Tuck-pointing was developed by the English back in the late 17th century and was practiced all the way up to the early 20th century. Historic preservationist/educator Michael Shellenbarger states in a 1993 essay titled Tuck Pointing History and Confusion the correct definition of tuck-pointing (based on historical precedents) is:
…… a masonry jointing that uses mortar in two colours to simulate the appearance of narrow joints. The actual joint is disguised with a flush mortar tinted to appear similar to the colour of masonry units. A joint like groove (the tuck) is often cut into this flush joint. Then mortar of a contrasting colour is added onto the flush joint and into the groove and is shaped and trimmed into a narrow false joint, which usually projects slightly. This line gives the appearance of a narrow projecting jointing.
Completed properly, tuck-pointing is the most highly skilled of all pointing finishes. It creates the illusion of finely pointed gauged brickwork, enhancing the quality of appearance of buildings constructed of damaged or irregular bricks.
62 – 64 Charles Street East, an ERA project 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. The project was undertaken in the late summer of 2015 and completed in late spring of 2017.
As heritage consultants ERA strived to protect the value, significance and integrity of the heritage assets. The work required a full conservation scope on the semi-detached house, that included the rarely-seen craft of tuck-pointing for which National Trust (Aus) award-winning Tuck-pointer Antoni Pijaca was hired to share his expertise and the secrets of his trade.
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.
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.
As architects (and appreciators of all things historic) an office discussion regarding family heirlooms of tools, appliances, and other cool items (that predate most of our staff) has resulted in this great photo collection of household artifacts.
Brendan Stewart has a block and tackle handed down from his great grandfather..
…and a rocking chair that came from his great great grandparents that dates back at least 150 years.
Sydney Martin’s very old microwave. She even has a cookbook complete with a microwaved rack of lamb recipe.
Tatum Taylor’s grandfather’s set of architectural drafting tools.
Philip Evans has this bright red and yellow 1961 lawn mower.
Lindsay Reid has a set of tools in her workshop from her grandfather…
.. and a really cool foot measuring tool.
Scott Weir’s wooden boatbuilding tools, belonging to family member James Weir of Glasgow.
A 17th- 18th century Norwegian mangle board used to flatten linen is a family heirloom of Victoria Angel.
And the greatest of all, Edwin Rowse’s 95 year old toaster, equipped with a slice of fresh toast to prove it still works.
ERA’s Graeme Stewart and Sabina Ali of the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee are featured in a terrific new video by Spacing. The video, which also includes interviews with ERA’s Michael McClelland, is entitled “Powers of Towers,” and profiles the efforts of Graeme and Sabina to transform Toronto’s aging suburban high-rise neighbourhoods into livable communities that work. Graeme and Sabina were jointly awarded the 2014 Jane Jacobs Prize, also presented by Spacing magazine. Continue reading…
Recently PechaKucha selected a Graeme Stewart talk as a “Presentation of the Day.” We thought, What better reason to repost the presentation? It’s a great crash course in Tower Renewal, an interdisciplinary program that is reshaping how we think about Toronto’s post-war residential apartment tower neighbourhoods.
This 7-minute talk covers half a century of Toronto’s history, right up to some of the exciting new initiatives taking place in and around the city.
PechaKucha is a simple presentation genre where presenters speak about 20 images for 20 seconds each. The method was devised by Tokyo-based architects Klein-Dytham as a way to facilitate dialog and idea generation between architects, designers, and other creative thinkers.
This past November at Carleton University’s Forum Lecture Series, ERA’s Michael McClelland presented on how changing cultural values interact with how we practice architecture.
Seeking to expand the range of what we think of as architecture, Michael’s talk asks, What should architects do? According to him, they shouldn’t only make buildings, but conduct research, engage the public, study the world, respond to changing values, and… throw parties.
The NFB project A Short History of the Highrise recently won the “News and Documentary” category of the Emmy Awards. ERA and the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal (CUG+R) had the pleasure of working with director Kat Cizek on this project, which examines the current conditions and future potential of post-war high-rise living around the world. Continue reading…
Monocle recently profiled Toronto’s City Hall, designed by Finnish architect Viljo Revell, positioning it as the city’s most distinctive piece of architectural design. ERA’s Graeme Stewart is featured in the discussion of how the building began, and how it has evolved as a central moment in the urban and civic experience of Toronto.
This past weekend, the ERA Toronto office paid a visit to their Montreal counterpart. With the sun shining and 22 degree weather in September, the stage was set for a fun-filled weekend exploring Montreal. (Scroll down for the slide show.) Continue reading…
Video producer Vanessa Ireson has recently made an excellent short documentary about one of ERA’s favourite projects: Sharon Temple. The Temple was completed in 1832 by the Children of Peace, a group of former Quakers who, among other things, advocated for peace and democracy and created the first credit union in Canada. The building is a masterpiece in wood and a monument to a fascinating part of 19th century Canadian culture.
