ERA Architects

ERA Architects is Thrilled to Welcome David Winterton Back to the Team as Our Newest Associate

David Winterton is excited to return to Toronto and ERA Architects after 11 ½ years working and learning in the storied New York firm of Robert A. M. Stern Architects.

There he served as a designer for Fifteen Central Park West, an 890,000 square foot, two-tower residential project occupying a full city block along Central Park in New York City; 50 Connaught Road, an office building in Hong Kong; The Yards, a new mixed-use riverfront neighborhood on the former grounds of the Washington Navy Yard Annex in Washington, DC; Projet Viger, a mixed-use development in Montreal; and a private residence in New Jersey. Mr. Winterton was Project Manager for the Brompton, a 300,000-square-foot residential tower on New York City’s Upper East Side; a private residence in Singapore; and two villa enclave projects in Hong Kong. David was also Project Architect for two condominium towers in Vancouver and a villa in Grunewald Berlin.

Prior to his time in New York David worked at ERA Architects on various historic preservation projects including the Massey Harris Loft conversion and various Heritage Conservation District Studies. Because of his keen interest in the preservation and improvement of the public realm he founded the Friends of Allan Gardens in 1999, a group formed to advocate for the restoration of the Palmhouse and grounds of one of Toronto’s oldest parks, and on whose board of directors he currently serves.

David received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Toronto and his Master of Architecture degree from McGill University. He is a registered architect in the State of New York, a LEED Accredited Professional, and a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. His research on Toronto’s rich early 20th century architecture and architects led to the publication of his essay, “Toronto’s Edwardian Skyscraper Row,” in the Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada. He is eager to further this research and hopes to foster a greater appreciation for the fascinating story of the evolution of architecture in Toronto.

For a sampling of David’s past work with RAMSA, click here.

The (Lane)way Forward: Exploring the Potential of Under-Served Public Space

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As Toronto’s population increases in density, it places more pressure on ever-shrinking resources, including public space. The use of laneways in the city to increase public space offers the opportunity to release some of this pressure.

ERA’s Annabel Vaughan moderated a panel discussion on November 30th on just this subject. Organized by The Laneway Project, panellists included Jake Tobin Garrett of Park People, Jessica Myers of the Junction BIA, Jonathan Morrice of Toronto Police Service’s 55 Division, Mark van Elsberg, Public Realm Section, City of Toronto, and Monica Wickeler, a visual artist who works in street art and murals.

The Laneway Project – a not-for-profit corporation – champions change, initiating action through a grassroots approach, specializing in ‘tweets to shovels’ social media activism in the realms of planning, urban design, architecture, landscape, communications, research, community engagement and public policy. They would like to see a time-based sharing of spaces: to push laneways to offer an ebb and flow as dynamic, multi-purpose community spaces over a 24-hour cycle.

Laneways lie on the marginal edge and are often associated with crime, however they are vital as potentially thriving public spaces. Toronto often lags behind other international centres when it comes to optimizing our public space. An interesting precedent is Detroit’s TAP (The Alley Project), where garages host street art workshops and animated laneways are adorned with graffiti, creating spaces to engage youth, ultimately changing the focus of their use.

The City of Toronto aims to facilitate stakeholder-driven, incremental interventions of a similar nature, seeking out opportunities to revitalize and enliven existing laneways. This has included limiting parking to enable restaurants to set up licenced patios in alleys, reinventing micro-retail environments, developing parking spot parklettes, retaining historic laneway networks, developing guidelines for housing, and supporting laneway innovations hosted by BIAs and communities as part of the public realm.

The panel successfully fleshed out these opportunities; for Toronto, the conversation is just getting started.

For more information please click here.

‘Tower, Slab, Superblock: Social Housing Legacies and Futures’ Sparks the Imagination on Postwar Design and Construction

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Participants included: Geraldine Dening, Co-Founder, Architects for Social Housing, Simon Elmer, Co-Founder, Architects for Social Housing, Phineas Harper, Deputy Director, The Architecture Foundation, Paul Karakusevic, Founder and Partner, Karakusevic Carson Architects, Jean-Louis Cohen – Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture at New York University, Javier Arpa, Research and Education Coordinator of The Why Factory at Delft University of Technology,
Kenny Cupers, Associate Professor in the History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of Basel, Frédéric Druot, Founder and Partner, Frédéric Druot Architecture, Susanne Schindler – Architect, writer, and housing columnist for Urban Omnibus, Martine August, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, and Graeme Stewart, Principal, ERA Architects.

