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Issue No. 270 | July 20, 2018


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Feature Stories

  1. Welcome to The New Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Sylvia Jones
  2. Catherine Nasmith, ACO Past President and BHN Editor will Cycle 600k
  3. Globe and Mail: The Chateau Laurier Addition
  4. City TV: Ford Government Pulls Back on School Repairs
  5. County Live: Cancellation of Wind Turbine Projects Prince Edward County
  6. ipolotics: Cancellation of Prince Edward County Wind Farm
  7. Architecture Daily: Top Five Refurbishment Projects


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1. Welcome to The New Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Sylvia Jones
Catherine Nasmith

Sylvia Jones, the New Minister of Culture Tourism and Sport

The Ontario Heritage Act was produced by a Conservative government in 1975, Minister Robert Welch, assisted by then Deputy Minister, Stephen A. Otto. The revisions which were passed by the McGuinty government in 2005, were essentially drafted by two Conservative Culture Ministers, Tim Hudak and David Tsubuchi and carried forward by the very able Liberal Minister, Madelleine Meilleur.

It's too early to say what the new Ford government's attitude to this relatively small portfolio will be, but I am encouraged by the appointment of Ms. Sylvia Jones, from Dufferin-Caledon, as Minister of Tourism Culture and Sport. She represents an area that has long been very careful of its history and heritage property.   You can find her bio here

Several measures have already been implemented affect heritage property, but these were not  focussed on heritage per se. The elimination of the $100M fund to address  school repairs going forward is concerning, leading to premature losses of important public buildings. The cancellation of the energy conservation subsidy programs, inadvertently cut funding for energy upgrades to heritage windows which was in its roll-out stages. Many green energy projects (windmills) have been cancelled, most notably in Prince Edward County, thereby conserving an important cultural heritage landscape.

Save the Bala Falls is hoping that Premier Ford will keep his promise to cancel the hydro project at the Bala Falls. Although it is under construction now, stopping it would save ongoing energy subsidy costs and eliminate the potential safety concerns because of the proximity of a hydro plant to a public swimming and boating area. 

A change in government brings with it the chance to change government practice. For example, this government might consider being more proactive in establishing a list or provincially significant properties and acting to defend them, a project that was actively pursued by the Conservatives before the switch to the Peterson government. Now is the time to get in touch with the incoming Minister and welcome her. 

2. Catherine Nasmith, ACO Past President and BHN Editor will Cycle 600k
Catherine Nasmith

Cathy and Carl setting off on Historic Bike Rally Route to Montreal

Promoting Architecture Conservancy Ontario's Work to a New Audience 

I have been publishing BHN for nearly 20 years now, and rarely ask for your support. I am asking for it now. 

Starting July 29, I will be riding from Toronto to Montreal with the PWA Bike Rally. This will be my fifth year of participating in the Bike Rally, and my fourth ride. I began supporting PWA after my brother Carl died in 2014, because it was his favourite charity, and because I love to ride. As I rode the 600 km with my brother's picture on my back, I fell in love with the cause and the route.

The Bike Rally goes through the earliest settlement areas of Ontario, fascinating for a heritage architect.  The history is so interesting, with stories from so many eras; French trading and settlement, the British treaties with Indigenous Peoples, Loyalist settlers (refugees), the history of transportation and settlements, a secret spy camp and of course the architecture and cultural landscapes left by all those people and processes. 

As someone who has twice been President of Architectural Conservancy Ontario (ACO) I am working to bring the two charities together. A partnership between ACO and PWA is emerging which will have ACO sharing stories about the places along the route with Bike Rally participants, a new audience for ACO’s work. 

The stories are going out in the Bike Rally Newsletters. Over the next few years research and stories will be compiled, at first to be read on tiny screens in tents. I am 75% of the way to reaching my $20,000.00 goal. I am training hard, (not easy at 65) but without the support of friends, family and colleagues I can’t make the fundraising distance. If you are interested in reading the history stories and supporting my fundraising efforts, you can DONATE HERE!

3. Chateau Laurier Addition: Built Heritage Sub-committee Decision-Accepts but doesn't Endorse
Catherine Nasmith

View from Major Hill Park

Ottawa's MHC, the Built Heritage Sub-Committee has given a half-hearted okay to the current design, yet added a lumpy camel list of conditions to the approval. There were a lot of letters from a lot of people expressing concern about the current iteration, with Heritage Ottawa leading the charge. The conditions include asking staff to continue to work with the applicant to change the design to include more stone and more detail drawn from the Chateau Laurier forms and details.  Alex Bozikovic wrote in the weekend Globe and Mail advising acceptance of the design in its current form, yet stopped short of applause.





