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Michigan Architecture Papers MAP 9 路 Shim路Sutcliffe Published to commemorate the Charles & Ray Eames Lecture, given by Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe at Taubman College on March 30, 2001. Editors: Brian Carter and Annette W. LeCuyer Designed by: Christian Unverzagt with Craig Somers at M 1, Detroit Typeset in News Gothic and Adobe Garamond Printed and bound in the United States of America ISBN: 1- 891197- 21 - 5

漏 2002 The University of Michigan A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Shim路Sutcliffe Architects, Toronto


Urban Plann ing

In col laboration with Herman Miller, Inc. Taubman College 2000 Bonisteel Boulevard, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2069 USA

734 764 1300 734 763 2322 fax www.tcaup.umich .edu

Shim路 Sutcliffe

Michigan Architecture Papers 9

Wood · Water· Wea1 Introduction 6 ·The Image of Charles &Ray g · Wood 20 · Water 52 ·

hering Steel

feathering Steel

74 · Shim·Sutcliffe 90 · Charles

&Ray Eames 92 · Herman Miller, Inc. 94 · Acknowledgments 96


Introduction Charles and Ray Eames are inspirational characters. Their belief in rhe value of design and enrhusiasm for collaborative work establ ished new definitions for the discipline, while their imeresr in rhe everyday and irs potential ro transform prompted differem ways of seeing. The lines that they drew have retained their elegance and potency, yet at the same rime that they were drawing, they were also making films, considering rhe impact of science, observing the circus and exploring the influence of borh printed word and projected image. Charles and Ray Eames had an enclless curiosity about rhe properries of materialsa curiosity rhar is obvious in the furnimre, spaces and objects that they designed. They were appreciative of good workmanship and seemingly compelled ro devise rhe beautiful connection.

It is lirrle wonder rhen rhar the armual Charles and Ray Eames Lecture at rhe University of Michigan, which brings partners who are working rogerher in design ro speak about their work at rhe College, has become an evem of major imporrance in our calendar. The series was founded in 1998 to celebrate the work of rwo of America's fmest designers. The architect Charles Eames and artist Ray Kaiser mer in Michigan. They began working together here and underrook rheir first collaborative ventures wirh indusrry when rhey starred making furnimre with the help of Colonel Evans in Detroit. Later they were to sustain a long-lasting working relationship with Herman Miller, Inc., a company rhar has been building rhe furniture rhar Charles and Ray Eames designed for almost sixty years in Michigan.

Like the work of Charles and Ray Eames, this lecture is also a collaborative project- one that is generously supported by Herman Miller, Inc. and the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. The inaugural lecture, presented by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, like the lectures that have followed, was published in the Michigan Arch.itecture Papers, a pmject that brings students and faculty to work together with the guest speakers.

The 200 I Charles and Ray Eames Lecturers are Brigitte Shim and Howard Surcliffe. These two young architects have been working together since 1987 and, from a modest studio housed in a former garage in the heart ofToronto, have been shaping a practice that is unconventional in many ways. Their work has included not only the design of buildings but also the construction of furniture and the creation of landscapes. They ofi:en fabricate the things that they design. Their work embraces craft enthusiastically and respects the craftsman. They also engage their clients and respond to the need to create fine rooms as well as civic spaces, albeit sometimes in remote places. This is work that has been widely published and has received nwnerous prestigious international awards. Brigitte and Howard are, accorcling to the designer Bruce Mau, "intellectual without being distant or hermetic." It is an honor for the University of Michigan to host the 200 I Charles and Ray Eames Lecture, and I invite you to look closc;ly at the inspiring collaborative work of Shim Sutcliffe.

Brian Carter, Professor of Architecture



The image of Charles and Ray

Eames is , for us,

inext ricably li nked to the photographs of the two of them working together. There are many, yet in each one they look as if they are having a very good tim e. What you also notice from looking at these photographs is th at these two outstanding Ame ri ca n designers took enormous pleasure in creating things. Everything that th ey touched and shaped became part of a world of design, and their view of design as a discipline that cou ld in clude architecture, fi lm -making, furniture design, grap hics and communication has become a model for practice. Charles and Ray Eames made this way of worki ng part of their everyday life. In doing so, they created a comm unity of designers around themselves. It was a community that included th eir stud io colleagues , their cl ients , industrialists like D.J. De Pree, fabr icators and the many other people w ith whom they collaborated . This is w hat is so inspirationa l about their work. It has influenced our work and way of working significantly and , as a result , we are espec ially honored to have been invited to. give the 2001 Charles and Ray Eames Lecture at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Pl an ni ng at the University of Michigan.

