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Issue No. 142 | May 5, 2009


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Feature Stories

  1. The Road Ahead for Ontario's Heritage Conservation Districts


Ontario Heritage Conference
May 29-31, 2009
+ read

Book Launch: Glenn McArthur's John M. Lyle: A Progressive Traditionalist
May 7
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Ontario Heritage Conference: Heritage in Creative Communities
May 29-31
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Industrial Strength: Conserving Canada's Industrial Heritage
21-24 October 2009
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1. The Road Ahead for Ontario's Heritage Conservation Districts
Catherine Nasmith

Paul King, Jane Pepino, Catherine Nasmith at break

Whether you agree or disagree with the Campbell OMB decision on Port Dalhousie, it is clear it changes Heritage Conservation District planning in Ontario.

On April 25th representatives of Ontario’s diverse heritage sector gathered at Fort York to discuss the fallout of Ontario Municipal Board Vice Chair Susan Campbell’s decision permitting a 17 storey tower in the Port Dalhousie Heritage Conservation District. (HCD) Getting the details of an HCD Plan right means the difference between it standing or falling in the face of development pressures. Even though much of the discussion would seem like dancing on the head of a pin to the uninitiated, it was very important for those seeking to protect Ontario’s special places.

Audience members included private heritage consultants, lawyers, municipal heritage staff, Ministry of Culture heritage staff, members of Municipal Heritage Committees, citizens who live in Districts and ACO members. People from both sides of the Port Dalhousie OMB decision were present in the audience. Presenting were lawyer Jane Pepino, Professor Robert Shipley and Wayne Morgan.

To say that feelings are still running a bit high on both sides of the Port Dalhousie debate is something of an understatement, but the predicted “shoot out” at Fort York did not materialize, instead the focus was on what this decision means for day to day heritage practice. Not all questions were answered.

The day began with a positive story. Professor Robert Shipley outlined the findings of the soon to be released report on Ontario’s mature Heritage Conservation Districts. Not surprisingly, the study undertaken by  graduate students for the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario confirms that people enjoy the benefits of living within HCD’s. “Happiness” ratings and property values were higher where controls were more stringent. The converse was also true, where enforcement was lax, and inappropriate alterations permitted, property values were lower. A common concern was inadequate enforcement of the guidelines.

Areas where improvements could be made include more funding to do studies and update plans; better tracking of applications and posting plans and conservation information on municipal websites. HCD plans need to be periodically reviewed and updated, perhaps every 5-7 years to determine if they are working as intended.

Notwithstanding the requests for review of the Campbell decision because of a contradictory decision issued by Marc Denhez about eight days beforehand, unless the Campbell decision is overturned it will set the standard for Ontario practice. The key legal pointbetween the two decisions was whether or not a District Plan passed before 2005 enjoys the enhanced provisions of the new Ontario Heritage Act, ie. a municipality cannot pass a bylaw that contradicts the District Plan. Campbell says no, the pre-2005 plans must be upgraded to meet the standards of the new Act; Denhez says yes - the pre-2005 District Plans were grandfathered.

What would this mean for the Cabbagetown District for example, which is subdivided into five smaller Districts, three passed before 2005, two afterwards, but all the plans are nearly identical. Does the Campbell decision mean that only 2/5 of the District is fully protected?

Many in the room favoured the Denhez interpretation. Why would all Part IV designations have been grandfathered to get the protection of the new Ontario Heritage Act, yet Part V designations (HCD’s)? divided into two categories?
For lawyer Jane Pepino, this point of law was critical in whether or not the St. Catharines council could give permission for the development. Dan Schneider, senior policy advisor at the Ministry of Culture doesn’t think that the Campbell decision hinges on this point, and that even if the OMB sides with Denhez, he believes the interpretation would not materially alter the OMB’s approval of the development. Jane Pepino, firmly disagreed with Mr. Schneider.

Madame Hubbard, OMB chair issued her response to the request for a review of the OMB decision May 4.

Mr. Schneider’s prediction was right on the money. Hubbard refused the request for a review of the decision at the same time acknowledging the error in law regarding the pre-2005 districts. Hubbard re-confirmed Denhez’s interpretation that a plan passed before the New Act did not need to be re-passed under the 2005 Act to enjoy the “enhanced protection” available under the 2005 Ontario Heritage Act.

