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CONTENTS ACADEMIC WORK NEW GROUND PLANE Studio, 2016 Architectural Design RD APPROPRIATION Thesis, 2017 Urban Design DOOVER ISLAND Structures, 2015 Architectural Design VILLA SAGUENAY Studio, 2011 Architectural Design

PROFESSIONAL WORK BIRCHMOUNT Vanle Architect Inc., 2015 WEST BLOCK REHABILITATION Carleton Immersive Media Studio Lab 2013 FINCH Vanle Architect Inc., 2015

NEW GROUND PLANE OPTION STUDIO 2016 ADVISORS: Meghan Graham, Kevin Weiss SOFTWARE: Rhinoceros 3d, Vray 2.5, Adobe CC Suite New Ground Plane is a prototype of urban development that attempts to address the issue of mid-scale residential intensification. The site, 1145 College Street, is centrally located and was once a 3 storey multi-unit dwelling with mercantile establishments at grade. The original structure was damaged by fire in 2015 and left in a state of disrepair in need of redevelopment. New Ground Plane recognizes that detached dwellings in Toronto are highly desirable, and are seen as both a space for living, as well as a commodity. Although the urban condition of the site is not conducive for detached dwellings, the project attempts to reimagine the stand-alone house in the context of a midrise building. The proposed structure builds upon Toronto’s mid-rise guidelines as a basis for determining massing requirements to achieve optimal access to daylighting and fresh air. Where Toronto’s mid-rise guideline puts forth suggestions for building height and form however, New Ground Plane experiments with elevating and depressing certain elements of the building massing in order to maximize glazing area and introduce an outdoor amenity space that would be typical of detached houses, but cannot be provided in typical mid-rise buildings.

The principal idea behind the project was to introduce a new horizontal datum for living. The existing street edge, which has a solid street wall, would be opened up for pedestrian access to the park behind. The secondary ground plane would be a semi private plinth facilitating an outdoor amenity space for its residents. Circulation and access to the houses would be by foot through the street level, onto the level above. The massing of the project involved the organization of detached living suites on top of the plinth. Each of these houses would have access to private rooftop terraces and semi


26.45% 6.81% 5.58% 4.11% 15.64% 41.41%

SINGLE DETACHED HOUSES Semi Detached Houses Row Houses Duplex Houses Apartments Less than 5 Storeys APARTMENTS GREATER THAN 5 STOREYS

public green spaces on the platform, with glazing on building faces that maximize sunlight penetration. Care was also taken to ensure that windows of each unit do not overlook onto the private spaces of adjacent suites, but rather to public areas that serve as recreational spaces for the occupants. Houses on top of the new ground plane were kept as simple geometric extrusions from the footprint boundary in order to increase the available green space between each house, as well as increase energy efďŹ ciency through the reduction of exposed exterior wall area.


5.58% 9.83% 5.58% 7.15% 63.38% 12.07%

SINGLE DETACHED HOUSES Semi Detached Houses Row Houses Duplex Houses Apartments Less than 5 Storeys APARTMENTS GREATER THAN 5 STOREYS


25.81% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 74.19%

SINGLE DETACHED HOUSES Semi Detached Houses Row Houses Duplex Houses Apartments Less than 5 Storeys APARTMENTS GREATER THAN 5 STOREYS



Structurally, New Ground Plane is imagined as a large poured concrete transfer slab plinth that sits atop a piloti system. Structures below the plinth are constructed between columns, which act as lateral load bracing for the columnar grid. Structures on top of the plinth are supported by the concrete, and have typical vernacular light stick framing construction, using traditional lumber and engineered wood products as structural elements. Due to the use of rectilinear footprints for each house, each structure on top of the podium uses simple single spanned oor joists that cross the entire building without the addition of intermediary posts that may penetrate the center of living areas.

Detailing for framing is designed to be as close to an industry tested and standardized method as much as possible. Industry standard materials for thermal, moisture, air, and vapour protection are also chosen, with chemically inert materials such as rock wool insulation chosen over polyurethane products. Exterior wall and roof dimensions are sized in order to allow for R-30 walls and R-50 roofs for thermal resistance, and the houses are designed to be as air tight as possible, in order to preserve energy for heating and cooling. The airtight qualities of the houses are balanced by cross ventilation that is allowed through the use of operable windows that are situated on opposite faces of the structure.