Charles and Ray Eames were preoccupied with materials. They explored the potential of plywood, fiberglass , wire, steel and aluminum through their design studies and focused investigations of technica l processes. Much of this work was related to the design of furniture. The consideration of furniture has also been central to the development of our own ideas about design and practice. It is helpful because it directly connects design and construction. We know that a chair is not a building, but there are many lessons that can be learned from using specific materials at the scale of the body. Both the limitations and potential of those materials can be explored in a piece of furniture but can also be developed further at the scale of a building. The design of furniture has also enabled us to establish long-lasting re lationsh ips with fabricators. Working directly with them has helped us to gain direct knowledge of the capabi lities of materials and how particular materials can best be used.


When we are working on the design of furniture we usua lly make a lot of models. These models are often sma ll and quickly made but they help us to visua lize a conceptua l idea. Often they turn into full-scal e mock-ups th at then transform into working prototypes. The design of chairs, tab les, lamps or doorhand les is important in our explorations of materials and constru ction at very different scales. They help us to be more courageous about what we might try to do at a larger scale . Sometimes we show this furniture to our clients and that in turn encou rages them too. One way of understanding the potential of materia ls is to learn first hand for oneself what can be done. Howard has an instinct about how to do thin gs but little interest in reading manuals or fol lowing instructions. So when we designed a project using weathering steel, he decided to work on the fabrication himself. Through a contractor, we found a factory in Southern Ontario where steel was used to repair farm equipment and construct gravel crushers. The people in the shop were experi enced in the use of the materia l and, although they rare ly questioned him about what he was actua lly doing, they would almost always tel l him w hat he could do better.


Howard was directly involved in the flame-cu tting of a sheet of weath ering steel for the roof of a sma ll pavilion that we we re designing for a garden in Toronto . We developed the design using a series of models that we would ta ke to th e shop . Th e fabricators there wou ld point out things that they thought cou ld create problems. Th ey explained why and we would go back, rethi nk our ideas and bui ld a bigger model. As they looked at the different models and commented about our ideas, th e materia l and techniques for its fabrication, a dialogue developed that was to become the basis of the fin alized design and influence the way that the pavilion roof was eventually made.

Thi s notion of connecting design, craft and production is important to us. It embodies a process that has evolved now to the stage where we can work directly with different compa nies to design and make specific things. At first we started bui ldi ng actual pieces of projects , but now our practice has grown and we are designing more of the furniture and fi ttings for our buildings . However, we also tend to supply specific pieces to a project. Working in this way, we are able to take something designed for one project and consider how it might be helpful for another.


At the same time as much of the world becomes increasingly placeless, so we also find that the particular characteristics of the natural landscape become more and more important. In Canada both the vastness of the actual landscape and its mythic qualities are part of the national psyche. These mytho logica l qualities are most clearly reco rded in the paintings of The Group of Seven - a group of artists who portrayed the wi ld , romantic and often hosti le landscapes which they experienced while canoeing and portaging in the country during the early 1900s. The vastness of Canada raises issues of remote sites , extreme climates and the availability of certain natural materials - issues that in turn define particular challenges for architects working across the country. Like architecture, landscape also represents an act of construction. These ideas permeate our work. As a resu lt we think in terms of creating both site and building so that each gives meaning to the other. In considering and reconsidering what is object and what is ground , the words 'carving' , 'sculpting' and 'digging' have become important components of our vocabulary.



Consequently, we tend not to view our work chronologically or by building type but rather through considerations of material. Our designs develop from ideas that are rooted in materials and the landscape, and it is possible to trace the evolution of that work through the examination of those concerns. In particular, our work can be viewed through the lens of three specific materials- wood, water and weathering steel.


Moorelands Camp

is run by a non-profit cha rity

that sponsors programs for econom ica lly disadvantaged chi ldren from Toronto . Th e camp is located on a remote site in the Hali burton High land s. Thi s section of the Canadia n Sh ield , gra nite bedrock exposed after the last Ice Age, is characterized by many sma ll lakes surrounded by dense forests. The ca mp is located on a peninsu la that j uts into Lake Kawagama and the on ly access is by boat.

Th e design of a new dining hall there provid ed an opportunity to embody both the spirit of the camp and its site. Consequently we thought of thi s project as building a barn with sticks. Because of the difficu lties of access and the transportation of materials , we tri ed to use the smal lest members possible - two by fours- to make the largest space and th e longest spans. Combined with light steel elements , this sma ll-sca le dimensioned lum ber crea tes a sim ple 'wooden tent.'


Many of the buildings at other older summer camps are constructed using logs and, as a result, tend to be dark with the sta rk contrast of natural li ght only at the perimeter. We wa nted to invert this norm and make a space that is full of natural light at the center. We also wanted to create a bui ld ing that would glow li ke a lantern at night and define a luminous clearing in the woods during the day. By using a standard industrial motorized green house glazing system, it was possible to form a central roof light that also incorporated natural ventilation. Integrated with twelve glue- laminated trusses, this forms a structural 'lantern' through the middle of the space. This single great room - 36 feet w ide and 100 feet long - is extended at one end by a covered po rch that provides a shel tered outdoor area for camp activities .

