News (April 01, 2002)


Renaissance ROM architect.

Studio Daniel Libeskind of Berlin with Bregman + Hamann Architects of Toronto have been selected to design the Renaissance ROM project, a major addition to and refurbishment of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, North America’s fifth largest museum. Libeskind was chosen from an initial pool of over 50 architects from around the world, 12 of whom were selected to prepare sketch designs, and who were in turn short-listed to a final three, including Andrea Bruno of Turin and Bing Thom of Vancouver. Libeskind says his winning design, called “The Crystal,” was inspired by the crystalline forms in the ROM’s mineralogy galleries. Interlocking prismatic forms composed of transparent, translucent and opaque glass panels will replace the Terrace Galleries that currently constitute the building’s Bloor Street faade. On the west side of the building, a new caf entrance will provide access to Philosopher’s Walk, a wooded pathway linking Bloor Street to the University of Toronto campus. Libeskind, winner of the Goethe Medallion for Culture in 2000, also received the German Architecture Prize in 1999 for the Jewish Museum in Berlin, and in 2001 was the first architect to be honoured with the Hiroshima Art Prize for an artist whose work promotes peace. In March the government of Ontario announced a $30 million SuperBuild grant as the first confirmed contribution to the total project budget of $200 million–$120 million for the first phase of construction. Look for additional coverage of the competition in an upcoming issue of Canadian Architect.


Funding for School of Architecture.

The University of Waterloo School of Architecture has received a portion of the funding necessary to carry out its relocation to nearby Cambridge, Ontario. The Southwestern Ontario city hopes the relocated school will help establish it as a centre of higher learning and social and economic progress similar to its two famous namesakes, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Cambridge, England. The Ontario government has contributed $4.1 million in SuperBuild funds, while a private-sector consortium of local Cambridge business leaders are raising $12.7 million. The City of Cambridge is contributing $6.25 million, and the project has been nominated for a federal Industry Canada grant matching the province’s $4.1 million. The School’s building budget totals $27.2 million for an 85,000 square-foot facility–the former Tiger Brand factory–to accommodate about 400 architecture students, faculty and staff. It is scheduled for completion in September 2003.

Promoting women in architecture.

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) has issued a Draft Interim Report on Consultations and Roundtables on Women in Architecture in Canada. Funded by Public Works and Government Services Canada, the report is the result of a series of RAIC-organized national consultations and roundtables, held between 1999 and 2001, examining issues affecting women architects. Participants in the discussions included female and male architecture students, graduates, and interns as well as practicing and non-practicing architects from across Canada.

Among the report’s 37 recommendations, the Committee suggested: raising the image of women architects through an increased presence of women in educational and public forums; publishing salary scales by level and ensuring professional standards for hourly rates and benefits regardless of gender; exposing women to all phases of a project including site visits, contract administration and construction management; and providing alternative work arrangements to accommodate women’s needs to balance work and family commitments.

The report also encouraged the profession to lobby architecture schools to include more women as faculty members, presenters and critics. Additional workshops are being prepared, including a session in Winnipeg on June 7 during the 2002 RAIC Festival of Architecture. The Interim Report is available on the RAIC Web site at

Green competition in Yukon.

The Yukon Arts Centre and Energy Solutions Centre are sponsoring Yukon’s first Green Building Design Competition. The two-stage competition involves the design of a small institutional building–a visual arts education space–which must meet demanding green performance criteria in the context of a northern climate. Restricted to architects practicing in Yukon, the unique competition involves a goal setting workshop, an integrated design process charrette and energy analysis software training. The competition is restricted to research and conceptual design, but could evolve into a built project should funding become available. The primary aim of the competition is to provide an opportunity for Yukon architects to enhance their skills and advance research in the area of green building design. A winner will be announced at the end of May.

9/11 could result in U.S. code changes.

Testifying before a congressional committee in March, Arden L. Bement, Jr., director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and leader of a U.S. federal investigation into the collapse of the World Trace Center Twin Towers, stated that based on evidence studied so far authorities continue to believe that the buildings failed as a result of extreme heat from fire. The exhaustive study, which is being conducted by NIST with help from the American Society of Civil Engineers, is expected to cost about US $40 million by the time it’s completed. In an interview with the Washington Post, Bement stated that better fire protection and suppression systems and a more secure elevator system might have prevented the towers’ collapse, and that based on lessons learned from the study, new codes and standards could be put into place in the next few years.

Plans for Europe’s tallest tower.

Italian architect Renzo Piano is designing a 66-storey, 1,004-foot tower for the London borough of Southwark. The tower, dubbed the “Shard of Glass,” will supplant Norman Foster’s Commerzbank AG tower in Frankfurt as Europe’s tallest, edging it out by 23 feet. The new tower, which is expected to take five years to build, has drawn criticism from English Heritage and local politicians concerned about its impact on views from other landmarks and on the dominance of the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral on the London skyline.

Construction boom continues.

Canada’s construction industry realized significant gains in the fourth quarter of 2001. Compared with the fourth quarter of 2000, earnings, revenues and cash flow increased by 9.8%, 13.5% and 53% respectively. Industry participants attribute the gains to increased demand for new construction and renovation, fuelled by low mortgage and lending rates and a shortage of housing. According to Statistics Canada, investment in new housing rose 5.6% in 2001, to a total of $43.1 billion.

Canadians increasingly urban.

The most recent census by Statistics Canada, conducted on May 15, 2001, has found that 64% of the country’s more than 30 million people live in census-metropolitan areas, which constitute populations of 100,000 or more. Kingston, Ontario and Abbotsford, British Columbia have been added to the list of census-metropolitan areas, bringing the total of such areas to 27.


The article “Code Green” that appeared in the January 2002 issue (see page 18) refers to a project at York University by “Hariri Pontarini with Robbie Young & Wright Architects.” The correct credit is Hariri Pontarini Architects and Robbie, Young + Wright Architects Inc., in Joint Venture.

The news item on the award-winning Eileen Dailly Leisure Pool in Burnaby, B.C. that appeared in the February 2002 issue identified the architects for the pool as Roger Hughes + Partners Architects. The project was in fact completed under the firm’s previous incarnation, Hughes Baldwin Architects.

In the architect team credits for the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre reviewed in the March 2002 i
ssue, “Steve Bury” should read “Stan Bury” and “Shar Roberts” should read “Shari Roberts.”