user’s data so that only that user has the key. Blockchain’s proponents speak of Blockchain+, when it is combined with another application. In this sense, it is possible to speak of BIM++—where BIM is combined with the Internet of Things and Blockchain to enable a whole host of new kinds of activities, ranging from energy management and modelling, to secure real-time payments for contractors and subcontractors, to supply chain management and data analytics. Experts agree that, to realize BIM’s potential, it must be part of a new approach to project delivery—one that integrates tools and team members into a coherent and efficient workflow. Some even feel that the focus on BIM itself is misleading. As Bruce McCallum, principal and digital practice leader of Calgary-based Next Architecture says, “The future of BIM is collaboration. BIM is just the tool or the hammer we swing. The future is BIM because the future is collaboration with smart contracts, rapid iteration and a project environment that responds instantly.” A blog post on Next’s website expands on this idea: “The future of making buildings lies in no longer having distinct design and construction activities—but rather a Master Builder process that seamlessly transitions through design, procurement, assembly and operation using non-linear, fully-iterative and non-traditional approaches, to move any building from design to assembly and beyond at considerably less cost and in less time.” Educators such as McGarvie and Lucena echo this sentiment. McGarvie runs a nine-week integrated BIM course at Vancouver Community College, in which architectural and structural technology students work together on a design with linked models in Revit, then bring their models together in Navisworks, with a steel fabrication model produced in Tekla. Partway through the course, they are asked to integrate a fully developed

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insites

CanBIM’s General Contractor’s Award went to Pomerleau for Place Ville Marie’s revitalization, a project that uses in-house-developed VR together with BIM360, Holobuilder, laser scanning, and other technologies to assure productivity, safety and quality.

Courtesy Pomerleau

Left

mechanical system into their models. Lucena says, “We need to expose them to interdisciplinary processes. An integrated design studio—that’s the holy grail, but it’s a nightmare in terms of logistics and finding external critics.” His research is documenting examples, such as at the University of Washington, where professors from architecture, engineering and construction management come together to jointly teach studios. McGarvie proposes that this interdisciplinarity will go even further when he suggests that “the future of BIM is manufacturers, parts suppliers, and mechanical and glazing system providers, each building their own Revit families. Someone trying to source materials could go online and select a window company, and put their fully developed window components directly into their models. We could have exact and complete modelling.” Here, however, the issue of control raises its ugly head. Who decides (and who verifies) the data that is attached to that window or any other component? What if data (such as lifespan) is exaggerated or simply wrong? Who’s liable? As a profession, we need to think carefully about what we want BIM to do for us and how—because if we don’t, then others will dictate it to us. This includes everything from quality assurance, to access to software, to cost for clients, to level of detail. BIM is simply too important for any one company or organization to control—a fact that emphasizes the need for what’s called OpenBIM. OpenBIM is a standard developed by BuildingSmart (an industry alliance that includes software companies such as Graphisoft and Vectorworks). It is based on an open, neutral data format called Industry Foundation Classes, or IFC, which allows BIM files to be easily shared between applications. It also includes the xBIM (for extensible Building Information Modeling) toolkit, which is a free, open source software development environment that would allow anyone to create new BIM applications (such as energy analysis) that could easily be used by any software package that complies with the standard. OpenBIM is absolutely critical to keeping the BIM market both competitive and innovative. Governments too, have a role to play. Countries such as the United Kingdom now require that all government building projects use BIM at a mandated level of development. Finland and Norway use the IFC stan-

