Revel with a Cause

Some houses just make you swoon.  Ironically, this house could make people swoon not only for its timeless elegance but for its former celebrity owner.  This iconic Hollywood Hills house once the former residence of James Dean has the clean, crisp lines that are not just elegant, but beautifully warm and inviting.  It has undergone a restoration since its famous owner resided there, but the personality of the home exudes an old-time charm with a present-day panache.  For anyone currently planning on a move south, this beauty could be scooped up for a mere $4,000,000.00 along with the bragging rights of sleeping under James Dean’s roof. Click here to get the scoop on these digs.



And the winners are…

The winning designs have been chosen for the makeover of two significant parks in the downtown core.  After a lengthy design competition,  Rees Park  and York Street Park will be undergoing massive facelifts in 2019/2020 in keeping with the city’s mandate to provide areas of recreation and leisure to the downtown residents.  Read more  here from Canadian Architect magazine on the winning designs and the teams who imagined them.


Pop-up Potty

As a fundamental necessity to any metropolis, the requirement for public washrooms increases as density and tourism considerations grow.  Like clean water, basic sanitation is a human right and Winnipeg this summer is host city to a test project of a very unique design addressing just these issues.  The Winnipeg Pop-Up Toilet, located in central downtown Winnipeg is a quirky building offering fully accessible facilities as well as an attendant on site maintaining the washroom facilities while selling t-shirts, water and newspapers.   The attendants are at-risk youths from a local mission who are paid for the hours worked.

It is a concept whose time is long overdue, and every Canadian city should be considering a solution similar to this one.  Read more about this ingenious design and the people behind it here



Go BIG or go home.

A fantastic “zipper” pavilion designed for a 2016 architectural program by The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG),  will have a temporary home in Toronto this summer before permanently moving to  Vancouver.   Formerly set up at Kensington Gardens in London as an interactive art installation, the structure has been purchased by Westbank Corp and will be on display here before moving on.   The installation at King and Portland is underway and we can’t wait to visit the finished product.  For more info read the story at, or click here

The Ever-Changing Eaton Centre

The redevelopment of the Toronto Eaton Centre continues with the recent announcement of  the restoration and renovation  of the historic corner building at 2 Queen Street West.  The owners, Cadillac Fairview, have committed to restoring this beautiful  1880’s building in addition to adding 3 more storeys to the structure which will house, among other commercial businesses, a new restaurant and outdoor terrace.     For more on the upcoming renovation work, click here

Transforming Space

An exhibit by renowned Canadian architect and artist,  Philip Beasley, is slated to open at the ROM in early June.  Beasley’s approach to structure and space, reflected in the emerging field of responsive architecture, is a feast for the eyes and the senses.  Beasley creates a metabolic architecture whereby man-made structures are interpreted not as inanimate, fixed objects, but as living, breathing entities capable of regeneration and growth.  A vast canopy of glass, polymers and metals float and sway in reaction to the viewer’s movements below while LED’s flash and mild, gentle scents subtly emerge.  It is a veritable feast for the senses.

Beasley has joined forces once again with Dutch Haute Couture designer, Iris Van Herpen in presenting their collaborative installations.  Beasley’s  “Transforming Space” and Van Herpen’s ”Transforming Fashion” can be seen concurrently at the ROM, from June 2- October 8, 2018.  For more information on the exhibit, click here.

Going with the Flow

With rapidly evolving environmental change, comes a need to address the issues at hand and to adopt new techniques to deal with global crisis.   In areas where flooding has become or is in danger of becoming a constant threat, architects and planners are developing procedures and structures to withstand the scourge of overflowing banks.

This ingeniously designed home in the UK is working with the forces of nature proactively to manage a potential flood disaster.  Dubbed as the UK’s first amphibious home, the unique design allows for the residence to rise above menacing flood waters if needed, safeguarding the structure, the people and the possessions within.

More on this clever design and execution can be found here



And the Award Goes To…

For the second consecutive year, Diamond Schmitt Architects has won the Office Development of the Year Award for the new Globe and Mail Centre.  The unique building design featuring shifting floor plates and 10 ft high windows is located east of the downtown core in the up and coming St. Lawrence neighbourhood.  Find out more here.

George Brown’s newest campus addition

George Brown University announced a winner in it’s design challenge for The Arbour, the province’s first tall wood, low carbon, institutional building.  After a lengthy decision making process which shortlisted a number of promising designs from top-seated architectural firms, in the end, it was Moriyama and Teshima Architects and Acton Ostrey Architects collaboration and striking design that won out.

Serving as an educational and research hub, The Arbour will be home to Canada’s first Tall Wood Research Institute and will facilitate the exploration, ideas and research into low carbon, mass timber construction.  Located at the south east corner of Queens Quay and Sherbourne, construction is set to begin in 2021.  For more information, check it out here




Subway Savvy

The addition of three new subway stations to the ever-expanding TTC subway lines has brought not just practicality but smart design for commuters along the way.  Check out the Vaughn Metropolitan Centre’s curved roof and mirrored ceiling as well as  Pioneer Village and Finch West, part of the Toronto York Subway Extension Project.  The new designs are a welcome addition to the aging and outdated stations Toronto commuters are all too familiar with.  Click here for more.