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39 Practice

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Sharon VanderKaay examines the everevolving world of social media as a valuable marketing opportunity for architecture firms.

45 calendar

34 Bridge house mackaY-LYons sweetappLe architects evoLve their riGorous desiGn process in this intriGuinG home on a rockY site on the south coast of nova scotia. teXt ian chodikoff

Elizabeth Paden wins the Canada Council for the Arts Prix de Rome in Architecture for Emerging Practitioners; TownShift: Suburb Into City design competition winners announced.

Off the Boards and Off the Walls of Moriyama & Teshima at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre Gallery in Toronto; PechaKucha Montreal #17 at the Société des arts technologiques.

46 BackPage

Waterloo architecture student Prithula Prosun addresses climate change head-on with the revolutionary LIFT House, by Alexandra Shimo.

apriL 2010, v.55 n.04

the BridGe house in nova scotia BY mackaY-LYons sweetappLe architects. photo BY GreG richardson.


The NaTioNal Review of DesigN aND PRacTice/ The JouRNal of RecoRD of The Raic

04/10 canadian architect




editor Ian ChodIkoff, OAA, FRAIC associate editor LesLIe Jen, MRAIC editorial advisors John MCMInn, AADIpl. MarCo PoLo, OAA, MRAIC contributing editors GavIn affLeCk, OAQ, MRAIC herbert enns, MAA, MRAIC douGLas MaCLeod, nCARb regional correspondents halifax ChrIstIne MaCy, OAA regina bernard fLaMan, SAA montreal davId theodore calgary davId a. down, AAA Winnipeg herbert enns, MAA vancouver adeLe weder publisher toM arkeLL 416-510-6806

yh2’s nb20°5 In Grand-anse, new brunswICk. resIdentIaL desIGn CoMMIssIons ProvIde arChIteCture fIrMs wIth an oPPortunIty to ConduCt eaCh ProJeCt LIke a Laboratory, testInG arChIteCturaL Ideas reLatInG to sIte and MaterIaLIty. above

The foundation of many architecture firms is predicated upon their reputation to design a coherently expressed single-family home. For several reasons, this type of commission remains one of the most tantalizing design challenges for architects. The single-family residence provides a valuable opportunity for architects to work at an intimate scale with one or two clients at most, rather than a complex client group. Designing a house allows an architect to experiment with and test architectural ideas relating to three broadly defined categories: site, materiality, and context. These basic tenets eventually form the ideological basis for every architect’s practice. Furthermore, because the timeline associated with building a home is much shorter than more complex building types, it is possible to see the rapid evolution of an architect’s portfolio in less time. This month, we feature four single-family homes representing four different architectural aspirations. Designed by vastly different personalities—both amongst and within each individual practice—the homes featured in this issue achieve varying architectural goals. Each of the four firms leverages the residential design process to evolve an individual approach to design. Some concentrate their efforts on exploring the innate characteristics of site, while others steer their projects with a view to broadening the scope of the practice to include larger cultural commissions, in hopes of receiving public and critical acclaim. Even to a non-architect, the private dwelling provides a clear and concise representation of an architect’s core competency, particularly a nonlinear approach to resolving design issues. This manifestation of the architect’s skill set speaks to business leaders like Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Rotman’s recent book Design of Busi8 canadian architect 04/10

ness: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage (2009) is comprised of a fascinating series of essays describing the value of lateral thinking, referencing the most common “deliverable” of an architect—the single-family home. Yet it may very well be the late American sociologist Robert Gutman (1926-2007) who fully understood the value of the architect as a model problem-solver when he wrote his seminal 1977 essay entitled “Architecture: The Entrepreneurial Profession.” In the recently released Architecture From the Outside In: Selected Essays by Robert Gutman, edited by Dana Cuff and John Wriedt, it becomes clear that Gutman devoted his career to examining the motivations behind architects and their capacities as entrepreneurs and lateral-thinking problem-solvers. The general public increasingly views architects as “starchitects,” creators of ambitious cultural buildings and lavish homes. To Gutman, the architect is much more than a purveyor of taste, noting that “the central illusion is that an architect spends most of her time doing ‘design’—that is, figuring out how the spaces of a building will be organized and what the building will look like on the exterior and interior. In fact...we are dealing with...a lengthy, cumbersome, and complicated process whose successful completion depends upon technical knowledge, refined architectural understanding, and political and diplomatic skill in the office.” When appreciating the work of architects who design houses, we should make special efforts to consider their entrepreneurial skills as design thinkers, and how the private dwellings they create inform the larger body of the firm’s work— work that includes ideas about the city, materiality and the relationship of architecture to the built environment. Ian ChodIkoff


associate publisher GreG PaLIouras 416-510-6808 circulation Manager beata oLeChnowICz 416-442-5600 ext. 3543 custoMer service MaLkIt Chana 416-442-5600 ext. 3539 production JessICa Jubb graphic design sue wILLIaMson vice president of canadian publishing aLex PaPanou president of business inforMation group bruCe CreIGhton head office 12 ConCorde PLaCe, suIte 800, toronto, on M3C 4J2 telephone 416-510-6845 facsimile 416-510-5140 e-mail edItors@CanadIanarChIteCt.CoM Web site www.CanadIanarChIteCt.CoM Canadian architect is published monthly by bIG Magazines LP, a div. of Glacier bIG holdings Company Ltd., a leading Canadian information company with interests in daily and community newspapers and business-tobusiness information services. 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: $52.95 plus applicable taxes for one year; $83.95 plus applicable taxes for two years (Gst – #809751274rt0001). Price per single copy: $6.95. students (prepaid with student Id, includes taxes): $32.50 for one year. usa: $101.95 us for one year. all other foreign: $120.00 us per year. us office of publication: 2424 niagara falls blvd, niagara falls, ny 143045709. Periodicals Postage Paid at niagara falls, ny. usPs #009-192. us postmaster: send address changes to Canadian architect, Po box 1118, niagara falls, ny 14304. return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Circulation dept., Canadian architect, 12 Concorde Place, suite 800, toronto, on Canada M3C 4J2. Postmaster: please forward forms 29b and 67b to 12 Concorde Place, suite 800, toronto, on Canada M3C 4J2. 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 1-800-668-2374 facsimile 416-442-2191 e-mail mail Privacy officer, business Information Group, 12 Concorde Place, suite 800, toronto, on Canada M3C 4J2 member of the canadian business press member of the audit bureau of circulations publications mail agreement #40069240 issn 0008-2872

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news PrOjects waterfront toronto unveils plans for Underpass Park.

A derelict area beneath a series of overpasses in the West Don Lands is going to be transformed into an urban jewel. Waterfront Toronto unveiled plans for Underpass Park, the most extensive park to ever be built under an overpass in Canada, and the first in Toronto. Located within the West Don Lands—home to the 2015 Pan American Games Athletes’ Village—Underpass Park will cover a total of 1.05 hectares (2.5 acres) under and around the Eastern Avenue and Richmond/Adelaide overpasses, between Cherry Street and Bayview Avenue. The overpasses transect the West Don Lands; the park will remove a psychological barrier by converting the derelict space beneath the ramps into a bright new neighbourhood destination. Residents of the soon-tobe-built housing developments in the northeastern section of the West Don Lands will have park space and safe beautiful connections to the rest of the neighbourhood. Designed by renowned landscape architects Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg in association with The Planning Partnership, Underpass Park is slated to start in May 2010 and is another sign of the momentum and progress being made in the West Don Lands. The original timelines for buildout of the 32-hectare (80-acre) West Don Lands was planned for 10 to 12 years, in three strategic phases, subject to market conditions. With the acceleration for the Pan Am Games, more than half of the community will be in place by June 2015.

hole at the corner of Yonge and Bloor Streets in Toronto, following the spectacular failure of developer Bazis International. The Great Gulf Group of Companies has taken over development of the One Bloor project, with a scaled-down proposal for a 65-storey, 690-suite condo with three levels of retail and two floors of amenity space. The design team includes Hariri Pontarini Architects, Cecconi Simone Inc., and Janet Rosenberg + Associates Landscape Architecture/ Urban Design, with construction by Tucker HiRise Construction Inc. Construction will begin pending approval, with first occupancy expected by December 2014.

architectsalliance restore and expand historic st. james cathedral centre in toronto.

teeple architects to design clareview recreation centre and Library expansion.

Adjacent to the historic St. James Cathedral in downtown Toronto, the St. James Parish House is currently undergoing a long-awaited restoration and expansion, the result of over 10 years of planning. Designed by architectsAlliance with construction management by Dalton, the new Cathedral Centre—as the Parish House is now called—will ring in at 34,000 square feet, providing office space, meeting rooms, archives, housing for clergy, a kitchen, barrier-free access and beautifully landscaped surroundings. Scheduled for completion in 2011, the historic façade of this beautiful landmark along Church and Adelaide Streets will be maintained while new construction with expansive glass walls will increase visibility in the area facing St. James Park.

