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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