1. Leaside: A Garden City Revisited
2. Screenings of Integral Man: About Integral House
3. Toronto Society of Architects Tours
4. Algonquin College-Perth Campus Heritage Trades Summer Courses
5. Continuing education seminar -- Architects of Toronto: Post-1950
9. Toronto Star: Hurrah, Crystal Ballroom at King Edward Re-Opens
10. Toronto Star: Call for City Wide Building Survey
11. Toronto City Council Motions - You can help identify more of Toronto's Heritage Property
12. CBC.ca Toronto Council Asks for City Wide Survey
13. Spacing.ca: The Ward Musical
14. Globe and Mail: Casey House Back in William R. Johnston Mansion
15. Globe and Mail: Review of Citizen Jane: Battle for the City
16. Globe and Mail: Review of James Crawford Book
17. Canada's Buildings - Investment Portfolio or City Fabric
18. BuzzFeed: 205 Yonge, Former Heritage Toronto HQ on Auction Block
19. Architectural Record: Video-Up Close with the Cover
20. Globe and Mail: Vancouver Hesitates
21. Peterborough Examiner: Two Main Street Losses
22. Change.org: Sign Petition to Save the Gore
23. OHA+M Blogspot: Next Steps for Bill 323
24. OHA + M Blog: Bill 323 Clears Important Hurdle
25. Places Journal - Unfinished New York
26. Photo-documenting theTransformation of the Hearn Ruins
27. The Architect's Newspaper: A Reflecting Lens - Phyllis Lambert looks back on her 75 years in architecture
Millwood and Bayview (Outside Lit's Cafe)
Sunday May 7 at 1.30pm - 4pm
Leaside was laid out in 1913 by the landscape architect Frederick Gage Todd who based his design on the Garden City principles, best exemplified by Letchworth in England. The Garden City differs from suburbs in that, along with curvilinear tree-lined streets, public green spaces, and cohesive streetscapes, it also included an industrial area to provide employment and commercial streets for convenient shopping. When people walk through Leaside today they see it as a neighbourhood of Toronto. But what is the experience when you examine Leaside through the lens of the Garden City framework as a designed landscape?
|View of Integral House, Architects Shim Sutcliffe|
May 2, 3 and 5
$15.04 General Admission
After Euclid, Toronto’s Jim Stewart is the most published mathematician in the world. Stewart spent a decade and a small fortune building the home of his dreams to reflect his two obsessions: curves and music. The completed home, called Integral House, provides him with both. A stunning architectural gem of subtly curved wood and vast, evocative spaces, the house stands in Toronto’s Rosedale neighbourhood and is considered by many one of the city’s best performance spaces. Stewart took joy in hosting his trademark musical evenings with world-class guests, including the likes of Grammy Award–nominated Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman, featured in the film. Landscape designer and artist Joseph Clement’s debut film is an impressive work of art in its own right, with its masterful combination of beautiful soundscapes and gorgeous architectural details. It ultimately delivers a finely crafted portrait of Stewart and his beloved home.
Locations vary by date, see link below
Toronto boasts a world class mix of both heritage and modern architecture designed by local and internationally acclaimed architects like Mies Van der Rohe, Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, Will Alsop, Diamond & Schmitt and KPMB to name a few. Join the Toronto Society of Architects’ guided outdoor walking tours for a 2 hour journey past some of Toronto’s most iconic architecture.
Our professionally trained volunteer guides will share the design context, details, and unusual features that make these buildings notable and demonstrate why architecture is such a powerful communications tool for businesses, organizations, and the city.
The 2017 Season starts on Saturday May 6th with regularly scheduled tours running every weekend until October 1st. Online registration is now open! Tickets are available to purchase online until the evening before the tour. After that you must email the tour coordinator to arrange tickets.
TSA Members Only ticket offer: TSA Members are invited to bring one free guest to any tour they attend! Simply use the promo code TSAMEM2017 when registering for your own ticket. The promo code will grant you access to a special ticket offer of 1 free ticket with the purchase of your own member ticket.
The following tours will be held every weekend throughout the season:
Art & Performance Tour - featuring iconic buildings which contribute to Toronto's reputation as a world leader in the arts.
DATES | Saturdays and Sundays, May 6 - October 1, 2016
REGISTER | To register for a tour visit the TSA's online box office
TSA MEMBERS PROMOTION | Enter "TSAMEM2017" into the Promo Code field to access a free ticket for a guest with the purchase of one member ticket!
Algonquin College - Heritage Institute, Perth, ON
Lindsay Derraugh Coordinator of Continuing Education T (613) 727-4723 ext. 6493 Algonquin College - Perth Campus | 7 Craig Street | Perth | Ontario | K7H 1X7 algonquincollege.com/perth http://www.algonquincollege.com/perth-ce/
Were delighted to launch our Perth Campus Summer 2017 Continuing Education courses! Whether its blacksmithing an artistic tool project, learning time-honoured timber framing techniques, or studying the art and science of stereotomy, Art du Trait, we have an exciting roster of courses to offer.
If you like working with your hands, and are intrigued by heritage techniques, youre sure to find something to pique your interest.
Dont be disappointed, register early. For more information, please visit our Algonquin College Perth Campus CE website.
Learn a new skill this summer!
