Ground 03 – Summer 2008

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Landscape Architect Quarterly 08/

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Features CSLA Awards OALA Awards Round Table Design Competitions

Publication # 40026106

Summer 2008



OALA

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Editorial

About

Message from Awards Committee

Welcome to Ground: Landscape Architect Quarterly, published by the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects.

The OALA recognizes excellence in landscape architectural practice and public service through its annual awards program, which is administered by the Honours, Awards, and Protocol Committee and chaired by the immediate Past President of the OALA. This year’s committee members included Jane Welsh of the City of Toronto, Nelson Edwards of the City of Ottawa, Jim Melvin of PMA Landscape Architects (Toronto), Jim Vafiades of Vafiades Landscape Architect (London), and Linda Irvine of the Town of Markham who chaired the Committee.

Ground: Landscape Architect Quarterly provides an open forum for the exchange of ideas and information related to the profession of landscape architecture. Letters to the editor, article proposals, and feedback are encouraged. Photographs submitted for publication should be 300 dpi at a minimum of 8" x 10". For details and submission guidelines, contact Ground at magazine@oala.ca

Ground reserves the right to edit all submissions. The views expressed in the magazine are those of the writers and are not necessarily the views of the OALA and its Governing Council.

About the OALA The Ontario Association of Landscape Architects works to promote and advance the profession of landscape architecture and maintain standards of professional practice consistent with the public interest. The OALA promotes public understanding of the profession and the advancement of the practice of landscape architecture. In support of the improvement and/or conservation of the natural, cultural, social and built environments, the OALA undertakes activities including promotion to governments, professionals and developers of the standards and benefits of landscape architecture. Formed in 1968, the OALA celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2008.

This year’s award recipients, who include both landscape architects and non-landscape architects, have distinguished themselves in their respective areas of expertise: • Pinnacle Award for Landscape Architectural Excellence: Robert Allsopp, OALA, OAA • David Erb Memorial Award: Tom Ridout, OALA • OALA Award for Service to the Environment: City of Waterloo • OALA Certificate of Merit for Service to the Environment: City of Kitchener • Public Practice Award: Ross Stephen, OALA • Emeritus Membership: Karl Frank, OALA • Honorary Membership: Marjorie Harris All of the awards were presented at the OALA’s 40th Anniversary Conference and Annual General Meeting held in Waterloo in mid-April. Recognizing and rewarding excellence within the profession of landscape architecture is a very important OALA program. Celebrating the achievements of those who are engaged in efforts, activities, and outreach that emulate the fundamental principles and values espoused by the OALA is of critical importance to both the profession and to society in general. Congratulations to this year’s recipients. LINDA IRVINE, AWARDS COMMITTEE CHAIR


Contents

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Up Front Information on the Ground Awards:

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CSLA Awards

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OALA Awards

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Round Table Design Competitions Notes A Miscellany of News and Events Artifact Street Art

Masthead

Editor Lorraine Johnson

2008 OALA Governing Council

Copy Editor Paulina Carbonaro

President Arnis Budrevics

Proofreaders Paulina Carbonaro Helen Powers

Vice President Lawrence Stasiuk

OALA Editorial Board Andrew B. Anderson Paulina Carbonaro Victoria Carley Lisa Dobbin Lorraine Johnson (chair) Fung Lee Domenic Lunardo Daria Nardone Mike Palmer Helen Powers Lisa Shkut Netami Stuart Yvonne Yeung Art Direction/Design typotherapy+design inc. Advertising Inquiries magazine@oala.ca 416.231.4181 Cover HT0 photographed by Neil Fox (see page 9)

Ground: Landscape Architect Quarterly is published four times a year by the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects. Ontario Association of Landscape Architects 3 Church Street, Suite 407 Toronto, Ontario M5E 1M2 416.231.4181 www.oala.ca oala@oala.ca Copyright © 2008 by the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects All rights reserved ISSN: 0847-3080 Canada Post Sales Product Agreement No. 40026106

Ground is printed on 100 percent post-consumer, processed chlorinefree paper

Summer 2008 Issue 03

Treasurer Glenn O'Connor Secretary Joanne Moran Past President Linda Irvine Councillors Andrew B. Anderson Tom Ridout Fiona Rintoul Lay Councillor Lorraine Johnson University of Guelph Appointed Educator Sean Kelly University of Toronto Appointed Educator John Danahy Associate Councillor-Senior Sarah Culp Associate Councillor Sandra Cooke University of Guelph Student Representative John Duthie University of Toronto Student Representatives Tonya Crawford Fionn Bryne OALA Staff Registrar & Membership Coordinator Karen Savoie Coordinator Aina Budrevics


Messages

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Letters to the Editor

President’s Message

I love the new magazine. It's probably the most visible improvement I've seen from the OALA—ever!

Recently, I attended the University of Toronto Ring Ceremony at the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, honouring the 2008 graduating class of future landscape architects. A similar ceremony was held at the University of Guelph to celebrate the achievements of their graduating students.

STEPHANIE SNOW OALA, CSLA PARKS DEVELOPMENT DIVISION VAUGHAN

The new Ground magazine is a huge step forward and I congratulate the designers and writers. I would like to see a regular item on urban design. With all the current attention on public infrastructure renewal, maybe this aspect of reurbanization would be a good start. Keep up the great effort! GEORGE F DARK ASLA, FCSLA, OALA URBAN STRATEGIES INC. TORONTO

Thanks for providing another fantastic edition of Ground. I especially enjoyed the article "From the Shores of Tripoli" by Andrew B. Anderson. Having the courage to rely on our training and instincts as landscape architects is extremely important—no matter where we practise. Congratulations all for a job well done. Keep it up! JAMIE BRONSEMA OALA, CSLA PARKS SERVICES BRANCH OSHAWA

The OALA has recognized Cathrin Winkelman of the University of Toronto with the OALA Certificate of Merit. The University of Guelph recipient of this certificate for outstanding achievement in his or her studies will be announced in the fall. The CSLA Student Award of Merit was awarded to three graduates: Michael Andrew OrmstonHolloway of the University of Toronto in the MLA program, and, from the University of Guelph, Katherine Evans of the BLA program and Yun Liu of the MLA program. Sixty-three students have graduated from the two schools of landscape architecture in Ontario this year. On behalf of the OALA, congratulations to all the new graduates and best wishes for a successful career in landscape architecture. We look forward to welcoming the 2008 graduates into our association as they define their career path in landscape architecture. The success of the OALA is built on the strength of its members, and the continued growth of activities depends on the volunteer spirit flourishing within our membership body. Now is the time when you can come on board and participate in any number of new initiatives. The strategic plan of the OALA includes a vision for the future that will enhance the profile of the profession both at home and abroad. This issue of Ground highlights the CSLA Awards of Excellence— Ontario Region and celebrates the accomplishments of our members. These projects demonstrate that our standards of landscape design and project execution remain high and are a testament to the professional training and quality of our members. Congratulations to all award winners at both the regional and national levels. Council continues to provide leadership in strategic planning, promotion of the profession, and media exposure to the public. Conference planning has begun for the OALA to host the 2009 CSLA/AAPC Congress, “Prospect,” which will celebrate the diamond jubilee of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. Reserve the dates of June 4 to 6, 2009, by planning to celebrate with us all in Toronto! I wish you all continued success and prosperity in this 40th year of the OALA. ARNIS BUDREVICS, OALA PRESIDENT PRESIDENT@OALA.CA


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VOLUNTEERING

the 1% project

Donating time to community projects is not new; many landscape architects volunteer their skills and services to worthwhile causes. However, the idea of formalizing and facilitating links between landscape architects interested in doing pro bono work and community groups in need is new in Ontario. And Victoria Taylor, a recent graduate of the University of Toronto’s Masters of Landscape Architecture program, is keen to see the idea take root. “There are so many ways that landscape architects help non-profit groups get things done in their communities and make things happen,” says Taylor. “But so much of this volunteer work is happening under the radar.”

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Volunteers planting at Paton Road community project in Toronto

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Victoria Taylor Living walls provide an alternative to conventional sound barriers

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The Living Wall Inc. The Seine in Pairs becomes an urban beach in the summer

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Michel Trocme, Urban Strategies Inc.