1 dining hall 2 porch

3 kitchen 4 storage

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While the ca mp is heavily used during the su mm er months, it is closed duri ng th e remainder of the yea r. However, rather than assuming that th e dining hall wou ld be boarded up in an ad-hoc fashion us ing plywood sheeting screwed into the frame of the building, we designed the externa l wa ll as a series of folding brise-soleil screens. During th e summer these timber sc reens can be opened to define an intimate walkway arou nd the building. They also help to encourage natural ventil ation and offer shading from the summe r sun, yet can be easily folded down to close the building in the winter. The design of the dining hall seeks to avoid separating the bui lding from its surroundings by connecting the inside world with the natu ral landscape. In th is way, we hope that the dining hall embod ies the sp irit an d shared ideals of the camp community.







Boathouse in Muskoka is also bu ilt of wood .

However, the material is used in a very different way. The bui ldi ng, which provides two indoor boat slips w ith anoth er outdoor mooring and a sleeping cabin above, is on Lake Muskoka. Th is is an area w here there are established traditions of bu ilding with wood and on the wa ter, as well as in the construction of specia lly designed long cruis ing boats made of mahoga ny. One of our interests was to try to develop a design for the boathouse that benefited from these loca l traditions. Like Le Corbusier's rustic cabin that overlooked the Mediterranean in the south of France or the Adirondack camps of upstate New Yo rk, the Muskoka boathouse is a 'hut' in the w ilderness. However, it is a sophisticated one th at req uires not on ly the consideration of th e traditions of bui lding with in a harsh climate and rugged terra in but also the simu ltaneous invention of new ways to posit a modernist trad ition . To achieve this, the design seeks to find ba lance not on ly between bui lding and natu re but also between lessons from the vernacul ar and ideas of modern ism .


For everything that is constructed above the water on these lakes, there is an entire infrastructure that is hidden underwater. Traditional ly, bui lders here first construct a series of heavy timber cribs that form the foundations for a build ing on the water. To do this, they wait until the middle of winter when the lake is frozen before drawing out a plan on the ice that defines the extent of the build ing and the deta iled location of the cribs that w il l eventually support it. Based on this plan, and using chain saws, they cut holes in the ice where the cribs w il l be located. Sleepers are placed over the holes, and the cribs are built up over the sleepers on the ice. Having measured the depth of the water and the slope of the lake bottom w ith sticks and tapes, the cribs are constructed to precise dimensions using large squared sections of hemlock. Once the cribs are completed, the sleepers are cut and the structures are allowed to sink into the water. The cribs are filled with granite bou lders and provide an underwater infrastructure for the wooden superstructure of the boathouse above. This system of construction has been used for many years. It enables the builder to work during the winter and ensures that the construction starts from a pure plane of ice , an approach which is considerably easier than trying to bu ild wh ile bobbing about on the water in boatsl


2 bedroom I sitting room 3 outdoor deck 4 moss garden 5 kitchenette 6 bathroom 7 covered porch

8 dock 9 outdoor boat slip 10 indoor boat slip







Once the buildi ngs are built you are , of course, unaware of th is massive underwater structure. The design of the boathouse was also inspired by the notion of creating a sophisticated hut with a heavy overcoat. Heavy timbers, rescued from a demolished warehouse in Kitchener-Waterloo , were re-mil led to make a heavy oute r sk in . It is as if the underwater infrastructure has been pull ed up out of th e water and made apparent. As a resu lt , something that is norma ll y suppressed becomes an important part of the architecture. By constructing a second structure within the heavy outer skin that is more like the refined construction of a wooden boat, a series of habitable spaces is created between and within the two layers of construction. Stairs and outdoor porches are planned in the spaces between these two layers of construction. The indoor boat sl ips are lined with birch plywood while the sleep ing cabin above is finished in douglas fir and mahogany detailed like the spaces of a yacht or the long cruising boats that are made loca lly.





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Prompted by the client's own interest, we also used this project to develop a series of fittings. One was a boat cleat. Designed to avoid stubbing toes on the dock, it combines a specia lly designed housing made from a custom bronze casting with a ready-made stainless steel shackle purchased from a marine store. This made it possible to make a cleat that cou ld be installed flush with the dock. We also designed custom door hand les and light fixtures. A screen door pull made from red bronze rods alludes to a snow shoe, and light fittings designed to go under the soffits combine a refrigerator light bulb - made to take account of temperature differential fluctuations- with a bronze housing that acts as a sconce. For another hanging light in the covered outdoor porches , we used the largest available Mason jar - made for preserving fruits and vegetablesand combined it with a series of elliptical planes coated with a phosphorescent paint normally used by fly fishermen to ensure that those planes glow in the dark. Suspended within a specially designed housing of stainless steel and copper, they give an impression of moths fluttering around a light bulb. These experiments enabled us to not only explore the potential of everyday found objects but to speculate about their transformation by adding custom elements to create a new object.



