West 8 delivers dynamic Queens Quay, a complete street in Toronto

Queens Quay Before. (Courtesy Waterfront Toronto)

Queens Quay Before. (Courtesy Waterfront Toronto)

After more than a decade of planning and three years of construction, Queens Quay in Toronto has been turned into a veritable urbanist’s dreamscape on the waterfront. Four lanes of traffic have been reduced to two making room for a separated bike path, separated light rail, benches, thousands of new trees, and extra-wide pedestrian promenades with pavers set into maple leaf patterns.

Continue reading after the jump.

Ole Scheeren wants to transform Vancouver’s glass skyline with this cantilevering tower

(Courtesy Buro-OS)

(Courtesy Buro-OS)

If you took Herzog & de Meuron‘s so-called “Jenga Tower” in New York City and combined it with NBBJ‘s so-called “Jenga Tower” in Cleveland, you would have something resembling Büro Ole Scheerens proposed residential tower in Vancouver, which, sure, kind of looks like a game of Jenga.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> Tales of bullying from a young Frank Gehry

Eavesdroplet, International
Friday, June 12, 2015
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Frank Gehry. (Courtesy Gehry Technologies; Montage by AN)

Frank Gehry. (Courtesy Gehry Technologies; Montage by AN)

In a recent essay for the forthcoming book Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal, Frank Gehry reminisced about his childhood in Canada. “My family was one of approximately 30 Jewish families in our town—Timmins, Ontario—and for a while, I was the only Jewish kid at my school. I used to get beat up regularly for ‘killing Christ.’”

COntinue reading after the jump.

As crucial vote looms, Toronto’s leadership divided over downtown elevated highway removal

The two proposals. (Courtesy City of Toronto)

The two proposals. (Courtesy City of Toronto)

The Toronto City Council will vote on June 21 on whether to remove a one-mile elevated section of the prominent but crumbling Gardiner East Expressway in the city’s downtown. Mayor John Tory wants to rebuild the road, but his staff, including chief city planner Jennifer Keesmaat, are advocating for removing the highway and replacing it with a pedestrian-friendly boulevard. It is unclear what the 45-member council will do. Read More

Big names short-listed for Canadian Canoe Museum project

Artist Neal Broadfoot's conceptual drawing of the canoeseum. (Courtesy Canadian Canoe Museum)

Artist Neal Broadfoot’s conceptual drawing of the canoeseum. (Courtesy Canadian Canoe Museum)

Everyone’s favorite canoe museum, the Canadian Canoe Museum in Ontario, Canada, is expanding. The museum has short-listed six firms to design its new facility at the Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site. The canoesuem (our word, not theirs) paddled its way through 90 submissions before settling on the finalists which come from Canada, the United States, and Ireland.

More after the jump.

West 8 and friends selected to give Toronto’s waterfront a “great green living room”

(Courtesy West 8, KPMB Architects, Greenberg Consultants via Waterfront Toronto)

(Courtesy West 8, KPMB Architects, Greenberg Consultants via Waterfront Toronto)

Hey Torontonians, your city’s waterfront might be getting a pretty exciting makeover dubbed a “great green living room for the city.” The City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto have announced that a proposal from West 8, KPMB Architects, and Greenberg Consultants has won its competition to reimagine the dated Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and adjacent Harbour Square Park.

Continue reading after the jump.

Video> Bjarke Ingels explains his torquing Vancouver House

Vancouver House. (Courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group)

Vancouver House. (Courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group)

The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has released a snazzy video of its eponymous leader explaining the design of Vancouver House, the firm’s upcoming mixed-use project in—you guessed it—Vancouver, Canada. As you can see from the photo above, the development is focused around a 52-story tower that appears to be twisting and expanding as it rises.

Watch the video after the jump.

Video> Shanghai Talks: Toronto city planner James Parakh talks skyscraper design, sustainable urbanism

Last September the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat invited me to serve as the special media correspondent for its Shanghai symposium, entitled “Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism.”

I conducted video interviews with dozens of architects, developers, building managers, and others on topics relevant to tall building design and sustainable urbanism. Among the many designers, engineers and other tall building types I interviewed was Toronto City Planner James Parakh.

Watch the video interview after the jump.

Toronto Design Competition hopes to lure people to the beach in the dead of winter

HotBox by Michaela MacLeod and Nicholas Croft.

HotBox by Michaela MacLeod and Nicholas Croft.

Believe it or not, Toronto’s beaches are not a particularly huge draw during the winter months—insiders say it has something to do with temperature. To try and change that—to make the city’s beaches seem appealing even in frigid temperatures—some optimistic Canadians have launched an international design competition to transform the city’s sandy stretches.

Continue reading after the jump.

Montreal to transform expressway into multi-modal urban boulevard

The transformed Bonaventure Expressway. (Courtesy CTV News Montreal)

The transformed Bonaventure Expressway. (Courtesy CTV News Montreal)

Urbanists rejoice! Montreal will tear down a major piece of one of its expressways and replace it with a multi-modal urban boulevard complete with parks, dozens of new trees, bike lanes, dedicated bus lanes, a dog park, and art installations. The Montreal Gazette reported that crews will start dismantling the city’s Bonaventure Expressway this spring, and that the entire $141.6 million project should wrap up as soon as 2017.

Read More

An interactive kaleidoscope of 50 colorful prisms hopes to entice winter exploration in Montreal

Prismatica. (Courtesy James Brittain)

Prismatica. (Courtesy James Brittain)

With 50 pivoting prisms, Toronto-based architecture firm RAW has transformed downtown Montreal into an interactive kaleidoscope. The installation, called Prismatica, is one of two winners selected in the city’s fifth annual Luminothérapie competition. This is the first time that a non-Quebec based firm has won the competition, so congrats to RAW.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Sturgess and RJC Soar with Glass Skywalk

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Sturgess Architecture, RJC, and PCL Construction Management crafted a gravity-defying walkway for Jasper National Park. (Courtesy Sturgess Architecture)

Sturgess Architecture, RJC, and PCL Construction Management crafted a gravity-defying walkway for Jasper National Park. (Robert Lemermeyer)

Parabola cantilever walkway delivers park visitors to the brink.

Concerned that visitors to Canada‘s national parks were becoming increasingly disengaged from both the experience of the outdoors and the reality of climate change, Parks Canada launched a search for private-sector initiatives to reverse the trend toward drive-through tourism. Brewster Travel Canada answered the call with a limited design competition for a walkable structure in Jasper National Park‘s Sunwapta Valley. “One of the bus drivers suggested that we do something over this particular gorge, Trickle Creek Canyon—something that could be suspended off the side of the mountain that brought visitors into a more intimate relationship with the Athabasca Glacier and its melting,” explained Sturgess Architecture principal Jeremy Sturgess. With design-build team lead PCL Construction Management and structural engineer Read Jones Christoffersen (RJC), Sturgess’ firm crafted a cantilevered walkway that, clad in weathering steel and glass, defers to its natural surroundings while providing breathtaking views of the glacier and valley floor. Though not a facade itself, Glacier Skywalk warrants discussion within the context of high-performance building envelopes for its innovative structure and streamlined approach to materials—the “+” in Facades+.

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