A non-profit organization in the U.S. called Public Architecture encourages community-generated design through their “1% Project,” and Taylor would like to see something similar in Ontario. Design firms “sign on” to the project, committing one percent of billable hours from every firm— roughly 20 hours per employee per year—to service in the public interest. (“One percent of an eight-hour workday is just 4.8 minutes,” notes Taylor.) Through a website (www.theonepercent.org), the project acts as a catalyst, and already

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more than 300 U.S. firms have pledged close to 100,000 hours of design services annually, valued at roughly $10 million. According to Public Architecture, if every architecture professional in the U.S. committed just one percent, it would result in the equivalent of a 2,500-person firm working entirely for the public good. Toronto-based du Toit Allsopp Hillier is very active in community pro bono work, generated primarily through personal contacts or an employee’s particular interests. While partner Bob Allsopp, OALA, FCSLA, prefers a more informal approach, he points out that a program like that in the U.S. may make more visible the largely unrecognized skills that landscape architects bring to the table to facilitate community change—skills such as lobbying at city hall, and advising on land ownership, heritage conservation, and environmental issues. Beyond the tangible benefits to the community, Taylor sees a related benefit for the profession. “The formality of the program, the fact that firms register, means that there’s a record of the pro bono work that’s going on. There’s a documented archive. As well, it establishes a critical two-way link for groups that don’t have contacts in the design community and for design firms looking to connect with local community initiatives.” Ground invites comments on this idea; send a Letter to the Editor to magazine@oala.ca.


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URBAN BEACHES

city sun and sand

Enticing bathers to a beach that borders unswimmable water seems an audaciously hopeful gesture. And it’s one that’s catching on around the world. Inner-city beaches, complete with palm trees, deck chairs, and trucked-in sand, have graced the Thames in London, the Seine in Paris, and the Spree in Berlin. 0C

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NOISE BARRIERS

greening the soundscape

Tony Biglieri was on a roll when Ground caught up with him to talk about alternatives to conventional sound barriers. His company, The Living Wall Inc., had just won a Green Toronto Award (in the Green Design category), and he’d recently finished building the longest (400-metre) living noise barrier in North America—a willow wall at Danforth and Birchmount in Toronto. “We don’t fool around!” Biglieri says with a laugh. The company has installed approximately fifty living walls, some of which are for noise attenuation, and some of which are for privacy screening: “We’ve done a lot in Quebec, but also in Guelph, Kingston, Bowmanville... Whitby was the first one we built for noise attenuation in Ontario; it’s now in its fourth year.” Comprised of European basket willow (Salix viminalis) grown at plantations in Ontario and Quebec, living walls can be used in many different applications—from highways to schoolgrounds to backyards. Tests done in Germany, where living walls were first used as noise barriers, have shown that sound reduction properties are comparable to conventional materials such as metal and concrete.

Now, Toronto is embracing the trend. Two new beaches—one, HT0, designed by Janet Rosenberg & Associates and opened in 2007, and the other, Sugar Beach, designed by Claude Cormier and scheduled to be complete in 2009—bookend the central waterfront, challenging the city to re-imagine its relationship to Lake Ontario. (Can fishing be far behind?)

“A living wall is a great alternative,” says Biglieri. “It becomes an instant landscape. The willow grows into a full hedge in six weeks.” Maintenance requirements include watering for the first two years of establishment, and annual pruning. “You need to take care of it,” says Biglieri, “but it’s really simple.” As for price, the Living Wall Screen Fence costs $170-$220 per metre completely installed, while the more densely planted Living Wall Noise Attenuation Wall costs $600-$700 per metre completely installed.

At HT0, sun worshippers flock to sandy stretches and umbrella protection, an urban gift surrounded by glass, steel, and the roar of landing airplanes. The setting may be louder than most cottages and the water far from pristine, but this distinctly citified beach offers more than a hint of Muskoka for downtown sun-seekers. Summertime, and life’s a beach...

According to Lisa Shkut, OALA Associate Member, of Whitby’s Planning Department, “We’ve had great success with the living wall in a residential setting in our town. The wall is healthy, well established, and requires minimal maintenance. Its greenery provides textural relief and lively movement where traditional acoustic barriers are stiff, still, and monotonous. The Town of Whitby Council has endorsed the living wall as an alternative to the typical wooden and concrete acoustic barriers, and we hope to use it in future industrial and retail applications.” For Biglieri, the appeal of living walls goes beyond the sound-reduction benefits: “I’d rather be driving down a street and see more vegetation...” Information on The Living Wall Inc. can be found at www.thelivingwall.net.

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URBAN PLANNING

design review panel

In 2007, the City of Toronto initiated a twoyear pilot project in which a Design Review Panel (DRP) reviews private and public sector projects in seven pilot areas in each district of the city. Based on similar models used in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, and England, the panel has a role in improving the quality of the built environment. The panel consists of 12 respected design professionals including landscape architects (Janet Rosenberg, Robert Allsopp, and Paul Ferris), architects, planners, and an engineer, all of whom work on the DRP as volunteers. The panel meets monthly to review development applications. The DRP makes recommendations to City Planning staff, complementing the development application review process undertaken by staff. On March 27, 2008, the panel met to review the first new park presented to the DRP 0F

since the pilot began. Each panel member reviewed the proposal from his or her particular professional perspective. The commentary covered a broad spectrum, from the axial symmetry of the design to pedestrian linkages, shadow studies, environmental sustainability, and more. Comments were astute and insightful, sometimes humorous, and always thought provoking. Opinionated, pragmatic, and visionary, the panel members did not always see eye-toeye on issues or directions, leaving many opportunities for further discourse and consideration of design matters to the developers, city staff, and designers.

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The DRP champions the importance of good design and in doing so elevates the quality of design in the city on a project-by-project basis, through a well-structured and professionally led peer review process. The process gives landscape architects the chance to showcase the profession, its values, its potential, its innovations, and its contributions to Toronto’s urban environment.

Although the DRP may be considered by critics to be just another piece of bureaucratic red tape, landscape architects and other design professionals are encouraged to consider this pilot program on its own merits. All of Toronto’s Design Review Panel meetings are open to the public. Additional information about the DRP including minutes of past meetings can be found on the City of Toronto website at http://www.toronto.ca/planning/designreviewpanel.htm. TEXT BY HELENE IARDAS, OALA, CSLA, URBAN DESIGNER, CITY OF TORONTO, AND MARC KRAMER, ASSOCIATE MEMBER, OALA, PARKS, FORESTRY AND RECREATION, CITY OF TORONTO

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Avonshire Park presentation to Toronto’s Design Review Panel

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NAK Design Group The Rideau Canal is Ontario’s first designated World Heritage Site

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Parks Canada, Rideau Canal


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HERITAGE

the rideau canal

Joining the list of such world-renowned wonders as the Galapagos Islands, the Great Pyramids of Egypt, and the Taj Mahal, the Rideau Canal has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO—the first site in Ontario to achieve this internationally significant designation. The Rideau Canal World Heritage Site includes the Rideau Canal itself, Fort Henry, and the Kingston Fortifications. The Canal extends 202 kilometres from Ottawa (where it joins the Ottawa River through a series of locks adjacent to Parliament Hill) to Kingston Harbour on Lake Ontario. Built between 1826 and 1832, the Rideau Canal was recognized as a Canadian National Historic Site in 1924.

More than just the longest skating rink in the world, the home of the Beaver Tail, and the site of Grade 9 initiation events for students, the Rideau Canal is considered to be the best-preserved example of a slackwater canal in North America. It is the only canal dating from the great North American canal-building era of the early 1800s to remain operational along its original line with most of its structures intact, and it is one of the first canals to be designed specifically for steam-powered vessels. The Rideau Canal includes a series of military fortifications along its length, and most of its lock gates and sluice valves are still operated by handpowered winches. The Canal has performed its original function as an operating waterway without interruption since its construction. All of the elements of the Rideau Canal (the canal, associated buildings, and forts) are protected as national historic sites. A buffer zone has been established, and repairs and conservation of the locks, dams, canal walls, and banks are carried out directly under the control of Parks Canada. A Management Plan was completed in 1996 and updated in 2005, and each year, one third of the canal’s assets are inspected, providing a complete inventory of the state of conservation of the entire site. The Government of Canada is the owner of the property, but Parks Canada relies on partners and stakeholders to provide ongoing stewardship of the canal and its shoreline.

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Created by UNESCO in 1972, the World Heritage list sets out to identify, protect, and preserve the world’s major cultural sites. Along with the Rideau Canal, there are 14 other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada. For more information, see www.unesco.org or www.pc.gc.ca. TEXT BY ANDREW B. ANDERSON, OALA, CSLA

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CSLA Awards

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CSLA AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE— ONTARIO REGION

The Canadian Society of Landscape Architects Professional Awards are given for outstanding accomplishment in landscape architecture at the national level. Congratulations to the following Regional Award winners.


