ERA Architects

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.

The given task was to propose an appropriate use/program for an abandoned heritage building and adjacent parking lot. Teams were asked to consider thoughtful connections to the existing and proposed context, and reflect the history of the site through their designs.

The day included presentations about the historic First Parliament Site by the Ontario Heritage Trust’s Sam Wesley and Laura Hatcher, as well as informative tour of the site led by ERA’s Andrew Pruss and the Distillery District’s Jamie Goad.

Each team delivered a five-minute presentation to a panel of judges including Andrew and Jamie, as well as Michael Tocher and Peter Heyblom from thinc design.

The winning team demonstrated a comprehensive approach that utilized the various skillsets of the team members. The open space incorporated a pedestrian path along the historic rail line to connect to surrounding pedestrian and park networks. The scheme also involved the adaptive reuse of the existing heritage building to a market and exhibition space at grade, with artist studios above.

Individuals on the first and second place teams were given a choice between tickets to the Heritage Toronto Awards or a hardcover copy of Toronto’s Distillery District: history by the lake by Sally Gibson. The event was followed by a casual pub night at Betty’s on King.

To stay connected about heritage news and future events, please like ACO NextGen on facebook. If you’re interested in being involved in organizing future events and initiatives, please email NextGen@arconserv.ca.