The Edmonton Public Library has selected Teeple Architects Inc. in association with Architecture Arndt Tkalcic Bengert to design the expansion of the Clareview Recreation Centre and Library. The Centre is currently lacking an iconic civic presence and will be redesigned to animate the street front and promote interaction and connectivity between the two programs. Animating the public front of the building will involve new entrances along a treed park drive with wide boulevard sidewalks, lighting, elegant street furniture and trees. The transparency of the main façade and interior walls with strategic glazing will allow the interior activities of the building to be visually accessible and inviting to pedestrians and passersby. Views to and from the library, community centre, street and adjacent park will intersect throughout creating a fluid dynamic realm of these two seemingly disparate programs. The project is scheduled for completion in 2013.

hariri Pontarini architects design One Bloor condominium in toronto.

Plans are definitively underway to fill the gaping

DesigneD by PhilliPs Farevaag smallenberg in association with the Planning PartnershiP, UnDerPass Park will visUally connect revitalizeD Portions oF toronto’s west Don lanDs while lessening the Psychological barrier caUseD by existing overPasses.


reich+Petch design international creates new exhibition hall at the smithsonian.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC unveiled the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, a new permanent gallery showcasing six million years of human evolution. Reich+Petch Design International’s fouryear collaboration with the Smithsonian’s team of scientists, curators and exhibits team has culminated in a 15,000-square-foot, media-rich gallery that immerses visitors in an environment dedicated to the discovery and understanding of human origins. The stories of the gallery are presented in a rich palette of design techniques: multimedia theatres, immersive environments, interactive devices and direct encounters with fossils. Reich+ Petch not only designed the gallery and the multimedia concepts but was contracted to produce the final animations, and led the team of AV companies such as XLR8 Design and Chedd Angier Lewis to produce the final products. A key design feature of the gallery is the three-dimensional sculptural installations. At the central point of the Hall, visitors will be surrounded by eight dramatically lifelike facial reconstructions of species spanning over six million years of evolutionary evidence found across five continents.

awards elizabeth Paden wins the canada council for the arts Prix de rome in architecture for emerging Practitioners.

McGill University School of Architecture graduate Elizabeth Paden is the winner of this award, recognizing her investigations into the impact that large-scale public buildings can have on territorial boundaries within geopolitical regions. This 04/10 canadian architect


$34,000 Prix de Rome is awarded to a recent graduate of one of Canada’s 11 accredited schools of architecture who demonstrates outstanding potential. The prizewinner is given the opportunity to visit significant architectural sites abroad, and to intern at an architecture firm of international stature. Over the next year, Paden will travel to three regions that offer insight into the humanity of architecture, including The Ghetto (suburbs of Paris), The Colony (boundary between Israel and the West Bank) and The Fringe (Euro-Arctic boundaries of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia). She hopes these studies of responsive social design will inform the Canadian architectural process for peripheral Aboriginal communities to enrich cultural exchange between communities. Originally from Sudbury, Paden is interested in the relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal space. She currently resides in Toronto, where she works at Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects. raic announces Bing thom architects inc. as 2010 architectural Firm award recipient.

Founded in 1982 in Vancouver, Bing Thom Architects (BTA) has executed a wide spectrum of projects in North America and overseas, from single-family residences to the design of entire cities. Principals Bing Thom, FRAIC, and Michael Heeney, MRAIC, share a fundamental belief in the transformative power of architecture to improve not only the physical but also the economic and social conditions of a community. firm/2010recipient_e.htm winners of the 2010 Oaa awards announced.

The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) announced its 2010 award winners who represent the best in Ontario architectural design, innovation and business. In the Design Excellence category, the winners are: 60 Richmond Street Housing Development in Toronto by Teeple Architects Inc.; the Centre for Urban Ecology in Toronto by Taylor Hazell Architects Ltd. with architectsAlliance and gh3 inc.; Fire & Emergency Services Training Institute in Mississauga by Kleinfeldt Mychajlowycz Architects Incorporated; Gerstein Reading Room—Gerstein Science Information Centre in Toronto by Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated; House in Frogs Hollow in Grey Highlands by WILLIAMSONWILLIAMSON INC.; House in Grey Highlands by Ian MacDonald Architect Inc.; MaRS Centre in Toronto by Adamson Associates Architects; North House in Cambridge by RVTR; Project Grand Jeté Stage II—The Maitland Street Residence in Toronto by Goldsmith Borgal & Company Ltd. 12 canadian architect 04/10

renante solivar’s sUbmission For a more Urban anD Dynamic neighboUrhooD oF gUilDForD won the overall Prize For townshiFt: sUbUrb into city, an iDeas comPetition organizeD For the city oF sUrrey, british colUmbia.


Architects; Regent Park Revitalization Phase One—Dundas /Sackville Apartments in Toronto by architectsAlliance; Royal Conservatory TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning in Toronto by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects; Southbrook Vineyards in Niagara-on-theLake by Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated; Tallgrass Prairie Pavilion in Walsingham by David J. Agro; the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa by Maki and Associates and Moriyama & Teshima Architects in collaboration; and the New Canadian Plaza at the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie by NORR Limited Architects and Engineers. The awards will be presented at the OAA Celebration of Excellence in early May. winners of the 2010 Governor General’s awards in Visual and Media arts announced.

Haida sculptor Robert Davidson, filmmaker André Forcier, painter Rita Letendre, video artist Tom Sherman, photographer Gabor Szilasi and painter Claude Tousignant all won awards for artistic achievement. Glass sculptor Ione Thorkelsson won the Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in fine crafts, while Terry Ryan received the Outstanding Contribution Award as longtime general manager of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative in Cape Dorset, Nunavut and director of Dorset Fine Arts in Toronto. In addition to a $25,000 prize, the winners will each receive a work created by Tony Urquhart, winner of a 2009 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. The Awards, funded and administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, were created in June 1999 and awarded for the first time in March 2000. They recognize distinguished career

achievements in the visual and media arts by Canadian artists, as well as outstanding contributions to the visual and media arts through voluntarism, philanthropy, board governance, community outreach or professional activities. 2010 Pci design awards call for entries.

The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) has issued a call for entries for its 2010 Design Awards competition. The competition, now in its 48th year, demonstrates how designers are continuing to utilize precast, prestressed concrete components to achieve more cost-effective, aesthetically pleasing, and quickly constructed buildings. Eligible projects include any structure in the United States, Canada or Mexico that has been completed within the last three years and is substantially constructed with plant-manufactured precast, prestressed concrete, glass-fibrereinforced concrete, and/or architectural precast concrete. The deadline for submissions is May 21, 2010.

cOMPetitiOns winners announced in the townshift: suburb into city design competition.

TownShift: Suburb Into City, an ideas competition sponsored by the City of Surrey, is intended to provide a vision for the future growth of Surrey’s five growing town centres—Cloverdale, Fleetwood, Guildford, Newton and Semiahmoo. Surrey is poised to surpass Vancouver’s population in the next couple of decades. The City is also rapidly becoming more urban, with a new major continued on page 45

ISSuE 32.2 SPRING 2010

Presenting the 2010 RAIC Gold Medalist In February the 2010 RAIC Gold Medal was announced and will be presented to George Baird, FRAIC, former Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design and Professor of Architecture at the university of Toronto, and partner in the Torontobased architecture and urban design firm Baird Sampson Neuert Architects.

photo: Tom vogel

The Gold Medal Selection Committee noted it chose Mr. Baird in recognition of his “scholarship as the author of the critically acclaimed The Space of Appearance, in which he argued for a politically engaged architecture deeply aligned to the public

sphere. He has fostered countless cross-border intellectual alliances and, both as a Professor of Architecture at Harvard university’s Graduate School of Design and as Dean of the university of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design privileged outstanding research and continued building endowment. For decades he has provided significant mentorship for Canada’s most acclaimed architects and thinkers. As a theoretician, competition advisor and master planner, Baird’s work has been critical to the deepening complexity of the Canadian city.” The RAIC Gold Medal is awarded in recognition of significant contribution to Canadian architecture, and is the highest honour the profession of architecture in Canada can bestow. Mr. Baird will be speak at the Presidents’ Dinner Friday June 25 during RAIC – SAA Festival of Architecture to be held from June 23-26, 2010 in Saskatoon.

2009-2010 RAIC Board Members President Ranjit (Randy) K. Dhar, FRAIC 1st Vice-President and President-Elect Stuart Howard, FRAIC 2nd Vice-President and Treasurer David Craddock, MRAIC Immediate Past President Paule Boutin, AP/FIRAC Regional Directors Wayne De Angelis, MRAIC (British Columbia/Yukon) Wayne Guy, FRAIC (Alberta/NWT)

2010 Firm Award recipient announced

Charles Olfert, MRAIC (Saskatchewan/Manitoba)

RAIC is pleased to announce the firm Bing Thom Architects Inc. has been named recipient of its 2010 Architectural Firm Award.

