ERA Architects

Repurposed junk: A chicken coop

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk”
–Thomas Edison.

One thing that attracted us to rural living was a sort of environmental frugality: You try to figure out how to accomplish what needs doing with what you’ve managed to save.  (This notion applies to the practice of heritage conservation as well.)  Hoarding is admittedly easier here than it was in the city: Now we have the garage, the barn, the shed, the back of the lot….  But the idea of turning waste into usefulness (central to the practice of farming as we see it) percolates into all manner of rural living, and provides a close and satisfying connection to our practice, whether working in the garden, tending to our beehive, or building a chicken coop.

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Rum Cake: An ERA bake-off report

Like architecture offices around the globe, ERA Architects occasionally indulges in a bake-off. In these highly competitive events, contestants’ work is assessed and ranked by blind ballot, and the winner is proffered the prestigious Golden Whisk (pictured above, bottom right).

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Certificate of Merit for Urban Design Plans

We are pleased to announce that the Toronto Avenues and Mid-Rise Buildings Study has been awarded a 2012 National Urban Design Certificate of Merit.

This study, conducted for the City of Toronto, was led by Brook McIlroy and included significant contributions from Quadrangle Architects, the Urban Marketing Collaborative, and ERA Architects. The document identifies policy-based opportunities to re-urbanize Toronto’s avenues in the pursuit of well-designed, vibrant neighbourhoods.

The National Urban Design Awards are administered by Architecture Canada RAIC, the Canadian Institute of Planners, and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. Thanks to all of the above and congratulations to our colleagues.

Planting for an elevated bioswale in Scarborough

On a recent pleasant day in June, ERA joined green roof expert Atom Cianfarani and a group of community youth to plant a nursery in preparation for the future construction of an unusual green-roof shade structure at the East Scarborough Storefront.

Over the past year, we have been working with the Storefront, Sustainable.TO, ArchiTEXT, various volunteers, and youth participants on an exciting project in the tower neighbourhood of Kingston-Galloway-Orton Park. Soon we begin construction of a dynamic new environment including a kitchen garden and patio, a bee and butterfly garden, a small orchard, and a unique green-roof pavilion or “Sky-o-swale.”

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Detroit’s new “Creative Ventures” announced

Recently the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3) announced the 2012/13 round of its Creative Ventures project. DC3, a partnership between Business Leaders for Michigan and the College for Creative Studies, seeks to enhance the collective potential of Detroit’s creative community and grow its creative economy. This kind of initiative is key to the increasing role that design and applied arts are playing in the rebirth of the city.

Since 2011, ERA’s Scott Weir has been a mentor with DC3 and is actively working to build bridges between the creative communities of Toronto and Detroit. Stay tuned for future developments in this and other projects in Detroit-Windsor.