ERA Architects

Congratulations to Ya’el Santopinto, our new Associate 

As ERA continues to grow and evolve, the Executives and Associates are very pleased to appoint Ya’el Santopinto to our leadership team. Ya’el has demonstrated commitment to our core values of city building, rehabilitation of heritage buildings, and democratic community design, and has used these values to help the firm expand into new areas.

Ya’el is a registered Architect at ERA who specializes in affordable and energy-efficient housing, international housing policy and regulation, and the adaptive reuse of heritage buildings. Ya’el is also the Director of Research and Partnerships with the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal, leading work on Tower Renewal — an initiative to catalyze reinvestment and community building in apartment tower neighbourhoods. Her work includes research, advocacy, and implementation of best-in-class practices in energy retrofit, affordable housing and planning policy, green financing, and social inclusion.

We look forward to this new chapter and the exciting work ahead!

One Spadina Crescent: When All is Finally Revealed…….

ERA has been eagerly anticipating the official opening of One Spadina Crescent, the University of Toronto’s new home for the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. Our collaboration with NADAAA and Adamson Associate Architects has seen the transformation of the historical landmark that is Knox College, conserved and updated with a beautiful new addition. The history, relevance and inspiring new context of the building is captured in an insightful piece in the Globe and Mail by Dave LeBlanc, including a few words from Michael McClelland (see link below).

The site was originally designed as a garden feature for the Baldwin family, who owned the Spadina park lot that extended from Queen Street West to Bloor. In the 1870s, the Presbyterian Church bought the land and commissioned architects James Smith & John Gemmell to build Knox College. Having been adapted over the years to a number of different uses, the structure survives today as a fine example of Gothic Revival architecture, with a heritage designation (designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act on March 17, 1976).

Beginning in 2006, ERA worked with the University of Toronto and advised on heritage issues related to the site’s re-development. Since 2011 ERA has been working closely with prime architects, NADAAA, on the project. Phase 1 included the conservation of the exterior, and Phase II, the new addition extending from the historic building.

As heritage consultant, ERA prepared the Heritage Impact Assessment, Conservation Strategy and Conservation Plan, and provision of heritage architecture services related to the conservation scope of work (exterior and interior) throughout all phases of the project. The project team includes: Michael McClelland, Andrew Pruss, Julie Tyndorf, Alana Young, and Tatum Taylor.

The article reintroduces the heritage building to the public mindset, reinforcing its position as a work of prominent architecture in its own right, as well as a new asset in Toronto’s evolving cultural landscape.

Link to Globe and Mail article: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/toronto/an-overlooked-university-of-toronto-gem-brought-back-to-thespotlight/article36984536/

All photos courtesy of John Horner Photography

ACO NextGen presents the possibility of a new take on an historic building

How does one breathe new life into a building that was once grand but has since ‘lost its lustre’?

The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario NextGen designers have put out a public call for ideas that will transform Toronto’s landmark bus terminal on Bay Street, culminating in an all-day on-site event on Saturday, November 11th.

The building was designed by architect Charles B. Dolphin, widely known for designing the Consumers Gas building (at 2532 Yonge St. Building), 1931; the Postal Delivery Building, now forming part of the Air Canada Centre (at 50 Bay St), 1941; and TTC Headquarters (1900 Yonge St), 1958. The architectural style is a classic example of Art Deco/Art Moderne, containing notable interior elements for the period, such as Scagliola plaster, streamline staircase, layout and prominent central skylight.

It opened to the public in 1931 for the purposes of serving the customers of the Gray Coach bus line (in operation from 1927-1991). Service providers changed hands after many years of operation. The terminal underwent one major renovation in 1984 to alter the bus bays and a second minor renovation in 1990 to increase the seating capacity of the passenger room. The terminal may potentially be declared surplus, with the development of new bus terminal at 45 Bay Street.

ERA’s Tatum Taylor toured the group through the building and The Ward to provide context for the day. ERA Principal Scott Weir delivered a talk on the building’s architecture and history, followed by an introduction to examples of adaptive reuse projects, such as Loblaws Warehouse, Postal Station K, Massey Tower, Maple Leaf Gardens, Casey House and the Carlu. The event is timely, as talks have been underway at the municipal government level for months, to determine the future of the site. Change is in the air, and possibilities for conserving the building as a landmark destination for both heritage architectural lovers and community dwellers alike abound.

As Scott is quoted as saying, ‘Now is the perfect time to start dreaming….’

Link to Toronto Star article: https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/11/09/bay-dundas-bus-terminal-looks-to-recapture-its-sense-of-grandeur.html

Photo of original Bus Coach Terminal interior courtesy of City of Toronto Archives.
Photos of current Bus Coach Terminal interior and ACO tour courtesy of ERA Architects.

