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1. Canadian Architect: Reviews on Two Books on Toronto City Hall
2. Cottage Life:10 of Ontario's Prettiest Historic Towns
3. Once Upon A City: Opulent estate was doomed from inception
4. Ministry of Culture: Draft Ontario Culture Strategy
5. ACO's Acorn Magazine Now Posted Online
6. Toronto Star: Reproduction of Arch of Triumph in Trafalgar Squar
7. Toronto Star: Destruction of Palmyra Arch of Triumph
8. ACOToronto.ca: Toronto Modern to Post Modern
9. The Guardian: Obituary Zaha Hadid
10. Metropolis: The loss of OMA's Netherland's Dance Theatre after 30 Years
11. Globe and Mail: Classic Plastics at Design Exchange
12. Globe and Mail: Winnipeg's Brutalist Public Safety Building in Jeopardy
13. Globe and Mail: Halifax- Be Careful What you Wish for
14. Toronto Star: Woodbridge's Maynard Family
15. Globe and Mail: Saving A Little of Woodgreen Discount Drug Store Building
16. Toronto Star: Future of Yorkville
17. Stratford Beacon Herald: Stratford's White House
18. CBC Manitoba: Public Safety Building to be demolished, no date yet
19. Apollo Magzine: Drastic reform is the only way to save Englands churches
20. Atlantic Magazine - Citylab.com: Why Historic Preservation Needs to Be Part of Disaster Planning
21. CBC News: Public Safety Building's architect makes last plea to save structure
22. Domain News: Lord Mayor Clover Moore throws weight behind Sydneys most controversial building
23. Globe and Mail: York Square
24. The Toronto Star: Unbuilt Plans Can Tell Us a Lot About Our City Today
25. CityLab: Los Angeles' Cinderella Homes
26. St. Marys Journal Argus - The Green Bridge

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1. Canadian Architect: Reviews on Two Books on Toronto City Hall

Danish architects 3XN to design condo tower on Torontos waterfront

Following a design competition, real estate firm Hines and developer Tridel have selected Danish firm 3XN as the design architect of their latest waterfront residential project at Bayside Toronto. Joined by 3XN principal and senior partner Kim Herforth Nielsen, the development partners and architect released initial renderings of the proposed condominium last week.

Architect Kim Herforth Nielsen described his firm’s intention to create a vertical neighbourhood, with the family home as its inspiration. “The design puts people first, paying particular attention to the quality of views, space and lifestyle,” he said. “The development will command extraordinary views of the water, neighbouring parks, and the city skyline.”


2. Cottage Life:10 of Ontario's Prettiest Historic Towns
Susan Laux

10 of the quaintest towns in Ontario

We know, we know—Ontario is overflowing with pretty, historic towns. Once you get away from the big cities, it’s hard to travel very far in any direction without coming across lovely Victorian storefronts and graceful heritage houses—so narrowing it down to only 10 towns was pretty difficult.

While it may be a controversial list, we’ve picked the spots that offer that perfect balance between old-fashioned charm, quirky culture, and welcoming community.


Editor’s Note: I say with a certain amount of pride as ACO President, almost all of these towns have or have had an active ACO branch. And there are many, many more, missing are some of my favorites, Meaford, Cobourg, St. Mary's, Stratford, Niagara on the Lake, Hanover, Walkerton, Collingwood, Guelph.....and....

3. Once Upon A City: Opulent estate was doomed from inception
Carola Vyhnak

Stately Chorley Park is no More

. And with that announcement in the March 17, 1961 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, the story of Canadas most magnificent mansion ended in a heap of rubble.

Built in 1915 for more than $1 million  $26 million in todays dollars  the official residence of Ontarios lieutenant-governor was both vaunted and reviled. The opulent Rosedale estates glamorous early years were spent serving high society as a crash pad for princes and potentates, and host of soirees and charity balls.

But extravagance proved to be its undoing. With unmanageable maintenance costs, it slowly deteriorated and practicality stepped in to repurpose the building as a military hospital, RCMP headquarters then haven for Hungarian refugees. It cost a mere $6,340 to pull down the stone walls 46 years after the showplaces dazzling debut

Chorleys inception was cheerful enough when the province bought the 5.5-hectare site in 1911 to replace the demolished Government House at King and Simcoe Sts.

Its a beautiful location (and) one of the most desirable places & for such a building, the Star said of the wooded natural park overlooking the Don River Valley.


4. Ministry of Culture: Draft Ontario Culture Strategy
Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport

Core elements of Ontarios draft Culture Strategy

Last fall, the Ontario government launched Culture Talks to start a conversation with Ontarians about the value of culture in their lives and communities to help us develop Ontario’s first Culture Strategy. 

We would like to thank the thousands of participants who shared their ideas and thoughts on what culture means and the many ways they contribute to and take part in culture.