4. Globe and Mail: The Chateau Laurier Addition
Alex Bozikovic

Relax, Ottawa: The Château isnt falling

An assault on the castle! That’s been the tone of the intense popular debate in Ottawa over a proposed addition to the Château Laurier. The design by Toronto’s architectsAlliance has been cast as a “disgraceful act of heritage vandalism.” And yet the latest version of that design goes to the city’s built heritage subcommittee Monday with staff support. It might, at last, get built.

That is not the disaster that some heritage advocates fear; the addition, in its current form, is a respectful and respectable piece of architecture. But it sure won’t make everyone happy. Nothing could. 

The last two years of debate – call them the Château Wars – have taken place on two distinct fronts. One is the popular argument. Ottawans love the Château, and won’t accept any change at all. The other is a more subtle argument that the addition should mimic or mirror the existing Château.


First, the popular debate. Ever since the Château’s owners, Larco Investments, first revealed addition plans in 2016, Ottawans have been really angry. The Toronto architect Peter Clewes and his firm architectsAlliance, together with ERA Architects, drew up a new wing for the hotel – closing its U shape with new guest and meeting rooms – that was 12 storeys tall, facing Major’s Hill Park. It borrowed the limestone and copper of the Château but articulated the façades with an irregular grid of rectangles. Locals compared it to something out of Minecraft or Mordor. 


Click here for Link

5. Globe and Mail: Leaside Photo Exhibition
Dave Le Blanc

When Toronto's upscale Leaside was a company town

Mister Company Man on the Company land
Stands every street and building in the town
Every park, every green, every home and dream
The Company owns every piece of ground
And everybody in the Company Town
Company Town by The Men They Couldn’t Hang, 1989

Examples of 'company town' houses at 121-123 Rumsey Rd., Vik Pahwa

If it had been named Wireville or Cableton, perhaps Toronto residents would understand how important these "company town" homes in Leaside — incorporated in 1913, Leaside would become part of the borough of East York in 1967 — really are and how they jump-started development.<

But, alas, when Canada Wire and Cable Co. (CWCC) purchased 6.5 hectares on the eastern edge of the development, another company had beaten them to the punch: the Canadian Northern Railway. It was the railway that had assembled 415 hectares of farmland and hired New Hampshire-born, Montreal-based Frederick Gage Todd to plan the unique, curving streets of Leaside. 

Named for farmer John Lea, who settled here in 1819, and for his son, William, who had an octagonal home named "Leaside" built in the 1850s, Todd sharpened his draughting pencil, thought of his mentor Frederick Law Olmsted and employed new garden city principles to his design, just as he'd done for Mont Royal in Montreal and Port Mann in British Columbia.


278 Sutherland Dr., Vik Pahwa

However, during the 15-year development stall, this was Canada Wires town. As early as 1914, the president, Emil A. Wallberg, was securing permits to build homes for his employees on 40-foot lots. While the plan was to build 100 fairly close to the factory, underground water issues meant they were pushed across Laird Drive onto Rumsey Road, Airdrie Road and Sutherland Drive. In all, approximately 68 were built.


Click here for Link

6. Historic Toronto: Paul Kane's House on Wellesley Avenue
Doug Taylor

I first learned about the Irish/Canadian artist Paul Kane in the 1950s, in the Native People’s Gallery in the basement of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Compared to the galleries in the ROM today, it was a modest display, but as a young man it created a lasting impression on me. Today, I can still picture the large canoe that occupied a prominent part of the exhibit, as well as the detailed dioramas and numerous paintings of Paul Kane. Because of this experience, I was keenly interested when I read years later that the home of Paul Kane had been identified on Wellesley Street East, a short distance east of the Wellesley Subway Station, on the Yonge Line.

Kane was born in Mallow County, Cork, in Ireland in 1810, and arrived in Canada with his family in 1820 at age nine. The Kane family settled in the small colonial capital of York in Upper Canada (Ontario). As a young man, he was employed in Toronto at the Wilson S. Congers factory, painting decorative detailing on furniture. In 1834 he relocated to Cobourg and worked in the same trade at the F. S. Clench’s furniture factory. While in Cobourg, he began painting portraits and after he departed the town in 1836, he earned a modest living as a travelling portrait painter.