THESIS 2017 ADVISOR: Michael Piper SOFTWARE: Rhinoceros 3d, VisualARQ, Adobe CC Suite Although appropriation is already happening in the city of Toronto, much of it is not done in a way that takes full advantage of the ability to add density, and value to the houses. RD Appropriation attempts to create a ruleset that would serve as a guideline for intensification to rectify this problem and bring suburban neighbourhoods up to date with the social and economic realities of Toronto’s real estate market. A typological approach is taken, to propose different preferred appropriation solutions based on lot type. Although each lot is unique in its own way, some characteristics that are shared between lots canse used as a basis for applying general designs across many houses. RD Appropriation however does not aim to impose or prescribe a single solution for the development of the neighbourhood, but attempts to show the possibilities of what can be done to develop the suburbs into a sustainable and efficient system.

In light of the past decade of urban growth, it is obvious that housing continues to be one of the major issues for the planning and growth of the City of Toronto. Characterized by rapid growth both in terms of volume of construction, and volume of sales in the recent few years, houses have started a shift in role from a basic provider of shelter, to a commodity. Due to a variety of factors, the average cost of homeownership has greatly outpaced the financial ability of Toronto’s average wage earner - with the typical suburban house doubling in price in the past ten years. However, housing remains a fundamental necessity that must be addressed within the framework of economic realities. Purchasing a unit in high density high rise towers in 2017 on average cost half as much as a single family detached home in the suburbs. This may be one one of the many reasons why high rise sales volume has been increasing at a pace that far exceeds its historical average. Much of the new development in the city also follows the trend of constructing high rise towers instead of single detached subdivisions.

Detached Homes 2 stories or fewer Duplexes, Townhomes, 5 stories or fewer High Rise Towers greater than 5 stories Other zoning designations

Much of the high rise development is happening in Toronto’s fi ve urban growth centers - Downtown/Waterfront, Scarborough Center, North York Center, Etobicoke Center, and Yonge Eglinton Center - as designated by the City of Toronto’s Official Plan, with aims for densification and intensification where there is existing infrastructure in place. These urban growth centers are characterized by access to transit, established commercial centers, and tall residential towers. In some of these regions, the high density zones have immediate adjacencies to RD zoned low density residential designations which are typically suburban.

In the case of the Scarborough Center Growth region, the Official Plan designated growth centre’s southern boundary terminates at the major arterial street Ellesmere. The north side of this boundary is highly intensive; it is home to the major shopping mall Scarborough Civic Center, the most trafficked local transit station on the Scarborough rapid transit line and access to the 401 highway; the area also hosts multiple newly built high rise towers. Contrasting this development on the south side of this boundary is the community of Bendale. The neighbourhood consists of one public school, several small strip malls and a ravine system; the rest of the neighbourhood are suburban houses.

The sales price of homes in the Greater Toronto Area has hit an all time high, for all housing types, especially when seen in relationship to the average salary of city dwellers. Many people are ďŹ nding single family detached homes unaffordable; the average price of these homes in Toronto exceeded 1 million dollars in 2016. Due in part to the unaffordability of the detached home, many people are purchasing and renting condominium units in multiunit residences, primarily in high-rise towers.

The volume of sales of condominium units in buildings greater than 5 storeys have greatly increased as a percentage of all home sales in 2016 and 2017, which is a departure from historical trends. The future of home sales seem to continue favouring the purchasing of high-rise condominiums, given the decreasing amount of space in the city. However, there remains a large available land stock in existing low density suburban housing subdivisions, which could ďŹ ll in the typological gap in the housing stock.


Suburban communities in Scarborough are characterized by similar typological neighbourhood structures. In Bendale, as in other Scarborough neighbourhoods, arterial roads, secondary streets, and tertiary streets service low density housing. Lots that front onto each distinct street type exhibit similar qualities in terms of frontage, lot area, and trafďŹ c circulation. RD Appropriation takes advantage of these similarities to ďŹ nd solutions that can be applied to as many houses as possible. Suburban neighbourhoods also have typical amenities available to residents such as institutional buildings, green spaces, commercial activities, and transportation infrastructures. These existing amenities can better utilized in serving larger groups of people through intensifying the neighbourhood unit. This many unlock new possibilities and efďŹ ciencies in the usage of these amenity buildings and spaces that can only be achieved where there exists a certain density of population in close proximity to them.

