On Wednesday February 15th, ERA’s Graeme Stewart will appear for an interview on the show’s live broadcast from 2667 Kipling; the building featured in the NFB’s HIGHRISE documentary, the One Millionth Tower.
The book Concrete Ideas: Material to Shape a City was launched in January, 2012.
Edited by Pina Petricone, the book considers new approaches to concrete architecture by exploring a variety of new technologies and possibilities for the material. First introduced by Pina’s article in Concrete Toronto, the book is a compilation of ideas, articles and interviews assembled over the past several years.
The volume includes exploratory design work by ERA’s Jessie Grebenc, as well as a pair of articles by Graeme Stewart focused on Tower Renewal; one examining the state of concrete tower blocks internationally and the other exploring their potential architectural and urban futures in the Toronto context.
Congratulations to Pina and the publication team on a wonderful and beautiful book.
First launched in Toronto at the Kipling Towers in early December, the project premiered to the City at large at a packed Gladstone Hotel later that week. Following presentations of the films and panel discussion, the evening highlight was a solo performance by Kipling resident and 1MT performer Jamal. An article on the event by Marcus Gee in the Globe and Mail can be found here.
F0r the One Millionth Tower, the team worked with residents of the Kipling Towers Neighbourhood in North West Toronto, to understand the opportunities and challenges of the neighbourhood, and to dream big about the neighbourhood’s future. These ideas were then interpreted and brought to life by animators, web designers and the residents themselves.
The project includes a series of documentaries including themain feature- an experimental interactive documentary, as well as “Imagine“, documenting the collaborative production process, and “Living Proof“, showcasing international examples of Tower Renewal that ERA and CUG+R have toured over the years. These docs can be viewed below:
In 2008 the City of Toronto initiated its Tower Neighborhood Renewal program. The program looks at the significant impact of post–World War II construction in the city and proposes a plan for the rehabilitation of the many apartment towers that had been built during that period in the downtown core and inner suburbs. The scale and ambition of the project is large, and it represents an important departure from previous thinking that had placed little value on the conservation of buildings from this period. The intent of the program is to use the rehabilitation of this postwar building type as the catalyst for creating stronger, more sustainable communities. Recognizing that such a large-scale renewal amounts to a 20-year program, this paper provides an update on current progress.
Community Design – Image courtesy of Expect Theatre / Spark Productions
The East Scarborough Storefront is a community agency offering multiple services in a tower neighbourhood in East Scarborough. Containing a community kitchen and garden, market, resource centre and access point to over 50 different agencies such as job search support and literacy service, the East Scarbourough Storefront is a significant asset to Toronto. To expand its reach, the Storefront is currently undergoing a long term community lead expansion and revitalization strategy.
ERA has been involved in the neighborhood since 2007 in partnership with the City of Toronto, Jane’s Walk , the National Film Board and the United Way; working with residents to plan a vision for the future.
During this period, several workshops have been held with the community, hosted by ERA, the City of Toronto, Jane’s Walk and an ongoing collaborative process with the National Film Board as part of their remarkable HIGHRISE documentary initiative. A recently published report of one such workshop hosted by the City and DIAC in late 2010 can be downloaded here.
The symposium featured a broad range of international and local speakers, a panel discussion and a poster expo that continued into the party. The following post outlines the day’s events, and provides links to download much of the presented material.
The aim of the symposium was to showcase the wide range of research and initiatives currently taking place, and create a forum for the communication of ideas between the groups as the initiative moves forward. The symposium was a rousing success, attracting the attention of not just professionals from the field, but the public at large, with the event filled to capacity, and over 100 people listening from outside – our apologies.
…“Toronto[‘s] Tower Renewal Programme is one of the leading city retrofit and regeneration projects in the world. The objective, to relieve urban poverty through improved accessibility, job creation and improved local quality of life whilst reducing greenhouse gas emissions, is an inspirational model”…
This Option Studio focused on a site at Sheppard and Don Mills, typical of Toronto’s inner suburbs, with its distinctive clusters of high-rise residential buildings erected in the period of the 1950’s through the 1970’s. The goal of this studio was to investigate the potential of apartment tower sites to emerge as more liveable and sustainable communities, with a specific emphasis on built form. For more information on the site please see our previous post on the studio.
The studio operated under the assumption that existing buildings on site would be retrofit in accordance with previous tower renewal propositions. As such the focus of the studio shifted to re-conceptualizations of site planning, and to the design of new buildings erected on site, thereby increasing both the population density and availability of services and amenities.
The project brief was ambitious in calling for the addition of over 1000 new housing units, as well as increased community services, shops and family amenities within the existing property boundaries.