In 1841, the same year that Upper Canada became Canada West (now Ontario), his ambitions pushed him toward a life-altering decision—to depart for Europe to study art. He remained overseas for almost four years, where he meticulously copied the old masters in Rome, Naples, Florence, Venice and London. His goal was to acquire the skills to allow him to become a professional painter. While in London, he saw the "Wild West Show, " which included paintings, lectures, and theatrical performances, all staged by the 32-year old artist George Catlin. The show was based on Catlin’s journey in the American west in the 1830s, where he had captured images of 48 different tribes of the American Great Plains.

Click here for Link

7. Campbell House: Lost and Found Symposium Series
Catherine Nasmith

Lost & Found Discussions: Contested Spaces and the Creation of Heritage

Campbell House is offering a series of panel discussions associated with its Lost and Found Exhibition, a must see if you are at Queen and University with a little time to contemplate these interesting carved stone building fragments installed on the lawn. I have had the pleasure of moderating two of the discussions. You can find them online at the link below.

Click here for Link

8. City TV: Ford Government Pulls Back on School Repairs
Canadian Press

Tory government cancels $100 million school repair fund

Ontario’s new Tory government has cancelled a $100-million fund earmarked for school repairs this year, a cut that comes as a result of Doug Ford’s campaign promise to scrap the province’s cap-and-trade system.

School boards were notified on July 3 that the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund would be eliminated and that only work contracted on or before that date would be covered.

The memo, obtained by The Canadian Press, advises school boards to stop spending the cash that was allocated in April immediately.

“Please maintain detailed records of the contracts that have been signed as ministry staff will contact boards to collect information on the scope of the work underway,” the memo said.

Toronto District School Board chair Robin Pilkey said the move is disappointing because that board has a $4 billion repair backlog.

The TDSB had budgeted $300 million for upkeep this fiscal year, including the $25 million it was awarded specifically from this fund, and now faces difficult choices, Pilkey said.

“Losing $25 million is a big deal to us,” she said. “Our repair backlog is so large that every piece counts. We’ll have to make decisions in the next few weeks whether we don’t do those projects or we take the money out of … other funds and scrap something else.”

The board had planned to use the funding to repair windows, lighting and complete other mechanical work in its schools, she said.

It’s unlikely much of the money has been spent, however, because the board must hire contractors through the proper procurement process, which takes time, she said.

“It’s not like you get the money on May 1 and can spent it on May 15,” she said. “It takes awhile to get the money flowing.”

The province has an approximate $15 billion repair backlog at its 4,900 publicly funded schools.

Stephen Seaborn, spokesman for the education advocacy group Campaign for Public Education, said the cut will hurt schools across Ontario.

“It’s bad,” he said. “It was done just like as if it was nothing. There was no discussion about what would be done about the budgets of the schools.”

Click here for Link

9. Chatham Daily News: Redundant School to be re-purposed
Elwood Shreve, forwarded by Marlee Robinson

LKDSB decides to repurpose school for alternative programs

By Ellwood Shreve, Chatham Daily News

Friday, June 8, 2018 9:35:28 EDT AM
Daphne Zondag, principal of John N. Given Public School, led the organizing of a Farewell Open House in early May to mark the closure of the Chatham elementary school at the end of the current school year. The school will continue to serve students now that the Lambton Kent District School Board has decided to house its alternative education and adult and continuing education programs at the site. Ellwood Shreve/Chatham Daily News/Postmedia Network
Daphne Zondag, principal of John N. Given Public School, led the organizing of a Farewell Open House in early May to mark the closure of the Chatham elementary school at the end of the current school year. The school will continue to serve students now that the Lambton Kent District School Board has decided to house its alternative education and adult and continuing education programs at the site. Ellwood Shreve/Chatham Daily News/Postmedia Network

John N. Given Public School will continue to serve students after the school officially closes to current JK to Grade 8 students at the end of the month.

The Lambton Kent District School Board announced Thursday that senior administration have decided to repurpose the school for alternative programs, which means it will not be declared surplus to the board's needs.
LKDSB trustees previously approved the consolidation of Given to the Kindergarten to Grade 8 English language program at nearby Tecumseh Public School for this September.