We now invite you to participate in the next stage of consultation by providing feedback on the key parts of the draft Culture Strategy. The draft sets out a vision for culture and identifies three overarching goals to strengthen culture in communities, fuel the creative economy and promote cultural engagement and inclusion. These goals are supported by strategies and actions to guide Ontario’s support for culture so that it continues to grow and flourish in the years to come.  The consultation period on the draft strategy closes on Friday, May 13, 2016. Visit ontario.ca/culturetalks  to find out more and to learn how you can provide feedback. 

Our next step will be to review the feedback we receive. We will then finalize the strategy and release it in June.

We would also like to let you know about two additional documents we have posted on ontario.ca/culturetalks:

  • A Summary of What We Heard from Ontariansan overview of the first stage of consultations held from September 2015 to December 2015, in which we capture the key themes and ideas that emerged during the engagement process.
  • An Environmental Scan of the Culture Sector, a background document that describes key challenges, opportunities and trends affecting the culture sector in Ontario and emerging best practices in Canada and other areas of the world. 

We look forward to receiving your feedback and continuing the conversation.


5. ACO's Acorn Magazine Now Posted Online

Acorn Spring 2016 Edition

While nothing matches the pleasure of looking at a magazine in the flesh, we are now posting as pdf's online. 

Acorn, Spring 2016

Another wonderful issue from our all volunteer Acorn Committee, led by the more than able Liz Lundell

Stories on buildings repurposed for food purposes, heritage market areas. Editorial by Catherine Nasmith, Slow Food and Slow Buildings. Articles on Kensington Market, Craft beer in Dundas, Ontario, The Working Centre in Kitchener/Waterloo, Maple Syrup in Lanark County, Albion Hotel, Making Memories at Heritage Venues, Morden Yolles at Scaramouche, New Hamburg's The Imperial, and the demolition of the Mayfair Hotel. Happy Reading, and for hard copies, join ACO.


6. Toronto Star: Reproduction of Arch of Triumph in Trafalgar Squar

2,000-year-old Syrian arch destroyed by Daesh recreated in Trafalgar Square


Last year, ISIS destroyed the ancient Arch of Triumph, which once stood in Palmyra, Syria. Now, a 20-foot replica of the monument stands in London.

LONDON—A 2,000-year-old triumphal arch destroyed by Daesh, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in Syria has been recreated in London’s Trafalgar Square.

The Arch of Triumph in Palmyra formed part of one of the world’s most extensive ancient archeological sites.
The six-metre Egyptian marble replica — about two-thirds the size of the original — was created by the Institute for Digital Archaeology from photographs of the original site using 3D imaging technology.

London Mayor Boris Johnson is unveiling the model Tuesday. It will stay in London for three days before travelling to cities including New York and Dubai.


7. Toronto Star: Destruction of Palmyra Arch of Triumph
Albert Aji, Associated Press

Palmyra a ghost town after Daesh destruction

After Syrian troops retake Palmyra from Daesh, their next goal is to take back Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.
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Palmyra's remarkable Arch of Triumph, built under the Roman emperor Septimius Severus between A.D. 193 and A.D. 211, has been reduced to a pile of stones by Daesh extremists.
Palmyra's remarkable Arch of Triumph, built under the Roman emperor Septimius Severus between A.D. 193 and A.D. 211, has been reduced to a pile of stones by Daesh extremists.

PALMYRA, SYRIA—Explosions rocked the ancient town of Palmyra on Friday and on the horizon, black smoke wafted behind its majestic Roman ruins, as Syrian army experts carefully detonated hundreds of mines they say were planted by Daesh militants before they fled the town.

A crew for The Associated Press visiting the town Friday witnessed firsthand the destruction inflicted by the extremist group on the town’s famed archeological site, less than a kilometre away from the modern-day town of the same name, now completely deserted.

While some parts of the site, including the Roman-era grand colonnades and amphitheatre appeared relatively untouched, the damage was very much visible elsewhere.

The remarkable Arch of Triumph, built under the Roman emperor Septimius Severus between A.D. 193 and A.D. 211, has been reduced to a pile of stones, blown up by Daesh extremists who filmed the destruction for the world to see. The monumental arch once sat atop the famed colonnaded streets of the ancient town.

The Temple of Baalshamin and parts of the Temple of Bel, one of the best-preserved Roman-era sites, are also destroyed.

Apart from the Roman ruins themselves, heavy damage could be seen on parts of the walls of Palmyra’s towering Mamluk-era citadel, built during the Islamic conquest in the 13th century. On top of the scarred citadel, a Syrian flag flies in the wind.


8. ACOToronto.ca: Toronto Modern to Post Modern
Catherine Nasmith

Talks available at Resources, ACO Toronto

"Death from Above"- Redevelopment Proposal for York Square

We've been having a lovely time listening to stories of great experiments in architecture and politics for the last three weeks.

