ERA Architects

ERA’s Graeme Stewart and Ya’el Santopinto named to the RAIC’s College of Fellows

Headshots of Graeme and Ya'el

ERA is thrilled to announce that Graeme Stewart and Ya’el Santopinto have been named to the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC)’s College of Fellows. This well-deserved honour is in recognition of outstanding achievement in architecture, and distinguished service to the profession and community.

From the RAIC’s citations:

Graeme’s career to date has largely focused on a single issue facing Canadian cities: deterioration of mid-century apartment building communities resulting from decades of neglect, policy interference, and socio-economic marginalization. Graeme is arguably the single reason “Tower Renewal” is a term familiar to Canadian architects.

Graeme’s contributions to Tower Renewal began with groundbreaking research while still a student and continued through professional research, policy development and implementation in partnership with CMHC, the Government of Ontario, various Canadian municipalities, NGOs, Canadian Universities and international partners. He led the creation of Toronto’s first “Tower Renewal Zoning” (Residential Apartment Commercial / RAC), published the Mayor’s Tower Renewal Opportunities book and through ERA and CUG+R continues the advancement of the initiative through advocacy and demonstration projects for both public and private sector clients.

Santopinto is the Director of Research for the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal, a cross-disciplinary non-profit organization to improve liveability and sustainability across rural, suburban, and urban environments. In this role, she leads the Tower Renewal Partnership, an initiative to catalyze reinvestment and community-building in apartment tower neighbourhoods. Her work includes primary research and best practice development in housing renewal, ranging from energy retrofit standards to tenant rights and green financing.

As ERA’s lead Tower Renewal architect, Santopinto oversees complex, holistic, and resilient energy retrofits to convert postwar apartment towers into high-quality affordable housing, impacting thousands of households. She is Project Architect on the Ken Soble Tower, a Passive House (EnerPHit) retrofit of a 1967 affordable senior’s building in Hamilton. The tower was retrofitted to improve natural ventilation and thermal performance, and redesigned to provide aging in place. When complete, it will be the largest EnerPHit building in North America. Ya’el Santopinto is doing critical work in architectural research and design, as well as housing policy. Her focus could not be more timely and relevant in responding to contemporary social and environmental challenges.

Congratulations to Graeme and Ya’el on this national recognition of their work.

Read more about Graeme and Ya’el’s work at the links below:

The Ken Soble Tower transformation

Pandemic effect: Housing retrofits in Canadian Architect 

The Retrofit Economy: A Policy Roadmap to Renew Aging High-Rise Housing