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The View from Bonavista

How do historic building practices contribute to a region’s cultural identity? What possibilities are created by the integration of new industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings into a townscape known for its heritage resources? How could a community support or encourage good quality design of new buildings? These are a few of the design challenges that residents of Bonavista, Newfoundland have provided as a starting point for this year’s Culture of Outports project.

Culture of Outports will be bringing a group of Ryerson University architectural students to Bonavista in August to tackle these challenges and work to develop solutions over the course of one week. Their sketches, designs, and models will be displayed in the Wandering Pavilion, a project spearheaded by St. John’s architect Emily Campbell. The Pavilion is a temporary structure composed of a kit of parts, which “wanders” from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, changing its function depending on the context. In Bonavista, it will serve to showcase the work of the student team, as well as the work of several local artists.

The Culture of Outports team is in Bonavista now, hosting our first community conversation and absorbing the beauty and unique cultural heritage of the town.

As in all Culture of Outports projects, we will be working with the community to understand and express the unique quality of place which fosters and sustains a livable community.

Follow us here: https://www.instagram.com/cultureofoutports/

CUG+R at Urban Design London

Cities internationally are exploring the challenges and opportunities of modern tower blocks and 21st century urban regeneration.

Next week Graeme Stewart and Ya’el Santopinto of ERA Architects and the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal will take part in a series of conversations focused on urban regeneration at Urban Design London (UDL) and Oxford University.  UDL is a non profit organization that connects design practitioners and provides up to date information about policy, research, and best practice.

They will have an opportunity to present the vision of Tower Renewal across the Province of Ontario and learn about other approaches being taken in cities around the world.

Discussions will include experts from multiple disciplines, and topics will range from estate regeneration to urban narratives as well as a reflection of the evolving approaches to public space over time.

Stay tuned for the outcomes that arise from this exciting international discussion and see how Ontario’s tower renewal experience sits alongside others.

 

Evergreen Canada Launches An Online Exhibit: Complete Communities

Evergreen Canada has launched an online gallery entitled ‘Complete Communities‘ that showcases several projects within and surrounding the GTA that provide affordable homes, fresh food, clean water, local services, green spaces and great recreation to their residents. Accessibility is made available through walking, biking and public transit.

The Ridgeway Community Court is one of these projects.

Ridgeway has a reputation in the city as being a disadvantaged neighbourhood, but residents who live in the community know Ridgeway as a great place full caring people and strong values. The space it now occupies was once a parking lot before residents rallied together to fundraise for a multi-use sports facility. The court design, and now management, has been community-led. It was an excellent opportunity for the local youth,  to enhance their skills, their drive, and their accomplishments. They worked very hard to achieve this dream, and they relish opportunities to showcase their community.

The youth know that they can¹t change the past but they can change the future. Through the ‘Complete Communities’ initiative the youth of the community have a platform to tell the GTA what it really means to call Ridgeway home.

Other Ridgeway community partners include MLSE, the City of Mississauga, the Mississauga West Rotary Club, and the Canadian Tire Jumpstart program.

Link to promotional video: https://www.evergreen.ca/completecommunities/2/8

 

Ontario Heritage Conference Panel Highlights the Success of Recent Projects

How does project planning, coordination and stakeholder engagement feed into the execution of a Lieutenant Governor Ontario Heritage Award winning architectural conservation project? ERA Principal Andrew Pruss will discuss the successes and challenges of the restoration of The Broadview Hotel project in ‘Getting It Right: The Formula for Heritage Conservation’, one of several sessions at the Ontario Heritage Conference this weekend taking place in Ottawa.

The panel discussion will be introduced by the Ontario Heritage Trust and will also feature the following speakers/projects:

Samah Othman and Mayor Hughes – African Methodist Episcopal Church (Township of Oro-Medonte)

Alexander Temporale – Harding Waterfront Estate / Holcim Centre (Mississauga)

Click here for more information on the event.

(photos: Marcus Mitanis)

Ridgeway Community Courts Celebrates the Spirit of Collaboration with Award Win

Ridgeway Community Courts has recently been recognized by the City of Mississauga as a project that is improving the quality of life for local residents. On May 24th, 2017 ERA Architects was presented with the Community Partnership Award as acknowledgement of the inspirational partnership between the municipality and firm.