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Our design for an

Urban House also exp lores the

potentia l of wood but specifica lly exam ines the capacity of that materia l to make a bui lding skin. Designed for a client - an arch itect- who lives alone and whose budget was modest, this house is located on a street in a part of Toronto that consists of a mix of houses, cottages, garages and workshops. We were inspired by this mix and the two extremes of sca le that it introduced -the cottage and the loft. It was an area of the city that presented a sharp contrast to the more normative residential areas of eve nly spaced, evenly sized single family houses. This prompted us to think of the two aspects of the house that the client had underlined as being so important - on the one hand the need fo r compact living areas and on the other a large workspace for researc h that was foc used around a reference library. We developed a scheme that integrated these different aspects of both program and setting. The ground floor was planned with low cottage-like livi ng spaces made up of a series of modest sized rooms looking onto a south facing garden, whi le the upper floor was organized as a single large and lofty workspace looking west and south and consequently flooded w ith natura l li ght.


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The design of the externa l skin of the building was

2 bedroom

developed to reference these two different types of

3 bathroom

spaces. At th e ground fl oor, the house is clad with

4 library

narrow wood siding simi lar to the Victorian cottages

5 office

that still exist in the neighborhood. Joints are detailed to emphasize the horizonta l, and the windows are modest in size. In contrast, the cladding of the upper leve l cons ists of large manufactured plywood panels w ith butted and cau lked joints. Sized to invoke the sca le of the industrial loft, this skin fo lds back to fo rm a single large window that lights th e workspace. In this way, the cladding materia l has been exploited to create a skin that is differentiated in response to the characteristics of both the program and this particular urban site.







Orchard House

also advances these ideas of the

use of wood as a skin. However, the setting for this house is rural with views of Lake Huron to the north and across the gently rolling countryside of the Beaver Va lley, which is dotted with smal l villages and apple orcha rd s, to the south. The transformation of these landscapes from summer to winter, including the forty year old working apple orchard wh ich surrou nds the house, is dramatic. The client, a retired soc ial worker and a painter with an interest in medieval structures and fortifications, needed a modest house with a studio that offered both good views out and a sense of protection . As a result, the design was developed to create two clearly articulated parts - a low masonry bu ildi ng that was seen as a part of the landscape and an articulated wooden tower that provides a lookout to distant terrain. These two elements are connected by a stone wa ll that encloses a ga路rden with a single apple tree.

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The most significant pieces of architecture in this region are the loca l ba rn s and, although they are rarely weathertight, they have highly syncopated wooden skins . Their timber cladding creates a texture and scale that inspired us in our stud ies fo r this new house. While the domestic spaces within the rustic limestone clad bui lding were planned on one level, cut into the ground and tucked under a sod covered roof, the studio was elevated high in the tower. We were interested in pul ling the inside out and the outside in, and consequently this tower was thought of as a wooden cabinet. Th e externa l skin, a series of articulated plywood panels and timber fins, was drawn into the building to encase the studio and wrap vertica l wi ndows positioned to foc us and frame views of the pastoral landscape beyond . Whi le the house defines the edge of an escarpment, it is marked in the landscape by the triangular wooden tower. In winter, the rest of the house is concea led by snow, and in summer by grass and apple trees .


Rarely considered as a constructi on material in architectu re, water has played a sign ifica nt ro le in our work since our earliest projects. In designing the

Contemplative Garden with a Pavilion for a client w ho owned a site at the edge of a verd ant ravine in Toronto, we introduced water. Th e creation of a seri es of reflecting pools located the pavi lion and defined places of repose withi n the landscape. This use of water also prompted a consideration of the nature of the material palette th at in turn led to a study of concrete . Although it is a material frequently used by arch itects in North America, concrete is considered primarily as a structural material and one that is usually clad and concea led by other finishes . However, the transparency of the water w ithin these reflecting pools also revea led the structure below , and this made us think of ruins and submerged groundworks. In this scheme, the plastic qua lities of concrete were developed to mark the ground and define a path through the site. By creating a series of steps and retaining wal ls in concrete , the water is both channeled and contained. A pa vili on is set within this high ly articul ated arch itectural composition. A leaf-like canopy of sandblasted weathering steel is supported by , yet set off from, a grove of ten slender colonettes by stai nl ess steel col lars . A single tree is retained with in a crushed stone pathway as if to contrast figu re and ground, arc hitecture and nature.