Sitting in the beautiful auditorium on the sixth floor of the former Board of Education Building, inspired by the architecture of Peter Dickinson, we have heard Robert Moffatt, Annabel Vaughan and finally John Sewell talk of the amazing enterprise that was Toronto architectural practice from 1959 to 1970's. School buildings by exuberant 30 year old Peter Pennington, Lord Lansdowne and Davisville Junior School; the work of Peter Dickinson and the taste of the era as seen through architect father and daughter, Colin and Annabel Vaughan; and finally from John Sewell, how the next generation of architects started to approach things differently, working the new into the old instead of trying to build an entirely brave new post war world. 

For those who weren't able to attend, the slides of the talks, along with the text from John Sewell's are online at acotoronto.ca 

John closed his talk describing the proposal for York Square as "Death from Above".."The sketch catches quite clearly the loud squishing sound of a development scheme which shows no respect for the past. Once again the circle turns. It is time once again  to put on our armour in the name of being reasonable about paying attention  to where we have come from."

On Monday, April 25, 7 pm join us for "Is this the City we Want", Preservation in 2016, with panellists Kim Storey, Jamie Bradburn, Robert Allsopp, Dave LeBlanc, Mary MacDonald, and Alex Bozikovic having a dinner party conversation about where Toronto finds itself in 2016.

Come and be part of the conversation.


9. The Guardian: Obituary Zaha Hadid
Caroline Davies, Robert Booth and Mark Brown

Queen of the Curve dies at 65


Dame Zaha Hadid, the world-renowned architect, whose designs include the London Olympic aquatic centre, has died aged 65. The British designer, who was born in Iraq, had a heart attack on Thursday while in hospital in Miami, where she was being treated for bronchitis.

Hadid’s buildings have been commissioned around the world and she was the first woman to receive the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) gold medal.

A lengthy statement released by her company said: “It is with great sadness that Zaha Hadid Architects have confirmed that Dame Zaha Hadid DBE died suddenly in Miami in the early hours of this morning.

“She had contracted bronchitis earlier this week and suffered a sudden heart attack while being treated in hospital. Zaha Hadid was widely regarded to be the greatest female architect in the world today.


Editor’s Note: A great architect is gone, inspired and inspiring

10. Metropolis: The loss of OMA's Netherland's Dance Theatre after 30 Years
Anna Kats

Postmortem Preservation

Completed in 1987, the Netherlands Dance Theater (NDT) in The Hague was architect Rem Koolhaass first seminal building


The Netherlands Dance Theater, the first major project built by Rem Koolhaas, was demolished earlier this year to very little note in the architectural press. It was a strangely hushed finale for a building that had drawn immediate praise when it opened in September 1987 and earned the esteem of dance audiences, performers, and architects during its relatively short existence. At the behest of The Hague municipal authorities, who plan to build a much larger performing arts center on its former site, bulldozers reduced the theater (known locally as the NDT) to debris between October 2015 and January 2016.

Koolhaas learned conclusively that the building was being demolished only after the process was already under way last fall, but he had heard the first rumors a decade ago. He’d been prepared for such news, he says, and his firm, OMA in Rotterdam, quickly commissioned the photographer Hans Werlemann to make regular documentary visits to the NDT site and photograph the demolition process until the building was razed. (Werlemann had shot the NDT’s construction some three decades prior.)

What Koolhaas did not expect was the indifference that followed. “There was almost nothing, almost zero,” he reflects about the public response to the NDT’s fate. The few enraged calls for a cessation to the demolition or tearful eulogies have mostly come from OMA employees or the firm’s close associates. “It has been very surprising,” he says, that the destruction of the NDT was not a more contested issue. “That element of surprise has in a way preempted a feeling of tragedy or loss.”

Preservationist advocacy is often waged at a fever pitch, but Koolhaas has emerged as the discipline’s most insightful commentator and unorthodox practitioner, in part by striking a less histrionic tone—even as the NDT was being bulldozed. The architect has lectured and written on preservation for over a decade, and his office produced an exhibition on the topic, Cronocaos, for the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale, documenting the impulse to landmark increasingly newer buildings. (It later traveled to the New Museum in New York.) In 2014, the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University published Preservation Is Overtaking Us, a collection of Koolhaas’s lectures on the subject at the school, complete with a preservationist “retroactive manifesto” written by associate professor Jorge Otero-Pailos, in the vein of Koolhaas’s 1978 Delirious New York. The text sought to establish preservation as a radical function of architectural design, not, as so many architects had previously claimed, its stultifying opposite.

