ERA Architects

Joseph Bloor: A Celebration to Honour a Prominent City-Builder

On Thursday, August 31st from 12:00 – 1:00pm at 117 Bloor Street East, Heritage Toronto will be hosting a plaque unveiling to commemorate Joseph Bloor. His surname harkens images of the city’s main cross-town artery and the path along which half of the TTC’s Line 2 traverses. What many do not know is that Joseph Bloor was originally from Staffordshire, England. He lived from 1789–1862, immigrated to Toronto in 1819 and is credited with founding the village of Yorkville.

ERA was hired to clean, conserve and erect the plaque commissioned in his honour by members and the congregation of the Bloor Methodist Church. After assessing its condition, it was determined that the original plaque – which is trapezoidal in shape and made of white marble – would be too fragile to leave exposed to the elements over time, so a replica was made out of concrete poured into a silicon mold. It has been finished with a faux patina that matches the original stone and sealed for protection.

The replica is mounted under glass and forms part of a permanent interpretative display at St. Andrews United Church. It is supported at the top and bottom with a continuous 1/4” stainless steel bracket attached to an armature.

Due to the fragility and historic value of the original plaque, it is in permanent storage at the Toronto Heritage Artifact Archives.

For more information on the plaque unveiling and to register for the event please visit: http://heritagetoronto.org/event/josephbloorplaque_aug31/

Photo credit: ERA Architects

Update: RAC Zone Launch Event

On Wednesday, July 19th, leaders in the development of Toronto’s Residential Apartment Commercial (RAC) Zoning by-law gathered at York University to celebrate and explore challenges and next steps in empowering communities to utilize Toronto’s newest zone. The esteemed panel had representation from property owners, entrepreneurs, community members, academics and city builders with Graeme Stewart, Principal at ERA Architect and the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal as the Panel Moderator.

Panelists included:

  • Michael Mizzi Director, Zoning and Secretary-Treasurer Committee of Adjustment, City Planning Division at the City of Toronto
  •  Jason Thorne, General Manager Planning and Economic Development, City of Hamilton
  •  Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health, City of Toronto
  •  Doug Saunders, Author, and Journalist
  •  Maurine Campbell, Coordinator, 2667/2677 Kipling Avenue Tenant Association
  •  Gobal Mailwaganam, Managing Director, Municipal Affairs & Housing and Operations  CAPREIT

The evening provided a platform for the celebration of Toronto’s new Zone as well as a discussion about the next steps in rolling out the RAC Zone on a large scale.

For coverage of the event see:

– “Changes coming to business and social services for apartment towers“, Graeme Stewart’s interview on Metro Morning

– “Towering Ambitions, article by Globe and Mail

– “Zoning changes give new life to Toronto’s ‘apartment neighborhoods’: Hume“,  article by Toronto Star

For more information on RAC zoning, visit http://www.raczone.ca

Hamilton‘s Durand Built Heritage Inventory project paper has been published by the ISPRS

In 2013, ERA worked with the City of Hamilton on updating their Downtown Built Heritage Inventory (DBHI) project that reviewed 789 properties of architectural and historical value in an effort to understand the built heritage resources within the downtown core and how they contribute to Hamilton’s character. Survey and inventory methodology was designed to apply to the remaining 6000 properties in the city’s inventory and incorporated the use of historic context statements that aide in identifying properties that contribute to the unique qualities and character of a neighbourhood. The inventory has informed funding programs, provided context for designations and educated the public.

In a continuation of this process, Hamilton City Council recently approved ERA’s recommendations for the Durand Neighbourhood Inventory. The Durand neighbourhood is one of four original neighbourhoods included in the City’s 1833 incorporation, known for the depth and diversity of its population and heritage architecture. The innovation at the root of the project is a database the firm developed to sit at the core of all processes – it stores and links all key inventory information in the cloud, making it accessible throughout the project. Its capabilities facilitated survey work in the field using a tablet, data crunching in the office, and the production of rich visuals that helped describe our findings.