The RAC Zone is recognized with an Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) Award for Excellence in Planning

The Tower Renewal RAC Zone, a partnership between ERA Architects, the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal, United Way Toronto & York Region, Toronto Public Health and the City of Toronto, has this week been honoured with an OPPI Award of Excellence.

Through research, advocacy, and collaboration, this new zoning framework has been developed and is poised for implementation in hundreds of Toronto’s vertical neighbourhoods, that will remove barriers for a range of exciting small-scale businesses and community services. A City-wide zoning change of this type is a first for Toronto, and would not have been possible without this diverse group of collaborators and stakeholders working together. It is a testament to what is possible through collaboration, and perhaps the start of new way for social agencies, local communities, architects, and the City to work together towards a brighter Toronto.

The OPPI Award for Excellence in Planning – Municipal Statutory Planning Studies, Reports and Documents award ‘recognizes excellence in all aspects of the profession and the high caliber of work by professional planners within communities across the province’, as stated by their Director of Public Affairs, Loretta Ryan.

To learn more about the RAC zone, visit www.raczone.ca and www.towerrenewal.com

Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) award details: http://ontarioplanners.ca/Knowledge-Centre/Excellence-in-Planning-Awards

A hospital with heart that embraces its patients celebrates its grand reopening

Dignitaries from the city and province flocked to the grounds surrounding Casey House on a beautiful autumn morning to celebrate the reopening of Canada’s only stand-alone hospital dedicated to those living with HIV/AIDS.

Founded by a group of volunteers in 1988, Casey House was Canada’s first stand-alone treatment facility for people with HIV/AIDS, and the first freestanding hospice in Ontario. At that time, many people were dying alone, cut off from the support of family and friends because of stigma and misplaced fear. The founders’ wise response was to create a home environment in which people with HIV/AIDS could be cared for with dignity and compassion. They created new approaches to palliative care, and played a leading role in both end-of-life care and HIV/AIDS care.

Fast forward almost 30 years, Casey House has been conserved and updated as a warm and welcoming environment; a brand-new state-of-the-art AIDS/HIV healthcare facility that integrates the historic house with a new four-storey extension designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects. The 58,000 ft² addition and restoration of the heritage building commenced in Spring 2015.

As heritage architects, ERA prepared a Master Plan for the property and oversaw the rehabilitation of all exterior and interior heritage fabric. The conservation strategy was to retain and conserve the fabric, replacing deteriorated elements where necessary.

The design of the contemporary facility juxtaposed against the Victorian mansion is distinct but complementary; respecting the existing materiality, preserving its qualities and organizing the day-to-day user experience. Throughout the project, the architects considered how to manifest unifying themes from the AIDS movement such as ‘embrace’ and ‘quilt’ by working the design concept from the inside out.

At its heart, the redevelopment of Casey House was a community-inspired and driven initiative, with stakeholders recognizing the importance of their generous contributions.

Link to Globe and mail article: https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/architecture/torontos-new-casey-house-building-shows-the-medicinal-power-of-light-beauty-anddignity/article36767563/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&

Photos by ERA Architects

Diverse Recognition for ERA for Achievement in the Realms of Architectural Conservancy and Urban Design

The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario hosted its annual awards dinner on Friday, October 23rd at Osgoode Hall. The event presents opportunities to celebrate notable provincial people, projects and initiatives related to the field of built heritage conservation.

ERA is thrilled to share that Edwin Rowse was honoured this year with the Eric Arthur Lifetime Achievement Award. Edwin has specialized in the field of heritage architecture for more than 35 years, and has been in partnership with Michael McClelland since 1990 as a co-founding principal of ERA Architects Inc. A specialist in building and environmental assessment and restoration, his work has encouraged renewed interest in historical forms and techniques and has served the restoration, adaptive reuse and preservation of many heritage buildings including the Government Conference Centre (Ottawa), the Union Station Train Shed Enhancement (Toronto), the Legislative Assembly of Ontario (Ottawa), the archives of Trinity College at the University of Toronto, the East Enlisted Mens’ Barracks on the CNE Grounds (Toronto), and Tafelmusik/St. Paul’s Church (Toronto). Edwin is widely respected for his broad depth of knowledge in conservation science, his commitment to fairness and respect, and his generosity as a mentor.

The firm is also pleased to announce another award win for the Broadview Hotel, the Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse (corporate).  Its revitalization is the most visible manifestation of the area’s transformation from its ‘rough around the edges’ recent past into a lively destination. Completed in 1892, the Broadview Hotel was built in the Romanesque Revival style of architecture, with ornate exterior terracotta panels, decorative arches, and classical columns.