“The hegemonic paradigm is that architecture is about new construction,” explains Otero-Pailos. Yet in his lectures, Koolhaas insisted that new forms were not necessarily more relevant than what had already been built; moreover, preservation could be architecture’s salvation—an alternative to the expressive form-making that had become derided as starchitecture. “Rem made a huge pivot,” notes Otero-Pailos, nearly two years after the slim volume was published, “which was in a way totally unexpected and almost baffling to most people because the person who had for so long represented the idea of the signature building, the new construction, the large development—all of a sudden, he was able to grasp the need for a conceptual change.”

11. Globe and Mail: Classic Plastics at Design Exchange
Danny Sinopoli

In praise of plastic

Few materials are considered more disposable but, as Danny Sinopoli writes, a new exhibit covering 75 years of Canadian design in the medium shines a light on its endurance and value

The Classic Plastics exhibition, which runs until August, comprises an all-Canadian collection of house wares made from a material that continues to draw ambivalence.


In the 1967 movie The Graduate, there’s a now-famous scene that nicely captures the mixed feelings with which the postwar world regards plastic. In it, a businessman tries to convince young Benjamin Braddock (played by a young Dustin Hoffman) that the key to the future lies in “one word – are you listening? – plastics.” Their brief, oft-quoted exchange reflects our long-conflicted views about the so-called miracle material, as plastic was initially touted: It’s the cutting-edge stuff our modern lifestyles are made of, yet also soulless and artificial, the antithesis of the natural, a synonym for fake.

Has there ever in the history of design been a substance that inspires such ambivalence?

This question came repeatedly to mind as I walked through the Design Exchange in Toronto recently. Its latest exhibition, a small, strong show called Classic Plastics, features an array of product and furniture designs from the forties to the present. Culled from the DX’s permanent collection, the all-Canadian wares embody not just the versatility and malleability of their defining material, but also its place in the zeitgeist. In one corner, stereo units like the groovy Plexiglas-capped Circa 711, regarded by previous generations as avant garde, have transmogrified into the classics of the exhibition’s title. In another, small kitchen appliances once considered utilitarian at best and disposable at worst (a standout is Sid Bersudsky’s forties-era kettle with sinuous bakelite handle) are distinguished today for their beauty and durability.


12. Globe and Mail: Winnipeg's Brutalist Public Safety Building in Jeopardy
Alex Bozikovic

The Brutalist truth: 1960s concrete is part of history

The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Apr. 08, 2016 1:53PM EDT
Last updated Friday, Apr. 08, 2016 7:06PM EDT


Print /
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The young man behind the desk was a BRUTALIST. That’s what the button on his lapel said, although he looked friendly enough, with his nerd-chic black glasses and skinny frame. The building around us was another story: The newly opened Met Breuer museum is an odd hunk of concrete and granite. It stretches its brawny bulk up between the dowager apartment-houses of Manhattan’s genteel Upper East Side.

The building, which once housed the Whitney Museum, was never easy to like. When it opened in 1966, the critic Ada Louise Huxtable wrote that it “grows on one slowly, like a taste for olives or warm beer.” But 50 years later, it’s a beloved relic: it reopened in mid-March as an outpost of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, housing modern and contemporary art. It’s been renamed in honour of its architect, the Bauhaus-trained modernist Marcel Breuer.

It’s an example of the current in modern architecture known as Brutalism, which Canadians know well, and often dislike. A wave of centennial building around 1967 led to Brutalist-style architecture from Charlottetown’s Confederation Centre for the Arts to Simon Fraser University. And in Winnipeg, one important Brutalist building may soon become a pile of rubble.



13. Globe and Mail: Halifax- Be Careful What you Wish for
Michael Gorman

Construction for Halifax convention complex disastrous for merchants

When he opened the Carleton Music Bar and Grill on Argyle Street in the heart of downtown Halifax in 2008, Mike Campbell thought it was a sure thing.

Self-admittedly Entering the third act of his working life, the veteran of MuchMusic and a staple of the east coast music scene saw room for a place that paired a good atmosphere for food and drinks with performances by the country’s top musicians. “I went into it thinking, this is going to be a slam dunk; there’s absolutely no problem,” Mr. Campbell said recently.

Then, in the span of a few months, the economy collapsed: The Halifax Chronicle Herald, located across the street, moved its office out of the downtown, taking with it a major source of customer traffic.

Things seemed dire, but Mr. Campbell held out hope for that space across the street, which filled an entire block. “We always agreed that something there was going to wind up being the saviour for this whole place.”

Ironically, that something has pushed some businesses, including Mr. Campbell’s, to the brink.


14. Toronto Star: Woodbridge's Maynard Family
Noor Javed

Saving old Woodbridge one Building at a time

There is the Woodbridge Ave. of today, and the one that resides in Ken Maynard’s memories.

Maynard, 82, stops at the corner just past the train tracks and points. “My great grandfather Amos Maynard owned the property here, he had a machine shop, and he built all the houses on the street,” he says.