Today, houses in this neighbourhood are being altered and expanded, some dramatically so, based on a variety of changing economic, social and cultural values; however these changes are often done informally with little to no oversight, which leads to buildings that do not conform to appropriate zoning and building code. Houses that were initially intended as single family detached houses are being transformed into rooming houses, which may be unsanitary environments, or ďŹ re hazards that house occupant loads greater than what is deemed safe. Additionally, due to informal appropriation of houses, occupants who live in these dwellings may be unaccounted for by ofďŹ cial records, such as the Canadian census. It is unclear how many houses in Bendale have modiďŹ cations that are not cityapproved, but it is apparent that appropriation in the community is not a new phenomenon. An occupant who wanted a larger or more personalized living space would usually choose one of two options; they could move to a new house, or they could renovate. Due to the availability of unbuilt space, clear delineation of property ownership, vernacular building practices, and the current housing economic climate, it is preferable for many homeowners to choose the second option.


Experimental house designs are applied to different lot conditions, which range from small single room houses measuring less than 400 square feet, to large multi-residential buildings with 4 or more units totalling up to 2500 square feet. These buildings are imagined as auxiliary structures, additions to existing structures, and new constructions. Although the design and construction of theses houses would be carried out by the homeowner, RD Appropriation suggests massing guidelines for these homes based on the type of lot they are situated on. In addition to massing guidelines, the project also suggests ways of applying vernacular ornamentation and construction to maintain the neighbourhood’s visual cohesion, as well as layout guidelines that ensure that density can be added without negatively impacting and overloading existing infrastructures. Housing massing is generally carried out based on lot type. Lots that front onto tertiary roads are not able to accomodate large amounts of increased density, but generally have spacious rear yards due to atypical lot shapes; they may be developed with detached accessory dwelling units that can become secondary suites for relatives, work spaces, or rental units for extra income. Lots that front onto secondary streets generally have access to infrastructure such as schools and strip malls and typically also have wider lot frontages compared to tertiary lots. Because of this, increasing density through expansions to the

side of the house to create larger living spaces is prefered. Finally lots that back onto arterial streets have the unique quality of double sided access from two right of ways. These lots are able to take on the most density and are conducive for multi-unit residences. Vernacular ornamentation and construction techniques are important to the development of the neighbourhood so that the gradual development of the area could be done harmoniously. The use of industry standard windows, doors, skylights, and cladding materials that are already commonplace in suburban visual character ensures that existing homeowners would not have their environment drastically changed through an architectural intervention. Beyond this function, vernacular ornamentation are also readily available, easy to procure and install which makes it an economic choice in renovation. The building layouts that are suggested by RD Appropriation attempt to solve the problems of privacy, vehicular and pedestrian access, sound transmission, ventilation, and land ownership with shared spaces where there are multiple houses on a single lot. Architectural techniques such as offsetting oor heights to reduce sightlines into adjacent houses, minimizing of party walls between units to control noise, and placement of windows in a unit for cross breeze, are used.


DOOVER ISLAND STRUCTURES 1 ADVISORS: Shannon Hilchie SOFTWARE: Rhinoceros 3d, Vray 2.5, Adobe CC Suite The design of this project was intended to create a sauna that would balance robustness and economy while allowing access to great views from the site on Doover Island, to Lake Superior. Several challenges were considered at the planning stage, most of which were due to the remote locations of the island. First was a lack of reliable electricity during construction; some electricity may be accessed through the use of gas generators. Second was the issue of transporting materials on and off the island by boat, which limited the maximum size of materials that could be used. Third was the economic costs which were reduced as much as possible by using readily available materials such as wood and concrete.

The majority of the speciďŹ ed materials were designed with wood joist, beams, and slatted wood siding. The advantages of wood are such that they can be easily acquired, even in remote communities, and do not require specialized tools to work with. Power tools and hand tools can both be relied upon to construct light wood frame buildings, which would reduce dependency on electricity. Another advantage of wood is that it is relatively lightweight, which allows for easy transportation over water. It is intended that all wood and building materials are to be purchased from regular local hardware and building improvement centers, as custom orders would not be needed. The building program is designed to be straightforward and practical. For example, the placement of the hot tub is next to the sauna, allows them to share the same wood burning heating source. There is open space on the wood deck that links all other elements; the bar, seating, hot tub, shower, and entrance to the sauna.