The project is the realization of a talented group of local youth, who transformed an under-utilized parking lot and sidewalk boulevard into a vibrant multi-sport court and community space for drop-in recreational programming. The youth-led management of court operations has created an opportunity for skills-building and leadership development.

ERA led the collaborative design process, which worked closely with the community to bring this much-needed resource to the Ridgeway neighbourhood of northwest Mississauga, together with the major project partners, MLSE Foundation, The Rotary Club, Erin Mills Youth Centre and the City of Mississauga. A unique partnership was created, with the project driven by ground-up advocacy. The result was a public space that is truly reflective of the community’s vision.

The award was designed by Mississauga-based artist/designer Alex Anagnostou.

Court images courtesy of MLSE and ERA Architects.

 

Albert Jackson’s Story: local students document a history of social injustice spurring a network of community partnerships

In 2013, students at Clinton Public School produced a book on Albert Jackson, the first African Canadian postal worker in Toronto. Jackson was born into slavery in Delaware and escaped to Canada via the Underground Railroad only to face racial discrimination in his new home. He ultimately became the city’s first black letter carrier and was one of the few people of colour to serve as a civil servant in 19th-century Canada.

Following ERA’s collaboration on Welcome to Blackhurst Street as part of the Mirvish Village redevelopment, A Different Booklist approached ERA to help extend the life and reach of the students’ book on Jackson by supplementing the text and artwork with archival material. ERA ended up doing the graphic layout, too.

Jackson’s story is the subject of increasing recognition. In 2012, a laneway in Harbord Village was named after Jackson who owned several properties in the neighbourhood and, in 2013, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers recognized his legacy with a commemorative poster. On July 21st, Heritage Toronto will unveil a plaque in his honour.

Numerous community members and institutions generously offered information, photographs, and other support for the book. A Different Publisher and ERA would like to thank the Jackson Family, the Ontario Black History Society, Karolyn Smardz Frost, Patrick Crean, Janet Walters at Toronto’s First Post Office Museum, Chris Bateman at Heritage Toronto, Sandra Foster, Ron Fainfair, and LaShawn Murray.

The Story of Albert Jackson was recently launched at Mayworks Festival, an annual event that promotes worker rights for decent wages, healthy working conditions, and quality of life through the support of diverse artists and their creations.

ERA is proud to contribute to the dissemination of Jackson’s story through a growing network of community partnerships.

At the May 3rd book launch with Clinton Street Public School teachers Gini Dickie and Pamela Jamieson, A Different Publisher’s Managing Editor Liberty Hacala, and Itah Sadu of A Different Booklist.


Event Photography courtesy of Itah Sadu, A Different Booklist.
Book layout images courtesy of ERA Architects.

Michael McClelland on the Panel: Discussions on Art and Nature in Public Space

Art, nature and public engagement intersect throughout the city in many ways and ERA is in the thick of discussions leading to interesting, inspirational projects.

Last Saturday Michael McClelland participated in a panel featuring the local urbanite’s quest for green space and reprieve from sprawl, as depicted in the City of Toronto commissioned photographs by Robert Burley for the exhibition An Enduring Wilderness. These images celebrate Toronto’s urban wilderness as spaces of celebration and reward, entwined in a strategy for ‘maintaining and communicating their ecological and civic function’. The show was curated by Carla Garnet, is on until May 26th and open to the public at John B. Aird Gallery, 900 Bay Street as part of the Contact Photography Festival.

On Friday, May 19th Michael is sitting on a second panel as part of the public art: new ways of thinking & working symposium, at York University from May 18 – 20th. The discussion is entitled ‘Artists and City Building’, and will introduce ideas to assist artists in participating more fully in city building through a series of responses to questions touching on the nature of the word ‘public’, expectations related to such work and how to challenge contemporary art practices through commissioning processes. Recommendations will feed into OCAD University’s study on public art in Toronto.

 

ERA Principal Scott Weir Walks Designer Tommy Smythe Through a Few Current Conservation Projects

Scott Weir was invited to tour designer Tommy Smythe of The Marilyn Denis Show through some of ERA’s current conservation projects.

The first project shown is the conservation of houses at 62-64 Charles St (project team: Andrew Pruss, Daniel Lewis and Julie Tyndorf) which is being undertaken in collaboration with aA, for Cresford Developments. Hunt Heritage is the heritage contractor.

