ERA Architects

Eglinton’s Future: Public Workshops

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ERA Architects is proud to be part of a team that includes Brook McIlroy, planningAlliance, and Public Work, among others, in the planning and designing the forthcoming Eglinton Crosstown rapid transit corridor. Join us for the first rounds of public consultation February 19th, 26th, and 28th (see www.thecrosstown.ca for workshop details).

The largest transit investment in Toronto in a generation, the Crosstown will bring rapid transit along Eglinton from Scarborough to Etobicoke, and is the first phase of new transit investment throughout the city. ERA is examining Eglinton’s historical growth, its diverse neighbourhoods, its unique urban form, and how the corridor’s heritage can inform future growth and evolution.

For more information or to get involved, please see thecrosstown.ca or toronto.ca/eglinton/.

 

Fundraiser for Kenyan school a success

Recently, ERA Architects sponsored a silent auction and evening of drinks and hors d’oeuvres to raise funds for the continued construction of  Oleleshwa Primary School in Kenya. The January 2013 fundraiser garnered over $14,000, making the total raised-to-date over $50,000, not including labour and in-kind donations, which have also been significant.

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Community Art Project at the Riverdale Hub

Over the past few months, ERA has had the pleasure of working with the Riverdale Hub on a community revitalization strategy for the Gerrard Bazaar/Little India neighbourhood. The Riverdale Hub is an innovative model for community revitalization that integrates environmental sustainability and social enterprise in order to provide training for new Canadian women and create opportunities for local economic growth and investment. Continue reading…

Construction and river valley tour, East Scarborough

Photos: Holly Pagnacco

Progress on the East Scarborough Storefront’s (ESS) soon-to-be grapevine pergola is running on time. We have just completed some 50 trellis modules which will form the roof structure for the grapevines to grow on. The youth spent weeks building these modules and have become confident measuring and cutting wood, along with many other skills.

As part of this ongoing learning process, our youth landscapers recently presented on the transformations the community could expect at ESS, including the pergola and deck, which the team has been working on since early July. Participants were surprised and inspired to see the impressive projects community youth are working on.

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Construction begins at the Storefront

Over the past couple of years, ERA has been working with The East Scarborough Storefront (ESS) on the Community Design Initiative (CDI), where Scarborough youth are educated in architecture and design by mentors from ERA, Sustainable.TO, and ArchiTEXT. In the current phase, we are working to bring more shade and plant life to the site. This will include several garden and landscape features, a pergola structure for grapevines, and a green-roof pavilion known as the Sky-o-swale.

Beginning earlier in July, five youth from the Kingston-Galloway-Orton Park community, who have cumulatively dedicated hundreds of hours to the CDI program, were hired by the ESS for a five-week period to physically build an exterior deck for public use (located under the Sky-o-swale), as well as 50 trellis modules that will form the roof structure for the grapevine pergola.

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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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Community project in Brigus, Newfoundland

Recently Alana Young and Andrew Pruss returned from Brigus, Newfoundland where they worked with a group of Ryerson students to study the interaction of culture, place, history, and landscape. This project was part of an ongoing initiative by ERA and Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal (CUG+R) called Culture of Outports, which investigates how architectural thinking can help re-imagine changing economies and cultures.

For more information and detailed documentation of the Brigus project, please see CUG+R’s website.

A successful Toronto the Good, 2012

On Thursday, June 7th, we got together with Torontonians at Fort York to reflect on the city and toast its built and cultural environments, past and future. Close to 1000 guests joined us in enjoying great food, drink, dancing, and stimulating discussion about the place we live.

Thank you very much, all who attended – we look forward to seeing you again.

And, of course, thank you very much to Fort York for hosting, En Ville for catering, DJ Sam “Efsharp” Fleming for the music, Luminato’s Encampment for collaborating with us, and to all our partners and sponsors this year: Build Toronto, Toronto Society of Architects, McGowan Insurance Services, Prem Malik, Arup, McCarthy Tétrault, Kearns Mancini Architects, Diamond Corp, Palatine Hills Estate Winery, Carpenters’ Union, Spacing, Urban Strategies, Ground Magazine, Scadding Court Community Centre, Campbell House Museum, Working Habitat, Evolved Entertainment, Varsity Tents, and Astley Gilbert.

Keep up to date with our yearly event at torontothegood.org.

ERA goes to Brigus, Nfld.

We are pleased to announce the second installation of our Culture of Outports project, developed in collaboration with the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal.

ERA’s Andrew Pruss and Alana Young have just arrived in Brigus, Newfoundland, which, dating from 1612, is one of the oldest European settlements in North America. Over the next two weeks, they will lead a “culture lab” with a group of Ryerson University students, collaborating with local residents to reflect on the site’s past and future. This lab examines local culture, built forms, and geography to imagine how architectural thinking can propose innovative ways to manage change and build community.

To learn more, please have a look at ongoing documentation of this year’s project or of last year’s completed project at Burlington.

Doors Open at ERA: Sat. May 26, 2012

Doors Open Toronto is an annual event that celebrates the city and its rich history of architecture and urban design, providing access to buildings that are otherwise inaccessible. This year, ERA Architects is excited to be taking part in the Architect’s Studiotour organized by the Toronto Society of Architects. We would be pleased if you’d join us on Saturday May 26 between 10 a.m and 5 p.m. to check out our office and ask us about the work we do.

