ERA Architects

King Edward Hotel in the Globe & Mail

Dave Leblanc had an article on the redevelopment of the King Edward Hotel in yesterdays Globe and Mail.

The hotel – ventilation, colonnades and all – opened in May 1903 and was advertised as “absolutely fire-proof” (built of steel and concrete) to calm guests fearful of staying on upper floors. It had everything: Women-only areas for solo female travelers, lavish murals, a men’s barber shop, the Palm Room, the Oak Room bar and, of course, the exquisite Rotunda. In 1921, the 18-storey “skyscraper” addition, designed by a Buffalo, N.Y. and a London, Ontario firm, was tacked onto the east side of the hotel; until being eclipsed by the Royal York in 1929, the King Eddy was the largest hotel in the country. The Crystal Ballroom on the 18th floor set a new standard, and celebrities from Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks to Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor partied there.

Three floors of the hotel building which had previously been commercial space are  being redeveloped as private condominiums.  ERA are the architects-in-charge of the project, with The Design Agency handling interior design.

Rendering by The Design Agency.

Read the full article “Old King Eddy shows how to mix business and history” from the May 27, 2010, edition of the Globe and Mail here.

Open Doors for Doors Open

Gallery 1313 in Parkdale is hosting an architecturally-themed exhibition to tie in with this year’s Doors Open festival.  The show is curated by Toronto Star urban issues and architecture correspondent Christopher Hume.  In the gallery’s own words;

this exhibition gives artists a unique opportunity to explore the influences of local architecture in their artistic practice. The exhibition pays homage to [Doors Open] and allows the public an opportunity to make a further connection with city architecture by viewing the creative process that has inspired these artists.

ERA’s William MacIvor will have a few pieces on show, including collage-based adaptive reuse studies of the oft-neglected R.L. Hearn Generating Station. Be sure and drop in while you’re out exploring the built environment this weekend.

Open Doors
An Exhibition Inspired by Doors Open
May 26th – June 9th 2010
Reception May 27th 6:30-10pm

Gallery 1313
1313 Queen St. West
Gallery Hours Wed – Sun 1-6pm

Above graphic by ERA Architects.

National Urban Design Awards

The Tower Renewal Opportunities Book was awarded a Special Jury Award in the 2010 National Urban Design Awards, presented by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Planners and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. Congratulations to the project team including ERA Architects Inc., the John H. Daniels faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto, and the City of Toronto.

For more information, visit: 2010 National Urban Design Awards

Toronto the Good invades Harbourfront Centre!

ERA is hosting its annual Toronto the Good party with Spacing Magazine, the Toronto Society of Architects, Ben McNally Books, and David Vallee.

The evening will be filled with events including access to all the exhibitions, gallery and building tours and talks, announcement of the TSA poster design competition winner, Harbourfront’s AUTHORS reading series, book signings, music, video installations, food and refreshments and more!

Wednesday May 26, 2010

Doors Open 6pm
Free Admission to the Party
Catered Event with Cash Bar

York Quay Centre at
Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay West

For details and itinerary for the night, please visit:

Toronto the Good Invades Harbourfront Centre! – ERA Office Blog

Toronto the Good –

Toronto the Good 2010

ERA is hosting its annual Toronto the Good party with Spacing Magazine, the Toronto Society of Architects, the National Film Board, Ben McNally books, and David Vallee.

The Toronto the Good 2010 party will be held concurrently with the Authors at Harbourfront series, that includes presentations from:

Margaret and Phil Goodfellow
A Guidebook to Contemporary Modern Architecture in Toronto

Shawn Micallef
Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto

NFB Filmmaker-in-residence Katerina Cizek
The Thousandth Tower web documentary

Wednesday May 26, 2010 _ 6pm to midnight

free admission to the party _ catering by David Vallee _ cash bar

York Quay Centre at
Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay West

For more information please visit:

Save the date – further details to follow!

Art of the Danforth, on the Roxy

The first ever Art of the Danforth art crawl is in full swing, including an exhibition along on the hoarding at the Roxy (Formerly Allenby) Theatre construction site.  ERA has been working on the restoration and adaptive re-use of the Allenby Theatre for ESSO, including the conversion of the lobby space of the old theatre into a new Tim Hortons.

The Allenby Theatre opened in 1935 and was designed by the well-known Toronto architectural firm of Kaplan and Sprachman.  This firm, established in 1921, was responsible for the design of between seventy and eighty percent of all movie theatres in Canada between the years 1921 and 1950.  At the time it stood as a landmark building on Danforth Avenue because of its level of detailing and scale in relation to the adjacent commercial properties.

Work is scheduled to be complete by Summer 2010, including restoration of the glass (previously vitrolite) ground floor exterior lobby and ticket booth. The Art Moderne masonry street façade and windows are complete. The Allenby Theatre’s new life as a Tim Hortons is sure to aid in the revival of the Eastern Danforth Avenue neighborhood, encouraging development and community activity along this stretch of the street.

Pictured above, the Pigeon Paradigm Project ‘celebrates the cultural and natural history of this area of Toronto and the vibrant life that now exists along Danforth Avenue’, according to artists Real Eguchi & Barbara Flanagan-Eguchi. More images are available on Flickr.

Brickworks in the news again

Today’s Globe and Mail features an article by Angela Kryhul about the ongoing development at the Evergreen Brick Works; Brick Works fired up for the future, including an informative time-line of the historic evolution of the site.

From the article:

William Taylor was digging holes for fence posts one day when he came across a type of clay that he suspected would make a high-quality brick. His hunch proved correct and in 1889 William and his brothers John and George started a quarry and factory that, for nearly 100 years, churned out bricks and kiln-fired clay products used to build Canadian landmarks such as the Ontario Legislature and Osgoode Hall.

But the once bustling Don Valley Brick Works was abandoned in 1984. The jumble of dilapidated brick buildings and metal sheds sat idle for close to three decades until Evergreen – a national charity devoted to greening communities – approached the City of Toronto with a proposal to reinvent the site as a showplace for urban sustainability.

That transformation is now taking shape as the Evergreen Brick Works is readied for a September grand opening. Forest, meadow and wetlands occupy the northern part of the 16-hectare property, which was once the clay and shale quarry. To the south is the cluster of 16 heritage-designated buildings, 12 of which are being redeveloped as part of the $55-million project.

As Heritage Architect for the project, ERA continues to work diligently behind the scenes to ensure that the built history and cultural heritage of the site are celebrated through the final development.

In a related aside, ERA is also working on the redevelopment and rehabilitation of the John F. Taylor house, built by the son of John Taylor Sr.  Later additions to the original Taylor House will be demolished, and the existing site will be landscaped and improved to make the site more usable, and to enhance views of the house from Broadview Avenue.

photograph courtesy of the Toronto Archives.