ERA Architects

Concrete Ideas

The book Concrete Ideas: Material to Shape a City was launched in January, 2012.
Edited by Pina Petricone, the book considers new approaches to concrete architecture by exploring a variety of new technologies and possibilities for the material. First introduced by Pina’s article in Concrete Toronto, the book is a compilation of ideas, articles and interviews assembled over the past several years.

The volume includes exploratory design work by ERA’s Jessie Grebenc, as well as a pair of articles by Graeme Stewart focused on Tower Renewal; one examining the state of concrete tower blocks internationally and the other exploring their potential architectural and urban futures in the Toronto context.

Congratulations to Pina and the publication team on a wonderful and beautiful book.

Read about Concrete Ideas in a John Bentley Mays review in the Globe and Mail here.

Concrete Ideas: Material to Shape a City will be available for order online at soon.

For more on concrete, Concrete Toronto can be found here.


ERA is pleased to announce that associate Jan Kubanek has relocated back to Montreal and has established Kubanek Architecte, enabling the potential collaboration of ERA and Kubanek Architecte for projects located in Quebec. Prior to joining the ERA team in 2006, Jan lived in Montreal where he worked in architectural and construction settings, so he’s excited to be back home and to reengage with the city.

For more information, click here.

In addition to this new venture, Jan continues to work with ERA on all his Ontario-based projects.

Remembrance Day @ the Brampton Cenotaph

Brampton Memorial Cenotaph - November 11, 2011

For the past year, ERA has been working on the restoration of one of Brampton’s most cherished monuments – the War Memorial Cenotaph, which stands beside Brampton City Hall. Restoration was completed earlier this month, just in time for this year’s Remembrance Day service. Originally erected in 1928 to honour the sacrifice of Brampton’s fallen in the Great War (1914-1918), the monument has been an iconic part of the city’s Remembrance Day services ever since.

After 83 years however, the Cenotaph is showing its wrinkles. Last year ERA began a condition assessment on the monument and found several signs of deterioration – including rust staining, environmental staining, cracked/damaged pointing, unmatched and damaged sealant. This September the conservation of the Cenotaph began.

The City of Brampton held its Remembrance Day 2011 parade and service at the freshly restored Cenotaph site on Friday. ERA has worked with the city to develop a management plan for the continued preservation of the monument.

Image source: Toronto Archives Fonds 1266, item 14065.

On July 4th, 1928, thousands of residents from the area gathered on the reclaimed land of the old Etobicoke Creek to witness the unveiling of the Cenotaph by Lord Willingdon, then Governor General of Canada. With the help of proper heritage conservation, 83 years from now the Brampton Cenotaph will continue to remind people of the symbols expressed in the granite monument’s roman ornamentation: Service, Sacrifice, and Victory.

Four awards for ERA at CAHP Awards ceremony

ERA were the recipient of four awards at this year’s Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals award ceremony in Victoria. Joey took the trip out west to receive the awards on behalf of the office. The awards are as follows;

Preservation of a heritage building, award of merit Sharon Temple

Craftsmanship award of merit Allenby Theatre

Conservation of a heritage landscape award of merit Victoria Memorial Square Park & Monument

Heritage planning award Tower Neighbourhood Renewal In the Greater Golden Horseshoe

Lang Tannery wins not one but two awards!

ERA was awarded the City of Kitchener Mike Wagner Heritage Award, in the rehabilitation & Adaptive Reuse category for the Lang Tannery Project, shared with Cadan, RAW Design and WalterFedy.

Lang Tannery was also awarded a Canadian Urban Institute Brownie Award for the Best Overall Project.

see more about the project here

Gothenburg Renewal

ERA has been invited to participate in a parallel commission for the neighbourhood renewal of Selma Lagerlöfs Torg in Gothenburg Sweden. Sharing many similarities to Toronto’s Inner suburbs, the neighbourhood renewal program will incorporate many of the strategies developed in Toronto for Tower Renewal…

ERA Wins Toronto Urban Design Award

ERA was awarded a 2011 Toronto Urban Design Award in the Visions and Master Plans category for the Avenues & Mid-Rise Building Study. Congratulation to team lead Brook McIlroy Planning + Urban Design/Pace Architects and project consultants Quadrangle Architects Limited, and Urban Marketing Collaborative.