“Never demolish, never remove or replace, always add, transform and reuse!”
– Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal

On December 10th a group of international guests will assemble at the Cooper Union Rose Auditorium in New York City to share thoughts on policy and design improvements to enhance the existing stock of postwar social hosing in North America and Europe, reflecting on the need for creating solutions to reimaging this housing stock.

Hosted by the Architecture League of New York, the focus of the symposium will be the approaches and best practice of three cities: London, Paris, and Toronto. ERA’s Graeme Stewart will speak of the Toronto experience and emerging opportunities through our ongoing work on Tower Renewal.

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When: 9:30 AM – 6:30 PM Saturday, December 10, 2016
Where: Rose Auditorium, The Cooper Union, 41 Cooper Square, New York

For background event information please click here.
For event information please click here.

Rendez-Vous Maestria: The Restoration of the GCC’s Suspended Ceilings

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On Friday, December 2nd, Jan Kubanek of ERA Architects will present La Restauration des Plafond Suspendus de Centre Conférence du government à Ottawa (The Restoration of the Government Conference Centre’s Suspended Ceilings), a rich insight into the revitalization of the Canadian landmark as it shifts into its future role of housing the Senate of Canada. In 2028 the space will return to its original use, allowing for explorations in adaptable and reversible interventions. Jan will also touch on, among other topics, the complexities pertaining to the ceiling’s materiality, spatial qualities and safety, based on conservation and contemporary ideologies.

La Restauration des Plafond Suspendus de Centre Conférence du government à Ottawa is one of many intriguing conversations taking place at Rendez-Vous Maestria, a multi-day event hosted by the Conseil des métiers d’art du Québec. From December 1st to 4th, expertise in craft and built heritage will be celebrated by curators, artisans, designers, architects and the public as they convene to exchange ideas, renew knowledge and showcase innovations in traditional techniques and current practices.

Link to GCC:
http://www.eraarch.ca/project/government-conference-centre/

Link to Rendez-Vous Maestria:
https://www.metiersdart.ca/en/maestria-show

 

76 Howard Street’s Moving Day – Video Update

It’s one thing to pack and move house, and quite another to move a house!

William Whitehead House, at the ripe old age of 130 years, was relocated under exacting circumstances to allow for the development of 1000 condos units in the St. Jamestown neighourhood. The team at ERA was on hand to supervise and document the process as it unfolded on Saturday, November 26th. The images that follow represent a chronological photo-essay by Daniel Lewis, Project Manager and Scott Weir, Principal.

Check out the article by the Globe and Mail’s Dave Leblanc. Click here.

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A Sense of ‘History in the Making’ for a Toronto Residence

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As highlighted in RUE Magazine’s article, “History in the Making” – the beauty is in the details.

The multi-spread editorial in the recently published Issue 44, features the renovation and façade restoration of a residential project in Toronto’s Summerhill neighbourhood. The home was originally designed by John Wilson Siddall and respectfully transitioned into a more contemporary aesthetic by Croma Design and ERA Architects.

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With detailing at the forefront as guiding principle, the article commends the thoughtful approach used by the designers: from the handling of material additions that blend seamlessly with the original structure, to the reinstatement of key circulation elements in the revised layouts; all aspects of approach result in uniform flow and spatial harmony.

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Read the feature in Issue 44 of Rue Magazine: http://www.ruemag.com/magazine/issue/issue-forty-four#132

Project profile: http://www.eraarch.ca/project/summerhill-house/

 

New Visions for Social Housing in Canadian Architect Magazine

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In the November issue of Canadian Architect author Jay Pitter investigates how spatial issues contribute to community challenges such as isolation, despair and violence in urban social housing communities.

Using the community where she grew up in Toronto as a case study, Pitter explores the design deficiencies of the Corbusian “Towers in the Park” style favoured by Robert Moses in the 1930s. In this piece she reaches out to a group of design leaders from Toronto and Vancouver to discuss how to develop an approach that integrates design, policy and social development by cultivating trust, engagement and collaboration with communities to build social housing for a new generation.