David Craddock, MRAIC (Ontario Southwest)

In choosing Bing Thom Architects Inc., the jury noted the firm “has developed a practice that seeks out inventive collaborations between stakeholders, as in the Surrey Central City project where the Simon Fraser university satellite campus was built on top of a commercial centre as a way to reactivate one of the largest suburbs in Canada. Their work with Fast + Epp engineers has produced highly innovative roof structures and their Chan Centre for the Performing Arts is one of the architectural jewels of vancouver. Besides that, BTA’s acclaimed architecture has won major commissions in the united States, including the nearly completed Arena Stage Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C.” Bing Thom Architects Inc. will also be recognized at the Presidents’ Dinner during RAIC–SAA Festival of Architecture.

Saskatoon proclaims Architecture week To welcome the RAIC/SAA Festival of Architecture to Saskatoon – Saskatoon has declared June 20-26, 2010 Architecture Week. Architects across Canada are invited to the Festival themed Sounds like Architecture and timed with the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival. The Festival web site is now open for registration – please visit Register early and save!

Ralph Wiesbrock, FRAIC (Ontario North and East/Nunavut) Claude Hamelin Lalonde, FIRAC (Quebec) Paul E. Frank, FRAIC (Atlantic) Chancellor of College of Fellows Alexander Rankin, FRAIC Council of Canadian University Schools of Architecture (CCUSA) Eric Haldenby, FRAIC Central City | Bing Thom Architects | photo: Nic Lehoux

Becoming Architecture Canada RAIC has taken the first step in rebranding as Architecture Canada with the integration of the new brand image such as in this update newsletter and in the redesigned electronic Bulletin. It is just the beginning of a new look that will encompass all the services and benefits offered to members and the public. Members need not worry about their designations, the legal name and corporate registration continues as the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, so members can continue to use MRAIC and FRAIC with pride. Licensed architects are encouraged also to emphasize the many roles of the profession in society by using the title “Architect” too. The new look will be rolled out throughout 2010. By next year Architecture Canada is certain to be part of the profession’s lexicon.

Director Representing Intern Architects W. Steve Boulton, MRAIC Editorial Liaison Ralph Wiesbrock, FRAIC Executive Director Jon Hobbs, FRAIC Editor Sylvie Powell The national office of the RAIC is located at: 330-55 Murray St. Ottawa ON K1N 5M3 Tel.: 613-241-3600 Fax: 613-241-5750 E-mail: MASThEAD PhoTo: LANGuAGE TECHNOLOGIES RESEARCH CENTRE AT uNIvERSITy OF QuEBEC IN OuTAOuAIS | MENKèS SHOONER DAGENAIS LETOuRNEux ARCHITECTS / FORTIN CORRIvEAu SALvAIL ARCHITECTuRE + DESIGN | PHOTO: MICHEL BRuNELLE

Nu M éR O 3 2 . 2 PRI N T EM P S 2 0 1 0 Conseil d’administration de l’IRAC de 2009-2010 Président Ranjit (Randy) K. Dhar, FRAIC Premier vice-président et président élu Stuart Howard, FRAIC

Médaillé d’or 2010 de l’IRAC En février 2010, l’IRAC a annoncé que sa Médaille d’or 2010 sera remise à George Baird, FRAIC, ancien doyen de la faculté d’architecture, de l’architecture du paysage et de design de l’université de Toronto où il a également été professeur d’architecture, et associé de la firme d’architecture et de design urbain Baird Sampson Neuert Architects, de Toronto.

Deuxième vice-président et trésorier David Craddock, MRAIC Présidente sortante de charge Paule Boutin, AP/FIRAC Administrateurs régionaux Wayne De Angelis, MRAIC (Colombie-Britannique/Yukon)

En lui attribuant cet honneur, le jury de la Médaille d’or a reconnu son statut de « pédagogue comme auteur de l’ouvrage The Space of Appeareance qui a reçu les éloges unanimes de la critique et dans lequel il plaide en faveur d’une architecture politiquement engagée et profondément harmonisée à

Wayne Guy, FRAIC (Alberta/T.N.-O.)

photo : Tom vogel

Charles Olfert, MRAIC (Saskatchewan/Manitoba)

Le Cabinet d’architectes de l’année 2010

David Craddock, MRAIC (Sud et Ouest de l’Ontario)

L’IRAC a le plaisir d’annoncer l’attribution du Prix du cabinet d’architectes de l’année 2010 à Bing Thom Architects Inc.

Ralph Wiesbrock, FRAIC (Est et Nord de l’Ontario/Nunavut) Claude Hamelin Lalonde, FIRAC (Québec) Paul E. Frank, FRAIC (Atlantique) Chancelier du Collège des fellows Alexander Rankin, FRAIC Conseil canadien des écoles universitaires d’architecture (CCÉUA) Eric Haldenby, FRAIC Conseiller représentant les stagiaires W. Steve Boulton, MRAIC Conseiller à la rédaction Ralph Wiesbrock, FRAIC Directeur général Jon Hobbs, FRAIC Rédactrice en chef Sylvie Powell Le siège social de l’IRAC est situé au : 55, rue Murray, bureau 330 Ottawa (Ontario) K1N 5M3 Tél. : 613-241-3600 Téléc. : 613-241-5750 Courriel : PhoTo En CARToUChE DE TITRE : CENTRE DE RECHERCHE EN TECHNOLOGIES LANGAGIèRES DE L’uNIvERSITé Du QuéBEC EN OuTAOuAIS | MENKèS SHOONER DAGENAIS LETOuRNEux ARCHITECTES / FORTIN CORRIvEAu SALvAIL ARCHITECTuRE + DESIGN | PHOTO : MICHEL BRuNELLE

En choisissant Bing Thom Architects Inc., le jury a souligné que la firme « a développé une pratique qui cherche des façons novatrices de collaborer avec tous les intervenants, comme elle l’a fait dans le projet du campus de Surrey de l’université Simon Fraser qui a été construit audessus d’un centre commercial afin de redonner vie à l’une des plus grandes villes de banlieue du Canada. Sa collaboration avec les ingénieurs Fast + Epp a donné lieu à des toitures très novatrices et son Chan Centre for the Performing Arts est l’un des bijoux architecturaux de vancouver. En outre, l’architecture de BTA lui vaut des éloges partout dans le monde et lui a permis d’obtenir des mandats prestigieux, comme l’Arena Stage Performing Arts Centre de Washington, D.C., qui sera bientôt achevé. » un hommage sera rendu au cabinet Bing Thom Architects Inc lors du dîner des présidents qui aura lieu dans le cadre du Festival d’architecture de l’IRAC et congrès de la SAA.

Saskatoon proclame la semaine de l’architecture

Pour souligner le Festival d’architecture de l’IRAC et Congrès de la SAA qui aura lieu du 23 au 26 juin 2010 à Saskatoon, la municipalité a proclamé la semaine du 20 au 26 juin, Semaine de l’architecture. Les architectes du Canada sont invités au Festival qui se tiendra sous le thème Architecture à l’écoute! en même temps que le Festival de jazz de la Saskatchewan. Le site du Festival est maintenant ouvert et il est possible de s’inscrire en ligne à partir du festival. Inscrivezvous rapidement et profitez du rabais pour inscription hâtive!

la sphère publique. George Baird a encouragé nombre d’alliances intellectuelles transfrontalières et, en tant que professeur d’architecture à la Harvard university Graduate School of Design et doyen de la faculté d’architecture, de l’architecture du paysage et de design de l’université de Toronto, il a accordé une place importante à la recherche de haut niveau et aux fonds de dotation permanents. Pendant des décennies, il a été le mentor d’architectes et de pédagogues parmi les plus éminents du Canada. Comme théoricien, conseiller de concours et urbaniste, George Baird a joué un rôle essentiel dans un contexte où la ville canadienne est de plus en plus complexe. » En reconnaissance d’une contribution remarquable à l’architecture canadienne, la Médaille d’or de l’IRAC est la plus haute distinction qui puisse être décernée en architecture au Canada. Monsieur Baird prononcera une allocution lors du dîner des présidents, le vendredi 25 juin, dans le cadre du Festival d’architecture de l’IRAC et congrès de la SAA qui se déroulera du 23 au 26 juin 2010, à Saskatoon.

Central City | Bing Thom Architects | photo : Nic Lehoux

Vers une nouvelle image : Architecture Canada

L’IRAC a entrepris la première étape visant à se donner une nouvelle image de marque, Architecture Canada, jumelée à une nouvelle image graphique comme celle qui apparaît dans le présent numéro En bref et dans le bulletin électronique mensuel qui a été entièrement remanié. Ce n’est que le début d’une refonte qui comprendra tous les services et avantages offerts aux membres et au grand public.