When closing a school, board's have the option to repurpose it or sell it.

“We repurpose properties or sell properties with a varying degree of success,” said superintendent of education Gary Girardi, adding, “it often depends on the specific location and the interest in the site.”

However, in this case, he said the board wasn't looking at the prospect of whether or not the site could be sold when making this decision.

Girardi said the board currently has special education programs at various locations throughout the area, along with LKDSB's Adult & Continuing Education program that occupies a leased property in Chatham.

“Consolidating into one site, especially a site that is currently part of the Lambton Kent District School Board, we think it's a good decision for repurposing that John N. Given Public School site,” he said.

Some of the special education programs that will move to Given are the Positive Alternative to Suspension from School program and Section 23, which offers educational programming to students who require an alternative to a traditional classroom setting.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Keeping schools in use for the public good seems sensible, but isn't always the case.

10. County Live: Cancellation of Wind Turbine Projects Prince Edward County

MPP Smith announces cancellation of turbine project in Prince Edward County



UPDATE: County residents were protesting the wpd Canada industrial wind turbines at Bond and County Road 10 when they heard the news Tuesday of the project’s pending cancellation.

“Today’s citizen action photo opportunity at Bond Road and County Road 10 was a great success with 40 to 50 participants coming out to demonstrate their anger and dismay towards the IESO for issuing a Notice to Proceed (NTP) to wpd White Pines Wind Inc, after the election campaign was under way,” said Gord Gibbins, chair of the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC). “The group delayed the delivery convoy of large wind turbine parts for a short period for the photo op. The organizers clearly achieved their objective to send a strong message to Queen’s Park. A great job by the organization committee.”

Click here for Link

11. The Napanee Beaver: Threat to 1785 Hawley House Passes

Region's Loyalist heritage worthy of protection

Hawley House

Loyalist Township ultimately made the right decision Monday evening to keep the Jeptha Hawley House on its register of properties with cultural heritage significance.

Given the only restriction it places on a homeowner is the requirement to give 60 days notice ofan impending demolition, it really should have been a no-brainer. One gets the sense, though, that had the new owners of the property not wanted the longest continuously occupied home in Ontario on that list, that councillors may have relented to those wishes. Then, the home may have been on the path to becoming another of those images pulled from dusty books or sharedon the web, inviting people to “remember when” it was part of the local landscape. While historians and publications play a valuable role in documenting our past, photographs and stories always pale in comparison to a real, physical property.


Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Somewhat altered but recognizable as the early house it is.

12. Hamilton Spectator: Demolition for St. Giles Church
Matthew Van Dongen

Heritage designation set for rejection

Former St. Giles church destined for wrecking ball after planning committee decision

St. Giles

Teh former St. Giles United Church at the corner of Main Street East and Holton Avenue. - John Rennison , The Hamilton Spectator 

St. Giles_2

Inside the former St. Giles United Church at the corner of Main Street East and Holton Avenue. It was built 110 years ago. - John Rennison , The Hamilton Spectator 

St. Giles_3

the former St. Giles United Church at the corner of Main Street East and Holton Avenue. - John Rennison , The Hamilton Spectator 

1 / 3

Council is poised to reject a heritage designation for the former St. Giles United Church at the request of the cash-strapped congregation.

That planning committee decision, expected to be confirmed Friday, highlights the challenge of preserving fast-disappearing historic houses of worship in the face of growing maintenance bills and shrinking church membership.

The city's heritage committee and expert staff had urged council to protect the 110-year-old house of worship at the corner of Main Street East and Holton Avenue South, citing a unique neo-Gothic design and link to notable architecture firm Stewart and Witton.

But leaders of recently merged St. Giles and Centenary congregations, now New Vision United Church, pleaded with councillors to reject the designation request and allow the planned demolition of the building to make room for rental housing.

An emotional New Vision Rev. Ian Sloan said the merged congregations had to make the "difficult decision" to save one historic building and chose the former Centenary church downtown, which now also serves as a unique concert call.

"Something had to be done with one building … so the other one can remain standing," he said, explaining the church hopes to build rental housing at Main and Holton and use the revenues to cover repair and operational costs at New Vision downtown.

The church has already applied for a demolition permit and started to auction off stained-glass windows and interior elements like its organ and unique chandeliers.