The group consisted of:
Michael Gellar: Vancouver based Architect, Planner and Real Estate Consultant
Gregory Henriquez, FRAIC: Managing Partner of Henriquez Partners Architects
Michael McClelland, FRAIC: Founding Principal of ERA Architects
Graeme Stewart, MRAIC: Principal at ERA Architects
Sheila Penny: Toronto based Architect and VP of Facilities at Toronto Community Housing

Out of this discussion emerged thoughtful ways of building more complete social housing communities by considering the lived reality of residents made up by the systems and structures that shape their daily experiences. The group emphasized the importance of developing trust through a more collaborative process and providing the tools to allow residents to shape their own neighbourhoods and respond to community needs.

Click here to view the article.

Big Cities in a ‘small’ Context

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How do cities grow? Do we limit growth or encourage it? Direct it or simply discover its natural rhythms? While municipal planning, land use policies and settlement patterns have shaped the physical aspect of North American cities, often social, cultural and environmental forces leave a firmer mark on our communities.

ERA’s Philip Evans and Heather Campbell were recently invited by Princeton University’s Frank and Deborah Popper to discuss with their land-use planning students how Canadian cities address population growth. This conversation prioritizes the sustainability of communities by rooting development in the broader cultural heritage context: recognizing the diversity of people, places and lifestyles which have both shaped and responded to the growth of buildings, streetscapes and communities. The role of reuse – from buildings and skills, to gathering spaces and local economies – within the evolution of our communities is essential to sustainable growth and a sense and quality of place in both countries.

ERA’s small program shifted the focus to shrinking areas, mainly rural, and the challenges of industry closure, population loss and infrastructure decline. With the Buffalo Commons project, the Popper’s study of American frontier communities addresses questions about longevity and sustainability on environmental, social and economic fronts. Similarly, small’s focus on livable communities within Canada’s unique rural context aims to develop support for small-scale cultural economic drivers, to address the shift and redesign in the rural landscape, from natural resource dependency to a new cultural economy.

These continuing cross-border conversations help us develop a deeper understanding of our possible reciprocal contributions to both sustainable city-building and the sustainability of smaller places, those often overlooked by broader policy supports. It is the conversations of the next generation of leaders, their priorities and principles which need to be reflected in the development of our communities today.

Mission Point Resort Wins Prestigious Award

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Mission Point Resort been recognized by Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Survey as the best resort in Michigan and one of the top ten resorts in the US Midwest.

ERA was brought on as prime design consultants in 2014, when new ownership began an ambitious scope of improvements to upgrade guest experience and comfort requirements. Working alongside local architects of record The Architect Forum, ERA has overseen renovations to the spa, salon, athletic centre and public retail space. Architectural upgrades are ongoing.

Mackinac Island has long held historic significance as a site of peace-making and commerce for the Ottawa, Chippewa, Huron, Menonminee and Potawomi peoples. Colonized by French Jesuit Missionaries in the 1670s, the island’s strategic location led it to become the centre of the Great Lakes fur trade. Later captured by the British, Mackinac and its fort became a focal point of the war of 1812. It was taken by the US in 1814.

Today Mackinac Island is a national historic landmark and a state park. The island is rich in Victorian architecture having become a popular summer resort throughout the 19th & 20th centuries. One of the only communities in the United States to still forbid the use of automobiles, the island’s preferred mode of transport is horse-drawn buggy.

Located on 18 acres of the Island’s southern lakefront, Mission Point Resort’s original buildings date back to the 1820s, with the majority of the resort being built in the 1950s & 1960s. Collectively they reference a wide array of architectural styles including classical, colonial revival, Adirondack and Michigan Modern.

For more information click here.

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Friends of Allan Garden’s Tulip Festival Offers a Chance to Embed the City with Colour for the Spring

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Winter may be around the corner, but we’re already looking forward to springtime in Allan Gardens. We will soon be planting two large beds of tulips at the centre of our favourite park, and hope that you will join us! The flowers will bloom in spring 2017, just in time for Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation.

Please spread the word — there will be plenty of bulbs to go around. If you could RSVP to Tatum at tatumt@eraarch.ca, that will help us plan our supplies.

Event date: Saturday, November 12, 10:00am to 12:00pm

Meet us in front of the Palm House, dressed warmly and ready to get a little dirty. Stay for the morning if you can, or feel free to drop in and plant a few bulbs to start your Saturday. If you have gloves, a spade, or other gardening tools, please bring them; we will also have some equipment on hand. The Allan Gardens horticultural team will be providing guidance on where and how to plant the bulbs. We look forward to seeing you there — and seeing the flowers on the other side of winter!

For more information on FoAG and it’s events click here.