Bahen Centre, University of Toronto, 40 St. George St. (just north of College St.); room 1200
Saturday April 22, 2017
9:30 am - 4:30 pm
we'll have short breaks & a lunch break; you can bring lunch or buy nearby http://learn.utoronto.ca/interactive-course-search#/profile/3329
Toronto has many remarkable buildings constructed since 1950, and most have been designed by local architects. This one-day seminar profiles approximately seven architects/architectural firms, and illustrates their most distinctive buildings and features. Our discussions will include pioneering Modernist firm John B. Parkin Associates, Moriyama & Teshima, whose innovative designs span the 1960s to the present day, and KPMB, who execute dynamic contemporary design and respect heritage buildings.
|Architect Raymond Moriyama appears by video|
It was a terrific day for those who came out to the Science Centre to talk about Toronto over 150 years.
The day was roughly divided into pre-confederation Toronto, and in the afternoon Centennial Toronto.
Being at the Science Centre, Ontario’s pre-eminent Centennial project, in a building that embraces the landscape, on a beautiful spring day, was a great place to think about the marks that have been made on this land for over 150 years. While architect Raymond Moriyama was unable to greet us in person, we were treated to a delightful short video of his commentary on the process of a young architect being asked to undertake such an important project.
We opened the day with welcoming remarks from former Mississauga of the New Credit First Nations chief, Carolyn King, because they were here first! Ms. King then outlined the Moccasin Identifier project, a public education tool to stencil the image of the Anishnawbe moccasin in public places. The goal of the project is to have the public education system implement annual programming on June 21, National Aboriginal Day, in which school children would explore the history of the First Nation closest to them, and stencil the appropriate moccasin in washable paint in the schoolyards. That these images disappear signifies the lightness on the land of the Anishnawbe. The treaties guaranteed First Nations access to all lands….. No one will be hunting in your garden in the near future, but it is worth reflecting that it is the right of First Nations to do so. On June 21 you will find First Nations programming at Fort York in Toronto, a great chance to learn and meet the First Nations who share this land with later settlers. A major moccasin stencil installation is in progress, carved into new stone retaining walls at Ontario Place.
Madeleine McDowell gave a wonderful talk about the history of the Humber River Valley, the Toronto Purchase and the Toronto Carrying Place including quotes from Elizabeth Simcoe about the long established routes which were of such military and trading significance.
Michael McClelland talked about the number of surviving pre-confederation buildings in Toronto, material researched for the exhibition Found Toronto. There are more than you might think. Sharon Vattay was tasked with talking about Confederation buildings, of which there are far fewer than Centennial buildings 100 years later. Interestingly, the forward looking style of the day was Second Empire, and was used as the modern style in France, Britain, U.S. and Canada. It was used in Canada post confederation, in new buldings like the Federal Post Office building that stood at the head of Toronto Street, designed by prominent architect Henry Langley.
Alex Bozikovic moderated the afternoon session on Centennial projects. Eb Zeidler, architect of Ontario Place told a quite different experience from Moriyama of the principles behind Ontario Place, including the most important first decision not to build at Exhibition Place, which is Toronto owned but to build in Lake Ontario which belongs to all Ontarians. Zeidler continues to mourn the bitter loss of the Forum, noting that the replacement by the Molson Amphitheatre ruined the circulation patterns and marked the beginning of a striking drop in attendance.
Marco Polo spoke to the nationwide centennial construction program, focusing on the Confederation building in Charlottetown. Many of these projects were done on a scale not see before or since. Polo noted the common theme of “building as landscape”, buildings often built in concrete, breaking out of rectilinear geometry, and built into and embracing Canada’s landscape. The exploration of concrete as a plastic material, humbler than stone or marble, was making a statement of how Canadians see themselves in relationship to this vast land we live in. John Andrews’ “sublime” Scarborough College was also noted.
PHd candidate David Leonard spoke about the impact of Expo 67 on Toronto architecture, (very limited) first noting the limited number of Toronto architects who were represented at Expo, and then why Toronto had been uninterested in bidding on the fair. While he was able to make some connections, the overall impression was that not much travelled along the 401. Montreal embraced modern planning and large scale re-development for a long period of time, fundamentally changing the character of the central city. In contrast, Toronto’s Jane Jacobs’, Sewell and Crombie and the Reform Council ended projects like Metro Centre and the Spadina Expressway.
While Toronto did not have a lot of Centennial buildings per se, Toronto experienced a major building boom during this period giving many architects chances to build major projects early in their careers.
One of the questions that came up after the session was how is it that we are not seeing bold public projects showcasing our best architectural talent 50 years later. There is no one reason for it, perhaps it is because we may still be paying off some of those costs! We are definitely in a different age, less concerned with architecture as an expression of the spirit of the nation.
All the presentations are online at acotoronto.ca
Queenston / Midland, Ontario, Canada ? February 23, 2017
Willowbank is pleased to announce it will run a three-week field school at Sainte-Marie Among The Hurons in Midland, Ontario, from June 10 to June 30 2017. Recognized as one of the first sites of contact between the Wendat peoples and settlers, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons is a National Historic Site dating to the 1600s and is part of Huronia Historical Parks run by the Province of Ontario. The collaboration between Willowbank and Sainte-Marie among the Hurons will be an immersive educational experience and will focus on materials conservation and the interpretive narrative of the site.
The launch comes during the 10th anniversary year of Willowbank, as well as the 50th anniversary of the reconstruction of the Sainte-Marie among the Hurons site, and is a special endeavour that aligns with the lead-up to the Canada 150 celebrations taking place this summer.