Toronto and other cities have been of the view that it is not possible to upgrade a plan without opening the designation process to appeal. On the other hand Vaughan has simply passed a bylaw adopting existing HCD plans under the new Ontario Heritage Act. George Rust’D’Eye, one of Ontario’s most respected municipal lawyers, agreed that it should be possible to amend the HCD bylaw without opening the question of the designation. Ministry of Culture guidance on appropriate process is needed here.

Ms. Pepino cautioned that development lawyers are starting to look to the Campbell decision as a way of breaking pre-2005 District Plans so municipalities need to act fast to upgrade protection. The big question of the day is where will all the resources come from to do the work needed to meet the “Campbell standard”. Another issue is the need for intervenor funding to allow communities to defend their HCD’s at the OMB.

Pepino stressed that District Plans are going to need much more discussion of both principle and detail, and that it will take highly qualified experts to draft them. Everything of significance needs to be recorded in the Plan, which buildings, landscape elements are to be protected. “The language of guidance must be replaced by the language of regulation” commented fellow presenter Wayne Morgan. The soft language of avoid or preferred must go in favour of must, will, and shall so that there is very clear instructions to property owners, municipal decision makers, and the OMB.

Morgan also commented on the desirability to have more than one OMB member on such a long complicated hearing and the need for a Conservation Review Board (CRB) member as part of the panel when heritage is involved. At the moment the Memorandum of Understanding between the OMB and the CRB gives the OMB the power to decide whether they want to have additional expertise. There have been two decisions in Oakville where a CRB member was requested by the municipality. In one case the CRB was not able to provide anyone for the time requested, in the most recent request The OMB has declinde to include a CRB member, citing sufficient heritage expertise within the OMB. It was suggested that the Ministry of Culture initiate a discussion to change the MOU.

Another issue is the way the OMB chose to “balance” different parts of the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS). The OMB felt that they were not obligated to give heritage more consideration than the need for revitalization and intensification. In Morgan’s view this is inappropriate. When Council has established an HCD then the municipality is making a clear statement that the municipal priority in this area is on conservation.

Another place where heritage may be “balanced” out of existence is in communities governed by the Ontario Places to Grow Act. The legislation requires that heritage be conserved “where feasible”. “Where feasible” needs to be defined. Following the 2007 Ontario Heritage Conference resolutions the ACO wrote to the Minister of Infrastructure to have this section of the legislation reviewed, or better have “where feasible” deleted. No response so far.
Morgan cautioned against “zingers” in the heritage sections of the O.P, ie. things that might suggest that there are conflicting priorities. The Port Dalhousie plan contained a motherhood statement encouraging economic revival of the commercial part of the district, but was not clear whether that was to take place within the existing commercial buildings.

An emerging theme of the day was a call for the Ministry of Culture to become more proactive in assisting municipalities to “get it right” in the first place, and in guiding the OMB on the intent of the legislation. Dan Schneider commented “We [at the Ministry] are not the experts”. He noted that once the legislation is passed it has a life of its own and the “experts” are in the field. Lawyers, heritage consultants, and municipal staff look to the legislation and have to “rely on what it says”.

It seems that what is said is not always what was intended. It is also clear that the moment is here to start plugging the policy loopholes that are appearing.

Shortly before the new Ontario Heritage Act was passed, Anthony Tung was here to speak at the Hamilton ACO/CHO conference. He commented that we would find that a binding law required much more specific regulation to be in place.

Seems his prediction is proving to be exactly right. It will take a great deal of collaborative effort and discussion to put in place appropriate heritage practice. Many who were there agreed to become part of an HCD network to continue discussions of best practice. The Ministry of Culture must become a very active partner in that process.

If you are interested in becoming involved in the heritage conservation district discussion, contact Richard Longley of ACO to get “on the list”

Editor's Note:
Sorry for the overly long article, it was a long complicated discussion. The OMB decision, and the Hubbard response to the request for review are posted on the ACO website under news, ACO/CHO

2. St. Basil's School in Toronto's Yorkville: Under Siege
Stacie Marune, Edited by Shirley Morris

Photo courtesy of author
Photo courtesy of author

 34-38 Hazelton Avenue, formerly St. Basil’s Separate School, built in 1928 in a Collegiate Gothic style by Toronto architect, J. M. Cowen, is threatened by unsympathetic development. Listed as a heritage property in 2002, it became designated when the Yorkville-Hazelton Heritage Conservation District was created later that same year. Located in a “hot condo” area a block from retail Yorkville, it nevertheless stands in a neglected condition well within the HCD.