Les membres n’ont pas à s’inquiéter au sujet de leur désignation, car le nom légal demeure l’Institut royal d’architecture du Canada. Ils peuvent continuer de porter les titres de MIRAC et de FIRAC avec fierté. L’IRAC encourage également tous les architectes à mettre en valeur les nombreux rôles de la profession dans la société en utilisant leur titre d’architecte. La nouvelle image sera introduite pendant toute l’année 2010. Nul doute que dès l’an prochain, Architecture Canada fera partie du vocabulaire de la profession.


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acadian rhythm

traditiOn and innOVatiOn FiGure PrOminentLy in thiS acadian hOme. nb20˚5, grande-anse, new brunswick yh2 (yiacouvakis hamelin architectes) teXt john leroux PhOtOS yh2 PrOJect


When Nikolaus Pevsner made his famous statement several generations ago that “a bicycle shed is a building; Lincoln Cathedral is a piece of architecture,” his subtext was as much about class structure as it was about design. At that time, many considered the pinnacle of Canadian residential architecture to be ornate mansions in Toronto and Montreal that were devoted to historic European revival styles. Not much on the east coast would have been included, let alone the traditional wood-frame houses of New Brunswick’s Acadian peninsula. But it’s no secret that this presumption has lost its lustre, as contemporary insight understands that the simple and less ostentatious vernacular often tells a deeper tale. In a region of New Brunswick that is culturally rich but still architecturally cautious, a striking example of contemporary design in the village of Grande-Anse has taken its formal inspiration from deep Acadian roots. Completed in 2007, the combined house/studio belonging to Jocelyn Jean 16 canadian architect 04/10

the house derives its name from the 20.5-degree angle formed by the intersection of its two wings. OPPOSite tOP, LeFt tO riGht the minimalist approach to the double-height family room allows the owners to enjoy their secluded wooded lot; a brightly lit studio forms the residence’s second wing. aBOVe

and Rose-Mai Roy sits in a pine forest high atop a sheer rocky cliff overlooking the Bay of Chaleur. While their house is far from traditional, there is a definite relationship and spiritual connection to the uncomplicated forms and orderly spaces of the Acadian vernacular. This heritage is perfectly visible in the nearby Village Historique Acadien, a collection of historic structures where traditional gabled homes are essentially interchangeable with barns and service buildings in their appearance and execution. Rarely more than a straightforward gabled box covered on all surfaces with weathered wood shingles or rough boards, these structures have no roof overhang or decorative trim. Compared to their English counterparts, they are unadorned to the highest degree. However, like the restraint evident in a traditional Japanese tea house, we now see the beauty and charm of this historical minimalism—even though it articulates the hardship and material poverty of the Acadians that persisted until not very long ago. With considerable input from the owners, the new house in Grande-Anse was designed by Marie-Claude Hamelin and Loukas Yiacouvakis of the

Montreal architectural firm YH2 (Yiacouvakis Hamelin architectes). The dwelling is a two-storey L-shaped structure called NB20°5 in honour of the 20.5-degree angle formed by the intersection of the house’s two wings. Taking an approach similar to the magnificent 1855 Robin Shed—a wellknown loft-like building that once serviced the local cod fishery and which is preserved within the Village Historique Acadien in Rivière-du-Nord—the NB20°5 house is made of unpretentious gabled volumes with no overhangs, and is clad throughout by a single economical material. Dispensing with the standard wood skin, the new house features galvanized steel sheets as cladding for both the roof and walls. It expresses its kindred spirit to the Robin Shed mostly through its similar use of large wooden shutters to protect the window and door openings when the building is not in use. Like a frontier garrison, the hinged shutters and sliding barn doors are solid planes of golden stained cedar that close up tight in the winter for security, while creating a lively counterpoint to the grey metal façade during the occupied months. Entered through its midpoint, the house is equally divided into two halves, with the couple’s living area at one end and Jean’s spacious painting studio at the other. While the living component is efficient and rigorously designed, the studio portion is more daring and spacious. Jean is a celebrated Canadian painter who moved to Quebec in 1970 from New Brunswick. He has taught at a number of Montreal university art departments since 1979, and his work belongs to such prestigious collections as the Montreal Contemporary Art

Museum, the Musée du Québec and the Canada Council Art Bank. Although connected to a residence, the studio doesn’t try to absolve itself of an industrial language, and this is where it reaches its greatest degree of success. Symmetrically bound on two sides by large overhead glass garage doors, the studio space is inspiring and bright with its polished concrete floor and pure white walls that open to a high cathedral ceiling. The minimal aesthetic is perfect for Jean, who often creates gouacheon-paper compositions that remind one of the heroic 1920s works of the Russian Constructivists, with their bold colour schemes and dynamic geometric language. In a fitting example of life imitating art, the house is very much akin to a line drawing motif that Jean has been using for decades: a plain gabled Acadian house with a central chimney. The living section of the house is a strong example of regular materials being used to their utmost potential. Careful craftsmanship combined with a limited colour palette of greys and naturally stained woods give a zen-like aura and consistent flow throughout the interior. Accessed through a small, efficient kitchen that opens up to nature on both sides through garage doors similar to those used in the studio, one is drawn to the adjacent 24-foothigh living room. Here, stylish furniture and a diminutive wood stove are set between a symmetrical pair of tall windows that break up the concrete wall and floor surfaces. Overlooking this unique high-ceilinged space is an austere bedroom mezzanine above. Accessed by a winding stair lined with medium-grey 04/10 canadian architect


cLOcKWiSe FrOm LeFt living spaces flow seamlessly to the exterior; the artist’s studio enjoys beautiful cross-breezes when both its barn door-inspired walls are lifted; the serenity of the bedroom; sliding walls and windows extend the living area into the acadian woods; cedar doors and shutters; the exposed timber structure of the original shed was retained.

cLient jocelyn jean and rose-mai roy architect team benoit boivin, marie-claude hamelin, loukas yiacouvakis BuiLder jocelyn jean area 2,000 ft2 BudGet $150,000 cOmPLetiOn 2007

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SectiOn B B Section


SectiOn c c Section


mezzanine FLOOr



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living dining kitchen wc studio bedroom office



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stained lumber, the bedroom feels almost like the bow of a ship, floating above the rough water below. A number of design interventions connect NB20°5 to its site, including tight pathways to the nearby cliffs, and a pair of wooden decks extending from both sides of the house that give perfect opportunities for either sun or shade at most times of the day. This project is testimony to the timeless appeal of the modest vernacular, and specifically to traditional Acadian houses that have often been disregarded by contemporary architects. The house was a finalist last year for the Prix d’Excellence en Architecture from the Ordre des architectes du Québec, and the accolades are well-deserved for this striking example of tradition meeting innovation. ca John Leroux is an architect, author and art historian who lives in Fredericton. 04/10 canadian architect


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Life in the Back Lane

a Laneway shed is transformed into a suBLimeLy compact pied-à-terre that retains traces of its past Lives. proJect 40R_LANEWAY HOUSE, TORONTO, ONTARIO architect SUPERKÜL INC | ARCHITECT teXt GAbRIEL FAIN

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The story of laneway housing in Toronto is not a new one. It’s a story that’s as old as the city itself and emerges from the patterns of uneven urban growth beginning in the 19th century. Toronto’s laneway system has always been a valuable resource—first serving as an important lifeline for the distribution of services and goods and accommodating a variety of uses including stables, workers’ housing and commercial functions. The advent of zoning regulations and modern transportation systems dramatically impacted the fabric of the laneway network. Today, however, the

vibrant character and original uses of many of the laneways is very much kept alive because they have operated as experimental sites for architectural interventions. The project at 40R Shaftesbury Avenue—designed by Meg Graham and Andre D’Elia with the assistance of Drew Sinclair of Superkül Architects—is an exceptional example of one such experiment in adaptive reuse, urban sustainability and infill development. Located in the historic Summerhill neighbourhood in Toronto, the building at 40R originally functioned as a blacksmith’s shop and serviced


the North Toronto Railway Station in the early 1880s. For over 120 years, its uses continued to evolve—beginning as a smithy, then a horse shed, a storage depot and most recently, a sculptor’s live-work studio. The rich history of the building was most expressively registered on the exterior through the assemblage and overlapping of materials in various states of decay—rusted steel panelling, Insulbrick and barn board. It takes the vision of two progressive clients— artist Elena Soni and her husband Jorge, a psychiatrist—to see the potential for a dilapidated lane-


way shed to have a new lease on life. In 2006 they purchased the property with the intention of downsizing and converting the building into their new home. Having admired the shed for over 20 years, the clients were particularly interested in preserving its unique material qualities yet reconfiguring the building to accommodate their desire for daylight, outdoor space and living space. But projects on the emerging frontier of urban laneways such as 40R are rather difficult to undertake and require a lengthy approvals pro-


cess through the city and neighbourhood interests. In Toronto, laneway housing is generally excluded from provisions made in the Official Plan and its supportive zoning bylaw measures. In 04/10 canadian architect




fact, the original building at 40R was legally nonconforming, which means that zoning for the site doesn’t even allow for its current use but was permitted because it was built before the enactment of the current bylaw. The design is as much about the architects strategically playing with city rules as it is about 24 canadian architect 04/10

the intelligent crafting of space and light. The project was both legally and technically made complicated by the building code due to the original structure being built to its property lines on three sides and with only two feet to spare on the fourth. The footprint of 40R measures about 10 feet by 40 feet and sits on an extremely tight lot.

