ERA Architects

Wellbeing Toronto

The City of Toronto has just launched ‘Wellbeing Toronto‘, which, in their own words, is:

a new web-based measurement and visualization tool that helps evaluate community wellbeing across the city’s 140 neighbourhoods. Using geographic information software, Wellbeing Toronto allows you to select, combine and weight the significance of a number of indicators that monitor neighbourhood wellness. The results appear instantly on easy to read maps, tables and graphs. This free tool supports decision making and seeks to engage citizens and businesses in understanding the challenges and opportunities of creating and maintaining healthy neighbourhoods.

What an incredibly powerful tool. The City should be roundly and loudly celebrated for making this data available, which will allow residents to draw powerful associations and build convincing arguments for targeted change.

ERA wins a PUG Award!

ERA, in association with Rounthwaite Dick Hadley Architects, Shoalts and Zaback Architects recieved the Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse and Heritage Restoration, in the commercial category.

The PUG Awards, this year in their 7th edition, are the people’s choice awards for architecture in Toronto.

For more on the Bloor Gladstone Library, please click here.

Solstice at the Brickworks

DSAI held their annual Solstice party at the Evergreen Brickworks last night. The weather on the longest day of the year was beautiful, and the venue was perfect. The party gets bonus points for a Jeanne Beker appearance.

Learning from Europe

Over the past several years, the Tower Renewal team at ERA and CUG+R have conducted a series of study tours throughout the European Union, visiting numerous cities and neighbourhoods, and meeting with local experts to learn about best practices in tower refurbishment and neighbourhood revitalization. Many of these findings have been compiled in the report Tower Neighbourhood Renewal in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, and its accompanying International Best Practice Research Highlight.

This past weekend, The Toronto Star featured highlights of this research as part of an ongoing series looking into the future opportunities of Toronto Community Housing. Featured in the article are selected best practices found throughout the EU related to social housing. These include:

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New Bloor

Marcus Gee has an article in the Globe today discussing the public realm improvements to the ‘Mink Mile’ along Bloor:

The sidewalks have been widened by four feet to accommodate the bustling street life of Canada’s ritziest retail strip. The tired concrete of the old sidewalks has been replaced by Quebec-quarried granite paving stones of dark “Atlantic grey.” The 134 new London Plane trees are planted in specially designed soil cells to ease them through the stresses of urban life. Stone benches and specially designed new bike rings punctuate the avenue. On a late spring afternoon, shoppers and gawkers stream along the street, passing the gilded storefronts of Hermès, Tiffany and Holt Renfrew. Despite all the bad press, the project is an unmistakable success – proof that some city-building exercises are worth the wait.

A huge congratulations to our neighbours Brown + Storey, who are responsible for the design.  The attention to detail in all elements of the project is remarkable – we love the weathering steel tree-ring and service covers, all aligned with the joints in the pavers.

Building a ship in a bottle

The exterior masonry restoration work at MLG is progressing well, and will be complete by the end of the summer. Work has begun on the restoration of the historic Carlton marquee, which will be a wonderful public face to this adaptive reuse project.

Inside, the floor slabs are almost all poured, and the internal spaces are really starting to shape up… Loblaws is set to open late this year, and the Ryerson spaces on the new floor levels above will open early spring 2012.

Auchmar Estate

Since 2006, ERA has been engaged in a series of conservation and repair projects at Auchmar Estate in Hamilton, Ontario.  Most recently we have been examining and recording the finishes on both the exterior of the house and on the interior walls of the main front hall.

Working with specialist paint analysts, we have identified two main decorative schemes on the interior plaster.  The oldest scheme is a faux ashlar stone finish dated to the building’s origin in the 1850s.  The second scheme is a golden-coloured marbling application probably dating from the 1880s.  Uncovering these schemes gives us a better understanding of the historic timeline of the house and gives insight into the lives and values of the people who once lived there.

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Out East

Philip and Will recently took a trip out to Halifax, to give a public lecture at the Dalhousie School of Architecture and to introduce the Culture of Outports Free Lab project to the students and faculty. Continue reading…