The extent of water in the

Laneway House is quite

modest. However, it is at the heart of the design . The site is on an all ey in a res identia l neighborhood in th e center of Toronto. It is embedded in the fabric of the city and completely surrounded by existing houses . By carving away the ground, the main floor is pushed three feet be low the level of the existing grade and contained within a walled garden. Viewed from outside, the house reads as a wooden pavi lion wrapped by a garden wall. Th e garden is ded icated to water and it plays an instrumental rol e in centering the house. Ri chly textured materials and large pivoting windows between the living space and the garden help to blur the relationship between inside and out, as does the action of the water mov ing wi th in th e garden duri ng the different seasons.


1 entry

2 living I din ing 3 pool 4 fountain 5 kitchen 6 library 7 bathroom

8 bedroom








Ledbury Park uses water at a civic scale. Sited

in a

suburban neighborhood, the existing three-acre park just north of Toronto was flat and under-used. Consequently, the Parks and Recreation Department asked that it be reorganized to create a new recreational facility with a range of amenities provided through the design of a constructed landscape. Water creates a physica l link between the different programmatic elements on the site. A new outdoor wading pool and a 25 meter swimming pool are elevated three feet above grade to provide views out over the park, whi le a sha llow reflecting pool is formed at a level lower than natural grade. Th is reflecting pool is designed to be a pleasure skating cana l that can be used during the winter months. Around three sides of the skati ng ca nal , the ground is scu lpted to form a series of earth berms- grassy embankments that provide informal sitting areas in summertime and also offer protection from the wind for skaters in the w inter.

A long brick bui lding is designed as an integra l part of the scheme. It houses skating and swimming pool changing rooms, a park maintenance garage and workshops, and also links the wi nter skating cana l and its adj acent year-round viewing pavi lion w ith the swim ming and wading pools. This build ing extends into the park to define a series of wa lkways and planted allees that, together with two pedestrian bridges and a sma ll plaza, con nect the park to the su rrounding residential neighborhood.

Th e park was a public project that was tendered to the lowest bidder. Thi s prompted us to reconsider our working method and think how best we cou ld still achieve a level of refinement w ithi n a pub lic bidding process . We decided to focus on the design and fabrication of one of the pedestrian bridges, a fountain and the externa l lights. We designed the 75 foot-long bri dge, together with the fountain and lamp poles using weatheri ng steel.

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outer face of the truss-balustrade structure, suggest that the steel has been stacked and filleted. This pedestrian bridge was a key piece of the project and we were concerned about the overall design. The detail ing of the Douglas Fir deck and the underside of the bridge were critical , as they would be clearly visible to people at the water's edge and as they skated under it. By making all the horizontal elements and the handrail work structurally, we were able to keep the bridge deck thin and visual ly light. We col laborated with the engineers and the custom bridge fabricator to develop the design and benefited from their experience of the use of steel. After the construction of the bridge was completed, it was kept in the fabricator's yard to pre-weather the steel prior to its installation at Led bury Park.

This form of collaboration is one of the benefits of living in a place like Southern Ontario. Like many of you studying and working in Michigan, we have access to extraord inary craftsmen. Both areas have rich industrial and manufacturing traditions, and the inevitable wealth of experience and knowledge that these traditions offer can, and perhaps should, influence design. It also has the potential to enrich architectura l practice by connecting design and making in ways that Charles and Ray Eames so exemplified in their own work.



Thousand Island House, bui lt recently on a

1 kitchen


2 living room

pastora l island in the St. Lawrence River, extends the

3 study 4 master bedroom

use of water to the sca le of this expansive rura l site. By

5 deck

creating a large reflecting pool and combining it w ith a

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series of gardens and terraced green roofs, this water becomes the site for a new 'pavi lion. ' The pavilion is a



tall , light room that forms the ma in living space of the house. It is in marked contrast to the remainder of the house that has been planned in a linear wing. Defined by a low enclosing concrete wa ll, this wing helps to form a boundary between the neighboring fie lds and the fo rma l geometry of the new gardens. At the same time, it directs the frontage of the house to the pool and the broad expanse of the river beyond.

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Working with the same material in different ways over an extended period of time is important in order to ga in a deep understanding of its properties and potential. We are intrigued by th e organic properties of weathering steel. Low-a ll oy high-tensile weathering steel was first developed for highway bridge construction . Later it was perfected by the architect John Dinkeloo for use in buildings, such as the John Deere Headquarters, that he designed with Eero Saarinen. Formulated with higher copper levels that enhance corros ion res istance by developing their own protective oxide surface film, weathering steel reacts to impurities and pollutants in the air. It creates a rich, rustic color that shades progressively from orange to russet to brown. The weathering of the surface makes reference to the material's existence over time and, when used to clad a building, this materia l also records the different characteristics of climate and weather acting on the site and the building. The experience that we gained in deta il ing the weathering steel for the pedestrian bridge for Led bury Park helped us when we considered using this material in the design of a

Landscape Memorial. This simple garden room,

set w ith in a larger non-denominational cemetery , was to contain the burial plots for ten members of one family.