The auction particularly disappointed some heritage advocates, including the chair of the city's committee, Alissa-Denham Robinson, who noted by email the sell-off would remove significant historical features before council gets to weigh in on designation.

Click here for Link

13. ipolotics: Cancellation of Prince Edward County Wind Farm
Marieke Walsh

Cancelled wind farm to cost Ontario ratepayers $100 million plus: Company


TORONTO— The unexpected cancellation of a wind energy project by the new Ontario government will cost ratepayers more than $100 million according to the company spearheading the project.

On Tuesday afternoon, Tory house leader Todd Smith told reporters the government would cancel a wind turbine project in his own riding as one of its first acts of business when the legislature resumes on Thursday.

“We will introduce legislation to cancel the White Pines industrial wind turbine project which received its notice to proceed during the election period,” Smith said.

The company said it was caught flat-footed by the news and only found out about its death from a reporter.

“We are shocked by the news. The White Pines Wind Project has been under development for 10 years and is nearing the completion of construction (today there were over 100 workers on site),” WPD Canada president Ian MacRae said in an email.

Click here for Link

14. The Globe and Mail:Rising land values in Vancouver spurring demolitions
Kerry Gold

Rising land values in Vancouver spurring demolitions

A demolition site in East Vancouver. A new study shows that it would take an average of 168 years for the energy-efficiency gains of a newly constructed single-family house to make up for the negative environmental impact of materials used in construction.

John Lehmann


As sky-high housing prices and rents in Vancouver continue to make life miserable for many residents, the idea that the city should rezone areas currently reserved for detached housing has continued to gain traction.

It came up repeatedly at a recent Urban Development Institute (UDI) debate, where academic John Rose called it "the biggest supply question" and "the most controversial." And it is included in a frightening new University of British Columbia study on Vancouver's unhealthy construction frenzy, co-authored by architecture professor Joseph Dahmen at the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. The study shows the wastefulness of Vancouver's rampant house demolitions. It points out that it would take an average of 168 years for the energy-efficiency gains of a newly constructed single-family house to make up for the negative environmental impact of the materials used in construction.

Despite radical efforts to build homes to a more efficient standard, the teardown cycle means we're adding, not reducing, greenhouse gas emissions. The demolition craze is fuelled by rising property values, with people tearing down homes and building bigger ones, often to house fewer people.

Mr. Dahmen says that if we're throwing so many perfectly good houses into the landfill and increasing overall greenhouse gas emissions in the process, then we might as well replace them with rowhouses, townhouses and condos to house more people. He's not saying to tear down all houses, because it's not a single-solution problem, he says. But the higher the land price relative to the building on it, then the higher the probability of demolition. A multi-unit building would be more financially valuable, and therefore less likely to be demolished, he says.

"This is a complex issue and we don't want to eliminate zoning for single-family houses and go row-housing everywhere. It needs to be done carefully, judiciously, with great regard for design goals," Mr. Dahmen says.

"The question is, can we afford to have the attitude that everywhere there is a single-family house we only want another single-family house? We have to think about what we want to protect and what is off limits.

"Let's not forget that one in four houses being bought and sold right now in Vancouver is being torn down and replaced with something new."

Misha Das, a student at the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture who co-authored the study, which was funded by the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies (analyst and supply advocate Jens von Bergmann also collaborated), estimates that about 32,000 detached houses in Vancouver will be torn down by 2050. "It's mind boggling," Mr. Das says, especially because that number represents almost half the detached housing stock. Clearly, we're not doing enough to preserve the historic homes, he says.

"For me, it's very important we consider all the costs associated with rebuilding the city – because the city is being rebuilt whether we like it or not," he says. "It will be a very different place 20 years from now.

"Growth, for the most part, isn't a very green process."

A greater selection of housing makes sense in a city where residents need to earn about 35 times the average household income to afford the benchmark price of a detached house.

But if the city followed through and blanket rezoned single-family for denser housing, would it actually translate into affordable housing? And would we end up with a livable city – or a city beset by overcrowding and never-ending gridlock?

These were the questions posed at the UDI debate by Josh Gordon, assistant professor at Simon Fraser University's School of Public Policy, and John Rose, instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University's department of geography. Mr. Gordon and Mr. Rose argued that speculative demand, driven by global wealth sloshing into the Vancouver region's housing market in the last several years, had created a crisis. They argued that merely rezoning areas and building more market supply won't solve the problem, and could end up exacerbating the crisis. Mr. Rose questioned why communities would buy into the idea.