CSLA Awards

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CSLA Regional Honour Award: Project Name: HT0 Firm: Janet Rosenberg & Associates, Claude Cormier Architectes Paysagistes, and Hariri Pontarini Architects Client: City of Toronto Category: Design Since its opening in June of 2007, HT0 has quickly become an icon, identifying Toronto from the water’s edge through its multiple yellow umbrellas. The public’s instant embrace of the park has positioned Toronto as a vibrant city with an active waterfront. Designed to connect the city to the water, HT0 has often been referred to as a catalyst for Toronto’s waterfront development.

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Janet Rosenberg & Associates, in collaboration with Claude Cormier Architectes Paysagistes and Hariri Pontarini Architects, developed a flexible, sustainable space for passive and active uses that is accessible by everyone and that creatively attracts people to the waterfront area. 03

Judges' Comments: A strong new intervention to the Toronto landscape, and a much appreciated waterfront destination. Strong playful design.

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Janet Rosenberg & Associates

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CSLA Regional Merit Award: Project: Forks of the Thames Revitalization Firm: PMA Landscape Architects Ltd. and Vafiades Landscape Architect Inc. Client: City of London Category: Design

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In 1998, the City of London adopted the Downtown Millennium Plan as a framework for the city's downtown revival. A key component was the Forks of the Thames Revitalization Plan, developed with the goal of bringing residents and visitors to the area by recognizing it as an important civic space as well as a recreational destination.

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In close collaboration with the City of London, the landscape architects led a multi-disciplinary consultant team in 1999 to develop a long-term vision for the redevelopment of the Forks into an open space hub connecting the regional trail systems, providing a destination area with special attractions, and narrating the environmental, historical, cultural, and social histories of the site. Upon completion of the master plan, the same lead designers were maintained for the implementation projects.

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The Forks of the Thames revitalization

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PMA Landscape Architects Ltd. and Vafiades Landscape Architect Inc.

The design had to meet challenging site constraints related to grading and flood control. A large custom concrete wall provides a backdrop to an impressive civic plaza that incorporates water jets and bubblers. Above the wall, a sloped lawn with contoured terraces provides a casual perch facing the river. A formal water's edge walk was developed with designated lookouts to the Thames River. Low-maintenance planting along the banks provides an attractive edge with seasonal colour, as well as slope stabilization. 04

Judges' Comments: Civic square makes an important connection with the river. It includes many delightful and playful areas. A necessary and positive addition to London.

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CSLA Awards

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CSLA Regional Merit Award: Project Name: Liza's Garden Firm: Plant Architect Inc. Client: Royal Ontario Museum Category: New Directions Liza's Garden is a 10,000-square-foot green roof on the Royal Ontario Museum's 1914 wing. In addition to addressing concerns such as storm water retention and reducing the heat island effect, the site represents the main view from the ROM restaurant's window. The project's four component layers—an undulating landscape, a grid of trees, a network of cables with tripods, and a skyline-like backdrop—create a threedimensional picturesque landscape from the single vantage point of the picture window. As a flattened diorama, the landscape evokes lushness, depth, the kinetic action of the wind, and wildlife habitat. The trees, sited exclusively on the column grid and planted on an angle to brace against the wind, create a depth and scale in the deep plan with their form and shadows. The bracing cables provide an additional three-dimensional layer to the new landscape—an ephemeral topography of bird perches that catch the glint of the sky, or snow. The LED lighting provides a zig-zagging night-time topography with a waving metal screen creating a foreground skyline in dialogue with the real one beyond.

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Judges' Comments: This garden is much needed and has great potential. The innovative concepts take the idea of green roofs to an entirely new height. The analysis of perspective is strong and landscape triangulation and lighting bars reflect the geometric thrust of the building.

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Liza’s Garden, the Royal Ontario Museum’s new green roof

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Plant Architect Inc.


CSLA Awards

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CSLA Regional Merit Award: Project Name: Corktown Footbridge Firm: du Toit Allsopp Hillier Client: City of Ottawa Category: Design This project involved the construction of a new pedestrian bridge over the historic Rideau Canal in the heart of downtown Ottawa. The purpose was to develop a safe, functional pedestrian route that would provide economic and social benefits, and would visually enhance the historic setting without overwhelming the existing landscape context. The landscape architect had a much stronger and broader role than usual for a bridge project of this type due to the importance of the heritage landscape setting. There was an unusually high degree of collaboration throughout design between engineering, architecture, and landscape architecture, which resulted in a true integration of structure into the landscape and urban fabric.

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Not only has this new bridge succeeded at linking the communities of Centretown and Sandy Hill, it has also become a new tourist attraction, offering attractive views of the downtown and the Parliament Buildings from the bridge's apex. Judges' Comments: Bridges are an exciting commission, and this one is fine in its execution, simple in its design. Strong use of materials in the copper, stainless steel.

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The Corktown Footbridge in Ottawa

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du Toit Allsopp Hillier

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CSLA Awards

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CSLA Regional Merit Award: Project Name: East Kiwanis Place Firm: Alexander Budrevics & Associates Ltd. Client: City of Hamilton Public Works Category: Design Situated in the heart of the garment district in east Hamilton, Ontario, East Kiwanis Place enhances the sense of community by providing an urban oasis for passive recreation and a venue for special community events and festivals. The urban parkette and its landscaped surroundings are designed to celebrate the fabric, textile, sewing, and home décor businesses of the local street. The walking surface is designed with paving stones to replicate a quilting pattern, while the selected bench design and tree grates are reminiscent of fine lace. Precast concrete custom bollards were formed and painted to represent spools of thread. Large stainless steel thimbles adorn the corners of the decorative planter that provides additional seating. Storm drain covers and signage icons were custom designed to resemble buttons. The tapered stainless steel shafts of the light standards allude to sewing needles.

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The site is fully accessible. Walking surfaces have no steps, sidewalk corners are ramped, and there is an accessible drinking fountain. Game tables are configured to promote wheelchair user activities. East Kiwanis Place has become a focal point of the community and a catalyst for new business and development in the area. 03

Judges' Comments: A positive addition to downtown Hamilton. Whimsical use of thimbles, manhole covers as buttons, large spools of thread—well executed and delightful.

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The design of East Kiwanis Place in Hamilton playfully refers to the garment district

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Alexander Budrevics & Associates Ltd.

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CSLA Regional Merit Award: Project Name: Central Library Rotary Reading Garden Firm: Vafiades Landscape Architect Inc. Client: London Public Library Category: Design The City of London, Ontario, has been revitalizing the downtown core for a number of years. Part of this revitalization included the renovation of a vacant department store into the city's new Central Library. With the acquisition of the building, the city also acquired an 18,000-square-foot parking lot. Through a series of public consultation meetings conducted by the Library Board, it became apparent that there was a strong desire to see the parking lot converted into a public garden.

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Working with a Garden Steering Committee, the design team prepared a series of guiding principles. These principles included the creation of a space that would emphasize the library's goal of being a place of discovery for all ages, showcase the diverse plants of the Carolinian forest in an urban setting, and provide a variety of large and small outdoor spaces for community events, reading, and relaxation.

Judges' Comments: A great re-invention of a parking lot, which sets a precedent for outdoor reading spaces. Liveable and warm.

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Central Library Rotary Reading Garden in London

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Vafiades Landscape Architect Inc.

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CSLA Awards

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OALA Awards

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2008 OALA AWARDS

The 2008 OALA Awards were presented at a ceremony held in April during the OALA's Annual General Meeting in Waterloo. Congratulations to all those honoured with the awards, and a special thanks to the Honours, Awards, and Protocol Committee: Nelson Edwards, Jim Melvin, Jim Vafiades, Jane Welsh, and Committee Chair Linda Irvine.


OALA Awards

gain credibility? This seemed to me an ideal time to be involved in something that was so soft and pliable. Many of the landscape architects I met at that time were McHargian graduates from Penn. Were they regional planners? Most, like me, seemed to have an architectural background. (You can probably guess where I stand on the recent OALA credentials discourse.)

PINNACLE AWARD FOR LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURAL EXCELLENCE:

Robert Allsopp, OALA, OAA The 2008 OALA Pinnacle Award, which recognizes excellence in the work of an Ontario landscape architect, drawing attention to a body of work that demonstrates outstanding professional accomplishment, was presented to Robert (Bob) Allsopp. Thinking Through Drawing TEXT BY BOB ALLSOPP, AS TOLD TO REAL EGUCHI, OALA, CSLA

It’s a great honour to be acknowledged by one’s peers, to be the recipient of the Pinnacle Award, especially on the fortieth birthday of the OALA. I also share this anniversary. Nineteen-sixty-eight was the year I came to Canada.