He stops again along the street, which makes up a part of the Woodbridge Heritage Conservation District in Vaughan. “There was a house here, that had gothic windows, and was owned by a little lady named Pinky White,” says Maynard, adding almost apologetically: “I just know too much about this street.”

With Maynard as the guide, a walk down the 650-metre stretch of road takes more than half an hour, spans three centuries and several generations. His great-great grandfather Alfred Maynard came to Woodbridge in the 1860s. Maynard himself was born in a log cabin a street away. His grandson is the seventh generation of Maynards to live in Woodbridge. So it’s easy to see why Maynard is sentimental about every empty lot and storefront he passes along the street.


15. Globe and Mail: Saving A Little of Woodgreen Discount Drug Store Building
Dave Le Blanc

A little bit of Leslieville will live on in new Queen East condo

Heritage architecture is kind of like cool jazz. Almost everyone claims to dig it – put on Brubeck’s “Take Five” and you’ll get a room full of tapping feet – but everyday clubs have trouble finding bums to fill seats.

Similarly, while everyone gets worked up over threats to significant landmarks, who’s there when the little buildings, the architectural sidemen if you will, are about to disappear?

Shiralee Hudson Hill is there.

It all started, she says, after a celebratory community meeting that her husband, Matthew Hill, attended in March 2015. After months of negotiation and a fight led by city councillor Paula Fletcher, the Red Door Family Shelter at 875 Queen St. E. in Leslieville had been saved; Harhay Developments would give it a new home in the condominium that would replace the 1958 WoodGreen United Church.

But the architectural drawings on display had left something out: the workaday but very interesting 1888 building at the corner of Logan Ave. – home to Woodgreen Discount Drugs for decades – wasn’t part of the plan. Too expensive to rehabilitate, Mr. Hill was told.


Editor’s Note: My late brother Carl Stryg loved that building, but never had quite enough to buy it and restore. I am glad a little will be kept.

16. Toronto Star: Future of Yorkville
Francine Kopun

Yorkvilles Hazelton Lanes gets a facelift

One hundred and twenty-five million dollars later, Hazelton Lanes, once cramped and hidden, is preparing to launch a new look, new name and something it always needed but never had: A proper entrance on Yorkville Ave.
Renamed Yorkville Village, the complex is part of a $400 million investment by First Capital Realty Inc., which also owns 10 of the buildings on the north side of Yorkville Avenue.

First Capital is positioning itself to ride the wave of a condo boom set to transform the neighbourhood.
More than a dozen new condo developments are planned in Yorkville over the next several years, more than doubling the residential population and creating a thicket of towers in an area known for its quaint Victorian buildings and intimate scale.

“We are going to see an extraordinary amount of change in the neighbourhood,” said Councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam who represents Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale. “In the next decade or so Yorkville is going to be one of the most attractive neighbourhoods in Canada and it’s going to meet a whole new standard.”


Editor’s Note: Yorkville as a Heritage Conservation District--Guess Not

17. Stratford Beacon Herald: Stratford's White House
Mark Beitz

OMB battle brewing over Stratford's White House

Stratford's White House

An upcoming Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing on a contested development proposal for the so-called White House property in Stratford just got a little more crowded.

Following a presentation Monday night by Birmingham St. resident Seana McKenna on behalf of the Friends of the Stratford White House, city council agreed to retain legal and planning representation to appear at the May 12-13 hearing.

At issue is a proposal by the owner to sever the property at 265 St. David St. to create three additional lots. The existing White House building would be retained.

Minor variance and consent applications to create the new lots with reduced rear-yard setbacks and reduced lot depths were presented to the citys committee of adjustment last summer, but were denied.

That committee decision was appealed to the OMB, but city council itself has not taken a position on the proposed development.

McKenna urged councillors to do just that, pointing out that the White House is one of the oldest and, many would say, grandest properties in the city.

The stately pre-Confederation landmark, which currently has site-specific zoning to allow a banquet facility, has significant heritage value that would be undermined by the proposed development, she suggested.

She presented council with a 329-name petition urging council to support the preservation of the White House to the OMB.

A letter to councillors accompanying that petition states that the development is incompatible with the existing scale and density of the area, would destroy the inherent heritage qualities of the property, and significantly degrade the area as a whole.

While neighbouring property owners will be represented at the OMB hearing next month, the city should appear as well, argued McKenna.

A key question it needs to answer, she said, is how, and by whom, should a decision on a proposed development of a heritage property subject to special rules be made?

Since council approved the rezoning and Official Plan amendment that currently applies to the White House property, the decision on the development proposal should rest with council, she said.

This case, with 265 St. David St., provides the opportunity for council to take a big step to ensure that any proposed development of a heritage property is considered by council, said McKenna.

With Stratford hosting the Ontario Heritage conference in May, at the same time as the OMB hearing, it would be tragically ironic if council didnt defend that authority.