In the video, curator John McIntyre and ERAer Jan Kubanek introduce viewers to the history of the Temple and its design, as well as the recent restoration and preservation project led by ERA.
Many thanks to Vanessa Ireson, who produced the video through the generous support of Co-op TV at the Co-operators.
Last week the NFB’s Highrise: One Millionth Tower won a Canada Screen Award for “Original Program Produced for Digital Media, Non-Fiction.” ERA and the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal (CUG+R) had the pleasure of working with theNFB on this remarkable series, directed by Kat Cizek, which examines the current conditions and future potential of post-war high-rise living around the world. Continue reading…
Recently, ERAers Alana Young and Josh Thorpe took trips to investigate the fascinating city of Buffalo, New York. Less than two hours from Toronto by car, Buffalo is a city of major historical significance to the region and has some stunning work in planning and architecture. Continue reading…
This summer and fall, as part of Heritage Montreal’s Architectours program, ERA’s Jan Kubanek presented four walking tours of Silo 5, a monumental grain elevator complex at the mouth of the Lachine Canal in Old Montreal. Continue reading…
Crowd the Schoolhouse, a short film inspired by the evolution and regeneration of the Evergreen Brickworks site (a project in ERA’s portfolio), recently received two awards at the International Documentary Challenge. Each film must be 5 minutes long, filmed within the same five days at the beginning of March, and based on the theme of “cycles.” The entry by team Made-in-Toronto received the award for best writing and Best Use of Genre (Social Issue/Political). Congratulations!
On Tuesday, December 6th the National Film-Board is screening its collaborative documentary, One Millionth Tower. ERA will be at the event discussing its involvement in the documentary, along with representatives from the United Way, City of Toronto, NFB and the Mozilla Foundation.
All are welcome to attend the event, which will run from 6:00-8:00PM at the Gladstone Hotel.
This week Graeme Stewart discussed ERA’s ongoing work related to Tower Renewal and working with the NFB of their film documentary with the metro morning team. You can listen to his interview in full here.
The Millionth Tower web-based documentary has launched! This weekend the project was featured on the highly-respected Wired.com site, and is already making significant waves re-imagining the way emerging web-based technologies can help to tell highly personal stories in our increasingly connected world. We are all very proud to have been involved – please see the making-of mini-documentary embedded above, and be sure and go check out the interactive documentary..
In the 1950s and 60s, Toronto’s Bridle Path was not just an enclave of faux-châteaux, but an architectural hotbed for Toronto’s young modernists looking to execute designs for clients with large lots, and large budgets. Continue reading…
Inspired by this photograph of Irving Grossman’s Fogel Residence on TOBuilt, we went to the library and dug up a bit more information about this now-demolished modernist gem. Built in North York, Ontario, and completed in 1959, the Fogel Residence was a finalist for the Massey Medals in Architecture in 1961. Scanned photocopies from the August 1960 issue of Canadian Architect are presented below.
Edwin found this telling little graph in a supplement to Topos magazine. It clearly illustrates, using a range of international examples, how per-capita transport-related energy consumption reduces with increasing population densities. Interesting with reference to our previous studies on visualizing density, and with the on-going uncertainty surrounding the future of Transit City. The illustration accompanies an article by Udo Weilacher, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Industrial Landscapes at Technische Universitat Munchen titled Landscape must become the law – again.
Of the ‘descriptive coloured dots describing trends’ theme, this excerpt from the documentary The Joy of Stats, presented by Hans Rosling, is incredibly effective. The full, hour-long documentary is equally fascinating.
At the Design Forum this morning, Will presented four European precedents for the large-scale adaptive reuse of industrial structures.
1847 Coal Mine and Coke plant Zeche Zollverein in Essen, Germany. A UNESCO World Heritage Site. 2001. The site attracts a half-million visitors each year.
Winter skating along the former shipping channel at Zeche Zollverein in Essen, Germany.
Duisburg-Nord Landscape Park, Ruhr District, Germany. The former iron mill has been converted to a cultural and leisure park, and attracts over 700,000 visitors each year.
Originally built in 1901, the former industrial complex was transformed into a recreation landscape park in 1991.
NDSM, Amsterdam. 1999. Within this former shipyard to the north of the city, independent steel structures were built inside of the long warehouse building, and these empty voids were then leased to artists and designers who were able to construct their own studios.
The presentation concluded with a projection to one or two local sites of interest, a good discussion about the realistic potentials for these types of civic projects in our North American culture, and an identification of opportunities for further study.