As a result, the architects were prohibited from creating any new openings with the exception of its north façade. The building’s second-floor cantilever is a result of a right-of-way at grade that provides access to the rear garage of an adjacent property. So with no available outdoor space at grade and with city restrictions on extending the building envelope, the only solution for additional space was to build upwards and on the roof. Even more complications existed in renovating the old laneway structure due to issues of site servicing and the uncertainty of whether or not the building even had foundations and a proper floor structure. These zero-tolerance conditions, as the architects have termed it, dictated many of the formal gestures. Perhaps the legacy of this building is the manner in which Graham and D’Elia were able to seamlessly integrate issues of sustainability into the architecture. The strategy, therefore, relies heavily on drawing light, air and views from above. A series of three-foot-wide light wells are carved out of the interior and allow a soft and diffuse light from the sky to penetrate the interior spaces. These shafts also function as ventilation stacks in a passive cooling system, in which the operable venting skylights at the top of the light shafts release excess warm air. In-floor radiant heating embedded in the polished concrete floors also reduces the heating energy requirements of the house. A series of rooftop elements including a terrace and green roof are developed into a stormwater collection system used for irrigation and flushing toilets. To make a home in a laneway with only 850 square feet of space means taking a position about minimal footprint and ecologically considered urban living. The ground floor is designed as tight as a ship and is taken up by a living room and kitchen. A simple material palette of drywall, oak panels, and cedar stairs is used. The second floor has equally well proportioned spaces consisting of a master bedroom and a guest room—each with their own compact bathroom. Small windows are strategically punched out of the walls in these spaces where light is required. A tranquil cedar-lined exterior courtyard is carved out of the second-floor volume and connects to the rooftop with galvanized metal stairs. The skillful play and composition of materials apparent on the interior is perhaps even more refined on the exterior—becoming, perhaps, an urban spectacle. The external expression speaks about the poetics of how materials can come together almost bluntly—sharing in the rustic vernacular of the laneway. The original thingauge rusted-steel cladding, for example, was removed, catalogued, rehabilitated, and reapplied as a veneer in a quilted and irregular pattern on the south and west elevations.

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2 3





Roof roof







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property line



property line


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0 1 2 3 4 5 for nonThe building is highly contextual as further zoning requirements N combustible cladding resulted in varying materials applied to the exterior. A cedar-strip rainscreen on the second floor of the north and east façades is finished with dark Falun paint from Sweden which makes visible the subtle expressions of the natural wood grain. Marine-grade plywood sheathing is used on the ground floor and is also painted black. Superkül’s collagist approach to detailing can be linked to a lineage of the so-called Toronto Style, which is arguably inspired by the work of the Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa. The most obvious manifestation of this is the decorative reintegration of the original graffiti-covered steel door onto a sliding track so that it can be used as a screen on the ground floor facing the laneway. 40R makes a convincing argument about reusing, renovating and recycling old buildings in the city’s forgotten laneways and how to reactivate them as exciting places of urban life. It’s been more than 30 years since Barton Myers wrote his theory on urban consolidation in Vacant Lottery, where he was one of the first to state that by using what we have in better ways, we can navigate through complex bylaws and fill in the voids of the city. It has taken this long for firms like Superkül to emerge, firms that can build on these urban theories and who have developed models of sustainable design with a maturity, precision and rigour that is rare among young practitioners. ca








5 e-w SEction section A a E-W



5M 5m



Yonge Street—south to Bloor Street

Gabriel Fain is currently pursuing a Master of Architecture degree at the University of Toronto. He is an intern architect at Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects.

1 Yonge Street—north to St. Clair Avenue


y bur

ftes Sha



3 4 5


Shaftesbury Place—formerly “Lane” conteXt diaGram 1 TTC—Summerhill STaTion 1954 | PASSENGER PLATFORmS 2 4 ShafTeSbury PlaCe CIRCA 1924-1982 | SITE OFFICE 1982-2007 | SINGLE-FAmILY RESIdENCE 3 46r ShafTeSbury avenue CIRCA 1950-2007 | STONECUTTER 4 42a ShafTeSbury avenue CIRCA 1960-1992 | AUTObOdY SHOP 1992-2007 | SINGLE-FAmILY RESIdENCE

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5 40r ShafTeSbury avenue CIRCA 1880-1910 | bLACKSmITH CIRCA 1910-1935 | HORSE SHEd CIRCA 1935-1965 | HOTEL STORAGE CIRCA 1965-1970 | TAxI dEPOT CIRCA 1970-2007 | ARTIST’S STUdIO 2007+ | SINGLE-FAmILY RESIdENCE 6 5-11 ShafTeSbury PlaCe CIRCA 1930+ | FACTORY CIRCA 1960+ | WAREHOUSE (dEmOLISHEd) 1998-2007 | SINGLE-FAmILY RESIdENCES



10 N


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a Whiter Shade of Pale an uninSPired PoStWar red brick houSe iS radically tranSformed into a Sleek, light-filled modern family home. House 60, ToronTo, onTario gH3 teXt LesLie Jen PhotoS CarLyLe rouTH ProJect


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Located in Cedarvale, a midtown residential district in Toronto, this singlefamily residence on a deep lot stands unique amidst its neighbouring red brick pitched-roof homes from the 1950s postwar era. In fact, House 60 was, prior to its reinvention, one of these very same unremarkable structures until owners Allison and Stephen Granovsky—an interior designer and retail consultant, respectively—commissioned architecture/landscape architecture firm gh3 to transform the two-storey house into what is essentially an übermodern loft for themselves and their three children. In keeping with the firm’s adherence to first principles of sustainability, the choice was made to substantially renovate and augment rather than start afresh, as the existing house was considered “as a material resource to be reused rather than abandoned.” Led by gh3 partner Pat Hanson, the project involved a total gutting of the interior along with additions to the front and back of the house. New portions of the house were clad in black stucco, while the existing masonry portions were painted to match. Operable sky-

THe fuLLy TransparenT Two-sTorey rear eLevaTion of House 60 reveaLs iTs gLeaming wHiTe inTerior and THe openness of iTs THorougHLy modern pLan. THe spare raTionaLiTy of THe inTerior spaCes iLLusTraTes THaT THis is indeed a maCHine for Living in. aboVe By puLLing THe seCond sTorey away from THe rear waLL By five feeT, a greaTer seCTionaL dynamiC is inTroduCed. a fainT damask-paTTerned friT is appLied To THe inTerior gLass waLL separaTing THe kiTCHen nook from THe prinCipaL Living spaCes. left

lights in the flat roof admit greater amounts of natural light and encourage passive ventilation, while a brand-new high-performance glass curtain wall utilizing anodized black aluminum framing forms the fully glazed rear elevation. On the front elevation, the one-storey glass wall allows views from the street into the house right through to the back garden, serving as a “modern-day front porch, reconnecting the building with its site and the city,� according to Hanson. The resulting design is very logical and straightforward. Exemplifying the Corbusian ideology of the house as a machine for living in, the functionality and extreme efficiency of the open plan permits plenty of natural daylight into all interior spaces, and an effortless circulation flow. What initially appears to be two square stacked floor plates actually offers more sectional dynamic than initially expected. Located where the previous garage used to be, entry into the house is essentially slab on grade, which continues through the foyer to the high-ceilinged generous galley kitchen that opens

onto a concrete patio and the back garden. The bulk of the ground-floor living space is raised a few steps up, reducing the ceiling height to nine feet: here, living, dining and family room functions are sequentially ordered in one large, open space. Further spatial layering occurs with a double-height condition created at the rear of the house, adjacent to the fully glazed curtain wall. The secondfloor master bedroom and office are pulled five feet away from the wall, creating a two-storey shaft of space. Despite this separation, full-height interior windows in both of these rooms prevent the younger children from plummeting to the ground below while still allowing views outdoors to the back garden, swimming pool, and the neighbouring school playground. Another practical benefit is that auditory and olfactory isolation from the rest of the house is maintained. The house is a study in contrasts, between light and dark, solid and void. It eschews traditional notions of domesticity with its open plan, a restrained 04/10 canadian architect


