ERA Architects

ERA BBQ, 2013

We smoked cigars, blew bubbles, told humourous anecdotes, ate, drank, chased after obstreperous children, and mopped our brows in thirty-plus weather.

On the menu this year: hara bhara kebabs (“full-of-green” kebabs), “new age” watermelon salad, and several competing varieties of gourmet potato salad. For dessert: Greek honey balls, Newfoundland blueberry puff, Trinidadian rum cake, and Persian sholeh zard, which, we are given to understand, means “sloppy yellow.”

Thanks to Sonya and Anusha for organizing, and Andrew and Tony for hosting. Until next year!

Concrete Toronto on spacing.ca

ERA is pleased to announce that this summer spacing.ca will be republishing several articles from our book, Concrete Toronto: a guidebook to concrete architecture from the fifties to the seventies.

The book, published by Coach House Books in 2007, reconsiders Toronto’s large inventory of concrete buildings and infrastructure from the perspective of a diverse group architects, city planners, academics, historians, and journalists. Continue reading…

Port Union Community Build

The Culture of Outports program has just concluded its third year of “community build” projects in Trinity Bay North, Newfoundland. The project uses planning and design thinking to bring new ideas and energy to outport communities experiencing economic and social change post-fisheries.

This year ERAers Andrew Pruss, Alana Young, Shelley Ludman, Douglas de Gannes, traveled with Ryerson students Madeleine Craig, Ryan Giuricich, Mitchell May, Elijah Sabadlan, and Karl Sarkis to the Trinity Bay North communities of Catalina, Little Catalina, Melrose, and Port Union. Continue reading…

ERA in Nfld.: Update

This week in Trinity Bay North, Newfoundland, the 2013 Culture of Outports project got a great start on its community build process. The community is fantastic and we’re having a great time.

In its first week the team has toured the local landscape and architecture extensively, held several community engagement meetings, mounted a historical slide show in the street, and installed 1000 feet of Christmas lights along Main St. to commemorate an early electrical power station built in Port Union in 1917. Continue reading…

La Cour d’appel du Québec

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ERA and Kubanek Architecte are pleased to announce a collaboration with the Société immobilière du Québec on heritage conservation work at the Cour d’appel du Québec in Montreal.

The monumental building, located on Notre Dame St. E. in Old Montreal, was designed by Ernest Cormier, Louis-Auguste Amos and Charles J. Saxe, and completed in 1926. Cormier, known for his fine design work and decidedly modern approach to architecture, also designed l’Université de Montréal; St. Michael’s College School, Toronto; the Supreme Court of Canada building, Ottawa; and Cormier House, which for several years served as the Montreal home of Pierre Trudeau. Continue reading…

Rapid Response at Harbourfront Centre

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Harbourfront Centre Architecture Gallery, Toronto
June 21 to Sept 7, opening June 21, 6 to 10 p.m.

The design duo known as Captains of Industry, which consists of ERAer Amy Norris and Clint Langevin of architectsAlliance, are collaborating on a project for Rapid Response, an exhibition exploring architectural responses to natural disaster. Amy and Clint describe their contribution, Postnatural Disaster below: Continue reading…

New video doc on Sharon Temple

Video producer Vanessa Ireson has recently made an excellent short documentary about one of ERA’s favourite projects: Sharon Temple. The Temple was completed in 1832 by the Children of Peace, a group of former Quakers who, among other things, advocated for peace and democracy and created the first credit union in Canada. The building is a masterpiece in wood and a monument to a fascinating part of 19th century Canadian culture.

In the video, curator John McIntyre and ERAer Jan Kubanek introduce viewers to the history of the Temple and its design, as well as the recent restoration and preservation project led by ERA.

Many thanks to Vanessa Ireson, who produced the video through the generous support of Co-op TV at the Co-operators.

Charles Birnbaum talk: Thurs. May 23

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Thursday May 23, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m., U of T’s Daniels Faculty, 230 College St., Rm. 103, Toronto

Thursday May 23, join us for an exciting lecture by Charles Birnbaum of The Cultural Landscape Foundation. Charles will be discussing the interpretation and conservation of modernist landscapes as a part of how we continue to build and evolve the public realm of the city. We look forward to how this conversation will allow us to think productively about the past and future of Toronto’s built fabric. Continue reading…

Seoul: its heritage and its future

ERA’s Sharon Hong was recently published in Transforming Asian Cities, a new book edited by Nihal Perera and Wing-Shing Tang for Routledge. According to Perera and Tang, Asian cities are too often thought of as “following global models” and “Western-dominated urban hierarchies and spatial structures.” This new publication, however, aims to provide “inside-out” interpretations of Asian urbanism. Continue reading…

Jane’s Walk Yorkville, Sat. May 4th

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With Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and Architects Ken Greenberg and Michael McClelland
Saturday, May 4, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Meet at Yorkville Public Library (seen in photo), 22 Yorkville Avenue

Yorkville, one of Toronto’s most historic and culturally rich neighbourhoods, has seen dramatic transformation over the past two hundred years and remains subject to further change. But is this change sustainable? Continue reading…

Erik Freudenthal of Sweden

This April, ERA was pleased to co-host a special presentation by Erik Freudenthal, the Director of Information for Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm. In his discussion of this innovative “Symbiocity” approach to urban development, Erik demonstrated that low-carbon, sustainable communities really are achievable given a) the proper commitment and b) the appropriate strategies for material and resource management.

The event also brought to light some of the similarities between Sweden and Ontario: as regions with comparable sizes and populations, we can learn from each others’ efforts in northern urbanism. Continue reading…

April 25-27: Exhibition on landscape

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Please join us for the opening reception and exhibition of Gladstone Grow Op, an exploration of landscape and place curated by Victoria Taylor, OALA.

Thursday, April 25 to Sunday, April 28. Opening reception: Friday, April 26, 7–10 pm

Our contribution, Hoarding Suggestions, situated at the Gladstone Art Bar and sponsored by the Friends of Allan Gardens and ERA Architects, centres around the history of public engagement in one of our favourite parks: Allan Gardens.

In 1963, the Department of Parks and Recreation set up a suggestion box in Allan Gardens. It turned out that Torontonians were full of ideas about how to improve the park, and we found their suggestions in the city archives. Fifty years later, we are hoping to generate new excitement for revitalizing this cherished public space.

We hope to see you there.

Micallef: Canada’s identity, modernist architecture

If there is a character that unites Canada across its many regions, says Shawn Micallef of Spacing, it could well be our huge stock of post-war modernist architecture.

From well-known innovations such as Montreal’s Habitat ’67, Toronto’s CN Tower, or Burnaby’s Simon Fraser University; to the thousands of lower-profile urban and suburban low-, mid-, and high-rise buildings that serve as our residences, universities, schools, malls, factories, and corporate headquarters, Canada is a nation stitched together with modernist fabric. Every urban area, it seems, has its share of brutalist concrete slab towers, curtain-glass minimalist icons, geodesic domes, and long elegant bungalows with exaggerated eaves. Continue reading…