Flags: Public Artwork Complete

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A new public work by artist Josh Thorpe has just been launched at Maple Claire Park, Toronto. For this project, entitled Flag Field, ERA Architects provided landscape architectural and project management services.

Flag Field consists of fourteen custom flags on flagpoles ranging from 25 to 50 feet high. Thorpe designed the flags as simple drawings of cats and dogs, stripes and polka dots etc. — images associated loosely with the leisure of parks.

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The flags are clustered in two groups adjacent to the main pedestrian path of the park, and are intended to bring movement and colour to the site, to partly screen the surrounding urban fabric, and to create a loose system in which people can stroll or children can play.

The base of each flag is a circle of multi-coloured rubber crumb surface often associated with playgrounds and sports fields. Each flagpole is underpinned by groundscrew technology, a light-touch alternative to traditional concrete foundations. The use of ground screws in this case is more economical, more time-efficient, and makes a much smaller footprint on the site.

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ERA’s contribution to the project included support with early schematic design and concept renderings; consulting regarding view corridors and flag placement on site; construction drawings; tendering; and contract administration. Structural Engineering was provided by Blackwell and the use of ground screws was provided and installed by Aduvo Systems Ltd. They proved to be an economical solution to securing the base of the pole to their grounding.

Thorpe is an internationally exhibiting artist with new work soon to be announced at 3A Gallery, New York. See his website for more images and information.

A Field Guide to Tactical Heritage Urbanism

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ERA Architects, in conjunction with the Canadian National Committee of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS Canada), is proud to announce the launch of “A Field Guide to Tactical Heritage Urbanism”.

Tactical heritage urbanism is a collection of economically accessible, temporary initiatives enacted by citizens to introduce and celebrate the stories and experiences that collectively constitute their community’s past and present.

Canada is an international leader in the creation of policies that support the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage, the understanding that society is in essence a valuable and diverse cultural web. This topic is of great relevance at this time, as municipal policies require the same recognition of cultural knowledge transfer between populations and generations as their federal counterparts to move the conversation into the future.

This digital book explores how heritage can act as a source of cohesion and sustainability by examining projects that facilitate stronger models of citizen participation in the decision-making and management processes of our cultural environment.

The Field Guide is the result of the annual ICOMOS Canada symposium called Heritage and Democracy: Bringing Heritage out of History and into the City, which was held in Toronto on May 6, 2016. The conversation will continue at next year’s symposium Connection to Place, which is taking place May 24-27 in Halifax.

 

Toronto’s Cultural Heritage Landscapes: From Plan to Action

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On Saturday, November 5th, from 9:00am – 4:30pm in room #308 of Metro Hall (55 John Street) the Community Preservation Panels of the City of Toronto are hosting a discussion about how Cultural Heritage Landscapes (CHL’s) should be approached as part of city building and heritage conservation processes.

Cultural Heritage Landscapes are defined by the province as “a defined geographical area of cultural heritage significance that has been modified by human activities and is valued by a community”

The subject is timely as recent updates to Toronto’s Official Plan create stronger direction for the protection of CHL’s in the city.

The Forum is being organized to raise an awareness of the issues surrounding the topic and to inspire the development of what could become a Toronto Cultural Heritage Landscape Guideline. Members of the public are welcome to attend and are encouraged to actively participate in the sessions and discussions, which are focused around the questions:

What are they and why are they important?
What is our experience? and
How do we protect them?

Forum Speakers:
Carolyn King, Former Chief of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation
Julian Smith, Architect and Director, Willowbank Centre for Cultural Landscape
Brendan Stewart, Landscape Architect and Urban Designer, ERA Architects
Wendy Shearer, landscape Architect, Cultural Heritage Specialist
Stephen Robinson, Senior Heritage Planner, City of Guelph
Mark Warrack, Manager of Culture and Planning, City of Mississauga
Catherine Nasmith, Architect and President, ACO
Madeleine McDowell, Educator and Heritage Advocate
Micahel McClelland, Founding Principal, ERA Architects and Member, Advisory Council of the Cultural Landscape Foundation
Mary MacDonald, Senior manager, Heritage Preservation Services, City of Toronto

Commentator:
Paul Bedford, Urban Mentor, Former Chief Planner, City of Toronto

 Moderator:
Alex Bozikovic, Architecture Critic, The Globe and Mail

ERA Celebrates Project Wins at the 2016 Heritage Toronto Awards Ceremony

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Heritage Toronto held its annual awards ceremony on Monday, October 17th, 2016. The event was held at the Isabel Bader Theatre, Victoria College, University of Toronto and was hosted by the former host of CBC Radio’s Fresh Air, Mary Ito. This year’s Kilbourn Lecturer was Dr. Steven High, Professor of History at Concordia University. The awards ceremony was preceded by the Mayor’s Reception, during which Councilor Mike Layton spoke about the importance of heritage conservation in architecture.