"I highly doubt you will find neighbourhoods willing to embrace densification if they do not see the anticipated benefits and affordability," he said. "[People will ask] ‘Why are we densifying if this is just going to be purchased by speculative investors and prices are going to be jacked up so local residents can't live in any of it?'"

"It's not about ‘anti-supply' or ‘anti-densification.' In the context of where you have speculative investment, it is, ‘How do you sell this?'"

But pro-supply groups say land-consuming detached housing is a major barrier to affordability. Fifty-seven per cent of the city's land mass is zoned for one-family dwellings, according to housing analyst Andy Yan (it should be noted that the overwhelming majority of houses are used to house more than family, so "single family" is a misnomer.)

Even UBC economist Tom Davidoff, who supports rezoning, didn't sound confident at the debate that affordability for the average-income earner would be on the menu. Instead, Mr. Davidoff saw foreign wealth, when it was at its peak, as a boon for the economy, and a way to get money out of the land and subsidize housing for locals. He also said a market flooded with multifamily housing would result in lower prices, and even if only high-income earners could afford it, that's better than nobody. And because of the NDP government's new tax measures, which were partly based on a proposal put forward by a large group of local economists, including Mr. Davidoff, there's now more money on the table for locals.

"If somebody from overseas wants to buy a condo and leave it empty, good for them," he told the audience, made up of young people in the development industry. "They are going to pay 20 per cent up front in [foreign-buyer] tax, 1 per cent for the city's empty homes tax and 2 per cent for the provincial speculation tax, so on a $1-million condo, they are going to pay $200,000 upfront and $30,000 a year for an empty box. That's a great deal for the city … So the beauty of the new tax regime is regardless of what was driving things, what's the objection now to getting more affordable stuff built? If people want to pay us taxes for nothing, great.

"I just don't see a loss in adding multifamily, especially if the city [increases] community amenity contributions while doing approvals."

Mr. Rose asked: "Is the purpose of densification to increase tax revenue or to provide affordable housing to local residents?"

And Mr. Gordon later said: "You can sell off Vancouver and all the land to wealthy buyers – but will you get affordability?"

In a follow-up interview, Mr. Gordon said we would need a policy framework that captures some of the profits ("land lift") that would result from blanket rezoning – in the form of community amenity contributions, for example. Otherwise, land owners, realtors and developers would simply pocket the substantial gains and create housing that remains out of reach for locals.

He cites redevelopment of detached houses into major projects along Cambie Street, which are unaffordable for most locals.

"There are people who own 20 detached houses on the west side who are tapping their fingers, waiting for municipal governments to [rezone detached houses], on the basis of affordability, when it won't generate that," Mr. Gordon said. "We need to be very, very cautious about rezoning single-family detached areas."

Mr. Gordon suspects that the development industry is behind a lot of the talk for more supply. Last fall, UDI chief executive officer Anne McMullin called for municipalities in the region to remove single-family restrictions, for consumers and developers.

And Mr. Gordon notes that there is a civic election coming up, and people are pushing their agendas.

"They are trying to rezone Vancouver and they are trying to do it without the proper mechanisms for land lift in place, and it will not generally deliver affordability as they maintain it will," he says. "This is a concerted effort on the part of the development industry and associated industries and speculators, to try to make a big windfall profit.

"There needs to be a bigger conversation about what kind of a city do we want to be. Do we want to be a highly dense city like Singapore or Hong Kong? Or do we want to preserve the livability of the city and not try to cram tens of thousands of people into a small amount of space? For obvious reasons, the development industry wants the high-rise strategy."







15. Daily Commercial News: Projects - Voltigeurs de Quebec Armoury revived after massive fire
Don Wall

For the reconstructed armoury, the roofs of the central multifunctional room and the lobby are made from Massive Engineered Wood structures and CLT panels, which are covered externally with copper.

PSPC FACEBOOK  The April 2008 fire at the Voltigeurs armoury headquarters in Quebec City sent the regiment packing for a decade. They returned May 12 of this year following the completion of the rebuild.

The recently completed $104-million restoration of the landmark Voltigeurs de Quebec Armoury at the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City has not only brought a significant Canadian heritage building back to life but the build has given the community valuable new multipurpose spaces as well.