"This field school allows Willowbank to develop conservation skills training through a cultural landscape lens here in Ontario," said Crystal Bossio, Executive Director of Willowbank, "we have collaborated on international field schools in the United Kingdom and Italy and we are incredibly pleased to open our first field school in Canada."
The field school will focus on the conservation of the 1639 stone fireplace remains located on the site. It is the earliest European masonry located in Ontario and together with other archaeological remains, form the basis of the National Historic Site designation.
"The approach, selection of materials and the implementation of repair techniques present particular challenges, where compatibility, reversibility and durability all have to be carefully balanced in order to achieve a viable solution to the long-term preservation of the stonework," stated Keith Blades, a Willowbank faculty associate and one of Canada?s leading stone conservationists, who will lead the field school this June.
Keith has been involved with the conservation of the original stonework at the Saint-Marie among the Hurons site since the mid-1990s and led a team of Willowbank alumni and students on the conservation of one of the fireplaces in the summer of 2016. That project was carried out in conjunction with Philip Hoad, another Willowbank faculty associate, Director of Empire Restoration.
Willowbank is an advanced private educational institution located on the Canada-U.S. border in Queenston, Ontario. Bringing an entirely new approach to learning, Willowbank runs a three-year diploma program that champions an interdisciplinary approach to heritage conservation, and is generating graduates able to integrate sustainable development, traditional knowledge and contemporary design. Willowbank?s School is complemented by the work of the Willowbank Centre for Cultural Landscape, which aims to understand the complex connections between natural and cultural heritage. The institution has also given dynamic new purpose to one of Canada?s National Historic Sites, the heart of Willowbank?s campus, and one of the world?s most unique classrooms. Willowbank has enjoyed the patronage of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales since 2014.
Willowbank's stone conservation field school at Sainte-Marie Among The Hurons will run from June 5 to June 30, at the Sainte-Marie Among The Hurons site. To register or for more information on the field school or on Willowbank's three year diploma program, please visit www.willowbank.ca. For more information on the Sainte-Marie among the Hurons site and Huronia Historical Parks, visit: www.hhp.on.ca.
Director of Education, Willowbank
905-262-1239 ext. 206
Please sign this petition urging Hamilton Council and Minister Eleanor McMahon to work together to save the Gore in Hamilton. Hamilton deserves better from this redevelopment project, and there are plenty of good examples withint walking distance. https://www.change.org/p/eleanor-mcmahon-intervene-to-halt-demolition-of-heritage-buildings-on-gore-park-hamilton
King Edward Hotel
|In its glory, now returned.....|
It’s been empty for 38 years.
And slowly Torontonians began to forget what the Crystal Ballroom in the Omni King Edward Hotel looked like, except for the occasional bride allowed in to take photographs, or the handful of fly fishermen who practiced casting from the balcony.
But on Wednesday the ballroom in Toronto’s first luxury hotel, which once played host to Toronto’s elite, opened its doors to the public once more.
It first opened almost 100 years ago, in 1922; the hotel itself opened in 1903. The 5,000-square-foot space hosted a variety of events, from a state dinner with British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and the Prince of Wales in August 1927, to performances from some of the great musicians and orchestras of the 1920s to 1940s, including Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Harry James, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman.
But that ended in 1979, according to Christophe Le Chatton, the hotel’s general manager, because the room, which sits on the 17th floor, did not measure up to current city codes. And after some time, it fell into disrepair.
“The room always looked phenomenal. It was not stripped of the details,” Le Chatton said. “It just looked tired.” for the rest of the story
For the slideshow of King Edward's Crystal Ballroom restoration
Editor’s Note: Hope this space is in Doors Open this year!
A better way to protect Toronto
|Bank of Montreal, 2444 Yonge Street-Recently lost|
But, there is another culprit — the City’s woefully ineffective process for the protection of Toronto’s built heritage.
Under the current approach to heritage preservation, we will continue to lose buildings. We need to rethink how heritage is protected in the City of Toronto. We believe there is a better way.
The Ontario Heritage Act has two levels of protection: “listing” and “designation.” A building that is listed cannot be demolished legally without heritage preservation staff having a chance to review it and determine if it merits formal designation.
The problem with Toronto’s current approach is that we’ve concentrated on designating a few buildings at a time, or embarking on years-long heritage conservation district studies and not simply “listing” important buildings, such as the former Bank of Montreal building 2444 Yonge St.
The local branch of the Bank of Montreal, built in 1907, was a significant local landmark designed by the Montreal firm Peden and McLaren. Peden (1877-1969) was responsible for designing Bank of Montreal buildings across Canada in the early 1900s, many of which remain in use as banks today. This building featured a simplified Beaux-Arts style and its construction represented the emerging growth and prosperity of North Toronto during this early part of the 20th century.
The number of other architecturally and culturally significant buildings that have not been listed by the city, and are therefore unprotected, is staggering. One only needs to think of the Stollery’s building at Yonge and Bloor Sts., never listed, and now demolished. Or the Davisville School, currently proposed for demolition, and again, never listed.
What we’ve lost is distressing, but it also spurs us to demand better protection for the important buildings that still stand today. To save Toronto’s built history we recommend the city prioritize a shockingly simple approach: do a survey for the entire city, identify all the potential heritage buildings and list them.
Bizarrely this has never been done; the result is that we lose buildings to wrecking balls even though everyone agrees they are culturally valuable.
Editor’s Note: I was a co-signer to this Opinion piece -- what is proposed would be a massive project, but with assistance from citizens across Toronto, it could be doable.