For more information, please see the City’s website.

Jane’s Walk on Jarvis St.

On Sunday May 6th, ERA principal Michael McClelland joined Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and 75 interested participants on a Jane’s Walk in Toronto’s downtown east. Named for legendary urbanist and author Jane Jacobs, Jane’s Walks occur all over the world in the name of promoting urban literacy and community involvement in local urban environments.

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Jane’s Walk in Old York

On Saturday May 5th, ERA principal Michael McClelland joined Ken and Eti Greenberg to take a group of 65 participants on a Jane’s Walk in the heart of Toronto. Named for legendary urbanist Jane Jacobs, Jane’s Walks occur all over the world in the name of promoting urban literacy and the involvement of community in urban development.

Jane Jacobs’ critical writing and thinking has radically changed the way urban planning is practiced in North America. Her practice was clearly important to Ken and Eti Greenberg, whose work has also had a dramatic effect on downtown neighbourhoods in Toronto and elsewhere.
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East Scarborough Storefront: Wood Inventory Part II

As we have mentioned previously on this blog, ERA Architects is collaborating with ArchiTEXT and Sustainable.TO on the exciting Community.Design.Initiative at East Scarborough Storefront. Over the course of an intensive 19-week mentorship semester we worked with community youth on the design of a kitchen garden and patio, a unique green-roof pavilion, a bee and butterfly garden, and a small orchard. Summer and fall 2012 will see further collaboration with the community as we move toward construction of this dynamic new environment.

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Allan Gardens: a new public space design competition

E.R.A. Architects is pleased to announce its participation in Friends of Allan Gardens (FOAG), a group of neighbours and citizens concerned with actively promoting the vitality of Allan Gardens park. This volunteer group’s mission is to revitalize the park through creative strategies that will improve open spaces, nurture local culture and attract a larger and more diverse group of users.

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East Scarborough Storefront

Community Design – Image courtesy of Expect Theatre / Spark Productions

The East Scarborough Storefront is a community agency offering multiple services in a tower neighbourhood in East Scarborough.  Containing a community kitchen and garden, market, resource centre and access point to over 50 different agencies such as job search support and literacy service, the East Scarbourough Storefront is a significant asset to Toronto. To expand its reach, the Storefront is currently undergoing a long term community lead expansion and revitalization strategy.

Over the past several years, ERA has been aiding the Storefront in this process,  in collaboration with  Sustainable.TO, ArchiTEXT, LoCALe, the Tower Renewal Office at the City of Toronto, and a group of vibrant and active community youth.

A recent article in the Summer 2011 issue of Sustainable Builder Magazine showcasing this ongoing work can be found here, or downloaded in PDF format here.

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Lime Mortars for Traditionally Constructed Brickwork

ERA, in cooperation with Historic Restoration Inc., hosted one- and two-day workshops for Heritage Professionals and Masons, titled Lime Mortars for Traditionally Constructed Brickwork, lead by Dr. Gerard Lynch. The workshops, held at the Evergreen Brick Works, included both theoretical and practical components, and covered such topics as; binders in historic mortar, historic forms of joining and pointing, re-pointing historic brickwork including colour washing, and tuck pointing.

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

As quoted in a Toronto Star article covering the workshop, Dr. Lynch explained:

“We were taught to work in two worlds,” says Lynch, 56, whose five-year apprenticeship started at age 17. “We had to work reasonably fast to build modern houses and factories, so we could earn our boss money.

“But we were also taught how to do traditional craft skills. I am proud of doing what I can to pass on those skills. I hope that I will be a pebble in a pond that will radiate out.”

A number of ERAers were able to attend the course, and spoke very highly of the inspiring, practical training.

Culture of Outports _ Burlington design/build

As part of the Culture of Outports project, ERA taught an intensive two-week design/build course in the small outport of Burlington, Newfoundland. The course was run through Dalhousie, and began with a lengthy road-trip from St. John’s, where students had the opportunity to study and immerse themselves in the local and material culture. Then, working with the full support of the Burlington community and assisted by a range of craftspeople, ERA led the six architecture students in the design and construction of a small-scale intervention bred from site-specific conditions, drawing upon vernacular building techniques and traditional craft practices, and making use of local materials. Continue reading…

Kipling Community Build

In July, ERA got into the building spirit as part of the Tower Renewal project at the Kipling Towers in North Etobicoke.

Kipling Towers is one of the City’s great apartment neighbourhoods, with a cluster of nineteen towers perched along the western bank of the Humber River. Previous posts with more information about the neighbourhood can be found here.

ERA has been involved in the neighborhood since 2007 in partnership with the City of Toronto, Jane’s Walk , the National Film Board and the United Way; working with residents to plan a vision for the future.

During this period, several workshops have been held with the community, hosted by ERA, the City of Toronto, Jane’s Walk and an ongoing collaborative process with the National Film Board as part of their remarkable HIGHRISE documentary initiative. A recently published report of one such workshop hosted by the City and DIAC in late 2010 can be downloaded here.


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