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It was in Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba’s newly forming graduate landscape architecture program (where I taught the very first studio in the program) that I concluded that urban design is a better fit with landscape architecture than with architecture. The great thing about the situation in the late 1960s was that the profession of landscape architecture was unbounded. Landscape architects were fussing about who they were, what was their place in society, and how did they

I’m pleased and relieved that the Pinnacle Award is for a “body of work” and isn’t a “lifetime” award, which would have seemed so conclusive. On the other hand, “pinnacle” infers peaking and perhaps that any further movement will be downwards. I’m not crazy about that latter idea since I have every intention of continuing to push the big rock up the hill. I’d like to think that the Pinnacle Award also acknowledges my teaching years, both at the University of Manitoba and the University of Toronto. I can think of occasions in my own life when someone’s words have been influential to my personal or professional development, and I am grateful to think that I may have switched some lights on for others.

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I came to Toronto in 1979, joined Roger du Toit’s office, and began teaching at the University of Toronto. Most of the “body of work” referred to in the Pinnacle Award citation was with the DTAH office from the early 1980s on—the most substantial and the most satisfying of which has been and continues to be work in Ottawa and the National Capital, mostly for the National Capital Commission (NCC) but also for the City, Public Works and Government

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Robert Allsopp Leicester School of Architecture 2nd-year design project

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Robert Allsopp University of Calgary long-range campus development plan, 2001

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Robert Allsopp Design for residential yacht club, 1959 (national student design competition)

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Robert Allsopp


OALA Awards

Services, and the Museums Construction Corporation. The NCC, in particular, has been a joy to work with. One could not wish for a more enlightened client that is critically guided by a design review committee whose membership is drawn from across Canada. As individuals and as a firm, we have had a unique and sustained opportunity to make a real difference to “official” Ottawa. We’ve planned, guided, and built stuff over a period of more than twenty-five years. I think that's enough of the bio. I'd rather expand on a couple of ideas that I included in my award-acceptance remarks, which were addressed to younger members of the OALA.

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together. We also did life-drawing classes as part of our professional architecture programme. When you go through this kind of exercise in many different contexts in many different modes of drawing, over and over again, you begin to associate the making of drawings with the analytical and synthesizing process of design, until “thinking on paper” becomes second nature. Now, I find it difficult to think or talk about any aspect of form-making or physical arrangements without picking up a pen. Perhaps such acts are a necessary part of an apprenticeship of learning the craft and discipline not merely of drawing, but of seeing, studying, applying critical judgments, and developing design propositions. When I suggest that young designers should draw, it is not in hope that you learn the application of watercolour washes to hand-made paper, but that you find ways to be comfortable thinking through drawing—of making marks on paper that communicate to you (and may mean little to anyone else), on the private journey of design exploration. There is particular value in design-thinking on sketch trace, which can be overlaid repeatedly on the previous sketch to test many possibilities without huge investments of time and material, and which can be tossed away without remorse if things don't seem to be working out.

The principle message of my presentation was draw, draw, draw. The first images I showed were my student watercolour-rendered drawings of an eighteenth-century garden and pavilion from second year, Leicester School of Architecture. They now seem very accomplished technically although there were some unresolved intersections, particularly between formal and informal elements. Like many students I was disappointed to receive only a “P” grade (equivalent to a C or C+) but in retrospect I can see that as a nudge to do better. This second-year studio exercise was about learning the integrated craft of drawing and design. As students, we spent untold (and perhaps unnecessary) hours sweating over the finer points of graphic techniques, but somehow the careful manual drafting of the outline of a classical molding with a 2H pencil on white paper was an unforgettable way of understanding how curved and rectangular forms can and should be brought

Such thoughts are foreign, I believe, to today's students of design and many of their tutors. I'm not sure that the basic, tactile, hand-to-eye-to-brain-and-back process that is thinking on paper, is available on the computer. When considering the issue of hand or computer-made drawings, I'm more inclined to believe that “both/and” rather than “either/or” is a preferable way to approach this question. I'm now lucky enough to work with young, talented people who are incredibly skilled in computer drawings. Together, we can make some very beautiful graphic combinations. But I'm uncertain about how they “do” design. I know I'll never stop drawing, and I'll never stop suggesting that they should draw, too. BIO/

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REAL EGUCHI, OALA, CSLA, IS A PRINCIPAL OF EGUCHI ASSOCIATES LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS IN TORONTO AND A SENIOR MEMBER OF THE COLLABORATIVE STUDIO BREAL ART + DESIGN (WWW.BREAL.CA).

DAVID ERB MEMORIAL AWARD:

Tom Ridout, OALA

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This prestigious award was established to recognize an OALA member who has made an exemplary voluntary contribution to the work of the Association. TEXT BY LORRAINE JOHNSON

Considering Tom Ridout’s very active volunteer role in the OALA over the past decade and a half, chances are that most members either know him or know of him. His tall frame (six feet plus), quick wit, and willingness to speak his mind, are all memorable features that Tom Ridout brings to annual general meetings, committees, and to Council, but it is perhaps his role as OALA newsletter editor (from 1994-1999) that members associate most with him. “It began in the winter of 1994 with one of my trademark aggravated rants over something published on the newsletter’s front cover,” Ridout explains. “The article and image were so poor it made my blood boil.” The Editorial Board of the time invited him to a meeting—”I expect they thought I would decline but it only gave me more time to build up a head of steam”—and by the end of the meeting, Ridout was the new editor, a volunteer job he did until 1999. “I loved stirring it up with my editorials,” he says, expressing surprise that his opinionated writings didn’t elicit more responses or challenges, and concluding that “landscape architects are an agreeable lot...” Tom Ridout has been an elected member of the OALA Governing Council since 2004 and has sat on a number of committees, including Ethics and Discipline, and the


OALA Awards

Examining Board, and he is the CLARB member board representative. As well, he has been a willing mentor to numerous Associate Members over the past twenty years. “It was a special honour for me to receive this award since I knew David Erb,” says Ridout. “I worked with him back in the early 1980s at a firm called Baker Salmona Hess in Mississauga. He was a truly nice guy with a great sense of humour and a wellthought-out approach to landscape architecture. I believe that if he were here today he would be making great contributions to our profession and to our association.”

06 OALA AWARD FOR SERVICE TO THE ENVIRONMENT:

City of Waterloo OALA CERTIFICATE OF MERIT FOR SERVICE TO THE ENVIRONMENT:

City of Kitchener The OALA Award for Service to the Environment and the Certificate of Merit for Service to the Environment are given to a non-landscape architectural individual, group, organization, or agency in recognition of a special contribution to the sensitive, sustainable design for human use of the environment. Editorial Board member Michael Palmer spoke with Barbara Steiner, environmental planner with the City of Kitchener, and Barb Magee-Turner, landscape architect with the City of Waterloo, about the awards being given to their respective cities. Michael Palmer (MP): With both Kitchener and Waterloo being recognized for their environmental initiatives, can you tell us how your cities are “pushing the envelope”?

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Barbara Steiner (BS): The OALA recognized the City of Kitchener for the Citizens’ Report on Air Quality in Kitchener and the annual Five Best Bets for Air Quality. I would say that Kitchener has been a little ahead of the curve in both tackling the local aspects of improving air quality, which some might consider much more of a provincial, national, or even international issue, and in challenging the citizen-members of our Environmental Advisory Committee—along with staff and Council—to come up with an approach to the deteriorating quality of our air. Barb Magee-Turner (BMT): Waterloo has been pushing the environmental envelope for more than 19 years and continues to do so. We have cultivated our environmental position/actions since the late 1980s when we embraced “environment first” as a corporate culture. What this means is that all corporate decisions contemplate the environmental impact along with financial, aesthetic, etc., aspects. This environment first ethic is embraced in every department and extends through to our external customers. Developers embrace this policy while working in Waterloo even if they aren’t necessarily aware of it, simply by following the development process. The Environmental Strategic Plan originally completed in 2002 solidified the City’s commitment. Last month, a new terms of reference was approved by Council to begin the update to the Environmental Strategic Plan. This shows the level of commitment to the Plan from a political and senior management perspective. MP: What impacts do these initiatives have on the work that landscape architects do? BS: In each of the years 2006, 2007, and 2008, Kitchener Council selected Five Best Bets for Air Quality. These have included supporting compact urban development and the development of complete communities, which improves walkability and reduces reliance on automobiles. Improving non-vehicular accessibility, including facilitating an increase in bicycle transportation, and increasing greenspace and enhancing its management, are important.