The jury considers such things as the quality of craftsmanship, appropriateness of materials, and the use of sound conservation principles, as well as how well the project meets current needs while maintaining the integrity of the original design vision.

ERA is proud to be a part of four awarded recipient teams and two honourable mentions. The following projects were recognized:

Award of Excellence: The Ward: The Life and Loss of Toronto’s First Immigrant Neighbourhood
Editors: John Lorinc, Michael McClelland, Ellen Scheinberg & Tatum Taylor
Publisher: Coach House Books

Award of Excellence: The Don Jail
Commissioned by: Bridgepoint Active Healthcare
Planning, Design and Compliance Architects: ERA Architects, Stantec Architecture, KPMB Architects
Design, Build, Finance, Maintain Architects: VG Architects, HDR Architecture, Diamond Schmitt Architects

Award of Merit: Church of the Redeemer
Commissioned by: University of Toronto
Architectural/Design Firms: ERA Architects Inc.
Heritage Contractor: Clifford Restoration Limited

Award of Merit: Imperial Plaza
Commissioned by: Camrost-Felcorp
Architectural/Design Firm: Onespace Unlimited Inc., ERA Architects Inc.

Honourable Mention: 2532 Yonge Street
Commissioned by: Edgecombe Realty Advisors, Inc.
Architectural/Design Firm: ERA Architects Inc.

Honourable Mention: Hermant Building, 19 – 21 Dundas Square
Commissioned by: HNR Properties Ltd.
Architectural/Design Firm: ERA Architects Inc.

For more information click here.

Welcome to Blackhurst Street at Markham House

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Celebrating the History and Entrepreneurial Excellence of the Black Community
at Bathurst and Bloor

Curated by Chinedu Ukabam
October 15-November 27, 2016
Now extended until December 11th!

Markham House: City Building Lab
610 Markham St, Toronto, ON
Thursday/Friday | 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Saturday/Sunday | 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

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Once considered the “Grand Central Station” of Toronto’s black community, Bathurst Station is overlooked as a focal point of the city’s black heritage. Since the late 1960s, Bathurst and Bloor has been a thriving hub of black entrepreneurship, activism, and creativity. The cornerstone of Beverly Mascoll’s multi-million dollar beauty supplies empire was located at 870 Bathurst, also occupied by Third World Books and Crafts and 2 Black Guys, one of Toronto’s earliest “streetwear” labels which started in the basement. Just down the road, Al Hamilton founded the pivotal black newspaper Contrast in 28 Lennox, a building later occupied by the Ashanti Room, an Afrocentric arts hub.  Today, Lloyd’s Barbershop and A Different Booklist remain important and vibrant multigenerational gathering spaces that reflect the legacy and contributions of Black Torontonians to the development of the City.

“Welcome to Blackhurst Street” is an exhibition that commemorates and celebrates the Black history of Bathurst and Bloor using archival material and original artwork. The exhibition also examines the current state of the community and its future role in shaping our City. Conceptualized as an immersive exploration of black artistry, activism, and entrepreneurship the installation weaves together elements of visual art, photography, archival documents, video, sound, and found objects from the Contrast Archives, Honest Ed’s, the Mirvish Family Collection, and other sources.

Welcome to Blackhurst Street is made possible by Chinedu Ukabam, A Different Booklist, ERA Architects Inc, Monograph Design, the Ontario Black History Society and Westbank.