Three Motions Recommending Staff Report on Feasibility of a City Wide Survey to Identify Heritage Properties
Got this nice note from Michael McClelland this week.
"Great news from City Hall! On April 26th three motions dealing directly with Heritage Preservation will be brought before City Council in response to our Op Ed piece."
Please find links to the motions below:
These three motions will be referred to Planning and Growth Management, unless for some reason 2/3 of Council decides to hold the items and refuse them, which in my opinion is highly unlikely to happen!
As ACO President, I was a signator to the Opinion piece that spurred these three motions. (above) ACO Toronto's TO Built is identified in one of the motions as a place to gather whatever information is out there on Toronto property into a central database. To Built has been a key project for ACO Toronto, one which we developed for just such a task, so it is exciting to see it recognized by Council as a potential support in such an important process.
We are many steps away from implementing a City led, city wide survey, but there is no reason for you not to start putting whatever you know about Toronto property where we can all find it -- on TO Built. You will need to join ACO, which you can do online, but from there you can upload photos, pdf drawings, the names of architects who may have been involved and so on.
ACO Toronto is particularly interested in having architects in Toronto upload what they know, their projects as well as a bit about their firm to TO Built. Every architect has files of drawings relating to past projects which could be placed here.
Whatever the City decides to do about identifying properties, simplifying its listing process to catch a wider number of properties or not, as interested citizens we can help by just starting to share what we know and putting it where everyone else, including Toronto City staff, can see it.
David Shiner pushes for 'heritage survey' that could help save historic buildings
Toronto city council is expected to vote Friday on a series of motions that would direct staff to study ways to enhance protection for heritage buildings.
Councillors will consider three separate motions, including one moved by.Coun. David Shiner proposing that staff study a city-wide survey that would list "all buildings that have potential heritage value."
Shiner's motion asks the "Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning to report back to the Planning and Growth Management Committee in September 2017."
Shiner says such a survey would send a message the city is serious about protecting Toronto's historic structures..
"It's saying we have an interest in building. There may be facets of the building or the whole building we want to protect," said Shiner, who represents Ward 24, Willowdale,
Why are beloved Toronto buildings torn down — even when people fight to save them?
Tenants fighting to save 140-year-old home being demolished 'piecemeal'
Toronto's Kensington Market one step closer to becoming heritage site
Currently, there are only two ways to protect buildings in Toronto that may have historical value: an official heritage designation or a conservation district study, which Shiner said require time and effort to complete and can be appealed.
Shiner, who is also the vice chair of the real estate committee, said a heritage list would streamline the system and also benefit developers who would understand the city's explicit interest in a building.
"Anyone who owns it or goes to purchase it knows. And if you do apply for a permit to demolish it or to redevelop it you know we're going to be there."
Shiner's motion inspired by demolition of century-old bank building
Shiner's motion specifically mentions the loss of 2444 Yonge Street, a century-old bank building near Roselawn Avenue, saying the demolition "identified the urgent need to better protect Toronto's built heritage."
There was widespread frustration among conservation and historical associations about the destruction of the beaux arts-style Bank of Montreal building earlier this year.
Linda McCarthy, the vice-president of the Lytton Park Residents' Organization, was in the process of applying to have that building officially designated.
'There's not much left in north Toronto in terms of buildings on Yonge Street.'
- Linda McCarthy, Lytton Park Residents' Organization
But the developer's application to tear down 2444 Yonge St. was approved within the 30-day period required by the province and the developer demolished it.
Editor’s Note: Shiner's is one of three motions, all asking for similar things. The motions come from all sides of Council which suggests widespread support for action.
Songs and Sounds of a Lost Toronto Neighbourhood
If you try to imagine your way back into the early 20th century streets and laneways of The Ward — the dense immigrant enclave razed to make way for Toronto’s City Hall — you might pick up the sounds of newsies and peddlers hawking their wares, the clanging of the area’s junk and lumber yards, and shrieking children playing on the Elizabeth Street playground north of Dundas.
Those streets would also reverberate day and night with a jumble of languages — Italian, Yiddish, Chinese. The dialects and accents of these newcomers were considered to be not only “foreign,” but also proof (to the keepers of Toronto’s Anglo-Saxon morality) of the area’s worrisome social and physical failings.
But despite the fact that many mainstream Torontonians saw The Ward as an impoverished blight on the face of the city, the neighbourhood resonated with energy and culture and music — evidence of the resilience of the stigmatized newcomers who settled there in waves from the late 19th century onward.
Editor’s Note: I wish I could attend tonight, and that a theatre impresario picks this up and runs with it......such an interesting way to tell history.
A big red home to match Casey Houses big red heart
Those who know Casey House, Canada’s first stand-alone HIV/AIDS hospice, know that their logo consists of an open door and a big red heart.
Now, they’ve got a big red home to match.
If you hadn’t noticed the 1875 Italianate building at the corner of Jarvis and Isabella Streets until now, you’re forgiven. Designed by Langley, Langley and Burke – designers of the Royal Conservatory of Music on Bloor Street West – for wholesale clothing merchant William R. Johnston, the home had been dubbed “The Grey Lady” by locals when heritage-restoration superheroes ERA Architects were handed the keys in 2012.
Behind unkempt shrubbery, battleship-grey paint obscured architectural delights of bright red brick and bands of decorative, pinky-beige sandstone, most of which was in an advanced state of deterioration. Dirty white paint on window frames caused the eye to skip over their delicate beauty. And while Casey House had used the grand old mansion for outreach services upon acquiring it in 2000, they were forced to retreat back to 9 Huntley St. in 2009, where they’d been since 1988, because of safety concerns.