CA Sep 19.indd 38

dard. Canada has no mandate, strategy or standards for BIM. We desperately need to catch up with the rest of the world, or we’ll be left behind. In the end, however, the large-scale diffusion and popularization of BIM (and by extension the Internet of Things and Blockchain) may hinge on something trivial. Human beings like to pretend we are serious, but most of the time we are not. Often, it is frivolous, social applications that make or break new communications technologies. The Internet, for example, was supposed to facilitate computer-to-computer communications—but email became its killer app. The World Wide Web was designed for information management, but it became a place to post pictures of cats. The telephone, the telegraph and even the postal mail were meant to be business tools, but only hit their stride (and generated enormous economic activity) when people began using them for socializing—purposes that were originally frowned upon. Even looking back to the Paleolithic period, there are a few examples of cave art, but hundreds of examples of handprints—which can be considered prehistoric “tweets.” It could end up being something completely nonsensical, like your house posting a selfie and a “like” for its new coat of paint, that will popularize Building Information Modeling. We may soon enter the era of the Facebook of Buildings (rather than the Internet of Things) in which architecture becomes not just intelligent, but emotional and social as well. Just like Facebook itself, this will have positive and negative impacts. Your building may well become smart and sustainable, but it (and its digital twin) will track your every move and know everything about you. We need to address the future of the profession in terms of these new tools, techniques and opportunities—and we need to do it now. Back in 1999, a small Boston startup company contacted me, offering to provide an information session about their software. I even wrote about it in this magazine, in August 2000. I wondered if the profession was ready for their data-driven approach to architecture. In 2002, that company—Revit—was purchased by Autodesk for $133 million USD. Twenty years later, I’m still wondering. Dr. Douglas MacLeod, FRAIC is a registered architect and chair of the RAIC Centre for Architecture at Athabasca University.

2019-08-21 2:39 PM


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2019-08-20 12:44 PM


CALENDAR

ACROSS CANADA

09/18–10/27

Vancouver

COURTESY ADRIAN BLACKWELL. PRODUCTION ASSISTED BY DANIEL ABAD.

CANADIAN ARCHITECT 09/19

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10/05–07

Robot Made: Large Scale Robotic Fabrication in Architecture The Centre for Advanced Wood Processing and the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at UBC lead a hands-on workshop on robotic fabrication that results in the development and construction of a full-scale project. www.cawp.ubc.ca

Calgary 11/06–07

BUILDEX Alberta This trade show enables architecture, design, construction and property management professionals to immerse themselves in dialogue and build community. www.buildexalberta.com

Edmonton 10/07–09

Alberta Sustainable Building Symposium This annual event includes speakers, training courses and tours, and attracts over 400 industry and government representatives with an interest in accelerating green building practices. www.cagbc.org

Winnipeg

ABOVE An installation by architectural designer Adrian Blackwell for the Toronto Biennal of Art, Isonomia in Toronto? (harbour) is modelled after Toronto’s changing shoreline, illustrating the effects of encroaching privatization on the land.

and other learning opportunities. Commissioned works include an installation by architectural designer Adrian Blackwell. The festival is headquartered in a car dealership coverted into exhibition space by PARTISANS.

www.torontobiennial.org

09/22–01/31/2020

A Place of Pride: Building the First Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre This exhibition celebrates the early work of architect Raymond Moriyama, including his pioneering design at 123 Wynford Drive. www.jccc.on.ca

09/25–26

Technology Built Innovation CanBIM’s two-day event includes presentations by Katerra, Sidewalk Labs, PCL Agile and Tucker HiR ise.

in reaching the goal of zero carbon.

Winnipeg Design Festival Curated by Jae-Sung Chon, the city’s ninth annual design festival includes discipline-spanning events and exhibitions. Its new awards recognize emerging designers and experimental works. www.winnipegdesignfestival.net

Toronto Architecture Tours Every weekend, the Toronto Society of Architects runs six walking tours, with themes ranging from waterfront redevelopment to the art and architecture of the new Spadina subway extension.

Toronto Biennial of Art This inauguaral festival of contemporary art spans the city with exhibitions, installations, talks

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–09/29

Taillibert: Volumes et Lumière This exhibition showcases the paintings and drawings of Roger Taillibert, architect of the Montreal Olympic Stadium. www.ville.repentigny.qc.ca

Quebec City Emerging Technologies in Architectural Design Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science hosts an international conference for architects, engineers, designers and researchers.