Approval was granted in 2006 for alterations to the property that included a three-storey addition to the rear of the school building with the intention of creating two residences. That scheme and alternatives that followed went unrealized.

The City planner recommended refusal of a new proposal in March, 2009 for a redevelopment designed by NYC “starchitect” Peter Marino. Requiring 4.7 times allowable density, it came with applications for Official Plan and Zoning by-law amendments and envisioned eight storeys (33.6 m.) added to the rear and partially above the two-storey school building, overall almost three times its height. The Toronto Preservation Board refused the proposal.

 Two neighbourhood associations, three condo boards, the local BIA, the Heliconian Club, and most residents opposed the development. It was felt that the height and massing of the addition would overwhelm the building, that the added storeys (despite setbacks) would be highly visible from the street, that it was deplorably suited to the heritage neighbourhood of largely Victorian house forms and other heritage buildings such as the Heliconian’s church building. Furthermore, it would restrict sunlight reaching the immediate neighbour to the north and block the light well extending behind the properties running north from 34-38. Lastly, the design presented a sunken forecourt in the facade, with wide storefront glazing opened into the masonry base. In short, the development ignored the HCD’s design guidelines and would seriously erode its integrity.

 The above views were presented to the April 21 meeting of the Toronto & East York Community Council, but not before the applicant surprised the planner, Councillors and deputants with a new proposal to reduce the height by two storeys and to further setback the top floor. While the T&EYCC refused the applications for rezoning and changes to the OP, it deferred a decision relating to the revised alterations until planning staff can assess the changes, the TPB can deal with it again on May 21, and until the T&EYCC reconvenes on June 9.

Please make objections to the proposal for 34-38 Hazelton Ave. to; fax 416-392-1330; phone 416-392-0420 re: Reference #08 169177 STE 27 OZ and to Dan DiBartolo of Preservation Services Re: “34-38 Hazelton, Alteration to a Designated Heritage Property”, and to Robert Saunders, Chair, Toronto Preservation Board, Contact T&EYCC councillors, most importantly Councillor Kyle Rae, Ward 27,



3. Toronto Star: Toronto on Foot, Day Four

Mount Pleasant Cemetery a peek into our city's past

Statuary from Mount Pleasant Cemetery

They are dead but not forgotten, their names inscribed all over this city.

Along the winding roadways and paths of Mount Pleasant Cemetery lie the graves of many of the people who shaped Toronto, shaded by every kind of tree and visited by rabbits, birds and joggers.

The prominent figures buried at the lush 80-hectare site include Timothy Eaton, of Eaton's department store, William Christie of "Mr. Christie, you make good cookies," Egerton Ryerson, the namesake of Ryerson University, and businessman and politician William McMaster.

There are stories to be told – of a ship that sunk on a misty voyage, of philanthropists fighting homelessness and tuberculosis, of a Presbyterian minister who survived the bullets of a religious fanatic and of women who spent their entire lives shrouded in black, grieving loved ones taken by Victorian diseases.

Click here for Link

4. Historic mental institution demolished

A backhoe punches through one of the oldest walls at the old Weyburn Mental Hospital. Contractors expect the entire facility to be demolished by October. (Niall McKenna/CBC) A building that was once on the leading edge of psychiatric research and patient care in Saskatchewan has met its date with a demolition crew.

The facility, known for years as the Weyburn Mental Hospital, was completely closed in 2004. Despite attempts to preserve the structure for alternate uses, none was found, leading to the demolition that began in earnest several weeks ago

Click here for Link

5. Daily Commercial News and Construction Record: Building restoration turned into an art form

The devil is in the details, but so is pride and reputation

Building envelopes are often designed to meet the technical specifications of a project, but occasionally special projects come along in which aesthetics trump all.

Torontos Soheil Mosun Ltd. is one of the worlds leading custom architectural fabricators, a claim the company is quick to back up with a portfolio spanning the globe and more than 35 years in business. The team of toolmakers, machinists, welders, cabinetmakers, model makers, etching artists and industrial designers has been contracted to work on projects ranging from the interior elements of the new Tiffany & Company Wall Street store in New York City, to the gates that surround The Prophets Mosque in Medina, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The companys signature work in building envelopes includes some of the most prominent historical structures in Ottawa.

Click here for Link

6. Daily Commercial News and Construction Record: City of Buffalo considers reviving century-old steam pumps

These 1914 pumps once supplied one million litres a day of water to Buffalo residents. They were replaced by electric pumps.

