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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