Woodrise Conference Co-organized by FPInnovations and France’s FCBA, the Woodrise conference on mid-rise and highrise wood-building construction expects to attract 1,000 attendees.

10/26–10/30

Halifax

www.icetad2019.com

RAIC Festival of Architecture This year’s event includes the presentation of the $100,000 RAIC International Prize, the POP // CAN // CRIT symposium, con-ed opportunities, plenary sessions, tours and awards for leading firms and architects.

09/30–10/04

www.woodrise2019.ca

09/30

BuildGreen Atlantic This event focuses on three education streams: retrofits, energy bench­ marking and accelerating to zero. www.cagbc.org

www.raic.org

New Brunswick

Gatineau

09/27–29

Unceded—Voices of the Land Created to represent Canada at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, this exhibition features the work of 18 Indigenous architects and designers from across Turtle Island.

BEA Atlantic Retreat BEA Atlantic holds its first annual retreat at the Algonquin Resort in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea. The event will include con-ed programming and architectural tours. www.beaatlantic.com

www.historymuseum.ca

INTERNATIONAL

www.torontosocietyofarchitects.ca

Montreal

Chicago

10/08

–10/13

Green Building Festival This one-day event looks at both simple and complex strategies, techniques and technologies to inspire the building community

Our Happy Life The CCA’s current exhibit interrogates architecture and well-being in the age of emotional capitalism.

Toronto 09/21–12/01

Repentigny

10/17–10/18

–03/22/2020 –10/06

www.ferriermarchetti.studio

www.sbcanada.org

www.canbim.com

09/26–28

Architecture of Resonance UQAM’s Centre de Design presents an exhibition on France’s Ferrier Marchetti Studio (formerly Jacques Ferrier Architecture), highlighting the firm’s humanistic approach to urban infrastructure.

09/19–05/01/2020

www.cca.qc.ca

Chicago Architecture Biennial The third edition of the Biennial is titled “and other such stories,” and considers questions of land, memory, rights and civic participation. www.chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org

2019-08-20 12:44 PM


CANADIAN MODERN MODERN ARCHITECTURE ARCHITECTURE CANADIAN COMING THIS THIS FALL! FALL! COMING Preorder now now from from your your favourite favourite Preorder bookseller! bookseller! Canada’s most distinguished architectural critics and Canada’s most distinguished architectural critics and scholars–including George Baird, Larry Wayne Richards, and scholars–including George Baird, Larry Wayne Richards, and Adele Weder–offer fresh insights into the country’s unique Adele Weder–offer fresh insights into the country’s unique modern and contemporary architecture. Beginning with the modern and contemporary architecture. Beginning with the nation’s centennial and Expo 67 in Montreal, this fifty-year nation’s centennial and Expo 67 in Montreal, this fifty-year retrospective covers the defining of national institutions and retrospective covers the defining of national institutions and movements, how Canadian architects interpreted major movements, how Canadian architects interpreted major external trends, regional and indigenous architectural external trends, regional and indigenous architectural tendencies, and the influence of architects in Canada’s three tendencies, and the influence of architects in Canada’s three largest cities–Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. largest cities–Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. “This fascinating and much-needed compendium will certainly be “This fascinating and much-needed compendium will certainly be welcome universally, and particularly in Canada, where it will welcome universally, and particularly in Canada, where it will raise the consciousness of a country that has respected, but not raise the consciousness of a country that has respected, but not celebrated, the wide origins of its populations and its culturally celebrated, the wide origins of its populations and its culturally as well as physically different regions.” as well as physically different regions.” — PHYLLIS LAMBERT, FOUNDING DIRECTOR EMERITUS, — PHYLLIS LAMBERT, FOUNDING DIRECTOR EMERITUS, CANADIAN CENTRE FOR ARCHITECTURE CANADIAN CENTRE FOR ARCHITECTURE