The magic and majestic spectacle of century-old giant steam pumps drawing 100 million litres of water a day could once again be on show in Buffalo, New York.

The Colonel Francis G. Ward Pumping Station, in Buffalo, New York is one of the more prominent collections of buildings Canadian visitors can see south of the Peace Bridge as they enter the U.S.

But the brown bricks and red roof house more than the existing water infrastructure in this part of town. Inside one of the larger buildings are five massive brass and iron steam pumps, each five stories tall and weighing almost 1000 tonnes each.

The pumps are quiet now, but when they were installed in 1914 they were considered showpieces, something customers could see through a glass gallery as they paid their water bills.

Click here for Link

7. Flickr: Goderich 3D Model
Forwarded by Councillor Heather Lyons

Architectural Student Makes Big Contribution to Goderich

This is the Flickr account where you can see the new scale model of the
town of Goderich.

65 acres with 6 km's of streets! If you lined them all could
walk on Yonge Street from York Street to Eglinton get that
distance! Of course, it might take you a couple of hours to get from one
destination to the next.  In our town you can go from one destination to
another within minutes because of our elegant and unique street plan.

Evan Truong, graduating this year from Urban Planning at the University
of Waterloo - rebuilt a model which was originally built by Nick Hill
with a little help from his friends!  I know that Mike Bedard was one of
the fine fellows who worked on the orginal architectural model, when he
was a young lad! This great resource tool will be used in a variety of
ways and eventually on display in a pretty accessible spot.

Browse the set using the feature on the right. Download the image by
click on the "all sizes" icon at the top left hand corner of the image.
This then gives you options to download the image at different



Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Congratulations to Evan Truong for his super model of Goderich, a real labour of love and will be much valued by the town.

8. Newswire: Update on Dunlap Observatory

Clear skies ahead for Canada's largest telescope

Metrus Development and RASC, Toronto Centre Astronomy Club to re-open
David Dunlap Observatory

TORONTO, April 22 /CNW/ - The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada,
Toronto Centre and Metrus Development Inc. feel that Earth Day is an
appropriate moment to celebrate the imminent return of one of Canada's most
beloved astronomy landmarks to active service.

Canada's largest amateur astronomy club has come to an agreement with
Metrus to ensure that the David Dunlap Observatory remains an active, vital
part of the Richmond Hill community.

Metrus Development purchased the Observatory and surrounding land from
the University of Toronto last July and had been actively seeking an astronomy
club to occupy the 74-year-old facility. The Club has put forward a proposal
that will see the Observatory offer an exciting new range of space science
activities beginning early this summer.

"The Toronto Centre has been affiliated with the Observatory since it
first opened its doors in 1935," said Dr. Ralph Chou, President of the RASC,
Toronto Centre. "We're delighted by this agreement, which will see the
Observatory re-open to the community during 2009, the International Year of
Astronomy. It has been a pleasure to work with Metrus to achieve this
milestone agreement."

Click here for Link

9. Letters to the Editor - Consider other alternatives
Jackie Tinson (Acting Chair) for the board of the Port Hope ACO

The following letter was copied to this newspaper. It has been sent to Mayor Thompson and Council over my signature as Acting Chair of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, Port Hope Branch.

April 14th, 2009

Her Worship Mayor Thompson and Members of Council,

Municipality of Port Hope.

Dear Mayor Linda Thompson and members of Port Hope council:

The board of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, Port Hope Branch, wishes to express strong opposition to the conceptual plans for an extension to the Town Hall. In our opinion, the design of this 1850s building does not lend itself to any kind of addition, whether it be in a period or very modern style.

The Town Hall is an iconic structure symbolizing the confidence and pride of residents during the 19th and early 20th century, and is an integral part of the town's civic centre as it evolved during this time period.

Click here for Link

10. Nova News Now (New Minas,NS): The Old Troop Barn just aint what she used to be
Geoff Agombar

Whizzing along the TransCanada from Bridgetown to Annapolis Royal, the Troop Barn has been turning heads for generations. Built in 1888, the Granville Centre structure was one of just two surviving octagonal barns in the province, leading to its classification as a Heritage Property in 1984.

Sadly despite this acknowledgment of the building's historic and architectural value, years of neglect allowed the building to degrade to the point of no return.

