ERA Architects

The Millionth Tower

ERA (in association with the Centre for Urban Growth + Renewal) has been working with the National Film Board on their documentary project HighRise, which looks at the experience of living in post war concrete towers around the world.

Currently, ERA, CUG+R, and the National Film Board are working with the Kipling Towers community in north Etobicoke to produce the forthcoming web documentary The Millionth Tower; a follow up to the powerful web documentary, The 1000th Tower.

While The 1000th Tower brings the viewer inside the lives of six tower residents, sharing stories of their present experience, The Millionth Tower will showcase the bold ideas that the residents have in re-imagining what their neighbourhood could become in the future. ERA and CUG+R have been helping to inspire the community to dream big, and providing design guidance to help communicate their ideas. Look for The Millionth Tower to be launched in 2011.

Allstream Centre _ restoration photographs


A few very quick photographs from the restoration of the former Automotive Building north lobby. This part of the project included the removal of a number of unsympathetic modern additions, and a significant regrading of the original floor slope to accommodate contemporary universal accessibility requirements.  Extensive metal work and finishes were also replicated or restored (including the amazing pendant light fixtures seen in the bottom-most photograph), and new windows installed replicating the original design and colour.

More images after the jump.

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John Street Square _ Design Competition Finalists

The five finalists for the John Street Square Design Ideas Competition have been revealed on-line.  It is now up to you to vote for your favorite redesign of this important but underutilized public space at the strategic intersection of King and John Streets. Voting closes on January 9th, 2011, but until then you’re allowed to vote once/day. Vote early and vote often!

ERA developed the idea for the John Street Cultural Corridor in a 2003 cultural mapping study produced for the City of Toronto, entitled ‘Canada’s Urban Waterfront; Waterfront Culture and Heritage Infrastructure Plan‘.

The image above is from finalist #4, titled “Entertain Me”.
 

Download North York’s Modernist Architecture Revisited

Download the full 2010 edition of North York’s Modernist Architecture Revisited in PDF format.  A hard-copy of this booklet was made available at the November 9th, 2010 North York Modernist Architecture Forum.

North York’s Modernist Architecture Revisited is an extension of and complements ERA’s 2009 reprinting of the original 1997 report and inventory.  It includes current photographs of over 200 buildings from the original inventory plus additional notable buildings built between 1945 and 1981 in North York.  Also included is a proposed heritage policy strategy, biographies of several prominent architects, and an essay on North York’s modernist beginnings.

Please note that North York’s Modernist Architecture Revisited includes over 300 photographs, and the PDF is quite large.  At 32mb, the file may take some time to download.

Hidden Architectural Gems

As part of our exploration of the County and surrounding areas, we recently had the opportunity to visit a few true architectural gems – Otto Roger’s artist studio by architect Siamak Hariri and the Bata Residence (in Batawa) by architect John B. Parkin.

The Bata residence (currently being documented by Carleton University students) is a remarkable and well preserved example of Parkin’s residential work.  Located up on the hill, the residence boats an incredible view overlooking the Town of Batawa.  And though it is modest in size, it is clear that every detail was considered.  A few memorable attributes include the family shoe closet (but of course), the bathroom colours, and the custom designed dining table.

The artist studio by Hariri was another fantastic discovery.  Here we found a building, again modest and finely articulated, quietly nestled into the woods.  But what was breath-taking was how the intimacy with nature extended into the studio with the light and the glow of the autumn coloured leaves.

Both these visits, unique and inspiring in their own ways, confirmed to me there is indeed a special ‘sense of place’ here.  And that it is exemplified not just in our loyalist building stock, but also in our more recent architectural contributions.

 

North York Modernist Architecture Forum on Tuesday November 9th

ERA with Heritage Toronto, the City of Toronto and the North York Community Preservation Panel will be hosting an evening of presentations and discussion on the former city’s Modernist stock. The evening will be hosted by Heritage Toronto executive director Karen Carter with presentations by the Globe and Mail’s Dave LeBlanc, Heritage Toronto’s Gary Miedema, the City of Toronto’s Leo deSorcy, North York Community Preservation Panel Chair Geoff Kettel and ERA’s Michael McClelland.

The Forum will be held on Tuesday November 9 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm in the Council Chamber at the North York Civic Centre at 5100 Yonge Street.

ERA will be releasing a document updating the entire inventory of 1997’s North York’s Modernist Architecture. This newly printed document will complement last year’s reprinting and will be available at the event.