The project involved significant remediation of the site following a major fire in April 2008, consultation with numerous stakeholders including the Voltigeurs, who are the oldest French-Canadian regiment still in existence, and careful co-ordination of heritage preservation and sustainability goals.

The community celebrated closing on the project with an inauguration ceremony April 26.

“We were able to find solutions to all of our challenges,” said Luc Morin, project leader for Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC). “There was a way to rehabilitate the site, make it more useful, optimizing the site for the community, and more useful for the government as well.”

The project team benefited by access to the original 1885 drawings created by architect Eugene-Etienne Tache — an employee of Public Works Canada, Morin noted with a hint of pride.

Tache had toured Europe and returned intent on designing the armoury in a French chateau style with turrets, dormer windows and stone masonry. The stone was sourced from nearby quarries and the wooden roof, covered with copper, was the largest of its kind in Canada.

Only the facade and two towers were left intact following the fire. Morin said the structure was already in need of renovation, with lots of mould and water seepage damage exacerbated by over a century of harsh weather.

Click here for Link

16. National Trust for Canada: Former Carnegie Library and City of Winnipeg Archives
National Trust for Canada

The former Carnegie Library and City of Winnipeg Archives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is on the 2018 Top 10 Endangered Places List

Former Carnegie Library and City of Winnipeg Archives, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Why it’s endangered

Closed in 2010 for construction and upgrades, a torrential June 2013 rainstorm tore the roof off the building and damaged the archival records. The Archives subsequently relocated to a temporary home in an industrial park. Four years later, the former Carnegie Library remains empty and in limbo with no funds allocated by the City for restoration

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Designed by Samuel Hooper (1851-1911) - During 1903-1905 Hooper oversaw the design and construction of the Winnipeg Carnegie Library. It was during this project, in 1904, he was appointed the first Provincial Architect of Manitoba, holding the position until his death. He also served as President of the Manitoba Association of Architects in 1908. For an architect of such stature it is shameful that the City of Winnipeg, cannot honour him appropriately, as well as the original gift from the Carnegie Foundation, by restoring this building and integrating it into the community in which it is situated. For more on Hooper see,

17. Smithsonian: Eusebio Leal, Havana's City Historian
Tony Perrottet

The Man Who Saved Havana

As its greatest old buildings were falling down, a fearless historian named Eusebio Leal remade the city into a stunning world destination

Formerly an arcade and office buildingFormerly an arcade and office building, dating to 1917, the structure underwent a city-led restoration and reopened last year as the Hotel Manzana Kempinski. (Néstor Martí)
By Tony Perrottet, Photography by Néstor Marti

On a sweltering morning in Old Havana, a courtly figure in a crisp gray guayabera shirt weaves through the Plaza de Armas, the city’s Spanish colonial heart, trying not to attract attention. Although none of the foreigners lolling beneath the banyan trees and royal palms recognize him, a ripple of excitement passes through the Cubans, who nudge each other, smile and stare. Perhaps only on this island obsessed with its operatic past could a historian become a celebrity on a par with a Clooney or DiCaprio. Eusebio Leal is the official historian of the city of Havana, a regal-sounding position that brings with it enormous influence and exposure—he starred for many years in his own TV show where he explored Old Havana’s streets—and he is as far from the cliché of the dusty, isolated academic as it is possible to get. In fact, Leal is credited with almost single-handedly bringing Old Havana from the brink of ruin to its current status as the most ravishing and vibrant architectural enclave in the Western Hemisphere.

Deftly dodging well-wishers, Leal ducks into the Historical Library, where some 50 female workers line up to kiss him on the cheek and offer flustered greetings. In his hectic round of duties, he has come to honor one of Cuba’s countless obscure intellectual champions—a certain Alfredo Zayas Méndez, who founded this archive 80 years ago, an exalted act in a nation with the highest level of education in Latin America. Standing before a plaque, Leal orates off the cuff for 45 minutes about the biblio-hero Zayas, a rhetorical tour de force that includes fond personal anecdotes, philosophical musings on “the importance of memory” and flirtatious exchanges that make the audience collapse into helpless laughter. He then takes questions, poses for snapshots, examines a restoration plan for the Havana Capitol—offering his expert opinion about work on the dome—before dashing off with his minder to a high-level government meeting.