Click here for Link

11. Orillia Packet & Times: Historic limbo

Rough-hewn logs from the oldest home in Orillia, have been mouldering for three years in an uncovered pile inside the chain-link fence surrounding the city's water tower.

"To allow a landmark to be treated is such a way is an absolute shame," writes Douglas Binns, in a letter to the editor in today's paper.

"The original builders and owners of the home would be rolling in their grave if they could see what has happened to their abode."

Since the Regan House, built in 1832 on the Westmount Drive hill, was dismantled by the city in 2006, no decision has been made on where to reassemble the 30 by 20-foot structure.

The Coldwater Canadiana Heritage Museum was prepared to purchase the logs and erect the building in their re-created pioneer settlement on Woodrow Side Road.

However, a majority of citizens who attended a public forum at city hall favoured keeping the historic building in Orillia.

Click here for Link

12. Owen Sound Sun Times: Ongoing Issues with Paisley Chief Building Official
Mary Golem

Missing items from building official's office

Missing property from the Arran-Elderslie municipal office was first reported by chief building official Craig Johnston, according to Chief Administrative Officer/Clerk A.P. Crawford.

Crawford told council Monday that she directed Johnston to call police after he made allegations that personal property and log books were missing from his department.

The OPP began a criminal investigation April 15.

“Allegations were made, the police were called, and it is now in their hands and completely out of our hands,” Crawford said, giving few other details.

She said police had requested “a list of everyone who was in the building that day and since it was a council meeting day, the names of all members of council have been given to the police. I’ve been advised that everyone on the list could be questioned.”

Mayor Ron Oswald confirmed this week there is no indication of forced entry into the building.


Click here for Link

Editor's Note:More from Topsy Turvy Paisley, where the same CBO and Council have been vindictively pursuing the demolition of the designated Paisley Hotel against the owner's wishes.

13. Peterborough Examiner: Ontario Heritage Conference
Sarah Deeth

Artists donate works to architectural grou

PETERBOROUGH CHAPTER OF THE ARCHITECTURAL CONSERVANCY OF ONTARIO: Paintings to be raffled at Ontario Heritage Conference at Trent 

Using the city's landscape as their muse, three local artists have each donated their work to help the Peterborough chapter of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.

Peer Christensen's Afternoon, Hunter Street shows the street prior to its designation as a cafe district.

Marilyn Goslin's Hutchison House shows the historic Brock Street residence through lush and colourful foliage, and John Climenhage painted the back door of Pappas Billiards on George Street.

Each framed painting is valued at $1,500. The paintings will be raffled off May 30 during the Ontario Heritage Conference at Trent University.

Click here for Link

14. Pug Awards: Vote for your Favourite or Least Favorite Addition to Toronto

For the most part this year's entries are a mixed, and pretty depressing, array of mediocre condominium developments. The AGO gets my vote as best new addition, most of the rest I could definitely live without. Seems like the only participants in this program are the big developers.


Click here for Link

15. Stayner Sun: Log cabin project moves ahead
Michael Gennings

A log cabin in Creemore that was dismantled three years ago and put in storage will be reassembled at new site.

Last Monday night, Clearview Township council gave the George Street Log Cabin Service Board permission to rebuild the 19th century cabin on the east side Library Street, on a piece of municipal land between the Clearview Public Library and the Creemore Jail.

Council approved the location  "still subject to final approval" after board member Chris Raible made a presentation and recommended the site.

He told elected officials the municipal service board determined where the cabin should be situated after meeting with individuals, community organization representatives and heritage specialists.

He said the new location for the cabin ties in with other nearby heritage features in the village, such as the jail, the cenotaph and Station on the Green, a replica of the village's railway station.

Click here for Link

16. The Observer: Petrolia 'dismantling" heritage landmark
David Pattenaude


PETROLIA — This town is losing a heritage landmark with the planned “dismantling” of the former Lakeside Grain building to make way for a replica building at a permanent Farmer’s Market.

But some of the architectural features of the building will be saved, said Petrolia heritage committee chairman Marty Dillon.

The historic building, once home to the J & J Kerr Co., was an integral part of Petrolia’s growth in the early days of the town’s oil boom in the 1870s. In recent years, the property was owned by Lakeside Grain and Feed, which recently moved to the town’s Industrial Park.

“It would have been nice to save the building but you have to be practical when saving heritage buildings. There comes a point when you have to say goodbye and we had reached that point,” said Dillon.