The public is invited to share their knowledge of this history and these places by contributing stories, ephemera, and suggestions either via email (welcometoblackhurst@gmail.com) or comment boxes located at:

Markham House: City Building Lab
610 Markham St, Toronto, ON M6G 2L8

Lloyd’s Barber Shop
858 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M5R 3G3

A Different Booklist
746 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M5S 1Z5

Star Treatments Natural & Organic
606 Markham St, Toronto, ON M6G 2L8

Media Links
Welcome to Blackhurst Street Exhibition
Hashtag             #WelcomeToBlackhurst

Westbank
Websites            westbankcorp.com
Social Media     @westbankcorp
Hashtag              #buildingartistry

Markham House: City Building Lab
Websites             markhamhousecbl.com / mirvish-village.com
Social Media     @villagemirvish

Chinedu Ukabam
Website               supafrik.com
Twitter                @Chinedesign
Social Media     @SUPAFRIK

ERA Architects
Website              eraarch.ca
Social Media    @eraarch

Media contact
Westbank
Felicia Morrison, coordinator
Main 416 583 5888 ext. 2001
felicia@westbankcorp.com

The Broadview Hotel: Everything Old is New Again

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Riverside welcomes a revitalized neighbor this fall in the form of The Broadview Hotel, a landmark building at the northwest corner of Queen and Broadview, completed in 1891-2, designed by Robert Ogilvie for oilman and soap maker Archibald Dingman.

The building’s architecture hails from the same period as Toronto’s Old City Hall, with ornate exterior terracotta pan­els depicting animals and other figures. The hotel is the most prominent and architecturally significant structure in the area. Its renewal is a wel­come contribution to the overall growth of the Riverside neigh­bourhood, and a visible manifestation of the area’s transformation from its recent past.

The official unveiling on October 5th, 2016 included the reveal of a heritage plaque, the removal of the scaffolding and the lighting of the facade. The interior renovations will not be completed until spring 2017.  The rehabilitation of the exterior of the building reflects the efforts of the project teams to renew the hotel and restore the building to its proper place in Toronto’s historic fabric.

The conservation strategy for the site was rehabilitation and restoration, to maintain the key architectural features of the building while constructing an addition and ensuring it con­tinued to house street-related commercial uses as a restaurant, cafe, hotel and rooftop terrace. The project supports the collaborative commitment and investment of time, energy, visioning and financial re­sources of ERA Architects and Streetcar Developments in fostering ‘culturally rich and livable communities’ in the downtown core.

Link to project profile: http://www.eraarch.ca/project/the-broadview-hotel/

‘Girls Can Too’ Provides Participants with Hands-On Learning Opportunities

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ERA’s Janice Quieta and Shelley Ludman were able to spend a few summer days at the Bolton Camp with a group of ambitious young women, to help them consider career paths that might otherwise not be an obvious choice. The Girls Can Too program offers hands-on construction and ecology learning opportunities to young women, while fostering innovation, collaboration and professional development skills that will benefit them in the longer term. Continue reading…

Thorncliffe Park – Café and Market in the Park

Throughout September 2016, Thorncliffe Park will host a cultural café, music, art and storytelling circles in its R.V. Burgess Park. These events, taking place each Saturday of the month, are spearheaded by the Thorncliffe Park Action Group (TAG), a dynamic collective responsible for the cultural café, and their supporting partner organization, Diasporic Genius. For the second year, ERA has been an active partner in this initiative, working alongside these organizations to design and build a unique mobile landscape.

Continue reading…

The Picturesque Gothic Villa Comes to Town: The Emergence of Toronto’s Bay-and-Gable House Type

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In a recent issue of ‘Architecture in Canada’ (Vol. 41, Issue #1), Principal Architect Scott Weir has composed an article that celebrates the typology of the bay-and-gable house. The issue is currently available in hard copy and will be posted on the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada’s (SSAC) website in the coming month. The text that follows is an excerpt.

Continue reading…

TORONTO – NEW YORK: Design by Example

“A new platform by which designers of these two great cities may share innovations and best practices with the common goal of enhancing the build environment.”- Mary Rusz

This September, at the invitation of the AIA New York Housing and Planning and Urban Design Committees, ERA’s Michael McClelland, Graeme Stewart and Ya’el Santopinto participated in a panel in New York on Toronto’s modern heritage and Tower Renewal. The panel discussion took place at the Centre for Architecture in as part of a series designed to share ideas and best practices between Toronto and New York. Also on the panel were Leo deSorcy (City of Toronto) and Derek Ballantyne.

When: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016
Where: The Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, NY, NY 10012

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Speakers:
Graeme Stewart, Prinicpal, ERA Architects
Leo deSorcy, Program Manager of Urban Design, City of Toronto
Derek Ballantyne, CEO, Encassa Financial, Inc.
Ya’el Santopinto, Project Manager, ERA Architects
Michael McClelland, Founding Principal, ERA Architects

Moderator: Susanne Schindler, Co-author, Growing Urban Habitats: Seeking a New Housing Development Model

For more information please click here.