More information related to this project can be found here.

ERA and Dalhousie Complete Newfoundland Free Lab

As part of the Culture of Outports project, ERA Architects taught an intensive design/build course with six Dalhousie University School of Architecture students in the small outport of Burlington, Newfoundland.

A filled-in pond is currently serving as the only public site on Burlington’s waterfront, allowing for camping and social gathering. The studio course engaged with the local community to formalize this site, with the aim of creating a permanent asset for the city and a new gathering place for the people of Burlington. For more, please see the Free Lab Project Page. To follow the project as it took shape, please see the Culture of Outports tumblr.

The Red Mason at the Brickworks

ERA Architects, in cooperation with Historic Restoration Inc., is hosting one and two day workshops for Heritage Professionals and Masons, titled Lime Mortars for Traditionally Constructed Brickwork, lead by Dr. Gerard Lynch.

Dr. Lynch is an internationally acclaimed and highly respected historic brickwork consultant, master bricklayer, educator and author, considered the world’s leading authority of gauge brickwork, and affectionately known by the historic term, ‘The Red Mason.’

1 Day Courses for Heritage Professionals will be taking place on Tuesday August 9 OR Wednesday August 10

2 Day Courses for Masons – Please note that we have added another session for Monday August 15th and Tuesday August 16th.

To download the the information sheet, please click here.

We have extended the registration deadline to this Friday August 5th, 2011.

For more information contact Sonya Tytor at 419 963 4497 x 224.

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.

ERA and the Goethe-Institut

Ecology.Design.Synergy Presentation & Discussion

Reclaiming the City: The Architect/Planner as Eco-Urbanist
Stephan Lanz in conversation with Graeme Stewart

The series “Ecology.Design.Synergy: Green Architecture and New Ideas from Germany and Canada“ is presented by the Goethe-Institut Toronto in cooperation with OCAD University and the MaRS Centre.

At the presentation this evening, Graeme will be discussing on-going international research and local applications of Tower Neighbourhood Renewal. For more information, visit Geothe-Institut Toronto.

April 7, 2011. 6pm
OCAD University, Auditorium, Room 190,
100 McCaul Street, Toronto, ON
Admission free
+1 416 593 5257 x 205

Graeme and Stephan Lanz at Goethe Institute event at OCAD, April 7th, 2011

Toronto the Good

The 2011 Toronto the Good party was a great success! For more details, please visit and stay tuned to our ERA Office Blog for event photos and discussions of the issues raised at the Tower Neighbourhood Renewal symposium.

ERA started the Toronto the Good parties to bring together a broad cross-section of Torontonians who are interested in the city and in city building. We started these parties with Spacing Magazine and [murmur], and they have continued to be involved each year. Other partners have included Heritage Toronto, the Carpenters Union, the Toronto Society of Architects, the Distillery District, Harbourfront Centre, and Cities Centre.

The first Toronto the Good took place at the Distillery District, but there was one at Fort York, when the Mayor shot off a cannon. The 2011 invasion of Hart House was a new venture to celebrate the University of Toronto’s urban research centre.

2010 Governor General Awards

The 2010 Governor General Awards Ceremony – Monday January 31st in Ottawa.

Shim-Sutcliffe Architects and ERA Architects will be receiving a medal in architecture for the Corkin Gallery which is located in Toronto’s Distillery District.

Shim-Sutcliffe were the design architects and ERA, the heritage architect for this project.

To view the full list of the Governor General’s Medals in Architecture 2010 Recipients please click on RAIC

The scale of the Hearn

As recent public attention has focused on heritage structures under threat – a result of the destruction of the ex-Empress Hotel – we thought it would be of value to illustrate exactly how big the R.L. Hearn Generating Station actually is.