colour palette of black and white, and a refreshing absence of ornament. On the exterior, the dark solidity of the black stucco cladding contrasts with the open transparency of the glass walls, particularly on the rear north-facing elevation. And on the interior, the austere tone is consistently maintained: ebony-stained engineered hardwood floors in the principal living spaces anchor a white-on-white composition of ceiling, walls and drapery. Thematic consistency is echoed in the kitchen and bathrooms. An acid-stained concrete floor continues from the front entry foyer all the way through to the linear kitchen; the concrete swath continues outdoors to the back patio. Stainless steel appliances are matched by stainless steel countertops and a lower bank of cabinets, while upper cabinets are sheathed in a white lacquer finish. In the bathrooms, one finds, predictably, white fixtures, stainless hardware, and white Carrera marble veined with subtle streaks of grey. One obvious concession to current trends in interior design is a superscaled monochromatic damask floral pattern applied to the living room wall and to the glazed separation between the kitchen nook and the family room. All this white could seem unrelenting, but the unusual absence of colour optimally showcases carefully curated interior furnishings, and more importantly, provides a neutral backdrop against which the vibrant energy and frenetic activity of a busy young family plays out. Storage space is remarkably well considered and generous, an increasing necessity in an age defined by rampant consumerism and acquisition. These storage areas are subtly incorporated—along with service zones—into the thickened wall that forms the organizing axis dividing the on-grade entry foyer and kitchen from the primary living spaces a few steps up. Hidden storage is discreetly integrated into the design such that it doesn’t read as a clumsy agglomeration of closet doors. Instead, partial storage is integrated into the same wall containing the living-room fireplace, and further along this axis, a pantry is tucked behind cabinetry in the kitchen. And along the west wall of the family room, full-height pivoting wall panels conceal cabinets housing the television and other items when not in use. wHiTe waLLs and drapery and an eBony-sTained fLoor provide a neuTraL BaCkdrop for CarefuLLy CuraTed objets, suCH as THe “invisiBLe CHandeLier” By ToronTo design firm CasTor THaT uTiLizes BurnT-ouT reCyCLed LigHTBuLBs of aLL sHapes, CoLours and sizes. left onLy THe ground fLoor of THe fronT eLevaTion is fuLLy gLazed, as THe CHiLdren’s Bedrooms upsTairs require a greaTer degree of privaCy.

toP left

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Upstairs, wardrobe and dressing-room storage is equally considered. Ample closet space is provided in the children’s bedrooms, and Stephen has claimed the entire wall of closets in the master bedroom. Just off the master bathroom, Allison is left to luxuriate in a sizeable dressing room equipped off with all manner of built-in closets and wardrobe storage. And of course, the basement’s recreation and utility rooms always end up being handy spaces to accommodate storage overflow. The restrained minimalism and stark beauty of House 60 evokes a bit of the highly stylized artdirected quality of the domestic sets created for memorable films such as Jacques Tati’s Mon Oncle and Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. While the former is essentially a critique of Modernism and postwar consumerism, part of the reason the film has achieved cult status over the past 50plus years is precisely because of the exquisite visual impact delivered through the brilliant set design of the fictional Villa Arpel. Similarly, House 60 achieves occasional flashes of brilliance, offering a young family an ideal home environment in which to grow. ca

sereniTy of spaCe aCHieved THrougH minimaLisT BaTHroom fiTTings. toP right a view of THe sparseLy furnisHed Living room. aboVe a ToddLer sips Her JuiCe ConTenTedLy in THe kiTCHen nook wHiLe Her Twin sisTer peers THrougH THe friTTed gLass waLL.

toP left

5 7





6 8

3 client aLLison and sTepHen granovsky architect team paT Hanson, diana gerrard, Liza sTiff, raymond CHow, vivian CHin Structural BLaCkweLL BowiCk parTnersHip LimiTed mechanical BasCiano inC. electrical gH3 landScaPe gH3 interiorS gH3 wiTH aLLison granovsky contractor BLue springs ConsTruCTion area 3,600 fT2 budget $800,000 comPletion oCToBer 2008





11 5

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Ground Floor 1 Living room 2 dining room 3 famiLy room 4 kiTCHen 5 CLoseT

Second Floor 6 panTry 7 ConCreTe paTio 8 masTer Bedroom 9 masTer BaTHroom 10 Bedroom 1




11 Bedroom 2 12 Bedroom 3 13 CHiLdren’s BaTHroom 14 offiCe

04/10 canadian architect


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rock, Box, reveal Sited atop a rocky outcrop, thiS nova Scotian weekend retreat allowS itS occupantS to inhaBit the landScape from a variety of perSpectiveS. Bridge HOUSe, eAST POrT MedWAY, NOVA SCOTiA MACKAY-LYONS SWeeTAPPLe ArCHiTeCTS text iAN CHOdiKOff photoS greg riCHArdSON, UNLeSS OTHerWiSe NOTed proJect


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A two-hour drive from Halifax, this south shore weekend retreat situated near Liverpool is an informative and revealing case study that illustrates the design evolution of Brian MacKay-Lyons and his Halifax-based firm. Although the house may lack strict conceptual rigour and coherence, MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects used this opportunity to experiment with architectural concepts deployed on previous projects, and to evolve others to drive future commissions—notably those pertaining to the inhabitation of the landscape. Several ideas that exist in much of the firm’s work and which relate to site, craft and the layering of living spaces are embedded in the Bridge House, yet the architecture is not flawless, nor is it considered by MacKay-Lyons to be one of his finest works. Nonetheless, the project does attempt architectural purity and resolution in keeping with the firm’s evolving portfolio. The client is a former architecture student of MacKay-Lyons who eventually became a developer in Montreal before relocating with his wife and children to the Maritimes. For MacKay-Lyons, one of the perks of being an architecture professor is that over the years, a number of his students have commissioned work from him. In the case of the Bridge House, it was important for the client, an aspiring patron of the arts, to seek a unique architectural expression of his home from his former teacher. As is typical of his design methodology, MacKay-Lyons begins the architectural process by walking the site with his client. By the middle of the day, they’ll have a concept, and by the end of the day, they’ll have arrived at a scheme—usually at the local tavern or at Tim Hortons. For the Bridge House, the process was no different. MacKay-Lyons took his former student through the site and found two enormous granite boulders in a heavily wooded area. Between the boulders was a ravine, which inspired the concept of building a bridge connecting the two boulders, and to live within that bridge—hence, the Bridge House. However, shortly after the initial design was completed, the client drove out to the architect’s house late one night, informing him that he needed to insert a granny suite beneath the bridge. MacKay-Lyons told him that the house’s concept would be destroyed but the client insisted. As a result, the architectural purity of the Bridge House was compromised. The initial scheme was premised upon a consistent system of thinking whereby one detail could be carried through the entire project, but as soon as the granny flat was inserted beneath the bridge, everything changed. What was supposed to be a scheme based on one long galvanized box truss became a wooden house attached to a steel specialty item. Since MacKay-Lyons views his work

along a continuum, he is currently designing another bridge-inspired building measuring 160’ x 12’ x 12’, a house in Cape Breton overlooking the ocean that meets the ground using only three concrete fins. Without the lessons learned from the Bridge House, the Cape Breton House would never have materialized the way it did. A large porch-like exterior space forms the entry to Bridge House on one end while a smaller porch terminates the other end. Upstairs, the much larger sleeping area is sheathed in vertical cedar boards, creating a pronounced lantern effect. The design concept of the sleeping quarters was inspired by recent work emerging from MacKay-Lyons’s well-known Ghost Lab summer design/build internship program; here delaminated rustic wood boxes are pulled away from the ground plane and hover above a pavilion-like space below. The origins of the Bridge House’s lantern can also be seen in his earlier Nova Scotia House 22, a well-publicized residence comprised of two wooden boxes delicately sited on two hilltops. As the envelope floats away from the ground plane, the distinctive “lantern-ness” that MacKay-Lyons has been carefully exploring for years is achieved. With its generously proportioned outdoor living areas, there are many possibilities in which nature can be experienced: outdoors and unencumbered with the trees overhead, within the lantern, beneath the bridge, or inside the screened-in porch. The ambiguous indoor-outdoor aspects of the living area result from the hollowing-out of space at the ground-floor level, but the central experience of the house is undoubtedly the double-height space of the porch area which serves as the social hub. According to MacKay-Lyons, the indoor spaces, especially on the ground floor, take on the role of “residential infrastructure.” The Bridge House was difficult to detail, possibly due to the fact that the architects had a tough time resolving the compromised clarity of the scheme. This created design challenges associated with connecting engineered wood products to lumber or galvanized steel in a way that would allow the architecture to align seamlessly. Many architectural elements weren’t initially working in unison and the architectural concept of the project wasn’t automatically resolving the details throughout the design and construction process. “I’m all about getting that clean and simple concept,” MacKay-Lyons admits, “so I became frustrated when the resolution of the design didn’t work. Sometimes you get a clean concept that tells you exactly what to do and there is very little doubt about what to do. This house was different.” On a more positive note, the large box-like lantern successfully holds the architectural ele-



ments together, even though the project was initially driven by a structurally derived concept. The overall composition reads as a treehouse, when observed from a rocky outcrop. That rocky ground plane creates a foundation—the house appears to barely touch the ground. The lantern above hovers independently over the rock, remaining an element unto itself. In between those two elements is the reveal, that important space

in the middle which includes the indoor and outdoor living spaces. As MacKay-Lyons states, “Almost all of our projects have this idea where you sleep in a man-made box and live in the crack between that box and the land.” Emerging from that rocky outcrop, the Bridge House presents itself as an impressive layering exercise in residential design. Other elements of the house include ideas that 04/10 canadian architect