In response to a question from Coun. Bonnie Henderson about the heritage status of the White House, city manager of infrastructure and development services Jeff Leunissen noted that the building is not currently designated under the Heritage Act.

But it has been acknowledged in the past as a heritage property, added McKenna.

Even that designation would not necessarily prevent the owner from redeveloping the property, noted Leunissen.

Should that development proceed, the existing home would no longer be used as a banquet facility, and would revert back to either a single detached dwelling or a three-unit converted dwelling.

With a few exceptions, councillors supported a motion by Mayor Dan Mathieson to retain legal counsel, as well as a planner, to represent the city at the OMB hearing.

That planner is required, interestingly, because the citys own planning department has supported the property owners minor variance and consent applications, with some conditions.

Councillors were told that a lawyer and planner could cost as much as $10,000 for the two-day hearing.

Given that the province tends to favor infilling developments like the one being proposed, that may not be money well spent, suggested Coun. Bonnie Henderson.

I dont see that we should be spending taxpayers money on this, she said.

Coun. Tom Clifford noted that the citys Official Plan also supports residential intensification.

On the whole, council has supported infilling, and I think its a great place for infilling, he said of the large property. The White House will be there, the banquet hall will be gone, so I think its perfect thing for the city of Stratford.

But infilling needs to be done in a way thats compatible with the surrounding neighbourhood, said Coun. Kathy Vassilakos, and the development proposal for the White House property doesnt accomplish that.

Severing the additional lots creates an awkward configuration that lacks balance, and leaves the large existing home to sit on a small lot, she added.

Leunissen noted that the severed lots would not be inconsistent with the overall size and lot pattern of the surrounding area, but acknowledged that the style of the homes built on those new lots may be different.

But after considering the lot configuration, Henderson changed her mind and supported the mayors motion, leaving Clifford as the only dissenter.

The OMB hearing is scheduled to begin May 12 at 10 a.m. at city hall.


18. CBC Manitoba: Public Safety Building to be demolished, no date yet

Architect, heritage advocates lose battle to save brutalist building

The PSB will be fully vacant by July, once the police service has entirely moved to its new headquarters on Graham Avenue. (Google Streetview)

Winnipeg's Public Safety Building is coming down.

The architect and heritage advocates made last-ditch attempts to save the 51-year-old building at city hall on Tuesday, but they were unsuccessful. After lengthy discussion and debate, the property and development committee voted to send in the wrecking ball.

But that won't happen until a firm plan is in place for the property, which is bordered by William and James avenues and King and Princess streets.

Public feedback will be taken on options for the land and then a redevelopment plan will be presented for approval.

PSB architect Les Stecheson, who's battling a flu bug, made his way to city hall in an effort to convince councillors to preserve the building. The old police headquarters will become vacant by July, after the police service has entirely moved into its new location on Graham Avenue.

Stecheson described the PSB as "one of the most important buildings I've worked on in my career" and disagreed with a city-commissioned report that called for its demolition.

"It's an important style of that era — the '60s — and probably one of the best in the country," he said. "It's a gross exaggeration to say that since the building is experiencing some structural issues that the building is unsound."


19. Apollo Magzine: Drastic reform is the only way to save Englands churches
Matthew Cooper

Does the government's decision to set up a church buildings task force signal significant change? Pictured: Church of England parish church of All Saints, Chilton, Oxfordshire. Photo: Steve Daniels (Wikimedia Commons)

Are England’s historic churches too big to fail? The Church of England has 16,000 parish churches. Among them are nearly half of all Grade I listed buildings nationwide. Many are managed by small rural communities, and a significant number have fewer than 10 people to make up rare Sunday congregations. Year on year the most vulnerable churches creep closer towards dilapidation and redundancy.

Good news, then, that the Chancellor has announced the formation of a church buildings task force to look into the sustainability of England’s historic churches and cathedrals.

The initiative appears to be predominantly an Anglican concern, though other denominations will find the outcomes applicable. Red-blooded Anglicans are voracious for committee reports of any kind, but this stands out in two important respects. First, it is being announced and delivered by the government and not the Church itself. Second, it is explicitly concerned with the funding models that might be needed to prop up the maintenance of the country’s historic church buildings.

Both of these points are badly needed, particularly by parish churches, which are more numerous, more vulnerable, and more easily overlooked than the country’s cathedrals. The UK is the only major European government to absolve itself of direct involvement in the care of its historic churches. Some key grant programmes using public funds are accessible to churches, but these are often competitive and are far from automatic.

The present ‘model’ of church building management is diffuse and inefficient. The decentralisation of the CofE has led to every one of the 16,000 parish churches in England operating its own unique system of management. 16,000 committees, 16,000 separate systems of fundraising and finance, 16,000 different approaches to maintenance and repair.