New Approaches to Heritage Documentation

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University College is the founding college at the University of Toronto and the oldest building on the St. George campus. Built in the Romanesque-Revival style by Cumberland & Storm, when opened in 1859 it was among the most important buildings in the country. In 1968 this status was further confirmed with the building’s designation by the national historic sites and monuments board. Continue reading…

Teaching-based Professionals, Business-based Researchers

The magazine Landscapes: Landscape Architecture in Canada/Paysages: L’architecture de Paysage au Canada examines and explores pertinent issues in the field of landscape architecture. In their latest issue (Vol. 18, No. 2), the article “Active Praxis, Hybrid Practice,” written by Shelley Long, takes a look into the new hybrid practices found in landscape architecture, in both teaching-based and business-based environments, wherein academics and professionals are experimenting with interdisciplinary thinking to formulate new ideas, inspire innovation, and move the profession forward.

Teaching-based professionals included Marc Boutin from Marc Boutin Architectural Collaborative (MBAC) in Calgary, Alissa and Pete North from North Design Office of Toronto, and Dietmar Straub and Anna Thurmayr from Straub + Thurmary Landschaftarchiteken of Winnipeg. These individuals integrate their academic research into their landscape architecture practice to inform new methods and engage the public. Texture City (MBAC), Core Sample installations (North Design Office, 2006), and the Folly Forest project (Straub + Thurmayr Landschaftarchiteken) are all excellent examples of academic risk-taking and interdisciplinary innovation.

Business-based research and innovation relies on a creative office culture that supports and promotes interdisciplinary research and experimentation. Firms that encourage this experimental approach include ERA Architects, located in Toronto, Montreal, and Prince Edward County, Claude Cormier + Associés (CC+A) in Montreal, and the Hapa Collaborative in Vancouver. Each of these firms has advanced the field of landscape architecture through collaborative projects and community-based initiatives. For example, ERA has worked with community members to establish the non-profit group Friends of Allan Gardens (FOAG), and helped organize, alongside Janet Rosenberg and Studio and The Cultural Landscape Foundation, the first-ever conference in Canada on cultural landscapes. ERA also helped in the administration of the Tower Renewal project, which began as a thesis and is now a forceful project that will transform the future of Toronto’s tower neighbourhoods. CC+A’s design for Berczy Park in Toronto and Hapa Collaborative’s Mid Main Park’s “bendy-straw” trellis are also excellent examples of innovative projects propelled by research and experimentation.

Our Evolving Leadership Team

Congratulations to our new Associates!

ERA Architects is proud to announce the designation of two staff members to the position of Associate. Julie Tyndorf and Jessie Grebenc have both demonstrated commitment to our core values of heritage conservation, city building engagement, and democratic community design. We thank them for their continued efforts and welcome them in their new roles!

Julie Tyndorf
Associate
As an experienced development planner in Toronto, Julie offers valuable insight into the municipal approvals process, and specializes in the interpretation and preparation of complex policy and assessment documents. Beyond these technical abilities, Julie embraces a collaborative approach to planning that values diversity, vibrancy, and sustainability of both culture and built form. Julie has played a key role in the development of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conservation Plans for such projects as St. Michael’s Hospital and 1 Spadina Crescent – University of Toronto’s Daniels Faculty of Architecture.

Jessie Grebenc
Associate
Possessing a special interest in the conservation of masonry structures, Jessie has gained extensive experience in building analysis, the production of contract documents, field review and project administration on a range of complex masonry projects such as St. James Cathedral and Casey House. She has studied masonry conservation at various institutions in Canada and the UK.

At ERA Architects Jessie has worked on a variety of projects that deal with restoration and building conservation at all stages in the architectural process. She has also worked on several residential properties that involve renovation, major additions and new construction.

 

The Honest Ed’s Project: A Contemporary Intangible Heritage Project – Guest Blog by Jay Pitter

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My interest in the redevelopment of Honest Ed’s and the surrounding neighbourhood is informed by my work in placemaking and stakeholder engagement — and also childhood memories. Prior to becoming a senior healthcare professional, my single mom worked at a series of low-income jobs. She moved in and out of our tiny apartment like a streak of light in an unfocused photograph. Sometimes she slowed down long enough to take me on an excursion to Honest Ed’s.

I loved everything about the store. The vibrant lights. The way my mom looked at me in delight when I read the hand-painted signs aloud. The way children could run about and speak using our outside voices unlike those fancy shops.