Indeed, ERA’s assessment listed windows and doors to be in “fair to poor condition,” found many areas of spalling brickwork and, inside, documented multiple ceiling cracks, issues of peeling paint and crumbling plasterwork and water damage – all to be expected, of course, but still a tall, expensive order.
Today, however, after years of fundraising, report writing, drafting, power tools, hand chisels and the combined sweat of hundreds of experts, those deficiencies are but a memory as staff prepare to move in, officially, in June. And where there was a small coach house at the rear of the property, there now stands an amazing, modern building by Hariri Pontarini Architects that provides the main entrance to the hospital.
Why our Jane Jacobs world needs a little Robert Moses, too
Everybody likes an underdog. And looking back a half-century at the urban battles of the sixties, we find one in Jane Jacobs: the bespectacled activist standing astride the highway that threatened to wreck her kids’ park. She was the writer who saw the poetry of the polyglot city where everyone looked after each other’s kids, and who, in The Death and Life of Great American Cities, captured “the ballet of the good city sidewalk.” For many progressives, she personifies the small and the bottom-up.
That was nearly 60 years ago, and today Jacobs is on top. Urban planning theory takes her insights to heart. Her name is sung by local activists across the land. But what does she have to teach us in 2017? Do her lessons translate to an era when people, money and power are heading into cities, rather than out of them?
These are some of the questions raised by Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, which is now playing at the TIFF Lightbox. Matt Tyrnauer’s film looks back at that most famous period of her life, before she moved to Toronto, and pits her against her famous nemesis: the “master builder” Robert Moses. It’s a David-and-Goliath story, the imperious civic official against the troublemaking writer from Scranton, Pa.
As a history lesson for the unititiated, the film is a winner. Moses looks and sounds like a B-movie villain, and in life he was an extraordinary figure: Never elected, he reshaped the continent’s most important city over a 50-year career. He held up to a dozen city and New York State positions at a time, coming to personify the blend of big government, business and Modernist planning that produced “urban renewal.” Cities everywhere followed his example. Montreal’s sixties expressways and office towers, and the razing of Halifax’s Africville, bear the mark of Moses.
Jacobs, of course, opposed it all. The absolute commitment to the car; the contempt for urban dwellers, particularly people of colour, who dared to complain about their “slums” being reshaped; and the blind faith in credentialed planners and their grand schemes.
In that context, she was right about almost everything. She emphasized a mix of uses – stores and homes and schools and offices cheek-by-jowl; the value of old walkable city blocks; a diverse population; and lots of people. She argued for bottom-up planning and listening to the wisdom of those who knew a city best: its people.
Twenty-five hundred years ago in Mesopotamia, the kings Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadnezzar built the Temple of Etemenanki at the heart of Babylon. It was 91 metres on a side, 91 metres high, a man-made mountain that ruled the skyline and landscape, as James Crawford explains. At the skyscraping summit, kings could approach the gods. And the kings names were on every brick. This tower would send a message: Their ziggurat, in their city, would be the greatest ever constructed.
Fallen Glory, Crawfords extraordinary new book, almost shares their ambition: At more than 500 pages, it spans millenniums and continents, and from mud-brick walls to an online virtual city. But the 21 structures featured are all lost or ruined. The arc of their imagining, building and wrecking is, in Crawfords telling, a metaphor for human existence.
There are no happy endings. We all now how the tower of Babylon turned out transformed through biblical accounts into the Tower of Babel, object of myth and symbol of human overreach, and wrecked. But each stage of that process, for Crawford, is telling. How do kings, queens, presidents and their builders try to put their marks on the world? And once theyve put up physical structures, how do they alter the lives of those around them? Theres no question that we invest our greatest structures and constructions with personalities, Crawford writes. We care about buildings sometimes, perhaps, more than we care about our fellow human beings.
Thats a provocative point, but Crawford argues it well in this sprawling yet dense, too-long yet highly readable work. Fallen Glory is not architectural history in any conventional sense, but a sort of popular history of architectures impact on society and vice versa. From the ancient Cretan city of Knossos (reconstructed with reinforced concrete by the obsessive English archeologist Arthur Evans) to the Temple of Jerusalem to the Library of Alexandria to the Berlin Wall, Crawford is an erudite guide through the halls of human ambition.
By focusing on ruins, Crawford a former literary agent who works in the cultural sector in Scotland manages to escape the challenge of defending a canon, and instead illustrates the impermanence of all things. It does not & follow that a civilizations most spectacular ruins were once its most important buildings, he writes. Sometimes its a sites very obscurity that explains its preservation. Machu Picchu, for example, was an Inca emperors country retreat.
In modern times, the death of a building can be a powerful political act. The symbolism of a tower reaching for the heavens can be matched in force by the symbolism of one crashing to earth. This is most obviously true, for us, at the World Trade Center. Mohammed Atta one of the leaders of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was trained as an architect and wrote a thesis on modernist additions and incursions into the city of Aleppo. Tall buildings were, Atta implied, nothing less than the architectural tools with which the West was colonizing the East. And so, using a jet plane as his pencil, he incinerated the lives of thousands and the architecture of the Japanese American Minoru Yamasaki.