Landscape architects are one of several key environmental professionals who are involved in a very real way in building cities—designing sites and communities that welcome the pedestrian and cyclist, and encourage people to leave their cars at home. This is just one example of how landscape architects can contribute to better air quality. And, obviously, landscape architects are important in creating a healthy urban forest—planting appropriately on both public and private lands to not only improve community aesthetics but also to provide wildlife habitat, mitigate urban heat island effects, and enhance water as well as air quality. BMT: Landscape architects are on the Environmental Strategic Plan team. So we are at the table and our voices are respected and heard. The Strategic Plan guides and prioritizes existing and new environmental initiatives and provides an implemention timeline. Landscape architects have been charged with many of these initiatives both as the lead, and as part of a team. We become responsible for these components. So we play a very important role. MP: How can landscape architects help to push these initiatives further? BS: I think landscape architects can do a lot to help our collective efforts to improve air quality. Especially relevant is their role in creating green infrastructure in urban areas. Landscape architects have the power and responsibility to design and plant to create sustainable urban greenspace—greenspace that can thrive with minimal or no pesticides, that recognizes that water is a

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Tom Ridout

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Tom Ridout Kitchener park with a green roof on the washroom facility

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City of Kitchener


OALA Awards

PUBLIC PRACTICE AWARD:

Ross Stephen, OALA This award recognizes the outstanding leadership of a member of the profession in public practice who promotes and enhances landscape architecture by working for improved understanding and appreciation of the work of landscape architects in both public and private practice.

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limited and precious resource, and whose maintenance can be accomplished with limited burning of non-renewable and polluting fossil fuels. BMT: Our multi-disciplinary background lends itself to our leadership role for projects such as this. Educating the public and promoting the initiatives, as well as successfully completing or managing the initiatives, raises the continued respect for our profession.

Ross Stephen has been employed by the City of Burlington for 35 years. He has held the positions of Design Technician, Landscape Architect, Manager of Parks and Open Space, and most recently Manager of Contracts - Downtown Waterfront. When first employed by the city, he represented a pool of one for all professional landscape architectural services. Now, the city employs seven land-

MP: In what areas would you like your city to increase their environmental initiatives? BS: As Kitchener grows and concerns increase regarding the effect of poor air quality, greenhouse gases, climate change, and shortages of fuel, we must look into how we use energy. Are there alternative options for transporting people and goods? For heating the spaces in which we live and work? And how can we sustainably generate electricity to run the ever increasing array of household appliances and the machinery used in commercial, industrial, and institutional settings? BMT: One would be partnerships with the private sector. The other would be communication. I think we are doing some really amazing things but we don’t advertise it too much. We tend to be humble about our role, which is fine, but we should communicate our successes or failures if they occur, so everyone can benefit. BIO/

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MICHAEL PALMER, ASSOCIATE MEMBER, OALA, IS A PARK AND OPEN SPACE PROJECT MANAGER FOR THE CITY OF KITCHENER.

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scape architects, representing 150-plus years of professional experience in the field. The professional profile of landscape architecture in Burlington can be attributed to Ross Stephen's vision, integrity, and ability to convince decision makers in the public sector of the importance of the profession. Although Ross Stephen has committed a large percentage of his professional career to public service, he has always been an advocate of the profession of landscape architecture in the private sector and of the professional talent pool existing in Ontario. He has been instrumental in the procurement of hundreds of landscape architectural assignments, insisting on the inclusion of the profession in studies, master plans, and a myriad of developments as team members.


OALA Awards

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From 1973 to 1998, Karl Frank instructed classes in landscape architecture on a part-time basis at Ryerson Institute of Technology, University of Toronto, and Humber College. He served on a number of OALA committees, notably the OALA – Landscape Ontario Liaison Committee. He was also instrumental in the preparation and navigation of the Landscape Architect Act, Bill 37, which received royal assent in 1984. Recently, he conducted research for the new Markham Centre and collaborated with SAI Architects and WOB Traffic Engineer of Toronto on several large-scale new towns and urban design projects in China.

Popularizing landscape architecture is only one aspect of Harris’s efforts. Many people know her as an avid gardener, an educator, and a sought-after plant guru with a fan base of gardeners across Canada. “My first concern is the ecological habitat and its condition and then the plants. Actually, probably plants are my first concern,” she says. “I find that there is a huge need for education.”

EMERITUS MEMBERSHIP:

HONORARY MEMBERSHIP:

Karl Frank, OALA

Marjorie Harris

Emeritus members are full members of the OALA who have ceased full-time practice and who are nominated by another full member.

Honorary members are non-landscape architects selected by the Honours, Awards, and Protocol Committee.

So what’s next for Harris now that she’s an honorary member of the OALA? “I would love to work with more landscape architects because I can bring a long-term knowledge of plants to any garden and make it fresh,” she says.

Karl Frank joined Project Planning Associates Limited (PPAL) in 1957 while completing his Architectural Technician Certificate at Ryerson Institute of Technology. He got his calling for landscape architecture while working on projects such as the St. Lawrence Seaway Park (notably Upper Canada Village and Chrysler Memorial Park), Toronto Islands Park System, Kuwait Waterfront, and Hamilton City Hall.

TEXT BY PAULINA CARBONARO

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His contribution to landscape architecture and the environment is constituted in his many far-ranging projects. He was part of the planning, design, and implementation of the landscape projects at the University of Guelph, King Abdul Azziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and the University of Calabar in Nigeria. He was part of the planning team responsible for the National Capital Waterfront in Ottawa, Territorial Parks such as Blackstone and Yellowknife Parks in the Northwest Territories, and Gander Lake Park and Kejimkujik National Park.

Take passion for gardening, add desire to educate people, combine that with writing talent, and you get Marjorie Harris, the newest honorary member of the OALA. The editor-at-large of Gardening Life magazine, a regular columnist at the Globe and Mail, and the author of more than a dozen books about gardening, Harris has shone the spotlight on many landscape architects in her articles, and has educated people about plants, something that is at the core of the profession. “I have tried over the years to feature as many of our good landscape architects in Gardening Life as is possible, with such limited space,” she says. “We have superior talent in this country and it struck me from the beginning that we should be celebrating our own. There is not enough of this, ever. And it’s only one way to raise design standards.”

Harris also appears on television, speaks at garden shows across Canada, and hosts tours to some of Europe’s most beautiful gardens. She’s currently hard at work on a new edition of her previously published book Ecological Gardening.

To learn more about Marjorie Harris and her work, visit her blog at http://marjorieharris.com.

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A natural area in Kitchener

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City of Kitchener Ross Stephen (middle) with Linda Irvine and Arnis Budrevics

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OALA Karl Frank

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Round Table

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Design Competitions For this Awards issue of Ground, we convened a panel of landscape architects to discuss the benefits, challenges, and future directions of design competitions.

Moderated by VICTORIA LISTER CARLEY, OALA, CSLA, WITH ASSISTANCE FROM SAMANTHA ENG

BIOS/ JIM MELVIN, OALA, FCSLA, IS PRINCIPAL OF PMA LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS. THE FIRM PRACTISES PRIMARILY IN THE SOUTHERN ONTARIO MARKET AND PARTICIPATES IN COMPETITIONS APPROXIMATELY TWO TO THREE TIMES A YEAR. JAMES ROCHE, OALA, CSLA, IS CURRENTLY A PROJECT MANAGER AT WATERFRONT TORONTO WHERE HE IS MANAGING THE DESIGNS FOR THE LAKE ONTARIO PARK MASTER PLAN, DON RIVER PARK, SHERBOURNE PARK, AND THE INTERNATIONAL DESIGN COMPETITION FOR JARVIS SLIP OPEN SPACE. HE HAS PARTICIPATED IN SEVERAL INTERNATIONAL DESIGN COMPETITIONS INCLUDING THE DOWNSVIEW DESIGN COMPETITION WITH BROWN AND STOREY ARCHITECTS, AND MOST RECENTLY RECEIVED AN HONOURABLE MENTION WITH ELISE SHELLEY ON THE STRATFORD MARKET SQUARE COMPETITION.

