ERA Architects

Vancouver Matters Wins Design Exchange Award

Vancouver Matters received an award in the Visual Communications category at this week’s Design Exchange Awards event. The book was also recently awarded at the Alcuin Society’s 27th Annual Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada.

Photo by Jason Vanderhill

Don Valley Brick Works

Wednesday morning’s design forum took a slightly different approach this week. The ERA team went on a field trip down to the Don Valley Brick Works, a site ERA has been working on since 2002, to meet up with the George Brown Masonry students. ERA has been performing site review to the masonry students who are in the second year of their Building Restoration Technician Program.

Professor John Jensen, an experienced heritage mason, provided us with a hands-on demonstration of various types of mortar batching including: lime putty and sand; hydrated lime, sand and water; and a pre-bagged Dubois mix which has hydraulic lime. Each mortar has it’s own unique characteristics, and we were able to explore each in turn. Once we had the mortar batched, everyone took a turn at pointing a mock-up wall.

The hands-on experience gave everyone a taste at the work involved in providing specific pointing profiles and techniques, as well a better understanding of the tools, techniques and craft of fine masonry.

First time buyer, beware.

Round One: Get It Livable…
One of ERA’s own goes through her first home purchase and improvements. In a little alley near Dundas and Trinity Bellwoods, a row of 1870’s houses have been minimally touched and altered. With a simple construction of balloon framing and one layer of bricks; the house is modest and functional; it is also bound on three sides with no access except from the narrow front door. First steps towards simply being able to move in have been undertaken: this includes fixing a very leaky old roof, ripping out a moldy bathroom and painting every possible interior surface. Next steps towards renovations, maintenance, and an addition could mean real estate disaster or top dollar ~alas~ stay tuned for the next installment!

Window and door openings


UC at the University of Toronto. Building designed by Cumberland and Storm, 1856-7.

This past Friday Scott gave an internal presentation about the different types of window and door openings in masonry construction, how to write about and describe each element correctly, and how these elements can help to locate a building within a specific historical period.

The presentation also included a brief tour of some architectural wonders in his hometown of Detroit, MI – many of which are currently for sale at rock-bottom prices.



More images from Scott’s extensive catalogue of architectural photographs are available on his Flickr page.