This past weekend, The Toronto Starfeatured highlights of this research as part of an ongoing series looking into the future opportunities of Toronto Community Housing. Featured in the article are selected best practices found throughout the EU related to social housing. These include:
Cities Centre,ERA Architectsand the City of Toronto Tower Renewal Office are hosting the second Tower Neighbourhood Renewal Symposium on May 12, 2011 from 1- 5pm at U of T’s Hart House. The Symposium is being held in conjunction with the annual Toronto the Good Party, which will begin immediately following the symposium.
The second symposium will consist of a plenary session with international and local speakers, a panel discussion and a poster expo in the Great Hall showcasing regional Tower Renewal projects and research. The aim of the symposium is to showcase the wide range of research and initiatives related to Tower Renewal in a visual format, and provide a venue for those engaged in these initiatives to network, compare notes, and collaborate.
International speakers will include Peter Head, Chairmen of Global Planning for Arup, and Prof. Frank Wassenberg, a Senior Researcher with TU Delft and the Hague’s Nicis Institute in the Netherlands. Headquartered in London, Peter Head leads regional sustainability projects throughout the world, and has lent his expertise to Toronto’s Tower Renewal Project. Prof. Wassenberg is an expert in urban renewal and governance, with specific expertise in the large Tower Renewal initiative in Amsterdam’s Bijlmermeer Neighbourhood.
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Towers x Wards. Ward number (blue), Number of Towers 5 – 50 storeys (in red box).
The Greater Toronto Region contains 1,925 post-war Apartment Towers of eight to fifty storeys, as well as an additional 1,155 post-war apartments five to seven storeys, totalling 3,080 high-rise apartments built in the post-war boom.
This remarkable number of buildings in the region is divided among its various municipalities. The majority, roughly 60%, are located in the City of Toronto, with other large clusters in Peel and Hamilton, and to a lesser degree, Kitchener – Waterloo, Oakville, Guelph, Burlington, and other municipalities throughout the region.
In Toronto, this large number is subject to another layer of division, not of municipal boundary, but rather Ward boundaries.
To better understand the relationship of Ward boundaries to Toronto’s post-war towers, a series of maps were created. These maps look at Wards by the number of towers eight to fifty storeys, five to fifty storeys, as well as examining the relationship between large groupings of towers, known as tower clusters, and Ward boundaries. Continue Reading This Post
In February 10th and 11th, 2011, the Civic Action Summitassembled over one thousand civic leaders from Greater Toronto to discuss the future of the city reigon. Topics ranged from Arts and Culture, to Transportation, to Sustainability.
ERA actively participated in the planning and organizing of discussions related to housing and complete neighbourhoods – particularly how these broader themes intersected with the opportunities of Tower Neighbourhood Renewal, and complete and livable communities in general.
A key output has been the publication of the draftRegional Housing Data Bank, a project lead by the City of Toronto’s Nicole Stewart, and can be downloaded here.
Findings and proceedings of the Summit will be released in the weeks to come and will be available at www.civicaction.ca.
In late 2010, David Hulchanski published The Three Cities Within Toronto, a research update of his pioneering work related to income polarization in the city of Toronto.
This work outlines the ‘Three’ Cities within Toronto’: City Number One of growing wealth; City Number Three of growing poverty, and City Number Two, the middle income city, which is gradually shrinking.
Published in partnership with theUniversity of Toronto Cities Centre, St. Christopher House, and the CURA Network, the book provides new projections based on the latest census data, and brings the analysis outside of the borders of Toronto to the wider region. The book also provides a more detail breakdown of areas of increasing poverty, including Apartment Neighbourhoods. (A previous post related to Tower Renewal and Three Cities can be found here).
In fall 2010, Dean Emeritus George Baird and Graeme Stewart of ERA, conducted an architectural design studio at theDaniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, exploring the potential for mixed-use growth in one of the Toronto’s Region’s many post-war Apartment Neighbourhoods.
The United Way released the Vertical Poverty report today, outlining the current state of apartment – tower living in the GTA.
The report’s finding are based on several thousand interviews with tower residents, and contains important recommendations to improve the livability of apartment neighbourhoods. These findings and recommendations complement those found in Tower Neighbourhood Renewal in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, released in late 2010 and prepared by ERA and planningAlliance for the Government of Ontario.
ERA participated in the United Way report as peer reviewer. Similarly, the tower research team at the United Way was a peer reviewer for ERA and planningAlliance’s recent study.
The Greater Golden Horseshoe is unique globally for its pattern of urbanization due to the proliferation of post-war apartment towers throughout the region.
In 2009 the government of Ontario’s Growth Secretariat enlisted ERA Architects and planningAlliance (the founding partners of the not for profit research organization CUG+R) as well as the Cities Centre at the University of Toronto, to analyze this housing resource, and examine its future role in our growing region.