JANET ROSENBERG, OALA, CSLA, FOUNDER AND PRINCIPAL OF JANET ROSENBERG & ASSOCIATES, FREQUENTLY LENDS HER TIME TO NUMEROUS DESIGN REVIEW AND JURY PANELS. SHE HAS BEEN AWARDED AN HONORARY DOCTORATE FROM RYERSON UNIVERSITY, AN URBAN LEADERSHIP AWARD FROM THE CANADIAN URBAN INSTITUTE, THE OALA'S PINNACLE AWARD FOR LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURAL EXCELLENCE, AND THE GOVERNOR GENERAL OF CANADA CONFEDERATION MEDAL.

CHARLES WALDHEIM, FAAR, OALA (HON.), IS ASSOCIATE DEAN AND DIRECTOR OF THE LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE PROGRAM IN THE FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE, LANDSCAPE, AND DESIGN AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, AND PRINCIPAL AND FOUNDER OF URBAN AGENCY, A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY CONSULTANCY IN DESIGN AND URBANISM. IN ADDITION TO HIS WORK ON DESIGN COMPETITIONS, URBAN DESIGN PROPOSALS, AND PLANNING STUDIES, HE HAS BEEN A PEER REVIEWER, A COMPETITION ADVISOR, AND A JURY MEMBER FOR PUBLIC AND PRIVATE CLIENTS IN THE U.S. AND CANADA.


Round Table

Victoria Lister Carley (VLC): For this issue of Ground, which focuses on the OALA and CSLA awards, we’d like to discuss the issues raised by design competitions—in particular, to look at the competition process as a method of commissioning designers for a project and how that process affects the dynamics of the design process. Do competitions lead to the best design, whatever we mean by best? Janet Rosenberg (JRosenberg): Design competitions are wonderful because they really push people to do their best work. Design work that might normally never get approved by the city receives recognition from these competitions. People are very respectful of the juries and of the decisions they make. Something like HTO [a Toronto waterfront park designed by Rosenberg] would never have been built if it had to go through the normal processes of approval. There were too many things there that were really outside of normal, but the jury accepted it. But while design competitions are wonderful, I think that a lot depends on who the judges are. You need to know who your jury is before you decide to go into these competitions; juries have different tastes and different prejudices. Jim Melvin (JM): But do you then tailor your creativity toward the jury and the jury members if you know that the jury is biased towards a particular aspect of design? Do you start to tailor your response to win the jury?

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James Roche (JRoche): I think it depends on the type of competition. If it’s an ideas competition, then it’s a moot issue about the jury, because its purpose is to push the ideas of landscape, which is liberating. If it is about the built form, then you take cues from past projects to get inspiration of what the jury may be looking for. But by thinking about what the jury wants, you start second guessing yourself and the design. The jury becomes a client that you start to design for, instead of having the freedom to express different kinds of ideas unique to the space. Charles Waldheim (CW): Across North America, landscape architecture is enjoying a level of popular and critical visibility that I’ve never experienced in my professional career. I’ve seen landscape architecture emerge as one of the most relevant disciplines in terms of the redevelopment of the city. You can’t imagine that renaissance without design competitions as one element. We need to have rigorous forms of peer review in order to articulate the value of the work that we do. Because absent of that, it simply devolves into public works. I think landscape architecture has benefited enormously from the competition process and the rigorous process of peer review, which can push back against the lassezfaire status quo. VLC: What you’re saying suggests that the champions on any given jury will affect, at least partially, the credibility of the process itself. CW: That’s right. Each of those decisions— who makes the short list, who’s on the jury, who the patrons are, who the public proponents are—helps to build a public platform in which a project is either more or less viable. VLC: What is the motivation that leads you to enter a design competition and how do you build your team? JRosenberg: I think you build your team based on the people you want to work with.

You want your team’s experiences to round off your experiences. So if we’re doing a design competition in Ottawa, we need a local person. But you want people who make it a fun experience, who will balance out and bring a fresh eye to the project. CW: Designers have to be careful about how they choose to spend their limited resources. Some firms treat the competition process as a way to motivate their staff, especially the associates and junior staff. It’s approached as something that can be done relatively quickly, while building morale, and if somebody gets a third prize, that’s fantastic. Then there are business plans specifically organized around the idea that they want public work. The most competitive public works markets are Chicago, Toronto, and Los Angeles, which are driven by some very rigorous peer review as opposed to other forms of selection, like competition, RFQ [Request for Quotations], or RFP [Request for Proposals]. JM: We’ve talked a little bit about process, and I’m wondering if that also affects how the competition works. One is the RFQ process and the other is anonymous. In the case of a smaller firm or someone with a low profile, the anonymous approach puts everything on a more even keel. If it’s RFQ, the crème de la crème of the competition can be spotted by name. But if it’s anonymous, that’s when you give the unknowns a clear shot, and the real creativity can come through. CW: Increasingly, what I see are public agencies and public-private partnerships on top of an RFQ, then they build a competition. They require two public meetings, public participation, so the levels of engagements in the kind of deliverables are increasing. At the same time, designers are drawn to the competition because it does give them a little more leverage than a typical contract would. The project has been in the public


Round Table

eye, it’s been critiqued by the official critics in town, the mayor had a photo op, and it gives the design community, and maybe even the granting agency or contracting agency, the ability to push back a little bit. JRosenberg: You can also look at it like a marketing campaign. Whether we win or lose, the experience is a form of advertising. CW: I’d like to see some mechanisms that allow more junior talent. That’s one of the functions of competitions that are anonymous: to allow people who have talent and ability to emerge in a way that the traditional RFQ prevents. JM: I think Waterfront Toronto uses RFQ more than anyone. JRoche: Yes, that’s because the end result is actually a built project. Due to the scale of the projects, we want firms that have a track record, and can actually do it, whereas the idea competitions are not necessarily certain to be built. With RFQ, you want the big experienced firms to get the project built. CW: The problem with splitting the world that way is that you’re saying that the young talent can have non-built ideas competition, which kind of trivializes it, whereas the better venues in the world have figured out a way to let the junior people and the more senior people get work built. I’m confident that we have some very talented young landscape architects who would be well qualified to build on the waterfront. But the RFQ’s the first filter in the competition process and it basically prevents that from happening. On the other hand, a part of what these agencies are curating is a type of shortlist of celebrity or brand name talent. We have to be continuing to look for the next generation of talent. I feel obliged to touch on Downsview as well. Downsview [a large park in Toronto currently under development] has been received in a certain context by the design community as a failure of design process or

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a failure in competition process. I feel that this is a misreading. It’s political leadership. It’s ownership of the land at Downsview. It’s not a design problem; it’s not a problem with the competition process. I think that process did precisely what it intended to do. It generated international excitement and visibility, but there’s the political inability, which we also see in other contexts in Ontario, to actually deliver ownership of the land. Project Lead JRosenberg: In terms of cities and municipalities, places where we have to be visible, architects are always taking the lead. And they’re designing things that landscape architects would never do. On many projects, it’s the architects who are competing, not landscape architects, even though the landscape is such a huge component. VLC: Why are architects eligible for these competitions as lead when they are really landscape architecture competitions? I think it’d be highly unlikely that a landscape architecture firm would compete to put an addition onto the Royal Ontario Museum.

opportunity for landscape architects to lead these kinds of projects. VLC: I’ve noticed, there’s a bit of perception that there couldn’t be adequate landscape architects in Ontario, and that’s why international landscape architects, the stars from afar, are brought in. JRoche: I know that it has come up quite a bit and there are a lot of projects coming down the line in the next few years. But my guess is, you’re going to see that a lot of local firms are going to get a lot of those local projects as well. There are local teams involved in the current projects underway at Waterfront Toronto. CW: Every project that I’ve been a part of has had participation by the local community. VLC: I’m not suggesting that there is not enough capacity. What I’m suggesting is that, because there are so many high profile internationals, the general population does not perceive the quality of landscape architects who are local. Resources Required

CW: From my perspective, there is a sort of generational component to this. There’s a generation or more of landscape architects whose identity as advocates for this profession is synonymous with the kind of zerosum game where we fight tooth and nail for professional identity and market share from the architects. There’s also a disproportionate number of people whose commissions came directly through architects. This can develop the syndrome of being the last one on the team and the first one to be cut. There’s an extraordinary volume of work out there. We can’t produce landscape architects fast enough for this market. We’re not even replacing those in the market who are retiring. But I think if you look at this in terms of opportunity, I’ve never seen a moment in my career where there has been this much

JM: The issue of resources goes right back to how people organize their firms. They just have such an engine to feed that they can’t do competitions. The smaller guys, we try to free up time. The other thing is that if you have commitments that are money makers, how do you take on those extra nights, weekends, etc., knowing you’ll be losing money, but also knowing that it’s a marketing plus? JRosenberg: You just say it’s important, that’s all. And, of course, it’s dependent on your staff and whether they will be enthusiastic about it and will want to be involved. CW: Competitions give you the excuse to grow a part of your brain that you haven’t used for awhile.