THe UPSTAirS LiViNg qUArTerS fLOAT ABOVe THe rOCKY OUTCrOP. middle, left to riGht THe BOx, rOCK ANd reVeAL Are CLeArLY eVideNT iN THiS drAMATiC VieW Of THe reSideNCe; THe grOUNd-fLOOr LiViNg SPACe iS defiNed BY A STrONg LiNeAriTY. Bottom left KiTCHeN, diNiNg ANd LiViNg AreAS MeLd iNTO A SiNgLe “iNTeriOr iNfrASTrUCTUre.” Bottom riGht A VieW OUT TO THe WATer BeYONd. top riGht NOVA SCOTiA HOUSe 22 iS A PreCUrSOr TO THe Bridge HOUSe. aBove THe firM iS CUrreNTLY WOrKiNg ON ANOTHer HOUSe UTiLiziNg THe CONCePT Of AN iNHABiTed Bridge. top left

36 canadian architect 04/10



relate to view, permanence and materiality. Contrasting the lumpiness of the site is the view toward the flat horizon line of the water, an element that is quite palpable, especially from the ground-floor living spaces. MacKayLyons sees the building and boat culture of the Maritimes as mobile and untethered to the landscape, giving a sense of impermanence to his buildings. “In the Maritimes,” he remarks, “buildings are floated across the island or dragged by oxen—everything is moveable.” In that sense the Bridge House exudes this philosophy of building. Another aspect that is perhaps more implied than specific is MacKay-Lyons’s desire to bring out the importance of a relaxed approach to architecture that doesn’t expressly rely on craft to legitimate an elevated architectural experience in our everyday world. “Sometimes it is necessary to move away from craft because there is a real conspicuous consumption or fetishization of materiality,” declares MacKayLyons. From this perspective, the Bridge House achieves this ideal, one that is about heightening our relationship to nature, providing an opportunity to live within a site’s complete physical environment. ca client WiTHHeLd architect team BriAN MACKAY-LYONS, JUSTiN BeNNeTT, ÉTieNNe LeMAY, TALBOT SWeeTAPPLe Structural MiCHeL COMeAU landScape eLAiNe STeiNBerg LANdSCAPiNg contractor rAPHAeL & STeiNBerg CONSTrUCTiON iNC. area 2,900 fT2 BudGet WiTHHeLd completion 2007











16 15


Second Floor






2 4 FirSt Floor





BaSement 1 LiViNg 2 KiTCHeN 3 diNiNg 4 WC 5 eNTrY deCK 6 SCreeNed POrCH 7 VieWiNg deCK 8 MASTer BedrOOM 9 MASTer BATHrOOM 10 KidS’ BedrOOM 11 PLAYrOOM

12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21






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the Social Media evolution This­arTicle­examines­online­knowledge­ exchange­forums­(social­media)­as­a­­ creaTive­ouTleT­and­an­evolving­markeTing­ opporTuniTy­for­archiTecTs.­­­­



Architects are interesting people who know a lot about issues that affect the well-being of society. As holistic lateral thinkers, they see things that reductivist linear thinkers may miss. They connect dots that need to be connected. In addition to raising awareness for the value of design, they are able to shed light on their creative process for a business world that is waking up to the dire limitations of traditional problem-solving. Moreover, architects have valuable inside information regarding how innovation and the iterative process unfold to yield extraordinary results. Alas, much of this insight is hidden behind the walls of firms, destined to be shared with a limited audience, while some bits of brilliance remain forever lodged inside the architect’s brain. Most of the public knowledge that escapes from architectural firms generally appears in the form of polished marketing messages, formal announcements and rehearsed conference presentations. Meanwhile, a wealth of illuminating observations emerge only through conversations at cocktail parties and other social encounters. Spotlighting hidden talent

Online social networking provides an opportunity to extend these cocktail party conversations to a global scale. The Internet is rapidly evolving beyond Web 1.0, which showcased websites that broadcast one-way corporate messages. By contrast, Web 2.0 offers multiple ways to engage diverse participants through lively social media. Your participation in this arena can add to your credibility, make you the go-to person for niche areas of expertise, and place you at the centre of emerging issues. After decades of concern that clients don’t understand and value what architects do, social media provides a worldwide window into this vibrant profession. Contributions to social media in the form of blogs, micro-blogs (e.g., Twitter), videos (e.g., YouTube) and other public forums connect you to a world that celebrates, criticizes or totally ignores you and your ideas. These conversations are changing traditional notions of marketing, as well as how we grow what we know. Benefits of Participation

Even if you have no interest in winning projects beyond your neighbourhood, there may be some-

one on the other side of the world who can help you understand your clients, your practice, or your BIM issue in a way that will save you time and aggravation. In turn, your point of view can be noticed and appreciated both locally and globally. Over time (and occasionally overnight), this exchange increases the value of your knowledge while building recognition for you and your firm. If you’re already famous, there’s an opportunity to increase your fame and followers by providing a behind-the-scenes, personal perspective on your fascinating world. There could be vast untapped public interest in the thoughts you chewed on at the breakfast table. Or, if you happen to be an intern architect, opportunities abound to be recognized for your ideas rather than being limited by traditional measures of value-creation potential, such as years of experience or formal credentials. Regardless of what career stage you are at, social media provides an outlet for reflecting and organizing your own thoughts, then communicating these thoughts in a candid, human-to-human voice. Engaging wholeheartedly in social media also stretches one’s ability to participate in constructive dialogue with a wide range of individuals without descending into polarizing debate. a natural evolution

These are still the early Wild West days of understanding how professional services firms will develop their social marketing approach. For some practices, social media will eventually overtake their formal marketing and communications efforts. This shift away from marketing to a passive audience is part of a larger trend toward global brands finding ways to talk with instead of shouting at their customers. By talking with customers, companies gain empathy that enables them to co-create better products and services together. Similarly, in order for architects to develop in-depth understanding of evolving client concerns, they must participate in dialogue that removes old walls. Web 2.0 also reflects a yearning for human connection and self-expression by revealing doubts, asking questions and sharing lessons learned. Unlike banal brochure language, it is full of surprise and emotion. It’s easy to be put off by frivolous uses and abuses of social media, or to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of online content, along with its varying quality. But to ignore this fundamental evolution is to rely on prefabricated marketing messages instead of engaging in a lively exchange of ideas that can attract genuine interest.

architect Selection in the Web 2.0 era

Twenty years or so ago, nearly all clients chose their architect based on trusting personal relationships that developed over time. Shared empathy arose from these trusting relationships, as well as the mutual confidence required to design extraordinary architecture. Since that time, wellmeaning but vague assumptions regarding fairness (as opposed to conflict of interest) and objectivity (for decisions that really do require a degree of subjectivity) have imposed a distance between architects and some of their clients. Without meaningful opportunities to share knowledge though dialogue, the crucial trust element is missing. As a result, the architect selection process has become extremely difficult for clients. How can they know what is behind the façade of promises at the proposal stage? Who are these people who say they are “excited about the opportunity” to work on my project? Similar to how recruiters and HR managers check a job candidate’s Web persona to get a better picture of who the individual really is, social media can provide prospective clients with the online track record of architectural firms. The Internet offers a window into what the firm cares about and how they are contributing to a body of knowledge. Social media will never replace a trusting personal architect-client relationship, but it presents candid views of people within the firm and their work. Getting Started

Here are some strategic questions to consider prior to wading into social media: 1. What is my/our purpose for engaging in these activities? Do we want to be known as the go-to firm for a niche service or building type? Do I want the public to better understand and value how an architect thinks? Can we offer perspective on the realities of architectural project management? 2. How does this purpose fit with our firm’s real priorities and true personality? The norms for open and transparent participation in social media tend to expose false façades and lack of authenticity. 3. Who are the people we want to engage and what are their interests? Consider the range of topics and the degree of informality that suits the people you want to attract, such as prospective clients, future staff, journalists and board members. 4. Who will be responsible for this initiative? Designate someone, or a team, to respond appropriately to both positive and negative com04/10­­canadian architect


ments, as well as to keep posts and other content fresh. Continuously monitor mentions of your brand on the Internet. 5. Who will be our voice, or contribute to our voice? Decide if you will contribute as individuals, or speak on behalf of the firm. 6. How will we present ourselves? If we have a blog, what will it be titled and what will it look like? What will our Twitter graphic be? How will we describe what we do in our profile for each social networking site? How can we reveal our interesting personalities without appearing flaky or remote? A good introduction to showcasing your expertise while engaging with others is Paul Gillin’s book The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media. tips and traps