The conservation strategy for the site focused on rehabilitation and restoration, in order to maintain the key architectural features of the building while constructing an addition, ensuring it housed street level commercial uses and remained open to the public. Standards were followed as the guideline for the work, and historic photographic evidence was consulted to inform the restoration. The hotel’s conservation and adaptive reuse demonstrate the collaborative commitment of ERA Architects and Streetcar Developments to create culturally rich and livable communities in the downtown core. Congratulations to the ERA project team: Michael McClelland, Andrew Pruss, Annabel Vaughan, Annie Pelletier and Jasmine Frolick.

Lastly, we wanted to give a shout out to the project team behind the rejuvenation of the National Arts Centre (NAC) at 1 Elgin Street in Ottawa, a project which sees the building transformed and expanded to engage with the surrounding streetscape, enhancing the visibility and accessibility of the main entrance. ERA served as Heritage Conservation Advisor for Diamond Schmitt Architects on the project. Our role was to provide advice in regards to heritage and conservation issues and to assist in the development of a conservation approach for the proposed rehabilitation and interventions. Project team members include: Michael McClelland, Edwin Rowse, and Victoria Angel.

For more information on the ACO Award wins: http://www.arconserv.ca/news_events/show.cfm?id=458

For more information on the Ottawa Urban Design Award Winners: https://ottawa.ca/en/business/planning-and-development/urban-design-awards

New Vision Church Preaches to the Converted as ‘The Music Hall’ (with new video link)

Hamilton’s newest live music venue is ready to showcase talent from across the region and beyond. New Vision United Church, the 150-year-old building located at 24 Main St West, formerly known as Centenary Church, is in the process of being transformed to comply with music industry standards while retaining its primary function as a place of worship. In a creative bid to better serve and engage with the wider community, the church congregation is opening their doors to the music industry and its patrons, providing new context to the site as a 1,000-seat live performance venue, ‘The Music Hall’.

The church has already played host to several high-profile entertainment events, such as a ‘Welcome to Hamilton’ benefit concert to raise money for newcomer/refugee youth as a part of Hamilton’s Supercrawl festival, headlined by The National, with performances by Kevin Drew, Hayden, JUNO Fest 2015, with musical guests including Joel Plaskett, Jenn Grant, and Mo Kenney, and a folk-rock performance by musician Terra Lightfoot. There is also an upcoming concert on November 18th with acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter Daniel Lanois, with tickets available for sale online now.

The church will be seeking a heritage designation, which will describe the cultural heritage value of the building and guide its renovation work. ERA is working in an architectural consultancy capacity to meet critical building code requirements for fire-rating and washrooms. The next phase of work will include a ticket booth, upgraded seating and acoustics, and a renovated entrance lobby. To garner a sense of the needs of the patrons and discuss what other uses could compliment the building as a concert venue, the firm is attending the New Vision open house on Thursday, October 26th from 5:00 – 7:00pm. The event is free to attend and all members of the public are welcome to attend. Please come with your ideas for transformation!

The schedule for the evening:

5:00pm – Doors open
5:15pm – Welcome and prayer offering, organ fanfare and showcase by Shawn Grenke
5:25pm – Greetings from City Econ. Dev. Director Glen Norton and Ward Councilor Jason Farr
5:45pm – Violin performance by Lance Ouellette
6:15pm – Hamilton Community Choir performance
6:40pm – Words from music industry spokesperson
6:45pm – Performance by Steve Strongman
7:00pm – Wrap-up

Check out Rev. Ian Sloan’s interview with host Doug Farraway on Cable 14’s City Matters: https://cable14now.com/video-on-demand/video/?videoId=2287

Capitalizing on Heritage / Awarding Conservation: Materials, Craftsmanship and Construction

Ottawa played host to a fulsome heritage conference last week, from Tuesday, October 10th to Saturday, October 14th. The annual event was presented by The Association for Preservation Technology International (APT), National Trust for Canada and Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals (CAHP). The conference was an opportunity for the partners to showcase their content in an historic capital city during a year that has seen countless celebrations marking Canada’s 150th birthday.

ERA staff were well-represented amidst the industry attendees and in a celebratory mood, as several firm projects were acknowledged through one of the showcase events on the Friday evening, the National Trust & CAHP Awards Ceremony & Reception at St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts.

The 2017 CAHP Awards acknowledged the work of ERA Associate Daniel Lewis, along with Barkley Hunt of Hunt Heritage Masonry with the Award of Excellence for Conservation: Materials, Craftsmanship and Construction for the tuckpointing of 62 – 64 Charles Street, a traditional and specialized technique used to enhance the appearance of heritage masonry. ERA Principal Scott Weir and Associate Jessie Grebenc were also tapped for their contribution, along with contractor Clifford Restoration Ltd. for the Award of Merit for Conservation: Materials, Craftsmanship and Construction for the conservation of the William Johnson House as part of the new facilities for Casey House, a collaborative project with Hariri Pontarini.