Structural elements with standard sizes and dimensions are used to construct the deck and sauna. Typical cylindrical concrete piers are placed down into the exposed bedrock, which allows the design to be placed anywhere on the island. The amount of reinforcing structure for the building is reduced by transferring the majority of the dead load from the hot tub directly to the bedrock foundation.

The design of the sauna enclosure is borrowed from vernacular Canadian wood frame house construction. It was not necessary to reinvent a system that is robust and proven in the Canadian environment. The framing solution of the superstructure is borrowed from typical house platform framing, with typical layouts of beams, joists, walls, and rafters.


VILLA SAGUENAY STUDIO 2 (Undergraduate) ADVISORS: Janine Debanne Villa Saguenay is a custom house built as an artist’s residence which explores the relations between what is natural and what is built. Located on the cliffed banks of the St. Lawrence River where it meets the tributary Riviere Saguenay in Quebec, its remote location further enhances the beautiful natural environment around it and the dominant view from the residence of the river below inspires creativity in those who live there. Villa Saguenay plays upon the allusion of sky and rocks and its relation to openness and confinement. The spatial organization of the villa is an attempt to follow to the natural rock formations of the surrounding landscape. Just as how the rock cliffs of the site expands onto an open river, the building’s private spaces changes into a glass prism that extends towards the water. By situating Villa Saguenay between the rock and the open air, the house draws upon properties of both elements. A direct access to the river from the rear of the house exists on the walk-out ground level.


CANADA KANTHASWAMY TEMPLE SOCIETY SCARBOROUGH VANLE ARCHITECT: 2015 to Present TEAM: Tom VanLe, Austin Yao SOFTWARE: AutoCAD, Rhinoceros 3d, Adobe CC Suite, Vray 2.5, Agisoft Photoscan The Canada Kanthaswamy Temple in Toronto is a Hindu temple that addresses a cultural need in the heart of Scarborough. Groups of Sri Lankan and Indian ďŹ rst and second generation immigrants established in the area around the intersections of Birchmount Road and Eglinton desired a religious icon in their community and a place to practice their faith. First proposed in 2011, the building has taken on many iterations based on community input, religious requirements, and policy frameworks.

The building is a mixture of traditional Hindu architectural forms and sculptures, and Canadian building practices. Design of the temple is based on mathematically structured spaces that arranged architectural elements along a regular geometric grid. Sculptures of deities are place along the grid in the interior of the temple, which are all oriented to cardinal directions with strict tolerances for accuracy. Entry thresholds into these spaces are also dictated by orientation to north, south, east and west, with the East entrance being the ceremonial place of entry. The process for design and construction of the Kanthaswamy Temple included obtaining approval from the city through re-zoning, site plan approval, and building permit approval. Vanle Architect was also responsible for the tendering, and construction administration of the building during construction.

Sculptural elements on the exteriors and interiors of the building were carried out through the use of CNC milling of Indiana limestone. These sculptures and bas reliefs were to be first cut by machine, and then finished by hand. Photogrammetry was used to document existing sculptural elements from sources around the Greater Toronto Area to create digital files for rough cut milling. A variety of 3D statues, and 2.5D bas relief carvings were captured and prepared into point cloud data, which was manipulated and processed to create highly detailed meshes that were suitable for machining. In addition to documenting elements through photos, many elements in the temple such as exterior columns, and rooftop crenels were prepared with traditional modeling techniques. Consideration was taken to understanding the limitations of the machinery, including the cutting bed dimensions, and weight restrictions of each column as they could weighed upwards of 20 metric tonnes. Transportation of the materials was also a factor in the design, due to issues concerning the delivery and on-site storage of the cut materials.