Round Table

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JM: Well, you don’t do these for money.

dous amounts of support with respect to the jury and certainly with the design being built that way. So you get that pushing of boundaries, nothing holding you back.

CW: The capacity in the community is stretched thin—to have sufficient landscape architects available to both compete and participate on teams, to sit on design review panels and also to be jury members, at some point you have the sense you have invited almost every landscape architect of public visibility.

JRoche: Competitions have to be explored at the education level as well. You begin to teach students to use them as a tool within the learning process for them to communicate their ideas in a sort of streamlined manner specifically for competitions. It’s a really good strategic tool to help them expose their ideas.

JM: There’s only a handful who want to participate in this process.

JM: And there’s the other phenomenon that’s coming on strong: the design-build competitions. Those are not true competitions. Those are very bottom-line driven, to the point that it’s degradating to the whole process of design. It’s more about getting something out quickly and getting it built for the cheapest dollar. And it’s unfortunate that those are becoming more prevalent. Municipalities have started doing that mostly because they have unrealistic deadlines.

JRosenberg: You learn so much from these competitions. If you get lucky, you win.

VLC: One of the things that we’re coming around to is that the design of the competition and the design of the jury are as important to the outcome as anything else because it will determine who is willing to participate. CW There is no professional standard that says this is how it should be organized. Therefore you end up in these places where people expect “x” but get “y”; not that it’s necessarily a problem. But the question of their expectations is an issue. JM: There is a huge risk in competitions because often you’ll get very little compensation, just enough to pay for your printing. There are stringent guidelines that they want fifteen boards or ten boards, public presentations and public meetings, and models, and that just eats up any incentive or honorarium. The best part is the marketing. But they’re not moneymakers. JRosenberg: But with competitions, you actually do your best work because you have that total freedom. It allows you to really have a big idea and follow through with it and take risks. On a day-to-day basis, working with a client, you just don’t get that far. In design competitions, you get tremen-

JRosenberg: This is about the profession growing up and recognizing that there’s an international, more contemporary, ecological, and environmental kind of response that these design competitions allow you to express. They want you to do that. They want you to make things that are different, that reflect the times. BIO/

VICTORIA LISTER CARLEY, OALA, CSLA, IS A LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT IN PRIVATE PRACTICE WHO HAS NOT ENTERED A COMPETITION IN TWENTY YEARS.

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SAMANTHA ENG IS A JOURNALISM STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF KING'S COLLEGE.

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Notes

Notes: A Miscellany of News and Events

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Geranium ‘Rozanne,’ Perennial Plant of the Year

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Perennial Plant Association Argyle Authentic Lofts, winner of a Pug Award

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Pug Awards

greening Green ideas are getting some much-needed green support (as in money) from the City of Toronto through a recently announced initiative, Live Green Toronto. This five-year, $20-million program is designed to promote neighbourhood and community-based actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Eligible projects include those that increase water conservation, tree planting, energy efficiency, local food production, and green roofs. Seed money of up to $25,000 per project to help communities develop and implement green initiatives is available as part of the Live Green Toronto Community Investment Fund, while the Capital Projects Fund will provide partial funding for community-based capital projects, to a maximum of $250,000. For more information, visit www.livegreentoronto.ca.

gardens The University of Guelph Department of Plant Agriculture and Landscape Ontario oversee an Ornamental Trial Garden, located at the University of Guelph’s Turfgrass Institute. Each year, new cultivars are tested for performance in southern Ontario, then the top plants are shown to the public at Canada Blooms in Toronto. The top plants are chosen by a panel of judges. Criteria include performance, drought resistance, foliage, and colour. The University of Guelph trial gardens are open to the public. More information can be found at www.plant.uoguelph.ca/trialgarden. A public open house at the University of Guelph trial garden will be held on August 19, 2008, from 1:00pm to 8:00pm.

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plants The Perennial Plant Association has awarded the title of Perennial Plant of the Year to Geranium ‘Rozanne.’ This plant has 2-inch, iridescent violet-blue, saucer-shaped flowers with purple-violet veins and radiant white centres. Bloom time is from late spring to mid fall—one of the longest flowering periods of the hardy geraniums. Geranium ‘Rozanne’ may be used as a vigorous groundcover or as an attractive specimen. It is a good companion plant to shasta daisy, perennial salvia, speedwell, hosta, and short ornamental grasses. Its habit makes it useful in patio containers, window boxes, and hanging baskets. For more information on the Perennial Plant of the Year, see www.perennialplant.org.

council The OALA Governing Council meets monthly to deal with association business. Council meetings are open to members (except for in camera items) and are regularly scheduled for the second Monday of each month, from 6:15pm to 8:30pm, at the OALA office. The next scheduled meeting is September 8, 2008. For details, contact the OALA at 416-231-4181.


Notes

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awards The winners of the fourth annual Pug Awards, the people’s choice awards for architecture in Toronto, were announced in June. To qualify, buildings had to be completed in 2007, be located in the former city of Toronto, and have an area greater than 50,000 square feet, or be considered noteworthy by the Pug Awards Advisory Board. In announcing the winning projects, Pug Awards co-founder Gary Berman stated, “Past and present winners in both the residential and commercial/institutional categories have done a very good job of incorporating landscape and public space into the design of their buildings. The public has consistently voted for architecture which enhances life between the buildings.” 02

You be the judge. Images of each development can be viewed on the Pug Awards website: www.pugawards.com. Argyle Authentic Lofts received top ranking in the residential buildings category, and Hazelton Hotel achieved that honour in the commercial/institutional buildings category.

competitions Spacing magazine invites landscape architects, urban planners, architects, designers, students, and artists from all disciplines—35 years old or younger—to take part in thinkToronto. This urban ideas competition is intended to help celebrate the magazine’s fifth anniversary in December 2008, and to showcase ideas from the next generation of city builders who want to challenge conventional notions of public space. The competition deadline is August 29, 2008, and winners will be featured in the Fall 2008 issue of Spacing. For details, see www.thinktoronto.com.

leed At the 2008 OALA AGM, a representative from Mindscapes Innovations presented a seminar on the relevance of various LEED programs to the landscape architecture profession, using the Preston Meadows project in Cambridge as a case study. Questions addressed included: what benefit is the LEED AP designation to landscape architects? What lessons can landscape architect professionals leverage from LEED for non-LEED projects? Debate was lively, and it was clear that landscape architects’ responses to LEED continue to be mixed. Regardless, it was encouraging to learn that the U.S. Green Building Council is recognizing the weaknesses of LEED in addressing site issues, and is making attempts to incorporate well-known best practices in site and landscape design—best practices that landscape architects have been applying for decades. It was also evident that the upcoming LEED for Homes and LEED-ND (LEED for Neighbourhood Development) may be more worthwhile for landscape architects to pursue than the current build-

ing-centric LEED for New Construction. Currently in its pilot period, LEED-ND will be available to the public in 2009. See the U.S. Green Building Council website (www.usgbc.org) for more information. TEXT BY FUNG LEE, OALA, CSLA

new members The Ontario Association of Landscape Architects is proud to recognize and welcome the following new full members to the association: Benj Albrecht * Heather Braiden Stefano Giannini * Scott Henderson Paul Lucier * Shirley Hsieh Marsh * Robert Mikula * Mark Reid * Elizabeth Wimmer * Asterisk (*) denotes a Full Member not having custody and use of the Association seal.


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honours Congratulations to the following faculty, students, and alumni from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design: Student Honours and Awards in 2007/2008 Yikyu Choe, MLA ‘06, was a finalist in the Central Open Space of MAC, International Design Competition, in Korea.

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trees Have you ever walked by a spindly street tree, sighing in despair because you know its roots have never and will never get the moisture and oxygen they require? Have you worked on a project in which every new tree in the school yard was snapped in two? What do you do when you see your neighbour hacking senselessly away at a formerly glorious spruce, trying to make it look “nicer”? Take action by taking a photo! The Editorial Board invites all tree-huggers to submit photos of their nomination for “Saddest Tree,” to be compiled into a photo collage in an upcoming issue of Ground. Photos must be a minimum of 4x6, colour, and 300 dpi. Enclose the location of the tree, the time and date the photo was taken, your full name, and a one-line description as to why you think this is truly the saddest tree, beginning with “Because it…”. The Editorial Board will act as the jury in selecting the “saddest trees” for the photo collage. Submit photos to the Editorial Board, c/o Fung Lee, fung@pmalarch.ca.