Lastly, ERA Principals Michael McClelland and Edwin Rowse, along with Project Manager/Architect Sydney Martin are proud to have been a part of the award-winning team for the National Trust for Canada Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Award of Excellence in Adaptive Use/Rehabilitation for the heritage conservation of Eva’s Phoenix, in a supporting role for LGA Architects. The building is a new facility that is transforming the lives of Toronto’s homeless youth in the west-end of the city.

Conference website: http://www.apti.org/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=2017conference&category=2017 Annual Conference

Tower Renewal Action Forum

Canada faces a growing housing affordability crisis. Now is the time for coordinated action to build a future around more complete, resilient, and affordable cities – and Tower Renewal is a strategy for realizing this change.

Postwar apartment towers are the backbone of Canada’s purpose-built rental stock, and provide affordable housing to millions of Canadians. On October 5th, 2017, international experts and local city-builders came together to explore innovative strategies for transitioning these aging apartment tower neighbourhoods to meet the demands of our 21st century cities.

The Tower Renewal Action Forum showcased exemplary practices at home and abroad, focused on housing transformation, neighbourhood resilience, and the maintenance of affordability in our apartment tower neighbourhoods.

The Tower Renewal Action Forum took place on Thursday, October 5th at the Evergreen Brick Works. For more information, including the event speakers and program, please visit: http://towerrenewal.com/initiatives/tower-renewal-action-forum-2017/

To learn more about the Tower Renewal Partnership, please visit: http://towerrenewal.com/about-us/

 

Letters to the Mayor: An outlet for expressions on city-building set amidst a developmental blank canvas

PARTISANS and Storefront for Art and Architecture present ‘Letters to the Mayor’ during the EDIT Festival, which challenges visitors to consider how we can make the world a better place. EDIT also brings life back to the abandoned Unilever Detergent factory in Toronto’s Port Lands, a 150,000sqft abandoned factory set on 60-acres of brownfield. This area will be reimagined as ‘East Harbour’ in the coming years, branded as Toronto’s newest commercial and cultural district.

The ‘Letters to the Mayor’ exhibit is presented as an international letter-writing campaign from architects to their local public officials and/or developers, installed and presented for public consideration of architects as inspired city-builders. It presents a range of communications, from formal written statements to graphic representations of design problems. ERA’s founding principal, Michael McClelland responded to an invitation to participate with a focus on heritage conservation as an evolving practice that should prioritize design over decree, form over formula; shifting the emphasis to site-specific, use-oriented design.

Produced by Design Exchange, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, this inaugural EDIT festival examines the theme of “Prosperity For All” through an array of curated pavilions, talks, and installations. It runs for 11 days, from September 28 – October 8, 2017.

For more information on ‘Letters to the Mayor’ visit the exhibition website: http://editdx.org/exhibition/installations/insta-letters-to-the-mayorletters-to-the-developer-partisans

Paul Karakusevic on A New Era of Social Housing

ERA Architects, the Centre for Urban Growth + Renewal and the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design are pleased to present architect Paul Karakusevic of Karakusevic Carson Architects at the University of Toronto. Please join us Monday October 2nd for Paul’s lecture A New Era of Public Housing, focusing on more than a decade redefining social housing in the UK.

Paul’s recently published book and exhibition titled ‘ Social Housing: Definitions and Designs Exemplars’,  features 24 case studies across Europe from the new generation of architecture and design firms that are responding to the many issues dominant in social housing: high demand, changing clients, new funding methods, addressing how homes are delivered at scale, achieving high standards of design and with a new focus on city making.

Paul states:

This is an exciting time for public sector led housing across Europe. There are great things being done by local authorities and community groups in the UK and they are building with a confidence and a design ambition we haven’t seen since the late 1970s.

‘Social Housing: Definitions and Design Exemplars’ is available now from RIBA Bookshops, or can be found here.

‘Since Now, From Then’: Nuit Blanche Toronto 2017 at The Broadview Hotel

As Toronto’s east end and Riverside neighborhood enter a new phase, there is an opportunity to reflect on the social, political, cultural, and physical context while celebrating visions of the future. At Independent Project 77 of Nuit Blanche 2017, a collection of performances, projections, sculptures and installations along Broadview Avenue and Queen Street East will merge art and architecture, technology and nature, as well as public and private spaces to highlight the present, cause us to reflect on the past, and invite us to look to the future of Toronto’s changing east end.