1. Watch and listen before participating to avoid making gaffes that create a poor first impression and which might appear years later in Web search results. Observe the most intriguing blog posts and Twitter headlines as well as off-putting examples; read a range of company profiles before simply entering your standard description. CanArcMay2010_Canadia Architect 3/1/10 1:02 PM Page 1 2. Look at examples beyond architecture firms. Research the online presence of leading architectural firms as well as other professions. A word of

caution: some architectural firms currently use social media primarily as a platform for promoting their awards and projects rather than sharing knowledge derived from those projects, so it is important to survey a wide range of examples. 3. Contribute comments and ideas that will attract your intended readers and entice them to forward your flashes of insight to others. If you push a steady stream of self-centred announcements and media releases, you will lose people’s interest and create the impression that your firm is insular. 4. Pay it forward. Contribute comments to the blogs, videos and news stories of other individuals and firms. Give credit and recognize the people who have influenced you. 5. Reveal your thinking, expose your doubts. Perfect wordsmithing and an authoritative tone may be the norm for websites, but they are out of place in the world of social media. Consider the example of Frank Gehry, who is endearing even when he sounds irritated because he isn’t afraid to tell us about his ups and downs, and the questions that run through his mind. In his own way, he inspires more confidence than the conventional know-it-all. 6. Be spontaneous and informal, but keep in mind that what you say or do may be viewed by prospective clients years from now. 7. Recognize that your time will be redirected

from creating outbound messages and finding clients, to participating in exchanges that attract inbound interest in finding you. 8. Be aware that your online reputation will be built with you or without you. If you are not contributing to online content, Web search results for you and your firm will be created entirely by others. Bewildering. then addictive.

Creating your own attractive and enlightening content can become a compelling creative outlet, rather than one more thing on your marketing to-do list. Although the concept of online knowledge exchange and co-creation of ideas has been around for well over a decade, there are no formulas or rules for implementation. Professional service firms must continuously experiment to determine the right kind of involvement for their needs and resources. The lack of standard templates means that you can distinguish yourself by defining your unique approach and demonstrating your leadership. ca Sharon VanderKaay, Associate AIA, is Director of Knowledge Development at Farrow Partnership Architects. She thanks Patrick Spear for assisting her in making sense of the social media evolution. Contact her on Twitter @farrowpartners or at sharonv@

Round Eels Lake Cottage | Architect: Altius Architecture Inc. | Photo: Patrick Burke, Tony

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caLendar From Mediterranean Traditional to Israeli Contemporary Design

March 5-June 20, 2010 This exhibition at the Design Exchange in Toronto covers current Israeli industrial design, examining what makes this country unique on the world stage. The exciting, dramatic, and colourful pieces on display include furniture, lighting and recreation equipment. Erratics

March 22-May 12, 2010 Taking place at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, this retrospective exhibition covers the work of Montreal-based landscape architect and designer Claude Cormier, who has produced an iconic body of work that has been recognized nationally and internationally. events_poster.pdf Off the Boards and Off the Walls of Moriyama & Teshima

April 4-May 16, 2010 This exhibition at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre Gallery in Toronto covers the work of the esteemed practice of Moriyama & Teshima Architects from 1958 to the present. the next Big thing

April 28-May 22, 2010 As a companion event to its 2010 graduate exhibition, OCAD will match collect-

ors, new and old, with the hottest emerging artists and designers through this exhibition and sale at the OCAD Student Gallery. Urban Field speakers series: saskia sassen

April 29, 2010 Saskia Sassen, professor of sociology at Columbia University, speaks at Toronto’s Prefix Gallery on the global city, emerging networked technologies, and changes within liberal states. First international conference on nanotechnology in cement and concrete

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continued from page 12 downtown city centre development already underway at Surrey Central City. TownShift was created to solicit sustainable design ideas for Surrey’s other growing town centres, in a way that allows them to be independent, provide local services, and reduce dependence on driving— while also keeping these town centres connected to the rest of Surrey. For Guildford, Renante Solivar of Vancouver won 1st prize and the overall prize, while Vincent Siu of Vancouver took 2nd prize. Felicisimo Macalino of Vancouver received a Mention. For Semiahmoo, Robert Denvir of Vancouver took 1st prize, Matthew Johnson of Houston, Texas took 2nd prize, and Gerry Gleeson of Dublin, Ireland received a Mention. Martin Liew of Richmond, BC took 1st prize for the centre of Fleetwood, and Luis Mujica of Medel-

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lín, Colombia took 2nd prize. Stephanie Webb of Baytown, Texas received a Mention. For Cloverdale, 1st prize was claimed by ph5 architecture inc. (Peeroj Thakre, Henning Knoetzele, Tracey Mactavish and Fang Liu) of Vancouver, Claudia Moreica of London, UK took 2nd prize, and Robert Toth of Vancouver received a Mention. And for the centre of Newton, two 2nd prizes were given to Alan James of Vancouver and to Richard Hulbert of West Vancouver.

what’s new stephen Fai of carleton University’s school of architecture using digital media to speed treatment for degenerative diseases.

Imagine quickly pulling together the scientific results of top researchers from around the world

who are trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease to develop a visual depository of interdisciplinary results that can be easily shared among physicians, biochemists and neuroscientists. Carleton Architecture Professor Stephen Fai is doing just that. Fai expects the digital images will be used to train students and post-doctoral fellows on collaboration. It makes sense, says Fai, that architecture should play a pivotal role in front-line medical research. After all, viewing the human body as a building revolutionized the knowledge of anatomy in Renaissance times. Working in conjunction with numerous industrial and academic partners, Carleton has capitalized on its research strengths in digital media to establish Canada’s leading-edge research network on digital security and applied projects in psychology, transportation, architecture and engineering. 04/10 canadian architect




a university oF waterloo architecture student designs Flood-prooF Buoyant houses For her native Bangladesh.


alexandra shimo prithula prosun


The pair of bamboo houses might look oldfashioned with wooden shutters and a red brick core, but don’t let appearances deceive: in concept and design they offer a radical solution to the problems of climate change. These LIFT (LowIncome Flood-Proof Technology) houses are the brainchild of 26-year-old Prithula Prosun, who is currently completing her Master’s degree in Architecture at the University of Waterloo. Designed for low-lying areas that will be hard hit by climate change, they offer a groundbreaking idea: instead of trying to damn the floods, the awardwinning houses rise with the flood water. Currently, two families are living in LIFT houses in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and talks are ongoing with the Bangladeshi government and private interests to build many more of this prototype. Prosun, who came to Canada from Bangladesh at the age of nine, was interested in providing housing for a demographic that is often ignored. Visiting several slums in the summer of 2009, 46 canadian architect 04/10

she found the lower classes were being pushed out of the city: the cost of rent in Dhaka has spiked 1,200 percent in the past 20 years, and developers would rather build for the upper classes, she says. Slum-dwellers still pay rent, but sometimes live knee-deep in water during monsoon season. “They told me about experiences where the water went over their chests,” says Prosun, “and they had tried to get their possessions and they couldn’t, so they lost all their belongings.” The problem is expected to get worse as the Himalayan glaciers melt and sea level rises. Eager to help those she met, Prosun designed an affordable house with a projected cost per unit of $4,000 made from sustainable and recycled materials such as bamboo. A local material, the bamboo derives its buoyancy from recycled plastic water bottles that are attached to the inside. These bottles are plentiful; in fact, they litter the city and cause drainage problems. Electricity is derived from two 60W solar panels to power lighting and fans. The houses are served by composting toilets, and urine is directed to the garden through an underground pipe system. The central brick portion of the house doesn’t rise, but during floods, it collects and filters rainwater for use during the rest of the year.

BamBoo is the primary construction material used in the liFt house, whose central Brick core collects and Filters rainwater For use throughout the year.


Built with construction workers and volunteers from the local area, Prosun says the experience was deeply rewarding, but it was challenging to be taken seriously in a country where young women have fewer rights and are not expected to lead a construction team. “It was difficult to be seen as a person of authority and to get to people to listen. I was the only female on the construction site and I had to work twice as hard to gain their respect.” Nevertheless, her efforts paid off, explains Srabanti Datta, a Dhaka property developer. “We were very fascinated and excited about the concept and utility of this project, considering the awful flood situations and helplessness of impoverished people in Bangladesh. The LIFT house has the potential to help thousands of people.” ca Alexandra Shimo is a Toronto-based author, journalist and media consultant who writes mainly about architecture, art and design.

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