Van Thi Diep, MLA ’07, was awarded Honor Award for Analysis and Planning by the American Society of Landscape Architects for her MLA thesis project “Event Landscape: Halifax Harbour Festival,” advised by John Danahy. Rosetta Sarah Elkin, MLA ’04, has received a “Starter Stipend” from the Fonds BKVB, in Amsterdam. Shan Li, MLA ’07, received a Toronto Urban Design Award of Excellence in the Student Projects category for her project MicroUrbanism: Intervention of Urban Void Area, Roncesvalles Neighbourhood. Sarah Moser, MLA ’02, received a 2007 Student Achievement Award from the National University of Singapore. She has also received a Canadian Association of Geographers Travel Grant and a Graduate Research Scholarship. Karyn Williams, MLA ’07, was awarded an Honor Award for Analysis and Planning by the American Society of Landscape Architects for her MLA Thesis project “The Landscape of the Informal City,” advised by Alissa North. Victoria Taylor, MLA ‘03, is a recipient of the 2008 Cressy Award in recognition of her good academic standing and significant extracurricular contribution to the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design.

Victoria also presented an exhibition in the Larry Wayne Richards Gallery in 2008 titled “Pushing Site.” Faculty and Alumni Honours and Awards in 2007-2008 Professor Pierre Bélanger, in association with Ed Zec (MArch ‘07) and Behnaz Assadi (MLA ’08), received a Second Place Prize in the Heights of Design Competition organized by Unioncamere Piemonte and the Piemonte Region Authority in Northern Italy. The team also received a Second Prize award in “Columbus Re-Wired” International Design Competition, sponsored by the American Institute of Architects for his work entitled “Transporting Columbus: Proposal for a Contemporary Transportation Node.” Professor Pierre Bélanger, assisted by Dave Christensen (MArch ’07), Ed Zec (MArch ’07), and Brett Hoonaert (MLA ’08), received an Honorable Mention in Chicago Burnham Prize International Design Competition, sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Club, for his work entitled “Buckingham Circle: A Strategy for Crossing Lakeshore Drive.” Alissa North and Pete North / North Design Office, assisted by Leslie Morton (MLA ‘08), were awarded Second Prize in Envisioning Gateway International Design Competition for Gateway National Recreational Area, New York, for their submission “Reassembling Ecologies,” sponsored by the Van Alen Institute, National Parks Conservation Association, and Columbia University.

green roofs Upcoming courses given by Green Roofs For Healthy Cities include an introductory course on green wall design (November 18) and an overview course on plants and growing medium design considerations (December 2). Both are being held at the Toronto Botanical Garden. For details, visit www.greenroofs.org.


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prizes

earth art

It is indeed precedent setting when a landscape architect wins the country’s most prestigious architecture award—congratulations to Pierre Bélanger, OALA, CSLA, winner of the 2008 Professional Prix de Rome in Achitecture, awarded by the Canada Council for the Arts. The prize, established in 1987 and, for the first time, awarded to a landscape architect, is valued at $50,000. For his winning project, Bélanger will travel to three critical regions in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East to explore how the field of landscape architecture can contribute to water system management in the context of mass urbanization.

This summer, visitors to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton will have the chance to see installations by some of the world’s best-known environmental artists. Earth Art, an exhibit curated by Canadian ephemeral art expert John Grande, runs until October 13, and includes work by Nils Udo of Germany, Simon Frank of Canada, Roy Staab of the U.S., and others. Installed throughout the RBG’s cultivated gardens and natural lands, the artworks use natural materials and plants to explore the relationships between nature, landscape, and the environment. For more information, visit www.rbg.ca. 05

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A candidate for Ground’s “Saddest Tree” competition

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Lorraine Johnson Pierre Bélanger’s project explores water systems in cities

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Canada Council for the Arts Sculpture by Emilie Brzezinski

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Royal Botanical Gardens Site-specific piece by Nils Udo

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Royal Botanical Gardens


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exhibitions The suburbs are changing—as are attitudes. For many years, the car-dependent, strip-mall-dominated suburban landscape was derided by urban planners and architects. A new exhibition at the Design Exchange in Toronto, Fringe Benefits: Cosmopolitan Dynamics of a Multicultural City, focuses on Toronto’s suburbs as places of innovation and change. Curated by Ian Chodikoff, editor of Canadian Architect magazine, and on exhibit until September 23, 2008, the exhibition explores how cultural diversity has changed not only the nature of Toronto’s suburban landscape, but also notions of how a cosmopolitan city can function in a globally connected world. For details, visit www.designexchange.com

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Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre—a community centre located in the inner Toronto suburb of Don Mills

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Tom Arban Peter E. Kanitsch

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Kanitsch family

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in memoriam With great sadness, we inform you that Peter E. Kanitsch (1958-2008), OALA, CSLA, passed away peacefully on July 8, 2008, surrounded by his family. Peter graduated from the University of Toronto in 1981 with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, and was a principal with MBTW Watchorn in Toronto. Peter excelled in community planning, resort development, urban design, and the design of golf lifestyle communities, streetscapes, and public open spaces. He helped shape many great public spaces and constantly pushed the design envelope. He leaves behind a legacy of built work that stands as an everlasting memorial to his life and career as a landscape architect, urban designer, and community planner. Peter’s notable projects include the Beach Community in Toronto, the Garden Residences of Avondale in Toronto, Discovery Park in Richmond Hill, the Hamilton Mobility Streets Project in Hamilton, Oak Park Community in Oakville, and Woodbine Park in Toronto. Although Peter was well known as a landscape architect, urban designer and community planner, what made him unique

was his expertise as a detailed technical designer. He was fundamentally a craftsman with an almost fanatical attention to detail. He practised the profession with an innate ingenuity and with the skill and talent of an artisan. His proficiency in construction was based on an intimate knowledge of the nature of materials and an inventive use of products. Peter is survived by Maria, his wife and soul mate of many years, and their two children, Stephanie and Michael. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, classmates, business associates, and the members of the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects.

conferences The 4th annual Green Building Festival will take place September 9-10 in Toronto. This two-day conference and expo highlights innovation in green building, covering topics such as green roofs, software for sustainable design, and green building incentives. With approximately 100 exhibitors at the trade show (free to the public on September 10), visitors can network with industry leaders, learn about green building products and services, and explore the latest in green building innovation. For more information, see www.greenbuildingfest.com.











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Street Art Punishment that fits the "crime" TEXT BY NETAMI STUART, ASSOCIATE MEMBER, OALA

There are parts of our streetscapes that are so banal and ubiquitous that we give them no thought; painted lines on the street, signposts, and parking meters are usually beneath our notice. Peter Gibson, a.k.a. Roadsworth, is a Montreal-based artist whose work focuses our attention on these sad artifacts by introducing representations of plants, animals, and objects interacting with them. His stencil art has been appearing around Montreal and other cities since 2001. In 2004, Gibson was apprehended by authorities in Montreal and charged with vandalism. Following a huge outcry and articles in local and national newspapers, he was handed a short sentence of 40 hours of community service to be spent painting his art on city streets. Since then, he has received commissions from the Ville de Montreal, the Cirque du Soleil, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Quartier Ephemere, la TOHU, Off-courts Film Festival, and Earth Day Quebec. He was recently commissioned by the Kent Council, U.K., to do a street installation in conjunction with the 2007 Tour de France.

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Peter Gibson’s work turns crosswalk paint into footprints and lane markers into zippers. In his world, birds can fly down and perch on parking stalls, and vines can crawl up the shadow of a signpost. His work talks with the city, making us look with a sense of humour and hope and renewed interest at the minutiae surrounding us, most of which could really use some good design. BIO/

NETAMI STUART, ASSOCIATE MEMBER, OALA, IS A LANDSCAPE DESIGNER AND ARBORIST WORKING FOR PMA LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS.

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01/02/03/04/ Peter Gibson’s work in Ashford,

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Peter Gibson

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Interested in being involved with Ground: Landscape Architect Quarterly? The OALA Editorial Board is looking for volunteers who can help out with various tasks, such as research, transcription, and writing. Any level of commitment is appreciated, from researching upcoming events for the Notes section to transcribing Round Table discussions... Fun, satisfying work—and the best part, no need to attend meetings! To get involved, please e-mail magazine@oala.ca.

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