ERA Architects

Culture of Outports: Burlington Freelab

ERA’s Culture of Outports project, through the Centre for Urban Growth + Renewal, and sponsored by TD Canada Trust, is now taking shape in Newfoundland.

The team includes Principals-in-charge Michael McClelland and Philip Evans, Project Architect Will MacIvor, and Assistant Laila MacDougall-Milne, as well as six students from Dalhousie University’s School of Architecture in their design build project in the outport of Burlington, on the Baie Verte peninsula. Continue reading…

On the grill

ERA celebrated the summer season with grilled food and cold drinks at the firm’s annual BBQ yesterday. Once again Andrew generously provided his back yard for the festivities, which always seem to take place on the hottest day of the summer. All the new ERA-babies made for a really wonderful family atmosphere this year.

More photos after the jump..

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New Orleans

New Orleans is emerging from a long process of rebuilding following the devastation brought on by the hurricanes of 2005.  And while much of this gorgeous city has regained its vitality, 6 years later some families have still fallen between the cracks of of insurance payments and official funding, struggling to repair or rebuild their homes.  The non-profit community based St. Bernard Project was started in 2006 to organize volunteer labour under skilled supervision to undertake the reconstruction of individual houses and whole neighbourhoods.

On his vacation last month in New Orleans, Scott W and his partner Ron Reaman volunteered with St. Bernard Project and installed drywall as part of the reconstruction of what had been a badly damaged house.  Because of its location in Gentilly, a low lying neighbourhood, the bungalow was raised one storey to allow any possible future flooding to leave the main floor of the house untouched, much like the 19th century pattern of building in this region.  Scott and Ron were part of a volunteer team from the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) organized by President and CEO of White Spot Hospitality, and Chairman of the Board of CRFA Warren Erhart and his wife Marie.

Scott also managed to eat a great deal of fabulous Louisiana seafood while he was there, which has recently been declared safe by the FDA following intensive testing related to last year’s oil spill and cleanup.

On mapping

With any exercise in mapping there are a whole series of interesting Borges-like adventures that reveal themselves.  There is the story or stories the map-writer wishes to tell, but to the map-reader there are countless other stories which may appear as unpredictable discoveries beyond the intentional.

As a child, playing the game of ‘connect the dots’ is an early exploration in map reading.   One carefully draws the lines from dot to dot until the little rhinoceros reveals itself, and there is a moment of discovery, recognition and pleasure.   With every map this same moment of discovery lies in wait – and the more complex the map, the greater the pleasure there is in reading it.

In reading any map there are the representational issues between the map and the place on the ground; the real place to which the map corresponds.   The map is a selective recording of some specific data.  The reader must connect the dots between the data, and find the correspondence that tells her more about that place.  Beyond the simplest of storylines the reader’s own experience and knowledge of the place and knowledge of the data can provide a rich, nuanced, synergistic reading.

A map can also be like an architectural drawing – which is a series of visual instructions, or a map for action – in that it can be a delineation of something that does not yet exist.  And in this case, can the reader visualize the impact and understand the potential should this mapped fictional place slip into the real world?

Mapping of places is an act of the imagination, both for the map-maker and the map-reader.  Wellbeing Toronto presents new and different data from what we have seen before and has the potential to reveal patterns of the city that had previously been unreadable.  With this mapping tool the City of Toronto are opening up room for discussion leading to multiple readings, multiple interpretations, and the potential for action.

The image above overlays the 1894 and 2010 built-form maps of Toronto, produced by ERA.