Originally built in 1951 as a coal-burning power plant, the Hearn is, quite simply, of a gargantuan scale – 240m long and over 80m wide.

The Hearn is directly connected to the Lake Ontario waterfront, within a ten minute drive of Union Station, and will soon sit square in the heart of the Portlands residential neighbourhood that is being developed as phase two of the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Plan.

Diagrams provided by William MacIvor

Alois Riegl and the Modern Cult of the Monument

Will and Michael teamed up to present a very brief introduction to the writings of Alois Riegl at Friday Social Hour this week.

Alois Riegl (1858-1905) was an Austrian art-historian and philosopher. In 1903 he published (in German) a seminal article titled The Modern Cult of the Monument: Its Character and Its Origin, outlining the competing values to be considered when approaching the preservation and/or conservation of historic structures. It is important to note that this article was only translated into English in 1982, in support of the criticism of the appropriation of historical forms and motifs in what has become known as the ‘postmodernist’ phase of architecture.

Continue reading…

Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal

ERA Architects and planningAlliance launch the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal (CUG+R).

CUG+R is a non-profit research organization formed in 2009 to conduct cross-disciplinary research to further knowledge about the creation and renewal of sustainable urban, suburban and rural environments in Canada and elsewhere. CUG+R’s objective is to develop research to enhance public policy and promote private initiatives that foster City Regions and local communities that are: well planned and designed, economically vibrant, socially diverse, culturally integrated and environmentally sustainable.

CUG+R officially launched in December 2010 with the release of Tower Neighbourhood Renewal in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, a report jointly prepared by CUG+R’s founding partners, ERA Architects and planningAlliance, and the launch of will showcase research work the founding firms have undertaken together and individually, as well as those of partners, collaborators and, increasingly, work unique to CUG+R as it continues to expand and evolve.

CUG+R also works in collaboration with the Cities Centre at the University of Toronto; an umbrella organization that combines researchers from the University’s urban focused faculties to engage in projects that affect positive change in the Toronto region and urban Canada.

North York Modernist Architecture Forum on Tuesday November 9th

ERA with Heritage Toronto, the City of Toronto and the North York Community Preservation Panel will be hosting an evening of presentations and discussion on the former city’s Modernist stock. The evening will be hosted by Heritage Toronto executive director Karen Carter with presentations by the Globe and Mail’s Dave LeBlanc, Heritage Toronto’s Gary Miedema, the City of Toronto’s Leo deSorcy, North York Community Preservation Panel Chair Geoff Kettel and ERA’s Michael McClelland.

The Forum will be held on Tuesday November 9 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm in the Council Chamber at the North York Civic Centre at 5100 Yonge Street.

ERA will be releasing a document updating the entire inventory of 1997’s North York’s Modernist Architecture. This newly printed document will complement last year’s reprinting and will be available at the event.

Prince Edward County office

ERA Architects are proud to announce the opening of their Prince Edward County office located in beautiful Picton.

Lindsay Reid and Scott Bailey will be working from this location.

Prince Edward County

ERA Architects are proud to announce the opening of their Prince Edward County office, located in beautiful Picton. (The above photo is not the office, but the barn! Yes, the office has a barn. A wonderful old barn.)

Architects Lindsay Reid and Scott Bailey will be working from this location. Lindsay is a licensed architect with more than ten years of experience in the field of heritage conservation. She has a special interest in the conservation of our cultural institutions as well as the protection and appreciation of our modern heritage. As a LEED accredited professional she revisits traditional methods and technologies as a means to inform sustainable solutions.

Scott is a licensed architect with more than ten years experience in all stages of building analysis, planning, design, contract documentation, field review and project administration for renovation projects and new buildings. He has worked on projects in both the private and public sectors, often working to marry historic buildings with new construction.

Currently the PEC office are researching the restoration of a number of local historic trains, including the H.C.W. Steam Train in Wakefield, Quebec, and the Spirit of Sir John A Train in Kingston.