ERA Architects

Military infrastructure designation, UK

Prior to joining the office, ERA’s Alex Rowse-Thompson spent several years as a Conservation and Design Officer in Gosport, an ancient naval town in the UK. As part of this work, Alex advocated for the heritage designation of an unusual piece of 20th century military infrastructure in Gosport: No. 2 Cavitation Tunnel. Recently, this advocacy proved successful, and the Tunnel was designated by English Heritage. Continue reading…

Hamilton Heritage Inventory

Recently, ERA’s Michael McClelland and Victoria Angel spoke to a group of approximately 80 people at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre in Hamilton regarding ERA’s role in Hamilton’s Downtown Built Heritage Inventory (DBHI) project.

The DBHI project is a pilot project to review and update information about 789 downtown properties on the Inventory of Buildings of Architectural and / or Historical Interest (within the area bounded by Wellington, Queen, Hunter, and Cannon streets). A preliminary assessment of the heritage value of these properties is also being carried out. Continue reading…

Gemini green retrofit

Last week, work was completed on the interior of GEMINI House, a collaboration with University of Toronto and Ryerson University. The House is an experiment in retrofitting a historic home with sustainable engineering. The GEMINI approach uses two thermal zones, a core and periphery, to make more appropriate use of heating and energy consumption throughout the year. Continue reading…

Infrastructure: new vision for Ontario

Provincial Transportation Minister Glen Murray is proposing exciting changes to the way infrastructure is planned and designed in Ontario.

The proposed “Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act” contains important new criteria including sustainability, greater alignment with existing provincial plans, longer-term and more complete ROI rationales, and, we are pleased to see, the mandated inclusion of architects and designers in infrastructure projects. Continue reading…

Toronto / Sweden: Resilient Urbanism

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Over the past several years we’ve had the pleasure of an ongoing exchange with colleagues in Sweden regarding urban design. This has included a series of research tours, participation in the neighbourhood design project Selma in Göteborg, and various events in collaboration with the Swedish consulate here in Toronto. The aim of the exchange is to tackle the challenge of  achieving sustainable and resilient urbanism in northern locales. Continue reading…

Tafelmusik renovations unveiled

Oct. 3th 2013, Tafelmusik held its first public concert in a transformed concert hall at Trinity-St. Paul’s. ERA worked with acoustician Bob Essert and other consultants to restore and repair elements of the space, and improve its sound. According to all involved, the result is a success.

Continue reading…

ERA in Montreal

This past weekend, the ERA Toronto office paid a visit to their Montreal counterpart. With the sun shining and 22 degree weather in September, the stage was set for a fun-filled weekend exploring Montreal. (Scroll down for the slide show.) Continue reading…

ACO NextGen Charrette on Mill St.

On Saturday, Sept 14, ERA’s Shannon Clayton and the Architectural Conservancy’s NextGen Group held their second annual Design Charrette in Toronto. The all-day event took place at the Parliament Interpretive Center (265 Front St. E).

Twenty-eight participants worked in five teams to develop schemes for an underutilized site along Mill St. between Trinity and Parliament St. The teams were made up of students and emerging professionals in the fields of architecture, planning, environmental design, and heritage. Continue reading…

Transformative potential of Tower Renewal: Globe & Mail

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Alex Bozikovic, Toronto-based writer on architecture and design, recently provided an update on Tower Renewal efforts in the GTA. The article describes the uniquely Canadian and Torontonian inventory of high-rise post-war tower apartment neighbourhoods, and recent efforts by local architects, not-for-profits, and city departments to rethink these neighbourhoods. With aging buildings in need of maintenance and energy efficiency upgrades, and zoning laws that see neighbourhoods underserved and undernourished, Toronto is ready for some practical changes.

Bozikovic is optimistic: By his estimation, the Tower Renewal project can truly transform Toronto for the better.

For the full article, which features several quotations from ERA’s Graeme Stewart, please see “Toronto hopes to revitalize its many postwar highrises” in the Globe & Mail.

Shipbuilding in NFLD: a book

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ERA’s Philip Evans and grandfather Calvin Evans are about to launch Master Shipbuilders of Newfoundland and Labrador, Vol I, a detailed account of one of maritime Canada’s oldest traditions. The book, published by Breakwater Books, will be launched at 3:30 on Sat. Sept. 14 at the St. John’s Chapters. Philip and Calvin Evans will be present for an informal discussion and Q&A. Continue reading…

Slabs vs. points

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A new article in Satellite Magazine on Toronto Towers by ERA’s Graeme Stewart, Josh Thorpe, and Michael McClelland.

The article compares Toronto’s two high-rise housing booms, which have generated housing in volume and distribution unlike anywhere else in North America: first, the suburban tower boom in Toronto’s post-war period, and next the contentious condo boom of recent years. Continue reading…

Gaspé: Vernacular Architecture Forum

This June, ERA’s Victoria Angel and Michael McClelland attended the Vernacular Architecture Forum’s annual conference “The Ebb and Flow of Religion and Economy in Gaspé Cultural Landscapes.” Victoria and Michael were part of a keynote panel discussing approaches to heritage conservation in smaller communities and rural settings.

Gaspé, Québec is located on the northern tip of the Appalachians just at the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The bilingual conference explored two major themes: religious expressions (beyond organized churches), and economic evolution in Gaspé’s cultural landscapes. Continue reading…

GEMINI House: Construction has begun

This summer, construction began at GEMINI House, a collaboration in low-energy retrofit research between the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. Professors Kim Pressnail and Russell Richman are the research leads, and ERA is the architect of record. The project explores new approaches to low-energy housing design, with the added complexity of being executed within an 1880s Second Empire-style masonry home, located on the UofT campus. Continue reading…