Continue reading…

Toronto Urban Design Award Winners

The Toronto Urban Design Awards (TUDA) acknowledges and celebrates Toronto’s built environment, striving to “identify projects that are unequivocally public.” Winning projects were announced on September 13th during a private reception at the Palais Royale. ERA would like to congratulate the teams who contributed to 5 award-winning projects:

  • Broadview Hotel, Award of Excellence – Private Buildings in Context – Mid-rise
  • West Donlands Public Realm, Award of Excellence – Large Places and/or Neighbourhood Designs
  • 619 Queen West, Award of Merit – Private Buildings in Low-Scale
  • Urban Infill in the Village of Yorkville, Award of Merit – Private Buildings in Low-Scale
  • Bridgepoint Active Healthcare, Award of Merit – Large Places and/or Neighbourhood Designs

For more information on the projects please visit the site here.

The Life-Sized City focuses a lens on Toronto’s urban landscape, celebrating the heroes who are making the city more livable

Host Mikael Colville-Andersen covers feel-good stories from local community-driven initiatives to government-funded transit and harbour front enhancement projects. The city is promoted as diverse, personable and multi-faceted. This collection of stories is what defines Toronto as a livable city, one whose population growth continues to outpace all others in North America.

At the 28.20-minute mark ERA Principal Graeme Stewart introduces the Tower Renewal Project as an important endeavour to increase the viability of Toronto’s post war tower neighbourhoods.

For more information on the Tower Renewal Partnership and its work, please visit: http://towerrenewal.com/

Toronto the Good 2017

Toronto the Good is back, ushering in a new season at a new venue! It is an annual party presented by ERA Architects (and friends) to celebrate the city of Toronto, and contemplate its history and evolution with fellow architects, designers, and urban-minded people.

For this instalment of our annual party we are supporting the initiatives of the Tower Renewal Partnership, an initiative working to preserve and enhance mid-century apartment tower neighbourhoods through research, advocacy and demonstration. International experts and local city-builders will be meeting at a symposium during the day to explore innovative strategies for transitioning these aging apartment tower neighbourhoods to meet the demands of our 21st century cities. Now is the time for coordinated action to build a future around more complete, resilient, and affordable cities. Tower Renewal is a strategy for realizing this change.

We hope you will join us at the Evergreen Brick Works on October 5th, 2017, in celebration of the Tower Renewal Partnership’s accomplishments at this year’s event. Join us for hors d’ourves, cash bar, and a lively crowd of people passionate about design and civic engagement in Toronto.

Admission is free, but registration is required for entry into the party.

Join us at 5:30pm for a keynote by author and journalist Doug Saunders.

Shuttle buses will be running between Broadview Station and the Evergreen Brick Works throughout the duration of the event.

When: Thursday, October 5th, 2017, 6:00 – 10:00pm.
Where: Evergreen Brick Works

Register here through Eventbrite.

Click here for more information on the Tower Renewal Partnership and its work.

Joseph Bloor: A Celebration to Honour a Prominent City-Builder

On Thursday, August 31st from 12:00 – 1:00pm at 117 Bloor Street East, Heritage Toronto will be hosting a plaque unveiling to commemorate Joseph Bloor. His surname harkens images of the city’s main cross-town artery and the path along which half of the TTC’s Line 2 traverses. What many do not know is that Joseph Bloor was originally from Staffordshire, England. He lived from 1789–1862, immigrated to Toronto in 1819 and is credited with founding the village of Yorkville.

ERA was hired to clean, conserve and erect the plaque commissioned in his honour by members and the congregation of the Bloor Methodist Church. After assessing its condition, it was determined that the original plaque – which is trapezoidal in shape and made of white marble – would be too fragile to leave exposed to the elements over time, so a replica was made out of concrete poured into a silicon mold. It has been finished with a faux patina that matches the original stone and sealed for protection.

The replica is mounted under glass and forms part of a permanent interpretative display at St. Andrews United Church. It is supported at the top and bottom with a continuous 1/4” stainless steel bracket attached to an armature.

Due to the fragility and historic value of the original plaque, it is in permanent storage at the Toronto Heritage Artifact Archives.

For more information on the plaque unveiling and to register for the event please visit: http://heritagetoronto.org/event/josephbloorplaque_aug31/

Photo credit: ERA Architects

Update: RAC Zone Launch Event

On Wednesday, July 19th, leaders in the development of Toronto’s Residential Apartment Commercial (RAC) Zoning by-law gathered at York University to celebrate and explore challenges and next steps in empowering communities to utilize Toronto’s newest zone. The esteemed panel had representation from property owners, entrepreneurs, community members, academics and city builders with Graeme Stewart, Principal at ERA Architect and the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal as the Panel Moderator.