He explained an engineer’s report found the building’s timber frame foundation was rotted from insufficient ventilation as a result of multiple road resurfacings building up the road bed higher than the foundation.

Click here for Link

17. Chicago Tribune: Main Reese building to stay, but Gropius buildings to come down as part of Olympic Village plans

from Chicago Tribune

After suggesting last week that no final decision has been made about what buildings will be torn down to make way for an Olympic Village, city officials shifted course Monday and said that while the main building at Michael Reese Hospital will be saved, buildings designed with the involvement of Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius are targeted for demolition.

Click here for Link

18. Saskatoon StarPhoenix: Group looks to save school building
Janet French

The Saskatoon Heritage Society is asking the Greater Saskatoon Catholic school board to re-open its concept plan for a new St. Mary school so it can consider selling the 1913 building rather than demolishing it.

"As Christians, we're called to be better stewards of the environment," heritage society member Roland Dumont told the board Monday as part of a presentation suggesting the aging building could be turned into housing or office space instead of heading for the landfill.

But in a Tuesday interview, Catholic board chair Diane Boyko said the division is "well on its way" in planning the new St. Mary school and the already-approved plan calls for park space where the current building stands.

Click here for Link

19. Globe and Mail: Henriquez wades into Emergency Housing for Vancouver's Homeless
Lisa Rochon

"Stop Gap" Housing: Homes for Vancouver's Homeless

The Richmond Olympic Oval is a stellar speed-skating arena. The Shangri-La Hotel glows from within a 61-storey tower of pure luxury. Ecosystems have been nourished along the False Creek shores of the Olympic village. All is apparently happy and sustainable in West Coast Paradise.

Except for the grapes of wrath being played out in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Its residents, many of them addicted to cocaine or heroin, are compressed into a 10-block sinkhole of urbanity. Thousands sleep in alleys or bug-infested hotel rooms. Desperation is on the rise - something you can ignore if you stay on the right side of Gastown or Chinatown, or, of course, simply lift your feet high enough when stepping over bodies on the sidewalk.

Which is what architect Gregory Henriquez used to do - until he couldn't take it any more. Call the idealist designer naive or ignorant: He admits he's both. I call him a gutsy architect whose practice is guided by a rare compassion.

Click here for Link

20. Moncton Times and Transcript: HEALTHY COMMUNITIES - Preserving a community's architecture is crucial
Beth McLaughlin

The tree needs roots as much as it needs leaves" -- Claude Le Bouthillier.

From the shores of the Petitcodiac, neighbourhoods were built: the East End, Léger Corner (now Dieppe), Moncton's downtown, the old centre around Archibald Street, Sunny Brae, the neighbourhood around Victoria Park, Lewisville, the old west end, downtown Riverview, the new west end, the post-war homes, Parkton and, in the last 40 years, further developments north, west and east show our history in three dimensions.

These are our roots but what are we doing to nourish them and to keep the tree growing?

Why have towns such as D'Aquila, Italy, recent earthquake victim, preserved their heritage from the medieval period? Or towns throughout New England? What in their cultures drove them to maintain structures while we in Moncton allow the destruction of our heritage in our downtown, our wood buildings, a rarity throughout the world?

Our built environment, that is, the array, age and design of buildings, the streetscapes, entire blocks, neighbourhoods, tell so much about our relationship with our habitat and climate. We New Brunswickers, living in the unique environment found in New England and the Maritimes -- the Acadian Forest, are forest dwellers. The designs and materials used reveal much about the way we met our challenges with the climate -- buildings methods: stairwells and small windows in north sides, steps to conduct heat to a new level, natural light (daylighting) through windows which also open for ventilation by the prevailing westerly breezes, ingenious construction methods for durability and permanency.

Preserving old buildings contributes to many aspects of sustainability

Click here for Link

21. Pique Magazine (Whistler): The reunification and remaking of Görlitz
Alison Appelbe

Part Polish, part German, this city on the Via Regia bears the marks of many cultures and political philosophies

The City of Görlitz, which is built on both sides of the River Neisse, was divided into a Polish part, Zgorzelec (ca. 36,000 inhabitants), and a German part, Görlitz (ca. 63,000 inhabitants), after the Second World War. And from 1945 to 1989 the two communities developed independently of each other.

But with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the political revolution that brought the east-west barrier down, the two sides of the city have come together.