Although I was young, I knew my mother struggled to support my sister and I. Yet she happily filled our cart with canned fish, laundry detergent and sweets, which she later shipped to relatives in the Caribbean. Having immigrated to Canada at four years old, I had no memory of these relatives but I sensed that this ritual was an important one for my mother. Upon learning about the redevelopment of the site, I reflected on this experience and it dawned on me that Honest Ed’s is one of the places where I was taught accountability and giving. Although this part of my personal narrative holds significance for me, it’s not particularly unique. Almost every Torontonian has a special Honest Ed’s story.

Stories are a good way to think through rapidly changing urban neighbourhoods. Local mythology, memory and shared values are as consequential to shaping inclusive and vibrant communities as the height and siting of buildings, greenspace and accessibility. Increasingly, intangible heritage approaches are incorporating strategic storytelling components. Specifically, I sought to initiate an intangible heritage project that would incorporate the voices of stakeholders often excluded from official local history and urban development processes; not as an act of conservation but as a form of “community practice” and meaningful engagement.

My idea was a simple one. I enlisted a photographer and a couple of volunteers. Together we would stand on the corner of Honest Ed’s from 2:30p.m. – 2:30a.m. and ask strangers to share their Honest Ed’s stories. This timeframe was integral to the process because the character of a place and the people who occupy it transitions throughout the day. A street filled with families seeking organic fruit markets and trendy patios begins to shift at dinner time. When this same group is settling in for an evening of Netflix, hipsters and Hip Hop fans start heading out to entertainment venues. Street-involved activities begin to surface as club DJs begin their sound checks. Later in the night, “invisible” factory and restaurant workers descend from the all-night bus while people without housing start making difficult decisions about their sleeping accommodations. Because I wanted to speak to everyone, it was imperative to brave the twelve hours of standing, sloppy propositions and unrelenting techno beats emanating from local clubs.

And it was worth it. I curated almost one hundred stories. A married couple shared memories of their first date exploring the store. A historian brought me a kitschy tea cup she purchased for her mother as a broke student beaming that it was incorporated into the family’s prized Royal Doulton China collection. A woman living on social assistance shared her fear of losing her affordable healthy food market.

Then I met Martin.

Martin was an elderly man, weathered and slightly suspicious, as individuals who have experienced the world are entitled to be. I answered each of his questions about the project carefully, and at times, felt like I was the one being “interviewed”. When satisfied by my responses, he opened up his wallet. I leaned in, intrigued. He produced a black and white photo of a much younger man. “This is me, the only holocaust survivor in my entire family,” he said.

I forgot to breathe, but he didn’t notice. He was too busy searching for what seemed like rarely spoken words to describe experiences of an unspeakable time. He shared the despair and loneliness of struggling in several Nazi extermination and concentration camps, including the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau. When the war ended he sought to get far away from its remnants and so he left Hungary for Canada. His first job was working in a mattress factory. “I liked my job and even better I met a beautiful girl,” he beamed.

His hands shook slightly as he produced another photo, of a young woman who could easily pass for a Hollywood starlet. Soon they married and he dared to place enough faith in the world to bring children into it. Sons were born. After work Martin would often go to Honest Ed’s, then called the Honest Ed’s Bargain House, to purchase items for his family. He told me that each time he entered the store he felt a sense of hope. After living through the holocaust he could not believe that a Jewish business owner could be safe and embraced by so many people. And so he kept coming to the store for this powerful, and perhaps healing, reminder.

A lot happened during the over half century that Martin regularly visited Honest Ed’s. The “pretty girl” that helped him to build a new family was lost to cancer. His children moved away. And now, with the store’s redevelopment, he would experience more change. Within the context of global cities like Toronto, change is particularly rapid and complex. Intangible heritage approaches provide us with an opportunity to ensure that we understand the “community practice” of places, ensure that the voices of Indigenous and other historically marginalized communities are heard and honour the experiences of individuals like Martin.

 

Jay Pitter established a career as a public funder and then a communications and public engagement director before earning a graduate degree at York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies. Her work is focused on inclusive stakeholder engagement, placemaking and city-building initiatives. She has been a guest lecturer at the University of Toronto and York University, and was recently a faculty member at the University of Guelph-Humber. Her writing credits include Spacing, CBC Radio, the Toronto Star and the Coach House Books anthology Subdivided, which she contributed to and co-edited.