But if a trained architect can alter world history through an act of mass murder, what about through building? Just how much power do an architect and architecture really have, anyway? To address this, Crawford touches on Pruitt-Igoe, an American public housing project in St. Louis, Mo., that quickly became a dirty, rundown nest of petty crime and social dysfunction. It represented the failures of mid-20th-century urban renewal and, in some quarters, symbolized the death of the idealistic, totalistic vision of modern architecture. It, like the World Trade Center, was designed by Yamasaki.
The economic case for retrofitting buildings
Beyond social responsibility, more and more data are proving it makes economic sense for landlords to retrofit their buildings and make them sustainable and energy efficient.
Just as today’s consumers are willing to pay a little more for organic food, tenants will pay more and stay longer in green buildings.
A study of Bentall Kennedy’s North American real estate portfolio of more than 300 buildings found that environmentally friendly office properties net 3.7 per cent higher rents. In their Canadian holdings, occupancy rates in environmentally certified buildings were 18.7 per cent higher than non-certified.
The study, conducted by University of Guelph professor Avis Devine and co-author Nils Kok of Maastricht University in The Netherlands, calls tenants in green buildings “stickier” and “happier.” Tenants stay put in their space, she says, and reduce landlord leasing costs associated with turnover.
Plus, as governments move to increase the costs of carbon, which have now been benchmarked at $50 per tonne by 2022, there will be a strong incentive for building owners to reduce operational costs related to emissions and energy use.
BDC – the Business Development Bank of Canada, the crown agency that supports 42,000 small and mid-sized companies – says green retrofit “improvements usually pay for themselves within two to six years.” Deep retrofits will take longer to pay off, but they will pay off in the long term.
Couple these economic benefits with the U.N.’s Marrakech Climate Change Conference last November, and it’s clear the wheels are in motion to reduce emissions.
When it comes to the international climate change accord, our governments need to figure out how to move from words to actions to meet the 2030 net zero goal for homes and buildings. The longer landlords wait, the more punitive the price in both losing tenants and higher energy costs.
Historic downtown Toronto bank listed for $1
|The former Bank of Toronto (left) at 205 Yonge Street as it appeared circa 1975.|
A century-old vacant Toronto bank designed by the architect behind local landmarks Old City Hall and Casa Loma is on the market for a loonie.
For past 15 years, the E.J. Lennox-designed structure at 205 Yonge Street has stood vacant. That could soon change if the seller’s plan to offload the former Bank of Toronto branch pans out.
“It’s beautiful inside,” says Shawn Abramovitz, the Core Consultants Realty Inc. sales rep who just listed the property. “Me and my business partner went into the building yesterday and it was like going into the Titanic,” he tells BuzzBuzzNews.
It’s not hard to understand that comparison. Upon walking between Corinthian columns, visitors will find themselves in the main banking hall, which has been finished with fine marble walls and mosaic and terrazzo floors, according to marketing materials.
The attention-grabbing $1 list price for such an opulent building isn’t a tease, though. “Let’s not pretend that we can just value this type of property,” Abramovitz says he told the seller, who he confirmed was Irish businessman Thomas Farrell. That explains the auction-style price, which may draw bids through the roof.
A little tour of the world's architecture, see how many you recognize before they give you the title.
Vancouver Abandons only Tool That Would Help Save Character Homes
The city came close to adopting the one tool at its disposal that many agree would likely have preserved Vancouvers dwindling stock of character homes.
The idea was to limit the size of newly built houses in single-family neighbourhoods, while adding more housing options. It was part of the citys character-home zoning review, and the first major effort to meaningfully stop rampant demolitions.
Because current zoning allows a much bigger house to replace an old one, its been open season on Vancouvers old houses. Investors are buying them to knock them down, redevelop them into massive houses and either flip them or hold them until theyre worth more. Since the city up zoned in 2009, monster houses have proliferated, with house demolitions increasing to 1,000 a year.
The simple move to restrict the size of a new house would have thrown a bucket of cold water on the action. The character houses would have had a far better chance of surviving, because the incentive to demolish would no longer be there. Currently, under single-family house zoning rules, most homeowners can triple their density by adding a laneway and secondary suite, but theres no incentive to do it. By restricting the size of new houses, and boosting square footage for renovation or expansion of existing houses, there would be a major incentive to work with the existing house.
Proponents have argued that it would stop the wastefulness of demolitions of livable houses, many of them newly renovated and well maintained.
The city commissioned a report by Coriolis Consulting Corp. that backed this theory: This disincentive to demolish coupled with the incentives to retain is likely to result in more retentions of pre-1940 character houses, the report said.
But on Tuesday, Gil Kelley, the citys head of planning, told council that hed received some very strong negative feedback to downzoning, as its called, and the option was no longer on the table. After four public open houses, thousands of surveys, and an overwhelming response that two-thirds of residents want the city to take action to save character houses, the city has pulled back on the one tool that would have done it.
"We haven't got very far into it, so how come we are already taking tools off the table?" said heritage consultant Don Luxton, who works with the city. I dont know what else you could do [to save houses]. There are only certain levers you can pull.
The only other option is to offer greater incentives. And its hard to imagine a financial incentive greater than building a massive house that will sell for three times what the owner paid.
"You cant give them any incentive that makes sense. Thats the challenge", Mr. Luxton says.
The staff presentation to council on Tuesday did not indicate what percentage of the thousands of residents surveyed actually opposed the downzoning. However, assistant director of planning Anita Molaro said a significant number of architects and builders who'd been consulted were opposed.
One reason for the about-face might have been the slight financial setback to downzoning. The Coriolis report said homeowners could expect a drop in the value of their home of about 5 per cent or 10 per cent this in a city that has seen 30-per-cent increases in one year.