The whirlwind visit leaves everyone a little dazed. At age 75, Leal shows no signs of slowing his notoriously hectic pace. For the last 50 years, almost as long as the Cuban revolution has lasted, his outsized personality has been inseparable from Old Havana itself. Working within the Communist system, he pioneered a capitalist network that would save the district’s architectural heritage at the same time as maintaining its community life so that it would not become a “living museum” like Venice or Old San Juan. A consummate politician, he combined a deft personal touch with the poorest residents while navigating the high corridors of government and hobnobbing with Fidel Castro. Although he has stepped back from direct power in the last couple of years following a serious illness, he is still regularly loaded with international honors, as both Cubans and foreigners—even Miami exiles—fall over themselves to pile him with praise.

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18. Harper's: Overheated Economies Killing Cities
Kevin Baker

The Death of a Once Great City

The fall of New York and the urban crisis of affluence

As New York enters the third decade of the twenty-first century, it is in imminent danger of becoming something it has never been before: unremarkable. It is approaching a state where it is no longer a significant cultural entity but the world’s largest gated community, with a few cupcake shops here and there. For the first time in its history, New York is, well, boring.

This is not some new phenomenon but a cancer that’s been metastasizing on the city for decades now. And what’s happening to New York now—what’s already happened to most of Manhattan, its core—is happening in every affluent American city. San Francisco is overrun by tech conjurers who are rapidly annihilating its remarkable diversity; they swarm in and out of the metropolis in specially chartered buses to work in Silicon Valley, using the city itself as a gigantic bed-and-breakfast. Boston, which used to be a city of a thousand nooks and crannies, back-alley restaurants and shops, dive bars and ice cream parlors hidden under its elevated, is now one long, monotonous wall of modern skyscraper. In Washington, an army of cranes has transformed the city in recent years, smoothing out all that was real and organic into a town of mausoleums for the Trump crowd to revel in.

By trying to improve our cities, we have only succeeded in making them empty simulacra of what was. To bring this about we have signed on to political scams and mindless development schemes that are so exclusive they are more destructive than all they were supposed to improve. The urban crisis of affluence exemplifies our wider crisis: we now live in an America where we believe that we no longer have any ability to control the systems we live under.

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Editor's Note:A long, well written piece which applies equally to London, Paris so many places, and, closer to home, Toronto.

19. Architecture Daily: Top Five Refurbishment Projects
Diego Hernández

Meet the Three Winners of the 2018 ArchDaily Refurbishment in Architecture Award

The polls are closed and the votes are in! With nearly 15,000 votes cast over the last three weeks, we are ready to unveil the winners of ArchDaily's inaugural Refurbishment in Architecture Awards. This crowdsourced architecture award, developed in partnership with MINI Clubman, showcases the best refurbishment projects published on ArchDaily throughout 2017, with our readers filtering a 450-strong shortlist down to 15 finalists, and ultimately, three winners.

Reflecting ArchDaily's global reach, the 15 finalists hailed from five continents, with the three winners located in South Africa, Mexico, and the United States. The award therefore demonstrates the global importance of architectural refurbishment as a means of enhancing sustainable urban environments at different scales.

Without further ado, meet the winners of the ArchDaily's 2018 Refurbishment in Architecture Awards.

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Editor's Note:I am particularly fond of the reworking of concrete grain elevators for the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in South Africa, absolute genius.

20. The Guardian: Restoration of Hill House by Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Press Association, forwarded by Margie Zeidler

£1.5m 'urgent' appeal to protect Charles Rennie Mackintosh house

Master Bedroom, Hill House

National Trust Scotland plans transparent cage for windswept architectural masterpiece

The Hill House in Helensburgh

 The Hill House in Helensburgh: Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s choice of Portland cement render has led to problems. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

An urgent fundraising appeal has been launched to raise £1.5m to build a protective box around a crumbling architectural masterpiece.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) plans to build a huge transparent cage around the Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed Hill House, whose sandstone structure is dissolving.

The property was built as a “home for the future” by Mackintosh between 1902 and 1904 but his choice of the new material Portland cement for the render led to problems as it has allowed water to soak in from the day it was first applied.

The trust has already secured £3m towards the construction of the box but needs another £1.5m by the end of spring 2018 to reach the overall target.

Richard Williams, general manager for Glasgow and West at the NTS, said: “This is one of the most urgent and important appeals in our history. We have very limited time to get the box in place around the Hill House and start the process of drying the building out.

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