20. Atlantic Magazine - Citylab.com: Why Historic Preservation Needs to Be Part of Disaster Planning
Linda Poon

Almost two thirds of all states lack historic preservation strategies in their hazard-mitigation plans

The stage and main seating of The Orpheum Theater, built in 1918, were damaged when it was flooded by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Natural disasters have taken a heavy toll on historic landmarks around the U.S. When Hurricane Katrina swept through parts of New Orleans in 2005, floods damaged 19th- and 20th-century buildings, causing some to collapse. High winds smashed windows and stripped away the outer layers of houses, shops, and museums. More recently, Hurricane Sandy took down monuments in the 1849 Evergreens Cemetery in Brooklyn and damaged the electrical system of the Fraunces Tavern Museum—which dates back to the American Revolution—in Manhattan.

Between rising sea levels, predictions of increasingly extreme weather patterns, and the Big One always looming over the West, the U.S. is bracing itself for more natural disasters. But a recent report out of the University of Colorado Denver and University of Kentucky finds that the U.S. may not be as prepared as it could be to protect historic sites from floods, wildfires, and tornadoes. In fact, almost two thirds of all states lack historic-preservation goals and strategies in their disaster plans.

“It’s such an important issue because so many historic resources were built before modern flood regulations and modern building codes, so they’re located in areas that are prone to these kind of disasters,” says Andrew Rumbach, a professor of planning and design at University of Colorado Denver, and one of the study’s researchers. “When you [saw] them in Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed thousands of historic resources, it was a real loss. The preservation community tried to save as much as they could and restore it back with historical integrity.”


21. CBC News: Public Safety Building's architect makes last plea to save structure

It's a gross exaggeration to say that since the building is experiencing some structural issues that the building is unsound

Public Safety Building (Google Street View)

The architect of Winnipeg's Public Safety Building made his way to city hall on Tuesday, battling the flu, in an effort to save the 51-year-old building.

Les Stecheson, 81, describes the building as one of the most important structures he's ever worked on and fully disagrees with a city-commissioned report that calls it unsound and recommends its demolition.

"It's one of the most important buildings I've worked on in my career," Stecheson told members of the city's property and development committee. "It's an important style of that era — the 60s — and probably one of the best in the country.

"It's a gross exaggeration to say that since the building is experiencing some structural issues that the building is unsound."

Architect Les Stecheson

Architect Les Stecheson, 81, describes the Public Safety Building as one of the most important ones he's ever worked on (Erin Brohman/CBC)

The building, the old police headquarters, is clad in Tyndall limestone and designed in the brutalist style of modernism. It was constructed in 1965 but Winnipeg's extreme weather and years of freezing and thawing have taken a toll on it.

Since 2006, a plywood-covered walkway has lined the street outside the building at William Avenue and King Street, to protect pedestrians from the risk of limestone cladding falling from the facade.

The PSB will be fully vacant by July, once the police service has entirely moved to its new headquarters on Graham Avenue.

The city commissioned a $275,000 report to consider options for the building and its attached parkade, across King Street from city hall. The parkade has been closed since August 2012 after engineering reports raised structural concerns.


22. Domain News: Lord Mayor Clover Moore throws weight behind Sydneys most controversial building
Sue Williams

Save or demolish: The exterior of the Sirius public housing building at 36-50 Cumberland Street, The Rocks. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Sydney’s most hated building, the brutalist Sirius apartment block at The Rocks, has won the backing of its most powerful ally yet, Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

At a critical point in the battle to have the 1970s concrete building heritage-listed rather than demolished by the NSW Government and the site sold off to developers, she’s thrown her weight behind the conservationists.

“Historic buildings support local economies and communities by contributing to local character, building diversity, urban renewal, design excellence, social cohesion and cultural life,” she wrote in a personal approach to the Minister for Environment and Heritage Mark Speakman.


23. Globe and Mail: York Square
John Bentley Mays

Looks like time

In the summer of 1969, when I moved from the United States to Toronto, the intoxicating haze of rock music, incense, pot fumes and flower-power politics hung heavy over the little Victorian streets of the Yorkville district.

Head shops and vintage clothing emporia and coffee houses served a cosmopolitan clientele made up of young drifters and seekers, draft dodgers, outlaws and students. Though I was not a very convincing hippie – I never did get the hang of smoking weed – I enjoyed wandering along the neighbourhood’s byways and browsing in the Book Cellar, on the corner of Avenue Road and Yorkville Avenue.

The Book Cellar is gone, of course, and so is the run-down folksiness that once gave central Yorkville a kind of faded charm. The district’s transformation into a spiffy, high-end shopping and residential area began in the early 1970s, but this process is only nearing completion now, as new condominium towers go up, one after another, on the edges and main thoroughfares of the former village.