A small level area was created by carving into the gently sloping hillside. This exposing of the earth defined a slightly sunken space- represented by red granite gravel - and allowed a simu ltaneous separation and connection with the surrounding cemetery landscape. Two outer edges of the garden are marked by a half inch thick angled blade of weathering steel. The threshold is defined by a weathering steel gate set between a concrete wall and a copper beech hedge. To mark the entrance, the gate is intentiona lly massive and incorporates the name of the family in its design . Each of the six inch high letters is made up of half inch thick welded steel plates.

Within the garden there is a single piece of green rough-hewn granite that has been spl it and reconnected with bronze rods. The stone, which forms a tombstone, is inscribed w ith an ancient Hebrew text on the rough exterior surface and an English inscription on the smooth inner surface. A bronze shelf formalizes the Jewish ritual in which family and friends leave stones on the headstone as a reminder of their visit.




Steel-Clad House that we designed in Toronto ,

which is also built using a weathering steel skin , approaches the deta ili ng of this materia l in an entirely new way. The site is on a suburban street but also backs onto a ravine with fine views out over the city As a resu lt, the front fa~ade of the house has been brought close to the line of the street and designed to be distinctly opaque. The weathering steel is bracketed by two wings faced in Douglas Fir, topped by a landscaped flat roof and integrated into the site with a series of retaining walls. An upper floor, treated as a box that appears to levitate above the wood wa ll , is clad in vertical panels of weathering steel w ith a negative joint. The weathering steel is a rainscreen that has an airspace behind. The material has to be able to dry out, so we have designed this skin to have wet and dry cycles. The joint detai l contrasts with the seam weld ing of joints at the corners of the house and around niches. One of these niches- a recessed bay that forms an inverted bay window - brings in natura l light and marks the entrance.


The rear face of the house is designed to benefit from the fine views and the landscape of the ravine , which is so particu lar to the city and th is site. Consequently, its form has developed a more plastic quality. Here the house is virtual ly separated into two wings that are clad with weathering steel, wood panels and expansive areas of glass. They are connected to an open and newly created ga rd en plan ned arou nd a clover meadow. A refl ecting pool, inserted into the volume of the living room and almost separating the two wings, spills out into a swimming pool that extends deep into the garden and al igns with the CN Tower on the city skyline. Both the house and the site have been constructed. Many of our ideas about materials- of wood, water and weathering steel -and our experience of their use combine in th is project fusing furniture and building, construction and idea, architecture and landscape.






2 garage 3 livi ng room 4 dining room

5 kitchen 6 family room 7 swimming pool

8 terrace 9 study

10 master bedroom 11 bathroom

12 bedroom






While the world around us abounds with examples of sophisticated technology - of computer circuits, medical equipment and telecommunications devices - the world of bui lding construction is, in contrast, part of a more messy process. It is also part of an intrinsical ly slow way of working. We are consta ntly made aware of human impact on the bui lding process. Our practice, which sta rted with the making of furniture , has advanced to the design of public bui ldi ngs and landscapes. Thi s evolution is the resu lt of an enormous amount of trust and fruitful collaboration with clients, builders and fabricators . It is im portant th at arch itects today go beyond the banal and res ist the litigious constraints w hich influence so much of what we see bui lt in North America. To create architecture requires the creat ion of a site for that arch itectu re - both physica lly and psychologica lly. Ray and Charles Eames opened our eyes to the meaning of design. They have enriched our minds and their work conti nues to engage our sou ls. Brigitte Shim & Howard Sutcliffe


Shim路Sutcliffe Bri girre Shim and H oward Sutcliffe are partners and co llaborato rs who have created an office and a li fe around their shared passion for architectu re, landscape and furni ture. T heir inrerest in construction and fa brica ti on of buildings, sites and th eir intersec tions has fo rced them to ques ti on fund amental relarionships betwee n object and ground , building and landscape, m an and nature. T heir different backgrounds and sensibilities offe r a rich starting poinr for rheir wo rk.