Also, the restrictive zoning would have applied to post-1940 houses and pre-1940 houses that do not have character merit. Those properties wouldnt have received any of the benefits.
Elizabeth Murphy, former city development officer, says a better option is zoning that aims to preserve character but conditionally allows redevelopment on sites that dont have character, such as what we see in Kitsilano. It allows for multiple conversion dwellings, and has conditional uses for infill dwellings as an incentive to retain character houses.
"They've thrown the baby out with the bathwater", she says. "Just give conditional zoning to encourage retention, like what we have in [Kitsilano]. "
There is no basis to the citys argument.
The non-profit Urbanarium society held a debate Wednesday night on the question of rezoning to preserve character. Authors Michael Kluckner and Caroline Adderson argued for the downzoning, while builder Bryn Davidson and architect Javier Campos argued against it. Its not surprising that authors would appreciate the historical and cultural significance of old houses, and that a builder and an architect might see housing in a more commercial light. Many members of the audience worked in the planning and development industry, which wasn't lost on Mr. Kluckner.
"Telling a room full of realtors, builders, planners and architects not to redevelop something is like telling Colonel Saunders to ignore a flock of chickens," he said.
What was unexpected is that Mr. Campos is also head of Heritage Vancouver, and he spoke about character houses as if they were the enemy:
"We talk about this ideal for quality and construction. Really, it is code for an aesthetic bias, which is certainly anti-modern. And it smells of nostalgia. Where does it leave the rest of us? "
Mr. Campos was asked: "Can you guarantee Vancouver wont just become damn ugly? "
His response: "I can't guarantee that. But we can't retreat into the past. "
"Theres another issue," he continued. "The monster home this idea, a quasi-racist kind of thing, because we don't like what these people are doing. They are usually immigrants, and we don't like it. Cities change. They are meant to evolve, they are meant to change. Its not about keeping a bunch of old houses and rezoning areas, and taking them out of play. "
Both sides were for more density, but Mr. Campos and Mr. Davidson argued that the rezoning would limit the opportunity to add significant density.
If you don't like a big monster house, then we could have six or 10 units, said Mr. Davidson.
Mayor Gregor Robertson recently advocated for more density in the single-family housing zones, which make up more than 60 per cent of the city. He recently realized that many of the houses on the west side are empty, and this week he sounded the alarm.
Its an alarm that most people in the city have been sounding for many years, however. Offshore demand for west side homes has transformed Kerrisdale, Dunbar and Point Grey, turning streets into dead zones.
Adding townhouses and duplexes to the mix, which the mayor has suggested, will only create multimillion-dollar duplexes. On the east side, new duplexes have sold for more than $2-million.
The cheapest house is the house still standing, says Mr. Kluckner.
"If I thought you could build affordable duplexes or townhouses, with the current land prices, and the current construction costs, and current regulatory environment, I would support that as being something that we ought to do. But all you need to do is look at the evidence of the price of duplexes in Grandview. "
Its a great big gentrification play.
The council will vote on the character review in April. As to whether the watered down proposal will have any effect is up for more debate.
"We are certainly hopeful they will be successful," says Ms. Molaro. "I think they will be for some. For others & there is a market that is not interested in character retention at all."
Developer to proceed with demolition of Pig's Ear Tavern, Black Horse Pub, plans new 5-storey buildings
The developer who wants to tear down The Pig's Ear and The Black Horse says he's pleased that city councillors decided to forego a heritage designation on the buildings.
Paul Dietrich, the owner of Parkview Homes, called it "good news".
"We want to proceed with demolition, per the permits we have in hand," he said.
Dietrich bought the Pig's Ear in January and recently acquired The Black Horse (although that deal has yet to close).
He's already been granted demolition permits from City Hall and he plans to replace the historic buildings with a pair of five-storey apartment buildings.
But the city's architectural conservancy committee recommended that council place a heritage designation on the buildings to keep them from being razed.
On Monday, councillors could've gone along with that recommendation at a committee meeting - but they didn't.
Instead, they voted to have Dietrich work with city staff to come up with a design for the two new apartment buildings.
The idea is to present a design to councillors that they think will work well in the downtown - and that will retain some of the history.
On Tuesday, Dietrich said that might mean reusing some of the building materials from the historic buildings - like perhaps the brick - for a heritage display in the lobby.
He said he spoke to each councillor on the weekend and said he'd be spending $20 million to build the new residences.
He wants to demolish the historic buildings as soon as late summer or early fall of 2017, he said.
Sign the Petition to Stop the Demolition of 18-28 King Street East
We know from history that it’s not over until a building is actually demolished (e.g. Sandyford Place). Please take a moment and sign the petition asking the province to save our Gore Park buildings. These are structurally sound buildings and do not have to come down! The practice of demolishing sound buildings for “new” is wasteful and adds to our landfills. The Templar Flats on King William show what can be done with a bit of foresight and planning. The petition has 458 signatures already.
Sign the On-Line Petition – Click Here
Probing Bill C-323
The legislation we’ve been following, private member’s Bill C-323, is headed to committee! But it’s uncertain when that will be. The Environment committee is still busy with a major review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The committee is off the last two weeks of April and only has five weeks in May and early June before rising for summer break.
So it may not happen until fall. In the meantime, we in the heritage community should be thinking hard about what to say to the committee — and who should say it — when they hold public hearings on the bill.
