Winners in Social Good, Environmental Leadership, Ideas/ Prototypes, Unbuilt Buildings, A+ Student Award
“What I love about this project is that Duke University took a stand and said, ‘Landscape is part of our future, not a box to check off ’” CLAIRE WEISZ
When Duke University faced an infrastructural problem, instead of opting for a short-cut solution, it took on a holistic vision. The school decided to reduce its reliance on potable water by commissioning Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects to create a resplendent, multi-purpose landscape featuring a stormwater reuse pond. Today, Duke Pond delivers up to 380 million litres annually – representing a fifth of the university’s water consumption needs – to the campus chiller plant. But the pond accomplishes so much more. What could have been a hole in the ground edged by rip-rap was instead imagined as an idyllic five-hectare natural landscape of bald cypress trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants, and featuring a pavilion, a boardwalk and a bridge all constructed with lumber salvaged from trees cut for the project. The school is now using the pond as research, monitoring it for classes in environment, biology, and engineering. The project gives students a stellar example not only of biodiversity, but of how community building and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand.
“Casey House is really good architecture that’s tackling an important cause. Its craftsmanship just ties everything together” MICHEL ROJKIND
Siamak Hariri with Michael Boxer, David Hine Engineering, Entuitive, ERA Architects, Andria Fong, Edward Joseph, Kaizen Foodservice Planning, Cara Kedzior, Rico Law, Mark Hartley Landscape Architect, Mulvey & Banani, Jeff Strauss, Swallow, Howard Wong and WSP Canada When Canada’s first standalone care centre dedicated to HIV/AIDS opened in 1988, it was imagined to be temporary. Yet, 30 years later the need for Casey House is more complex than ever. Treatment has come a long way, but there is still a stigma associated with the disease. An old Victorian on Toronto’s Isabella Street is now the anchor for the hospital that accommodates 200 day-program clients and 14 in-patient rooms. Local firm Hariri Pontarini worked with heritage specialists ERA Architects to revive the red brick mansion, bringing it back to its former grandeur. Then the firm annexed a narrow glass volume onto it, adding another 5,481 square metres. The three-storey addition embraces the original building, reaching around and over it to provide a welcoming entrance. In fact, the entire building exudes a sense of warmth, most notably from a central courtyard that the rooms face out onto, so those who can’t get outside have a view of honey locust trees and a water feature. Tinted mirror windows adds a layer of privacy. The interior is a mix of dark walnut and chunky limestone; on the exterior, limestone and bricks combine to create a patchwork facade that mimics a quilt, a symbol frequently associated with the fight against HIV/AIDS. Here, the symbol represents perfectly what the architects envisioned for Casey House: a safe haven that offers the support of a hospital and the comfort of home.
“Cities are intensifying so quickly that you have to utilize every square inch in a meaningful way, so making use of volumes that already exist is a really compelling and necessary idea” MEGAN TORZA
When the first elevated portion of the Gardiner opened in 1962, Torontonians saw the raised expressway as either a symbol of innovation or a monstrosity that chopped the city off from its lakeshore. Today, for Adam Nicklin and Marc Ryan, co-founders of Public Work, it is an opportunity for a new kind of urbanism. Their multi-phase plan, developed with urban designer Ken Greenberg, will transform 1.75 kilometres of dead space beneath the highway into a lively park called the Bentway. The park’s name refers to the “bents,” the T-shaped concrete columns on which the roadway sits at an elevation of up to 15 metres. These grand structures demarcate space, dividing the narrow strip of land into 55 “civic rooms,” which will eventually become year-round amphitheatres, playgrounds, bike paths, picnic areas and market kiosks – all partly sheltered from the elements by the roadway overhead. Last winter, the first completed phase opened: a figure-eight skate path that in summer months converts into a walkway for pedestrians and rollerbladers. The plan is to further offset the harsh concrete with warmer features, including a fibreglass-encapsulated glulam-timber pedestrian and cycling bridge suspended from the freeway by cables, and a park (or “wharf”) that appears to float above native grasses and rain gardens that double as storm water management systems. With condo towers lining the waterfront and filling in the downtown core, this neglected strip of land has always been ripe with potential. In the coming years, some 70,000 nearby residents, and the city at large, will finally get to use the backyard that’s been there all along.
“This project is a tremendous reflection of quality and thoughtfulness right in the heart of Montreal, and it is so well executed” MEGAN TORZA
Saint Joseph’s Oratory is one of Montreal’s most visited tourist attractions, with more than two million visitors – some on their knees seeking salvation from a site alleged to be a place of miracles – climbing its 283 outdoor steps annually to reach its doors. That’s a daunting history to mess with. Yet messing with the site is what Montreal-based firm Lemay has been tasked with, designing an $80 million upgrade to improve accessibility for those with limited mobility, and to enhance the acoustics for everyone. From the outset, “contemporary yet respectful” have been the watchwords for the firm, which is now overseeing realization of the project, expected to reach completion by 2019. The focus is primarily on the visitor facilities, including interior access from street level to all the buildings that are open to the public. These include the Holy Family Plaza, a multi-purpose pedestrian mall midway up the flank of Mount Royal, and a new bell tower. A monumental structure befitting Quebec’s only carillon, the tower houses a large musical instrument composed of 61 bronze bells that were originally made for the Eiffel Tower. The carillon, as well as a terraced landscape and other hard surfaces planned as features en route to the hilltop, combine into one giant earth chime. The architects intended these new structures to act as acoustic panels that project the unique instrument’s sound over as much of the grounds as possible, providing audio accompaniment to enhance visitors’ ascensions. Some of the renovation budget will go to refurbishing the site’s existing infrastructure, such as the museum that contains some 30,000 artefacts, among which is the Oratory founder’s preserved heart. But the redevelopment’s loftiest achievement will be realized with the upcoming revamp of the basilica’s gigantic dome. The new cupola will include a staircase through a void between the inner and outer dome structures.
In our digital reality, is there still a place for building by hand? That question led Kyriaki Goti and Shir Katz on a visually powerful exploration of the potential of human touch as a primary design tool. Called Tangible Formations, their joint master’s thesis develops a structural system of basic building blocks that require no additional material in order to be usable. The blocks are straightforward enough. They employ granular jamming, a process in which loosely packed particles are manipulated into a solid-like state when vacuum pressure is applied. Think sand granules inside a balloon. For Tangible Formations, the material base is woodchips packed into clear plastic bags and formed to the desired silhouette by squeezing and mashing, the same way you might shape a pillow before sleep. In this malleable state, the bags can be stacked and interlocked, but when air is sucked out, they turn into rigid forms. In order to build a data archive, the designers went a few steps further, mapping each form’s geometry using a hand-held HTC VIVE controller equipped with sensors. The archive will ultimately provide users with a library of openended building options. A short video documents the project’s seamless transition from tangible to digital. With minimal text and no dialogue, it illustrates what is ultimately most fascinating about Tangible Formations: a drag-and-drop platform with potential to democratize the design process and empower even non-practitioners to build by hand.
“Shir and Kyriaki didn’t just end up with parametric forms, they learned from trying and piling shapes that are almost like CMU blocks. There’s a lot of potential in looking at things that are generally hard, and then imagining them soft” CLAIRE WEISZ