Panelists included:

  • Michael Mizzi Director, Zoning and Secretary-Treasurer Committee of Adjustment, City Planning Division at the City of Toronto
  •  Jason Thorne, General Manager Planning and Economic Development, City of Hamilton
  •  Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health, City of Toronto
  •  Doug Saunders, Author, and Journalist
  •  Maurine Campbell, Coordinator, 2667/2677 Kipling Avenue Tenant Association
  •  Gobal Mailwaganam, Managing Director, Municipal Affairs & Housing and Operations  CAPREIT

The evening provided a platform for the celebration of Toronto’s new Zone as well as a discussion about the next steps in rolling out the RAC Zone on a large scale.

For coverage of the event see:

– “Changes coming to business and social services for apartment towers“, Graeme Stewart’s interview on Metro Morning

– “Towering Ambitions, article by Globe and Mail

– “Zoning changes give new life to Toronto’s ‘apartment neighborhoods’: Hume“,  article by Toronto Star

For more information on RAC zoning, visit http://www.raczone.ca

Hamilton‘s Durand Built Heritage Inventory project paper has been published by the ISPRS

In 2013, ERA worked with the City of Hamilton on updating their Downtown Built Heritage Inventory (DBHI) project that reviewed 789 properties of architectural and historical value in an effort to understand the built heritage resources within the downtown core and how they contribute to Hamilton’s character. Survey and inventory methodology was designed to apply to the remaining 6000 properties in the city’s inventory and incorporated the use of historic context statements that aide in identifying properties that contribute to the unique qualities and character of a neighbourhood. The inventory has informed funding programs, provided context for designations and educated the public.

In a continuation of this process, Hamilton City Council recently approved ERA’s recommendations for the Durand Neighbourhood Inventory. The Durand neighbourhood is one of four original neighbourhoods included in the City’s 1833 incorporation, known for the depth and diversity of its population and heritage architecture. The innovation at the root of the project is a database the firm developed to sit at the core of all processes – it stores and links all key inventory information in the cloud, making it accessible throughout the project. Its capabilities facilitated survey work in the field using a tablet, data crunching in the office, and the production of rich visuals that helped describe our findings.

Using our database, the collected historical and survey information integrated seamlessly with a geographic information system (GIS) dataset in order to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage and present spatial and geographic data. The end goal of the project was to provide recommendations for protecting heritage resources and managing growth within a changing urban context. The digital workflow allowed us to efficiently and thoughtfully survey the 1000+ properties within the study area, and leverage the database to analyze themes, trends and historical evidence. The final staff report, informed by our Durand Neighbourhood Inventory, was passed by Hamilton City Council on June 14, 2017 and included the addition of 736 addresses to the City’s Heritage Register, and 52 candidates to Heritage Staff’s designation work plan.

ERA project ambassadors Victoria Angel, Mikael Sydor and Angela Garvey have written a paper on the project’s digital workflow, which they presented at the CIPA International Biennial Symposium in Ottawa this fall. The International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing has recently published their paper.

Link to Hamilton City Council recommendations: https://www.hamilton.ca/city-planning/heritage-properties/hamilton-built-heritage-inventory-process

Link to CIPA International Biennial Symposium: http://www.cipaottawa.org/

For access to the published paper, click here.

Heritage Toronto 2017 Award Nominations and Great Architectural Heritage Bus Tour

The 2017 Heritage Toronto award nominations are now listed on the organization’s website. ERA is pleased to share that the firm is represented through three projects in the following categories:

Public History Award
Howard Street House Move
Creators:
David Dworkind, Filmmaker and Timelapse
Devin Lund, Timelapse

Producers:
Rafi Younger, Lanterra Developments Ltd.
Scott Weir, ERA Architects

William Greer Architectural Conservation & Craftsmanship
The Broadview Hotel
Building owner:
Streetcar Developments

Architectural firm:
ERA Architects Inc.

Heritage contractor:
Phoenix Restoration Inc.

Hotel X – Stanley Barracks
Building owner:
Library Hotel Collection

Architectural firm:
ERA Architects Inc.

Craftspeople:
Clifford Restoration Limited

The winners will be announced during the 43rd annual awards ceremony to be held on Monday, October 23rd at The Carlu from 5:30pm onwards. Tickets are currently on sale here.

As an additional point of interest, Heritage Toronto has invited ERA‘s Andrew Pruss to assist them in delivering an exciting day of heritage building exploration through their Great Architectural Bus Tour, set to take place on September 9th from 10:00am – 3:00pm. The tour begins at 10-12 Market Street and will feature a selection of past Heritage Toronto Architectural Conservation and Craftsmanship Award recipients, including ERA projects: Don Jail, Imperial Plaza and the Distillery District.