There is no question that the principle of the bill deserves strong support. The principle being ... that the income tax system should be used to provide incentives for the rehabilitation of heritage property.
That doesn’t mean everything in this particular legislative proposal is fine and dandy. A too-uncritical stance may not be the best course — either policy-wise or politically. Now is the time to closely scrutinize the bill’s details.
Editor’s Note: Dan has been analyzing heritage policy for over 30 years, it is terrific to have him as chair of the ACO Policy Committee. He will be working closely with the National Trust for Canada and others to develop a submission from ACO.
Bill C-323 clears a hurdle
New Yorks historic preservation community has been in celebratory mode this year, marking a half-century since the passage of the citys Landmarks Law. Observances will go national next year, with the fiftieth anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act. The Museum of the City of New York is honoring the occasion with a splendid exhibition, Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks, curated by Donald Albrecht and Andrew Scott Dolkart, which is accompanied by a handsome catalogue and a series of smart public programs.
Earlier this year I attended a panel discussion at the museum on The Politics of Preservation. There panelist Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, cut through the generally congratulatory mood by declaring that historic preservation in New York is under siege, facing its gravest threats since 1978, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the citys landmarks ordinance in the famous Grand Central Terminal case. To which my response was: Really? Can this be true? Or is this just the latest posture of a movement that seems always to be in need of a crisis?
In fact it would seem that historic preservation is today stronger than ever. The past half century has seen the movement evolve and mature from a rarified special interest on shaky legal and political ground to an institution an ethos firmly entrenched in our culture. In New York City, for instance, large parts of every borough are protected by historic district designation, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission has unquestioned authority to prevent building owners and developers from making inappropriate alterations to landmark structures or intrusions into historic districts. But no; according to Breen, I am wrong. There are ascendant forces, fueled by New Yorks white-hot real estate market, that threaten to undo decades of progress. Breen cited the current mayoral administrations intention to modify the longstanding regulation of contextual zoning a mechanism to control the height and bulk of new buildings in neighborhoods of distinctive character, generally to the effect of perpetuating existing development patterns by allowing taller buildings in such zones, many of which are contiguous with historic districts. Likewise she warned about the potential effects of up-zoning Midtown East of allowing taller towers in the area around Grand Central Terminal which would raise land values and thus subject historic properties to intensified threats of demolition, while the Landmarks Preservation Commission is acting too slowly to designate and protect those properties. And she lamented a proposed bill being debated by the City Council that would impose time limits on the LPC: that if a property is nominated for landmark designation and the commission does not act within a certain period, there would be a five-year moratorium on reconsidering that property, during which time anything could happen.
That the preservation battle is now playing out over wonky issues of bureaucratic process suggests the phenomenal success of the movement.
Let me process this. The possibility that a building somewhat taller than those in its immediate context might be sited on a lot not within, but bordering, a historic district may alarm conservation purists; but it hardly constitutes an existential threat to historic preservation in New York City. And no matter the possible rezoning of Midtown East, the LPC should be considering the designation of worthy properties around Grand Central: In this light it might actually be good that the proposed rezoning gives this matter new urgency, since the commission has become notoriously slow with designation cases. And why shouldnt it be subject to deadlines, like other city agencies? To put it another way: these are the kinds of problems that the preservation pioneers who picketed unsuccessfully to prevent the demolition of Penn Station could only dream about. That the discussion the preservation battle is now playing out over wonky issues of bureaucratic process and procedure seems proof of the phenomenal success of the movement in the past fifty years. Far beyond struggling to save individual buildings from destruction though clearly this remains a never-ending concern preservationists today are going head to head with City Hall, the City Planning Commission, and the real estate industry over the very shape of the city.
Generation: Designing New Spaces
Jonathan Castellino is a photographer based in the city of Toronto, Canada, and an adjunct architectural photography instructor at the Willowbank School of Restoration Arts. His work has appeared in magazines and journals such as Brick, Image, Spacing, and Now, and has been featured in galleries and on photography websites, including several ongoing series pertaining to his exploration of the city. His main photographic subjects are urban and industrial spaces, within which he explores the intersection of architecture and culture, and of personal meaning and the build environment. While most of his work documents these intersections in his own city, he has pursued similar projects elsewhere in Southern Ontario, New York State and Michigan. Here, he presents “Generation”, shot with the Leica M ( Typ 240).
My photography documents the transformation from space to place. I tend to operate at one speed across all of my work. The attempt is to document the physical and emotional landscape of buildings, as they change with use. Technical accuracy is important, but should always be at the service of creating an image (or series of images) that are organic, and that describe the entire essence of a place within each detail. The idea is to go beyond what something looks like, and show how it feels.
For the occasion of her 90th birthday on January 24, architect Phyllis Lambert sent the following text about her life and careerfrom her early days as a sculptor to her work as a photographer, preservationist, and patron. It is taken from the exhibition
|Lambert and Peter Rose in front of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, circa 1991. (© Tom Hollyman)|
Art has always been for me the essence of existence.
A sculptor from the age of nine, at eleven I began exhibiting in annual juried exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts and the Société des Sculpteurs du Canada. My sculpture teacher instilled in me objective self-criticism, and I learned manual skills and close observation. I have always drawn. As an undergraduate at Vassar College, in addition to studying art history, in the studio I focused on painting, intrigued by technique, especially that of Rubens (although this is not evident in the self-portrait). However, I was not interested in making small works for private collections. I dreamed of creating monumental sculpture in the public realm: Architecture would be the answer, but I did not know this yet.