H oward Surcliffe was bo rn in Yorkshire, England in 1958 . Ed ucated at the U nive rsity of Waterl oo, he received degrees in Environmental Studies and Architecture. H e worked with significant Canadian archi tects in cl uding Ronald Thom, Paul M errick, Barton Mye rs and KPM B Architects. He has played a key role on several award winning competition teams fo r both Barton Myers and KPM B Archi tects including the Ki tchener C ity H all (KPMB Architects) . In 1992, he was the fi rst recipient of the Ro nald]. Tho m Award for Early D esign Achievemem given by th e Canada Co uncil fo r the Arts.

Brigirre Shim was botn in Kingsro n, Jamaica in 1958. She was edu ca ted ar the University of Waterloo where she also received degrees in Environmental Studies and Architecture. She wo rked in Vancouver with A rthu r Erickson and Associates and in Toronto with Baird/Sampson Architects.

A member of the University of Toronto's Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design since 1988, she h as taught architecture design studios and lecture courses on the history and th eory of landscape architecture. She was an Invired Visiting Professor at Harvard Un iversity's Grad uate School of Design in 1993 and 1996. In 1997, her wo rk in the Second Year arch itecture design studio ar rhe Univers ity ofToronro was acknowledged by rhe American Insrirure of Archirecrs Education Honors. ln rhe fall of 2001, she was rhe Bishop Visiting Professor and rhe Visiting Bicenrennial Professor of Canadian Srudies ar Yale University's School of Architecture. In 2002 Brigirre Shim was a Visiting Professor ar the Ecole Polyrechnique Federal de Lausanne in Switzerland. Shim and Sutcliffe live and work in Toromo. The city's diversity and ethnicity make ir a viral metropolis reflective of borh global and North American iss ues. Their work references rhe city and the wider Canadian landscapes rhar surround ir. The role of rheir numerous collaborators wirhin the office and in the community is essenrial to rheir view of design as a discipline thar comribures positively to people's lives.



Charles & Ray Eames Charles Eames was born in Sr. Louis, Missouri in 1907 and, after studying architecture for two years at Washington University and traveling in Europe, returned to Sr. Louis in 1930 to open an architectural practice of his own. Seven years before, the famous Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen had arrived at the University of Michigan. While in Ann Arbor, Saarinen became acquainted with the Booth family who offered him design responsibilities for the new Cranbrook Academy of Art. After moving to Cranbrook, Saarinen saw Eames' work published and, in 1938, offered him a Fellowship. Two years later, Charles Eames became the Head of the Industrial Design Department.

Charles met Ray Kaiser at Cranbrook. Five years younger than Charles, Ray was an accomplished artist and a founding member of the American Abstract Artists group who had studied painting with Hans Hofmann in New York prior to coming to Michigan. When Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen were working on their 100 studies to initiate the designs for the Museum of Modern Art Organic Furniture Competition in 1940, Ray worked with them to develop the proposals that were subsequently awarded first prize in each of the two main categories. However their designs did not go into production, as World War II was imminent, and rhe procedures for molding plywood into complex curvatures and cycle welding for bonding of metal to wood had nor yet been perfected.

The Eames lecturers

Charles and Ray Eames were married in 1941. In the same

1998 路 Tad Williams & Billie Tsien

year they moved to Los Angeles, where they continued rhe

1999 路Mack Scogin &Merrill Elam

research and resting of molded plywood construction rhar

2000 路Annette Gigon & Mike Guyer

they had initiated with Colonel Edward S. Evans of Evans

2001 路 Brigitte Shim & Howard Sutcliffe

Products Company in Michigan. George Nelson introduced rhe Eames ro rhe Herman Miller Furniture Company and, in

1946, when their designs for molded plywood furniture were ready for production, the company bought the distribution rights as Evans did nor have the capability of mass-marketing. Three years later, as Charles and Ray Eames completed their Case Study House #8 in Santa Monica, Herman Miller rook over the complete manufacturing rights for the molded plywood furniture and a manufacturing plant was built in Zeeland, Michigan. The Office of Charles and Ray Eames continued to work on the design of furniture for almost forty years and Herman Miller has been the sole manufacturer of all Eames furniture in the United Stares.

Alongside their designs for furniture, Charles and Ray Eames developed an office which promoted design in many ways. Through programs of design research, materials investigation and technological innovation, they worked in the fields of architecture and interior design, exhibition and graphic design, product development and film making. They encouraged collaborations across the disciplines and designed new ways of working that connected industry and design,

The Royal Gold Medal for Architecture was awarded to rh e Office of Charles and Ray Eames in 1979. Ray died in

1988- ten years to the day after Charles.



Herman Miller, Inc. D.J. DePree joined the Star Furniture Company in Grand Rapids, M ichigan in 1909 as a clerk. The company, which was four years old ar rhe rime, manufactured high quality, traditional style residential furniture. Ten years later he became the President and in 1923 convinced Herman Miller, his father-in-law, and a small group of investors to join him in purchasLng a majority of shares of Michigan Star stock.