But if rezoning permission is granted by city hall, one tall building complex in particular will spell the end of old Yorkville as we’ve long known it. This mixed-use project by Empire Communities is slated to rise 38 storeys from the corner of Yorkville and Avenue Road (the location of the now-defunct Book Cellar).


24. The Toronto Star: Unbuilt Plans Can Tell Us a Lot About Our City Today
Shawn Micallef, Mark Osbaldeston

Exhibit showcases plans for Toronto buildings and neighbourhoods that never were

Opera Place is the name of a residential building at 887 Bay St. and just north of it is another musical building, the rather up tempo Allegro at Opera Place. Even the park tucked in behind the Metro Central YMCA is officially called Opera Place, though the names dont resonate much.

The down-tempo story here, operatic only to those who like stories of government decision making and recession, is that the entire site at the southeast corner of Bay and Wellesley Sts. was cleared by the provincial government in the 1980s for what would have been Torontos opera house. With a postmodern design by architect Moshe Safdie, it was cancelled by Bob Raes government and most of the land lay empty for more than 20 years. Unbuilt plans like these are a common Toronto libretto.

An exhibit called No Little Plans: alternative building and transportation visions for Toronto at the Toronto Archives on Spadina Rd. has gathered together a number of unrealized plans that include housing projects, freeways, grand avenues, parkways, and the dozens of designs for New City Hall that were not chosen. Its like an alternative Toronto mined from miles of files held in the Archives, the brain of Toronto that never forgets. The exhibition is curated by Mark Osbaldeston, author of two volumes of Unbuilt Toronto, books that chronicle the city that might have been.

Finnish architect Viljo Revells models from the first and second stages of the New City Hall competition are in the exhibit, too. As Osbaldeston points out, theres a great story that Eero Saarinen, the famed modernist architect who was on the competition jury, pulled out Revells first version from a pile of cast offs and brought it back into the running, ultimately winning. That Saarinen story, he explains, has been reasonably proven true now thanks to Chris Armstrongs recent book Civic Symbol: Creating Torontos New City Hall. Seeing the early model in person is like meeting the childhood version of an adult friend.

Late 19th and early 20th century Chicago architect Daniel Burnham coined the phrase the exhibits name references: Make no little plans, he said, aspirational advice to cities. Cynics will often say Toronto doesnt think big, and looking through both Osbaldestons books and the exhibit, its clear that sometimes we thought big, then decided not to act big.

There are different reasons why different plans dont go ahead, but I think the one thing they all tell us is that fundamentally, the way the city develops is the result of choices, says Osbaldeston. And thats why these plans matter. They remind us that there are important choices to be made now, on transit, on the waterfront, on where and how growth occurs.

One of the most ambitious unrealized plans in the exhibit is the Ataratiri project, planned for what is now the West Don Lands. It also began in the 1980s but was cancelled when the early 90s recession hit, though not after hundreds of millions were spent. The quarter-century old architectural designs by Toronto firm Brown + Storey look remarkably contemporary, very much in line with what Waterfront Toronto has done and has planned for the area. In Torontos current inferno of a real estate market, its hard to remember how devastating the bottoming out of the market was here in the early 90s. Some people remain in debt to this day.

Some images in the exhibit are depressing, like seeing what is essentially a plan for a downtown relief line on a 1910 map of proposed subway lines. Others are amusing, like the fantastic picture of the massive Ataratiri model where officials and media are stepping on and over the Gardiner expressway, always in the way.
Some debates never die, but Torontos not alone; Osbaldestons next book Unbuilt Hamilton, exploring his hometowns big plans, is out this September


25. CityLab: Los Angeles' Cinderella Homes
Kriston Capps

The Fading Romance of America's Cinderella Homes

All fairy tales fade. But few ever sparkled as deliberately as the Cinderella Home.

This story starts in 1954 in Downey, California, just outside Los Angeles, where Jean Valjean Vandruff built his first Cinderella Home. These low-slung, ranch-style houses, marked by high-gabled, shake-shingle roofs and decorative gingerbread trim, sold a fantasy. These were storybook homes, designed through and through to appeal to the nuclear family at the dawn of the Atomic Age.

They also sold dreams of Western expansion and middle-class membershipdreams that have faded as much as the homes themselves.


26. St. Marys Journal Argus - The Green Bridge
Stew Slater

Cultural Impact Cited in Provincial Funding for Green Bridge

This very week, a steel truss bridge for which a group of community members fought more than once to preserve — the Trafalgar Bridge, spanning the Thames River on the boundary between the municipalities of West Perth and Perth South — is being removed. But in St. Marys, thanks in part to a $198,450 Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) grant from the province of Ontario — but also, according to Heritage St. Marys committee member Mary Smith, in large part due to “an amazing and unexpected groundswell of support” from community members in St. Marys — the so-called “Green Bridge” spanning Trout Creek should live on for at least a couple of decades into the future.