With the planned eastern expansion of the European Union, the task for the future is the European City of Görlitz-Zgorzelec. The city is located at the eastern most point of the Federal Republic of Germany, in the Free State of Saxony, and at the most westward point of the Republic of Poland.

Click here for Link

22. Winnipeg Free Press: Province pulls plug on relocation plan - Says rental rates on downtown location too steep
Murray McNeill

The cancelling of the RFP also means CentreVenture Development Corp. is essentially back to square one in its efforts to redevelop one of the city's most visible symbols of downtown decay -- the six-storey Avenue Building at 265 Portage Ave.

It turned out to be much ado about nothing.

The provincial government has mothballed a plan to relocate a Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation (MIT) department office from the Polo Park area to the downtown.

And it did so because it felt the rental rates being quoted by nine downtown landlords and developers were too rich.

"We rent a lot of space in the downtown... and we have a pretty good picture of what a government client can get," Chris Hauch, assistant deputy minister of the department's accommodation services division, said in an interview Friday.

Click here for Link

23. Wired Science: NASA's Hangar One Named a Historic Landmark
Dylan Tweney

NASA’s landmark aircraft storage shed, Hangar One at Moffett Field in
Silicon Valley, has been named to a list of endangered historic landmarks — PCBs and all.

The giant hangar, which measures 200 feet tall and covers 8 acres of land with its silvery, beetle-like shell, is unfortunately a toxic mess. An inspection in 2003 revealed that PCBs are leaking from its exterior.

Although the hangar belongs to NASA now, the U.S. Navy, which formerly owned it, is responsible for cleaning up the site. Originally the Navy proposed demolishing the structure, but an organized outcry from concerned locals stopped that plan. Now it appears that the Navy may simply remove the metal cladding, either leaving the internal framework to rust in the elements or perhaps re-sheathing the structure in something more environmentally friendly.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Interesting situation....

24. TreeHugger: New York City To Make Old Buildings Refit for Conservation
Lloyd Alter

You can pass by many old industrial, commercial and residential buildings in the middle of winter and find the windows wide open, since the controls on the old steam heat systems are so primitive. They can have steel sash windows that barely keep the heat in. Andy Revkin writes that there are 22,000 buildings over 50,000 square feet in New York alone that could use energy upgrades. And now New York City is going to make building owners do it. Van Jones likes the idea:

“Getting buildings to waste less energy results in job creation and cutting carbon pollution,” Mr. Jones said. “Money that was literally going out the window can be reinvested in businesses, in consumer purchases or savings.”

Click here for Link

25. Toronto Star: Conserving the Resources in the Century Plaza Hotel

The 'greenest form of development'

Preservation of landmarks has long been promoted as good city building; less recognized are potential environmental benefits.

In the United States, the National Trust for Historic Preservation – one of the country's leading advocates for more considered stewardship of U.S. cities and landscape – last week published its annual list of "most endangered places."

Among them is a 1960s-era hotel in Los Angeles. The National Trust praised its sweeping, space-age design but also built an environmental case for preserving the structure:

"...the energy embodied in the 800,000-square-foot Century Plaza Hotel is the equivalent of 167,000 barrels of oil, a statistic that takes into account the amount of energy used in the construction of the building. If the structure were to be demolished and landfilled, the energy locked up in it would be totally wasted. What's more, the process of demolition would use more energy, and the construction of a new building on the Century Plaza site would require even more...

Click here for Link

26. National Historic Trust: 11 Most Endangered Historic Places List

America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

This year marks the 22nd annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Since 1988, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has used this list as a powerful alarm to raise awareness of the serious threats facing the nation’s greatest treasures. It has become one of the most effective tools in the fight to save the country’s irreplaceable architectural, cultural and natural heritage.

The list, which has identified 211 sites through 2009, has been so successful in galvanizing preservation efforts across the country and rallying resources to save one-of-a-kind landmarks that, in over two decades, only six sites have been lost.

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27. Los Angeles Times: Century Plaza Hotel on Most Endangered List
Martha Groves

Preservationists, developer square off over Century Plaza Hotel

Century Plaza Hotel, from the Los Angeles Times

New owners have revealed plans to demolish the Century Plaza hotel.
The owners plan to demolish the Century City hotel and replace it with a $2-billion commercial and residential complex. The Los Angeles Conservancy wants to save it.

Minutes after their return from the moon in 1969, the three Apollo 11 astronauts gazed out the window of their isolation chamber as President Nixon welcomed them home and invited them to a state dinner in their honor.