The second is the moving and repair of 76 Howard as part of the long-term heritage conservation of a neighbourhood bounded by Sherbourne, Howard, Parliament and Bloor (project team: Daniel Lewis, Jeff Hayes, Nicky Bruun-Meyer, Gill Haley and Scott Weir) with aA for Lanterra Developments. Hunt Heritage is the heritage contractor. Video of the building move by David Dworkind.

Link to related blog post:  http://www.eraarch.ca/2016/76-howard-streets-moving-day/

The third project is the adaptive reuse and incorporation of a Jarvis Street mansion into Casey House (project team: Luke Denison, Mikael Sydor, Sanford Riley, Jessie Grebenc, Michael McClelland, Edwin Rowse and Scott Weir) for Casey House Toronto, with Hariri Pontarini Architects Clifford Masonry Ltd is the heritage contractor.

Thanks to the Marillyn Dennis show, and Tommy Smythe and his team for profiling heritage work happening in the city!

Link to segment: http://www.marilyn.ca/…/s…/Daily/May2017/05_04_2017/Segment3

These projects will be featured in greater depth on the ERA portfolio page of the website in the weeks to come.

Start Small: Placemaking & Cultural Economies

In collaboration with small, ERA is proud to present Start Small: Placemaking & Cultural Economies a talk with Halifax-area cultural economic drivers moderated by Philip Evans, Founder of small and Principal at ERA Architects.

Join us for this free, public event taking place from 6-7pm, on May 24th at Arts Bar + Projects at 1873 Granville Street, Halifax. 

Across Canada, communities are shaped by their unique cultural landscapes. Small-scale, place-based businesses and organizations are essential to this culture, and to the evolution and adaptation of these communities. small is an organization that works to support this evolution by bringing together cultural economic drivers; ­those visionary entrepreneurs, organizers and agitators who leverage the unique place-based cultural assets in their communities to build social, cultural and economic strength. From Inuvik to Bonavista, we’re hosting a series of events to talk about their careers, challenges, and the tools needed to succeed.

To kick-off ICOMOS Canada’s annual conference ‘Connection to Place’, we’re in Halifax asking:
How do we tell the stories of our communities?
What is the role of local cultural economies in these stories?
How do we support these cultural economies?

Come chat with us! The event is free and there will be a cash bar. Please register here: https://startsmallplacemaking.eventbrite.ca

It’s Symposium Season!

The arrival of spring heralds opportunities to get out and enjoy engaging discourse on topics near and dear to the hearts of heritage conservationists. As a result, ERA has been branching out and sharing our knowledge with audiences in Toronto and Ottawa over the past weekend, participating in two exciting initiatives.

First up, the Toronto branch of the Architecture Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) presented ‘150+’ at the Ontario Science Centre on Saturday. A distinguished roster of speakers presented topics that centered on two architectural periods that helped shape today’s Canadian identity. The morning session focused on the Confederation Era, was moderated by Catherine Nasmith and featured: Michael McClelland, Madeleine McDowell, Sharon Vattay, Carolyn King. The afternoon session focused on the Centennial Era, was moderated by Alex Bozikovic and featured: Eberhard Zeidler, Michael McClelland, David Leonard and Marco Polo.

For his part, Michael McClelland’s first presentation topic was on the exhibition ‘Found Toronto’, one of ERA’s first large-scale public displays. It was presented as part of the ‘Building On History’ exhibit at Harbourfront Centre in 2009. The second presentation, titled ‘Everyday Modern Architecture’ featured a portfolio of modernist buildings that inhabit Toronto’s various environs. He invited ideas on how we can apply heritage principles to buildings that are incorporated in to the historical fabric of the city.

Secondly, Carleton University’s School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies hosted a Heritage Conservation Symposium entitled ‘Dynamic + Mitigating Landscapes: Re-visioning Heritage Conservation. ERA Associate, Lindsay Reid presented ‘Location, Location, (Re)location? Moving Heritage Resources in the Age of Ecological Bias’. She traced the history of building relocation and looked to provincial examples to better understand how attitudes and policies have changed over time, and what factors were taken into decisions to move buildings.

All archival images sourced from the City of Toronto Archives.