One of the challenges of construction was the main tower above the east entrance, which stands as an important religious and cultural symbol. The primary concern was the waterprooďŹ ng of the multiple sculptural elements that adorned the tower, which has been unsuccessfully carried out in several other Hindu temples around the Greater Toronto Area. In order to prevent water inďŹ ltration from the freeze thaw of

ice in the winter and wind driven rain in the summer, the architect worked closely the structural engineer to strategically locate places of penetration that could be prone to leakage as well as with the waterprooďŹ ng manufacturer representative to select the appropriate system and determine the best way of application

ERAA COMMERCIAL CENTRE VANLE ARCHITECT: 2015 to Present TEAM: Tom VanLe, Austin Yao SOFTWARE: AutoCAD The ERAA commercial center at 5928 Finch Ave E is the agship store for the ERAA Supermarket chain. The 40000 square foot commercial centre is a mix of mercantile spaces that serve the Sri Lankan community around it. It is designed as a striking assemblage of glass, stone and metal, which aims to attract customers and tenant retailers through its unique facade. Each unit in the building exhibits its own unique elevation; some are glazed with curtain wall, some are clad in stone, but no two units are visually and spatially identical. Many challenges were faced in terms of steel detailing, concrete work, and glazing due to the complex oor layout. Addressing the challenges required close coordination with the structural engineer to resolve problems, as well as daily communications with the site superintendent and tradespeople on site.


WEST BLOCK PARLIAMENTARY PRECINCT CARLETON IMMERSIVE MEDIA STUDIO LAB, 2013 TEAM: Dr. Stephen Fai, J. Rafeiro, M. Gallant, C. Hanley SOFTWARE: Revit, AutoCAD, Rhinoceros 3d, Adobe CC Suite, Agisoft Photoscan, T-Splines The rehabilitation of Parliament Hill is an ongoing, multi-faceted project that is projected to span many years to bring its ceremonial and working spaces to modern structural, environmental, and accessibility standards. Extensive renovation will take place starting with the West Block building - the oldest of the Parliament buildings - by not only restoring much of the historical artefacts, but also installing a new glass covered atrium that will serve as the new of House of Commons Chambers. Structural issues, outdated code requirements, and asbestos and silica abatement are all issues that have to be addressed before the rehabilitation of the building is complete. The rehabilitation and alterations to the West Block is to be completed prior to the beginning restoration work on the rest of the buildings on Parliament Hill.

To aid with the upkeep of the building throughout its lifecycle, a building information model was proposed for facilities management and for simulating various seismic, wind and structural conditions. The BIM system could also be used to map building maintenance costs, and heating and cooling loads, on a day to day basis. The work undertaken at the Carleton Immersive Media Studio Lab in Ottawa, was to create an accurate BIM model of all existing architectural, structural, mechanical, and civil elements of the Parliament Hill West Block. The initial phase of constructing the digital model was through the recording of the exterior as-built walls, glazing, roofs, and sculptural elements. The BIM model is referenced from a series of laser scanned point clouds, photogrammetric point clouds, surveys, and CAD drawings. The majority of the work at this stage consisted of the research and implementation of the highest level of detail for a BIM model, with focus on capturing deformities in wall and roofs to accurately represent surface topologies of historical buildings. Experimentation of high detail deformity modeling was realized on portions of the Mackenzie Tower, while a medium detail deformity modeling was used for all the roofs, and parts of the East Wing.

Although BIM has the advantage of providing a comprehensive set of localized information, it runs into limitations when the building that is modeled is comprised of mainly non uniform, even unique building elements. Revit typically assumes walls to be plumb and floors to be level, but that was not the case when dealing with the recording of a historical building; Revit is not designed to represent surfaces that are customized and deformed. In order to show atypical geometries while retaining the building information modeling data embedded in each element, it was important to model NURBS surfaces that worked with native Revit components. This problem was solved through the cultivation of a workflow that involved importing custom geometries from Rhinoceros into Revit, and then using Revit as a platform to assign properties such as material composition and structural assemblies.

The Mackenzie Tower was the main area of the building which benefi ted from the application of the research conducted at CIMS. It was chosen as the primary object to model due to its cultural and historical importance. Replicating this piece in BIM required the use of a high accuracy laser scanner to generated a series of high density point clouds. These point cloud datasets were combined together into one cohesive model, which was then imported into Rhinoceros. From there, multiple section cuts were taken through the cloud in order to generate accurate guidelines for modeling into NURBS solids. Finally, these objects were imported into Revit as a guide for creating floor and wall components that exhibited all traditional BIM properties, while maintaining accuracy with the point cloud.


Marcus Poon Architecture Portfolio  

Marcus Poon Architecture Portfolio

Marcus Poon Architecture Portfolio  

Marcus Poon Architecture Portfolio