Using our database, the collected historical and survey information integrated seamlessly with a geographic information system (GIS) dataset in order to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage and present spatial and geographic data. The end goal of the project was to provide recommendations for protecting heritage resources and managing growth within a changing urban context. The digital workflow allowed us to efficiently and thoughtfully survey the 1000+ properties within the study area, and leverage the database to analyze themes, trends and historical evidence. The final staff report, informed by our Durand Neighbourhood Inventory, was passed by Hamilton City Council on June 14, 2017 and included the addition of 736 addresses to the City’s Heritage Register, and 52 candidates to Heritage Staff’s designation work plan.

ERA project ambassadors Victoria Angel, Mikael Sydor and Angela Garvey have written a paper on the project’s digital workflow, which they presented at the CIPA International Biennial Symposium in Ottawa this fall. The International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing has recently published their paper.

Link to Hamilton City Council recommendations: https://www.hamilton.ca/city-planning/heritage-properties/hamilton-built-heritage-inventory-process

Link to CIPA International Biennial Symposium: http://www.cipaottawa.org/

For access to the published paper, click here.

Heritage Toronto 2017 Award Nominations and Great Architectural Heritage Bus Tour

The 2017 Heritage Toronto award nominations are now listed on the organization’s website. ERA is pleased to share that the firm is represented through three projects in the following categories:

Public History Award
Howard Street House Move
Creators:
David Dworkind, Filmmaker and Timelapse
Devin Lund, Timelapse

Producers:
Rafi Younger, Lanterra Developments Ltd.
Scott Weir, ERA Architects

William Greer Architectural Conservation & Craftsmanship
The Broadview Hotel
Building owner:
Streetcar Developments

Architectural firm:
ERA Architects Inc.

Heritage contractor:
Phoenix Restoration Inc.

Hotel X – Stanley Barracks
Building owner:
Library Hotel Collection

Architectural firm:
ERA Architects Inc.

Craftspeople:
Clifford Restoration Limited

The winners will be announced during the 43rd annual awards ceremony to be held on Monday, October 23rd at The Carlu from 5:30pm onwards. Tickets are currently on sale here.

As an additional point of interest, Heritage Toronto has invited ERA‘s Andrew Pruss to assist them in delivering an exciting day of heritage building exploration through their Great Architectural Bus Tour, set to take place on September 9th from 10:00am – 3:00pm. The tour begins at 10-12 Market Street and will feature a selection of past Heritage Toronto Architectural Conservation and Craftsmanship Award recipients, including ERA projects: Don Jail, Imperial Plaza and the Distillery District.

Tickets are currently on sale here.

Kensington Market Lofts Presents a Gateway of Colour to the Neighbourhood

Kensington Market is one of the most culturally diverse neighbourhoods in Toronto, with a long history of fostering an organic, eclectic mix of sights, sounds and tastes within the context of a relatively low density, residential building stock.

Situated within this thriving cultural hub, ERA is working with Kensington Market Lofts on a long-term multi-stage revitalization of the local condominium buildings. The current project involves the rehabilitation of the building’s prominent east facade where moisture infiltration has begun to threaten the existing steel structure through penetration of the Terracotta brick façade.

The project team, in collaboration with the condo board determined that the installation of a wall-mounted public art piece would embody the rich textures and inclusivity of the neighbourhood, creating a ‘gateway’ to the cultural heritage landscape of the market while protecting the remediated underlying masonry.

Prominent Toronto artist and building resident An Te Liu developed the colour pattern of the panels with the intent of depicting an aesthetic that reflects the neighbourhood’s historic diversity. The distribution of the colours in the final pattern was drawn from an analysis of the percentage of colours present in the world’s national flags.

The significance of the approach is that the material sits comfortably within its bohemian context. It was important to pursue a strategy that did not feel out of place with the vibrant coloured awnings and shops spilling out onto the street. The project has embodied its physical location, facing one of Toronto’s most important thoroughfares, to provide a landmark that will invite people into the market at one of its primary entrances.

 While not a tower renewal project, there are several aspects that have been informative for tower renewal endeavours. This has included:

  • Detailed thinking about construction sequencing without displacing residents.
  • Instituting a best practice approach to recladding of existing assemblies that takes into account long term durability, fire protection, improved insulation, and continuity of vapour barriers.
  • Showing how an initially functional imperative can be leveraged to provide a design approach with additional meaning for the residents and the community.

To access the recent Globe and mail article on this project by David LeBlanc, click here.