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With major support from 1. Residence for the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Toronto, Ontario. Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, 2013. Credit: James Dow, Courtesy Shim-Sutcliffe Architects 2. Residence Aanischaaukamikw Cree of Cultural Institute, Oujé-Bougoumou, Quebec. Rubin & Rotman Architects in collaboration with Douglas Cardinal, 2011. Credit: Mitch Lenet 1. for the Sisters Saint Joseph, Toronto, Ontario. Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, 2013. Credit: James Dow, Courtesy Shim-Sutcliffe Architects Photography & Digital Arts, with the permission of Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute 2. Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute, Oujé-Bougoumou, Quebec. Rubin & Rotman Architects in collaboration with Douglas Cardinal, 2011. Credit: Mitch Lenet 3. Photography Coronation Pool, Edmonton, Alberta. Hemingwayofand Laubenthal Architects, 1970. Credit: Courtesy James Dow & Digital Arts, with the permission Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute 4. Coronation Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Waterloo, Ontario. Saucier + Perrotte 2006. James Credit: Dow Marc Cramer, Courtesy Saucier+Perrotte Architectes 3. Pool, Edmonton, Alberta. Hemingway and Laubenthal Architects, 1970.architectes, Credit: Courtesy 4. Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Waterloo, Ontario. Saucier + Perrotte architectes, 2006. Credit: Marc Cramer, Courtesy Saucier+Perrotte Architectes

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BACKPAGE

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NICOLAS BAIER

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LEFT Imagery by artist Nicolas Baier is inscribed into the façades of a new pair of residence buildings at Toronto’s York University, designed by ARK.

LINE ART TEXT

David Steiner

TWO NEW STUDENT HOUSING BUILDINGS AT YORK UNIVERSITY ARE INSCRIBED WITH DELICATE, ETCHED DRAWINGS. Two six-storey student housing buildings, clad in black metal panels, sit alongside each other at the southern end of Toronto’s York University campus. Behind them are parking lots and beside them is a scraggly field, waiting to become something better. The most striking thing about these new housing blocks—named The Quad—are the delicate line drawings etched into their almost pure black metal exteriors. The façade imagery is by Nicolas Baier, a Montreal artist who works with photography, video, sculpture and drawings. It results from Toronto’s requirement for developers to contribute to public art. ARK , the project’s architect, ran an RFP following city guidelines to find an abstract artist. They had a very precise idea of how the art would work with the building, and prescribed the location of the drawings—for dramatic impact and practical considerations like avoiding retail signage—along with the exact methodology of applying the lines. The five-storey-tall drawings extend over multiple cladding panels, and are comprised of individual lines etched 3 millimetres wide and 0.3 millimetres

CA Sep 19.indd 42

deep. They were cut with a CNC machine exposing unfinished aluminium through the painted face of the 4-millimetre-thick aluminium composite panels. When the sun is low, the silvery bare metal lines appear illuminated. Some drawings are plant-like and tangled, others are wispy etchings, and a few are enigmatic patterns that seem computer generated. One looks like lightning, crashing down the façade. ARK inspected every panel multiple times: when they left the fabricator’s shop, at the engraver’s, once they were installed and for a final deficiency review.  The buildings each have their own whiteclad courtyard, Oreo-like, and a pedestrian lane running between the two structures is the primary means of access. Over eight hundred students live in the two buildings, in variously sized apartments. Five levels of housing sit atop common spaces—meeting rooms, exercise facilities and lounges—that look into the courtyard. Facing the street are every manner of fast food restaurants, set shoulder to shoulder, which makes sense given the number of hungry students living at hand.  