Tickets are currently on sale here.

Kensington Market Lofts Presents a Gateway of Colour to the Neighbourhood

Kensington Market is one of the most culturally diverse neighbourhoods in Toronto, with a long history of fostering an organic, eclectic mix of sights, sounds and tastes within the context of a relatively low density, residential building stock.

Situated within this thriving cultural hub, ERA is working with Kensington Market Lofts on a long-term multi-stage revitalization of the local condominium buildings. The current project involves the rehabilitation of the building’s prominent east facade where moisture infiltration has begun to threaten the existing steel structure through penetration of the Terracotta brick façade.

The project team, in collaboration with the condo board determined that the installation of a wall-mounted public art piece would embody the rich textures and inclusivity of the neighbourhood, creating a ‘gateway’ to the cultural heritage landscape of the market while protecting the remediated underlying masonry.

Prominent Toronto artist and building resident An Te Liu developed the colour pattern of the panels with the intent of depicting an aesthetic that reflects the neighbourhood’s historic diversity. The distribution of the colours in the final pattern was drawn from an analysis of the percentage of colours present in the world’s national flags.

The significance of the approach is that the material sits comfortably within its bohemian context. It was important to pursue a strategy that did not feel out of place with the vibrant coloured awnings and shops spilling out onto the street. The project has embodied its physical location, facing one of Toronto’s most important thoroughfares, to provide a landmark that will invite people into the market at one of its primary entrances.

 While not a tower renewal project, there are several aspects that have been informative for tower renewal endeavours. This has included:

  • Detailed thinking about construction sequencing without displacing residents.
  • Instituting a best practice approach to recladding of existing assemblies that takes into account long term durability, fire protection, improved insulation, and continuity of vapour barriers.
  • Showing how an initially functional imperative can be leveraged to provide a design approach with additional meaning for the residents and the community.

To access the recent Globe and mail article on this project by David LeBlanc, click here.

 

The Broadview Hotel Opens its Doors to the Public

Since it first opened as Dingman’s Hall in 1891, the Broadview Hotel has been a landmark east of the downtown in the Riverside neighbourhood. Originally a venue for public meetings and commercial businesses, it first opened as a hotel in 1908. With the recent renewal, it has once again become a community hub for events and the hotel will host many new visitors to the area: we are pleased to announce that the building has its public opening on July 27, 2017.

Although the original architect is unknown, the building’s architecture is in the same style as Toronto’s Old City Hall, with unique and ornate exterior terracotta panels depicting animals and allegorical figures. The twenty-one individually sculpted panels are probably the most distinctive features of the building, fabricated with the same quality materials and craftsmanship that defined the city’s 19th century construction.

The repair of the historic building, and the contemporary glass addition achieve a balance that’s a welcome contribution to the evolution of this neighbourhood, and the newly created restaurants, hotel and rooftop bar and terrace reanimate this key corner site. It seems appropriate that the Broadview Hotel is at the intersection of two 24 hour streetcar lines.

The project was led by Streetcar Developments with ERA Architects, Atkins+VanGroll Engineers and Design Agency.

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

Link to Streetcar’s website, for more event information: https://streetcar.ca/

(photos: Marcus Mitanis)

The Lost Craft of Tuck Pointing

Pointing, repointing, tuck pointing, ribbon pointing, flush pointing, there are many techniques and they are all different. Tuck pointing is a style of jointing that was predominantly used on English brickwork from the late seventeen century and it continued in popular use through the early 20th century. Done properly, it is the most highly skilled of all pointing finishes and gives the illusion of finely pointed gauged brickwork on principal facades. It helped give the impression of quality to buildings constructed of damaged or irregular bricks. When laid in the normal manner of the day, such bricks produced walls with wide joints of irregular and uneven pattern which appear the sum of their constituent parts rather than as a coherent surface or plane. In the late 17th century the problem was avoided by using soft, rubbed bricks which could then be laid with thin, straight joints, however such work was costly. Tuck pointing was a less expensive alternative which seems to have been particularly popular for use on terraced housing up to the late 19th century. One of the most famous terraced houses in the British empire was tuck pointed: 10 Downing Street. While the technique is no longer in prominent use, knowledge of it is needed to repair those buildings which remain.

The effect is achieved by filling joints with a base mortar which has been coloured to match the surrounding brickwork. Where necessary, it covers the rounded or damaged brick edges in order to finish flush with the wall face. Over this is a narrow ribbon of fine, vernally white or cream coloured pointing material of well-sifted lime mixed with fine silica sand. This is skillfully applied or ‘tucked’ onto the regular grooved centres of the prepared joints and precisely trimmed to size.

