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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