ERA Architects

Head Start

After a prolonged workterm at ERA, Jordan Molnar is headed back to Dalhousie to begin his M.Arch thesis. Before shipping off, he gave a Friday presentation and recruited feedback on his initial research – involving preliminary studies of an under-utilized commercial block in downtown Brampton. This sparked an interesting discussion, centering primarily on the questioned validity of the classic Main Street commercial typology in relation to the distributed urban point/field mesh that is the Golden Horseshoe area. Best of luck back in academia, and we look forward to the final project!

The Holiday Spirit

ERA celebrated the season with an insiders tour of the Distillery District (an active project in the office since 1995), and an obligatory stop at the Mill St Brewery, followed by a wonderful dinner party at the (perfectly historic) Campbell House.

Thanks go to curator Liz Driver and planner David Vallee, our gracious hosts; it was a great way to kick off the holiday season!

PS: It was all a highly dignified affair up until a certain hour, after which, it devolved (as it always must).  The 2am tequila was not really necessary.

Whatever happens after midnight demands to remain anonymous.

Jerome Markson: Houses and Housing 1955-1980

Legendary architect Jerome Markson came in and gave a presentation on the residential projects produced over the first third of his career – from 1955 up until 1980.

He showcased a number of experimental single family housing designs, and his transition to multi-family and social housing projects. Alexandra Park featured heavily, and we were all eager to learn more about the lessons contained in the project that can be applied to our understanding of our collective urban environment.


1957 _ Housing for Stanrock Mines Ltd.


1959 _ Winston Avenue Residence


1960 _ Saintfield Residence


1962 _ Montressor Drive Residence


1965 _ Alexandra Park Public Housing


1968 _ Folkstone Crescent Stacked Housing


1971 _ Unionville Stacked Housing

In Mr. Markson’s own words, from 1981:

In all of our work we constantly attempt to produce a solution which respects a site, street or ambiance worth respecting, to reflect a client’s needs with warmth and humanness and to recognize that no single solution or architectural approach handles all problems. While striving for innovative design and the use of appropriate construction techniques and materials, we keep an open attitude necessary for creative solutions.

We are very grateful to Mr. Markson for sharing his time and insights with us, and look forward to part two…

All scans above from Jerome Markson Architects: Twenty Five Years of Work.

Oleleshwa Primary School, Ewaso Ngiro, Kenya

This week’s Wednesday Design Forum looked at a project being developed outside of the office. Alec Ring, an assistant architect here at ERA, and his colleague Karl Sarkis presented a design they have been developing for Oleleshua Primary School in Ewaso Ngiro, Kenya. The funding to build the school is through Harambee 4 Humanity a small not for profit organization set up in the town of Gravenhurst, Ontario in order to finance this project.


Traditional Maasai Enkaji (house) near the school grounds.


Some of the students who will attend the new primary school.

The presentation looked at the culture of the Maasai people, their traditionally nomadic way of life, their architecture, and a proposal for the new school and school grounds. Feedback on the design portion of the presentation focused on two key areas of the project, the first being the constructability of the proposed classrooms, and the second being how to respectfully integrate the new site plan and building into the existing and lost cultural heritage of the Maasai people.


Site terrain.


The primary school project is to be realized over several phases and is to include four classrooms, a kitchen, an administration building, a library, 6 pit latrines, and teacher housing. The site itself is a seven acre parcel of land which will also include areas for agricultural and physical education. The first phase will include the two classrooms, two pit latrines and conversion of an existing building into a kitchen.


Preliminary proposal for cluster of classrooms.

+1

Huge congratulations go out to Brendan and Andrea on the birth of their new baby daughter: Quinn!