ERA Architects

Grappling with heritage

MM-cropped-webRecently ERA’s Michael McClelland spoke at a Doors Open Toronto event entitled “Redesigning Toronto.” The PechaKucha-style event moderated by Spacing’s Shaun Micallef asked several leading architects to speak about advancing the design of the city.

Michael’s talk surveyed changing conceptions of heritage over the years, beginning with the traditional conception of grand and noble landmarks that need to be saved and restored, moving on to more current, contextual conceptions of heritage as a complex of intangible values and material culture. This latter conception brings greater diversity to the things we value, and requires more nuance in the approach we take to conserving them. It’s a way of doing heritage that is as much about the future of urban design and planning as it is about the past.

Other presentations included

  • Donald Chong on designing at a finer scale to increase density while building vibrant spaces,
  • Siamak Hariri on how to conceive of architecture as an “attractor” for energy and life,
  • Helena Grdadolnik on public engagement and the architect’s role as activist,
  • Paul Raff on why the Gardiner Expressway is great – and why we should demolish it as soon as possible – and
  • Joe Lobko on the lessons learned for building a public realm in Corktown Common and the Pan Am Area.

Thanks to the Toronto Society of Architects, Fort York, and Doors Open Toronto.