They renamed the company, bur nor until rhe New York industrial designer Gilbert Rohde visited the Grand Rapids Showroom of the Herman Miller Furniture Company in 1931 did th e idea of manufacturing simple and flexible modern furniture become of particular interest to them. Rohde became the company's design leader, and it was his proposals for furniture that led the company to pursue innovation in both design and technology. In 1933, modern furniture manufactured by Herman Miller was shown at the "Century of Progress" exposition in Chicago. Six years later, with sales shipm ents totaling $160,000, the company opened a showroom there followed by one in New York and a third in Los Angeles in 1942. By this time, with a new modular system designed by Rohde, Herman Miller had entered the office furniture marker. As corporate sales increased, the company phased out the manufacture of all traditional style furniture in favor of modern designs.

When Gilbert Rohde clied, D .J. DePree invited the architect and author George Nelson to serve as design director. From 1944, under Nelson's able leadership, the company was to establish long-term relationships with a number of ourstancling design ers. Charles and Ray Eames first started working wirh Herman Mi ller in 1946, a partnership that spanned more than forty years and produced a wide range of outstanding furn itu re. Mo ld ed plywood chai rs fabricated in I 946 were followed by a series of molded fiberglass chairs developed out of experiments into airp lane production techniques, the Eames lounge and ottoman of molded wood and leather in 1956, and, two years later, the alum inum group chairs which led to a series of new approaches to seating. In 1962 Hugh De Pree assumed the leadership of Herman Miller as President and Chief Executive Officer, wirh D.J. De Pree taking up rhe position of Chairman of the Board. In 1968 rhe company introduced Action Office, the world's first panel system for offtce furniture, designed by Robert Propst and a team of designers. By the time D.J . DePree died in 1990, the company bad manufacturing centers in America and abroad, a new Corporate Center in Zeeland, and the Design Yard in Holland, M ichigan. Continuing to act as an inspired parron and working with designers from England, Germany and rhe USA, their design studies in work searin g led to the introduction of ergonomic chairs in 1972 and the recyclable no-foam Aeron cha ir in 1994. Three years later, and with sales of $1.5 billion, Herman Miller was ranked by Fortune Magazine as o ne of the top rwenty-ftve most admired companies in the United States.



Acknowledgments The Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning is extremely grateful to Herman Miller, Inc. for their encouragement, interest and generous assistance that have made both the Charles and Ray Eames Lecture and this published record possible.

Faculty, staff and students at the College have helped in many ways. Mary Anne Drew and Sallie Kne ensured that everything ran smoothly and Ken Thomas's help was invaluable on the day of rhe lecture.

Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe's design inspiration and hard work in d1e studio, workshop and on the building sire have created outstanding buildings. T heir help has also been central to the preparation of this book. In addition Monica Makarus and Betsy Walker in Shim Sutcliffe's studio have been efficient and generous wim meir rime.

Photographs Michael Awad, 22. 26, 27, 28, 68a, 68c, 78-79, 82, 84. Edward Burtynski, 31, 35. Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, E-1671 -16352, centered at N51' 30', W93' 25.5', 25 May 1974. Bands 4, 5, 7. Colored remote-sensing image 23 x 23 em. Section of false-color Landsat image, Red Lake area. Scale approximately Ll ,OOO,OOO. OMNR, Ontario Centre for Remote Sensing, 16. 漏 Queen 's Printer for Ontario, 1984. Reproduced with permission. James Dow. 14, 13, 14, 34a, 3/b, 40, 43b, 51 , 55, 56, 5/c, 58, 62, 64a, 66, 69, 72, 73a, 76, 80, 83b, 85. Steven Evans. 42, 61 , 65, 6/a, 68b. Courtesy Herman Miller, Inc. 8, 9. 10, 93, 94 (Pictured from left, Alexander Girard, George Nelson. DJ De Pree, Ray and Charles Eames). Shim路Sutcliffe Architects. 12a, 15, 30, 31, 3/a, 39a, 39b, 46, 47, 50a, SOb, 57 a, 5/b, 59, 63, 71 , 81, 86a, 86b, 88, 91.

Artwork Printed from a photomechanical transfer; original drawings or works in the collection of the Centre Canadien d'Architecture I Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. 11b, 32, 33a, 33b, 34b, 36, 41 , 43a, 44a, 44b, 44c, 45a, 45b, 48, 49a, 49b, 49c, 54, 60a, 60b, 60c. 漏 Shim路Sutcliffe Architects.

MAP 9  

Shim & Sutcliffe Established in 1995, the Michigan Architecture Papers document the lectures of internationally acclaimed architects and cr...

MAP 9  

Shim & Sutcliffe Established in 1995, the Michigan Architecture Papers document the lectures of internationally acclaimed architects and cr...