Walking through neighbourhoods such as Cabbagetown, lower Rosedale and Parkdale, you still see the remnants of original tuck pointing on old brick buildings. This was a prominent aesthetic element throughout the city. However, it can be difficult to determine whether an historic building had been tuck pointed originally, mainly because of the sand blasting practice in recent decades.The abrasion of the sand on the surface removes paint and staining, but also often erodes the surface of the brick, mortar, and adjacent materials, including the tuck pointing ribbon if present, effectively removing any evidence of the brick building being tuck pointed.

Such a specimen can be seen at 62-64 Charles Street, where recent conservation work has restored the tuck pointed building to its former glory, under the expert hand of Hunt Heritage. This is the largest application of the process that ERA has been involved with and it’s an exemplar for bringing this lost craft back to the city.

Launching the RAC Zone

 

 

Property owners, entrepreneurs, community members, academics and city builders will gather at York University in celebration of Toronto’s newest zone: the Residential Apartment Commercial (RAC) (www.raczone.ca). Moderated by Graeme Stewart, Principal of ERA and the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal, this event hosted by the City of Toronto will centre discussions on the zone’s implementation as well as its economic and social opportunities.

Topics will touch on:

  • Where does the zone apply?
  • What new things can be done there?
  • Why is this a great idea?
  • How does RAC zoning make it easier to implement sensible changes?
  • Who can benefit from these changes?

And Panelists will include:

  • Jennifer Keesmaat, Executive Director and Chief Planner City Planning, City of Toronto
  • Jason Thorne, General Manager Planning and Economic Development, City of Hamilton
  • Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health, City of Toronto
  • Doug Saunders, Author and Journalist
  • Maurine Campbell, Coordinator, 2667/2677 Kipling Avenue Tenant Association
  • Gobal Mailwaganam, Managing Director, Municipal Affairs & Housing and Operations CAPREIT

 

The RAC Zone was initiated through a long term collaboration between a group of partners including the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal, United Way Toronto & York Region, Toronto Public Health and the tower Renewal Office at the City of Toronto. Approval of the RAC zone ushers in a new era for communities within Toronto to emerge as a more healthy, resilient and vibrant places.
For more coverage on the RAC Zone, check out the CBC’s article “How a zoning bylaw could transform 500 apartment sites across the city”.
Illustrations by Daniel Rotsztain

ULD London – Graeme Stewart Showcases Toronto at London institution’s 15th Anniversary event

This June ERA’s Graeme Stewart showcased Toronto at the Urban Design London 15th Anniversary event. Hosted at London City Hall, the event brought together speakers from London, Paris, New York, Toronto and Auckland, outlining advances in city building, urban design thinking and public policy as these cities grapple with the opportunities and challenges of 21st Century urbanism. The event was moderated by Esther Kurland, UDL’s director.

Speakers included:

London: Patricia Brown, Director, Central

Toronto: Graeme Stewart Principal, ERA Architects, Director, Centre for Urban Growth & Renewal

Paris: Paul Lecroart Senior Urban Planner, Paris Regional Planning Agency

Auckland: George Weeks Senior Urban Designer, Auckland Council

New York: Sky Duncan, Global Designing Cities Director, NACTO

For more information about Urban Design London, visit urbandesignlondon.com.

Refreshing Allan Gardens

The Friends of Allan Gardens (FOAG) are leading efforts to ensure that this historic public garden remains relevant and integrated into its ever-evolving surrounds. ERA’s Tatum Taylor, who also sits on FOAG’s Board of Directors, has published an article in the Summer/Parks issue of Spacing Magazine that describes the process for renewal. In her words:

‘…For decades, Allan Gardens has struggled to maintain its identity and integrity within Toronto’s rapidly evolving downtown core. The diversity of its uses sets it apart within the City’s parks system, but also imposes competing demands on its aging infrastructure. The newly released Allan Gardens Refresh, produced by the Friends of Allan Gardens (FOAG) in collaboration with the City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department, envisions a future for the park that evokes its former grandeur. In keeping with Allan Gardens’ traditions of horticulture innovation and social activism, the Refresh initiative is an inventive approach to planning, stewardship, and revitalization – shaking up the existing model of master planning for Toronto’s parks…’

To read the article in its entirety, please pick up a copy of Spacing Magazine online or at your local newsstand outlet.

To learn more about the Allan Gardens Refresh – a vision document produced by FOAG in partnership with the City of Toronto Parks, Forestry & Recreation Division – visit friendsofallangardens.ca

Allan Gardens feature image courtesy of Brent Wagler.
Workshop image curtesy of ERA Architects.
Spacing cover image courtesy of spacing magazine.