The setting would be a magnificent ballroom in the Century Plaza hotel in "Los Angeles' space-age Century City complex," as the Los Angeles Times described it.

Forty years beyond, that crescent-shaped monument of mid-century modernism, where guests enjoyed specially created "moon rocks" of green almond paste dusted with chocolate, is poised to become the focus of what promises to be an intense battle over preservation.

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28. Montreal Gazette: Future of old Marianopolis site up for debate

The city of Montreal announced a detailed plan Wednesday morning for a series of public-consultation meetings on a plan to redevelop the old Marianopolis College site on Côte des Neiges Rd.

Under the plan, hearings will begin May 4.

The hearings will look at a plan by a developer to convert the property on the southern slopes of Mount Royal into a residential complex with 325 units and 671 underground parking spaces.

Marianopolis CEGEP moved to a new building in Westmount in 2007.

The hearings will be politically significant because the redevelopment plan for the old Marianopolis site will test the citys protection plan for Mount Royal.

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29. Globe and Mail: Redevelopment of Chelsea Barracks Site in London England
John Bentley Mays

Royal intervention does not amuse

Prince Charles, whose traditionalist views, delivered from a great height, have made him a fixture in recent British architectural squabbles, has once again waded into a public dust-up.

As so often in the past, his opinions have brought down upon his head the wrath of progressive architects. But this time, his attackers aren't just the usual gaggle of British modernists. They include such international heavyweights as Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron - all with their knickers very much in a knot.

At issue is what's to become of a 12.8-acre site in exclusive Westminster, between Sloane Square and the Thames, where the Ministry of Defence's eyesore Chelsea Barracks has long stood. The place is indeed architecturally sensitive: It's right across the street from Sir Christopher Wren's fine Royal Hospital (1692), a home for ill or old British soldiers, and it is nestled among the mansions and luxurious townhouses of west London.

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30. Chicago Tribune: Warning issued on Wright church - Unity Temple listed among endangered historic places
Kristen Zambo

Unity Temple in Oak Park, an international architectural icon designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, has been named one of 11 most endangered historic places in the country by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Note: link to video,

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31. Architectural Record: How Will Historic Buildings Fare During the Recession?
David Hill

Years ago, the Garrett-Dunn House, a 19th century Italianate structure in Philadelphia credited to the architect Thomas Ustick Walter, who also designed the dome on the U.S. Capitol, was slated for demolition. Despite its dilapidated condition, preservationists succeeded in getting the house listed on the city’s historic register and convinced a developer to incorporate the house into a luxury condominium project. While it wouldn’t be preserved in a technical sense, the landmark would live on.

The fate of the Garrett-Dunn House in Philadelphia is uncertain (top). Three years ago, BBB was hired to develop plans to convert the former Bulova Watchcase Factory, in Sag Harbor, New York, into loft-style condominiums. The project is now on hold (above).

Zip forward to 2008: As the economy began to stumble, the condo developer defaulted on loans for the property and the project skidded to a halt. In January, preservationists boarded up the house to protect it from inclement weather and intruders. Today, the empty house is surrounded by a chain-link fence, its fate uncertain.

Like most market sectors that require architectural services, historic preservation has been hit hard by the economic downturn. Newspapers around the country are peppered with reports of preservation or renovation projects that are up in the air due to funding challenges. But preservationists do see a possible silver lining: some historic buildings that might otherwise have been torn down because of rampant development may escape the wrecking ball.

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32. A Digital Archive of American Architecture

A useful source of images for American Architecture, 

"This archive, currently consisting of nearly 1,500 digitized images of American architecture (280 buildings) plus explanatory material, was originally constructed as a supplement to my course FA 267 From Saltbox to Skyscraper: Architecture in America. This class surveys the development of architecture in America from the 17th century to the present, with particular emphasis given to local architectural monuments"

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33. Associated Press: Spain seeks to decipher Alhambra's inscriptions

GRANADA, Spain From its every nook and cranny, the Alhambra quietly speaks. Walls, columns, fountains and other pieces of Europe's crown jewel of Muslim architecture boast ornate Arabic inscriptions that even native speakers might struggle to decipher.

This month, Spanish researchers unveiled the first fruit of a gargantuan project to translate and catalog every last carving - an estimated 10,000 - from individual words to poems to verses from the Quran. The goal is to render a seemingly impenetrable slice of medieval history readily accessible with the click of a mouse.

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