York University, like most post-secondary schools, uses architecture as a tool to advertise its position at the cutting edge. Near the campus centre, the trend of highly regarded designers pushing out the latest architectural ideas is most evident, with various degrees of success. But by the perimeter, where much of the student housing is located, the form of most buildings quietens down. Guela Solow-Ruda, the partner in charge of the project at ARK , says that the residences’ simple shapes were a deliberate choice. The architectural intent was to design buildings and suites that would register as home for the students staying there, many of them foreign. Her team also wanted to highlight the edge of the campus, in the same way a bold line drawn with a Sharpie marker will demarcate an area on paper. For a campus where one long edge drifts off into suburban housing, it’s a compelling idea—made all the more compelling by the striking artwork inscribed onto these black boxes. David Steiner is a freelance writer living in Toronto.

2019-09-05 1:48 PM

E c d t m s o N h in

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CASE STUDY

Ellsworth Kelly Art Exhibit at University of Texas | Austin, Texas

Teamwork Leads to Unique Project at University of Texas Ellsworth Kelly developed a clear vision for the final piece of his career as an internationally-acclaimed artist. In the building he designed, Austin, Kelly wanted to bend light in different ways through an array of 33 colored windows, 14 black and white marble panels and an 18-foot tall totem, one of Kelly’s common sculptural forms. The project, constructed at the Blanton Museum of Art on the campus of the University of Texas, was hailed by The New York Times as “not just a summation of his work’s themes but his masterpiece, the grandest exploration of pure color and form in a seven-decade career spent testing the boundaries of both.” Kelly’s signature project required extreme collaboration with the design team at Overland Partners, construction teams and contractors. While Kelly was brilliant at understanding art, he was not accomplished in building design. “We had to understand who he was and what his artwork was about,’’ said James Lancaster, the project manager for Overland. “It was a process that began with listening. Before we put pencil to paper, we had to become attuned to Ellsworth and his vision for Austin.” One of the most unique challenges architects faced was concealing the apparatus required for 21st century buildings. Kelly sought to have the art serve as the centerpiece of the exhibit. Mechanical equipment for heating and cooling needed to be concealed. All wiring to electric and technology systems, plumbing fixtures and all of the other building components also needed to be hidden. There was also a laundry list of items to meet University compliance that required installation – and concealment. “While every aesthetic decision was his, we did not simply abdicate to whatever Ellsworth asked for,’’ said Rick Archer, the Principal in Charge for Overland. “Codes, material selection, constructability, structure and HVAC resulted in modifications to Ellsworth’s original design in terms of the scale and proportion.” The largest pieces of equipment for the 2,715-square-foot structure – which cost $23 million to complete – were heating and air conditioning units. The units, roughly the size of an automobile and weighing a ton or more, needed to be installed in an 1,800-square-foot-basement. To accomplish this feat, the project utilized a large custom floor access door manufactured by The BILCO Company. The door was equipped with a special finish on the covers to make them less noticeable from the exterior and a keyed cylinder lock for added building security.

Photo: Anna Munoz

The large custom door sits on the outside of the structure, next to one of only two emergency exits in the building and features BILCO’s engineered lift assistance for one-hand operation. “Many people don’t even know where there is access to the basement,’’ Lancaster said. “We had to have access to the basement, but we also had to make the door, as much as we could, invisible.” Austin delivers precisely the objective Kelly intended when he conceived the project, which he first started working on in 1986. The building opened in February 2018, a little more than two years after his death. “Although the work is not a chapel and has no religious connection, there is something deeply spiritual that visitors experience,’’ Lancaster said. “The interior surfaces serve as a stage of sorts, and the colored windows are the actors.”

Keep up with the latest news from The BILCO Company by following us on Facebook and LinkedIn. For over 90 years, The BILCO Company has been a building industry pioneer in the design and development of specialty access products. Over these years, the company has built a reputation among architects, and engineers for products that are unequaled in design and workmanship. BILCO – an ISO 9001 certified company – offers commercial and residential specialty access products. BILCO is a wholly owned subsidiary of AmesburyTruth, a division of Tyman Plc. For more information, visit www.bilco.com.

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Canadian Architect September 2019  

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

Canadian Architect September 2019  

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