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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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 Magazineonline 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.
Is the practice of heritage conservation limited to conventional landmark structures, or, can it have a broader application in relation to social and economic sustainability across our built fabric?
These emerging practice issues were raised by Michael McClelland during a symposium at the 2015 Association for Preservation Technology International (APT) Conference in Kansas City, and have been developed in an article authored with Alexis Cohen and Christine Paglialunga in the Journal of Architectural Conservation.
The article explores emerging practice issues in heritage conservation through the comparison of two conservation projects in Toronto, both built in 1969: Mies van der Rohe’s Toronto Dominion (TD) Centre in the Financial District and a residential apartment tower by the Estonian-born Canadian architect, Uno Prii. It argues that by broadening both the cannon of heritage resources and approaches to conservation, heritage professionals have an opportunity to contribute solutions to global issues like climate change and social and economic inequality. If traditional distinctions between ‘highbrow’ and ‘low brow’ resources are revisited, a more expansive understanding of value can lead to better and more creative uses for our built heritage.
ERA is able to offer a limited number of free downloads of this article. If interested, please click here to obtain a copy.
Photo of 100 Spadina Ave. courtesy of ERA Architects.
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/
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 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.
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.