News (January 01, 2003)


Charles Correa in Toronto.

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) has announced that it will establish a museum of Islamic art and heritage and a cultural centre devoted to the study and practice of human pluralism. To be located in the Don Mills area of Toronto, it will adjoin an Ismaili Centre also planned for the site, which will be designed by local architects Moffat Kinoshita and celebrated Indian architect Charles Correa, holder of the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Gold Medal of the Union internationale des architectes and numerous other prizes. The AKDN will build on its already established relationship with Canadian institutions across many fields, including the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The Aga Khan has been working to establish an educational and cultural complex on a Western site in order to contribute solutions towards problems of human development and to advance cross-cultural public understanding. The centre will function as a source of partnerships with public and private institutions and the AKDN. Educational and administrative facilities, an auditorium, conference facilities and liaison offices will occupy 17.3 acres, forming the largest proposed Ismaili Centre in the English-speaking world.

Gehry at AGO.

Frank Gehry has been commissioned to redesign and expand the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Funding for the project has been obtained through both the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario and a gift from Kenneth Thomson, whose contributions to the AGO in addition to substantial collections of art, include $50 million in capital funding and $20 million in endowment funding. The gallery is to be enlarged by 75,000 square feet, which will increase viewing space for art by more than 40%.

Bing Thom in Brno.

Bing Thom Architects Inc. of Vancouver is one of three international practices invited to take part in the City of Brno two-stage design competition of the Janaek Cultural Centre. The building will house a concert hall for the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra in honour of composer Leos Janaek. It will be the first major project to be undertaken in the country since the Czech Republic suffered massive flooding earlier this year.

NORR in Ankara.

Norr Limited Architects and Engineers will work with local firm Sahinbas Fikirlier Architects of Ankara, Turkey, to design a new Canadian Chancery. To be located on one of the city’s steep hills with a grade difference of nine metres from front to back, the Chancery will be situated near the Libyan Embassy that towers above one side of the rocky site. After excavations, the building will be set into the remaining rock outcropping.

Different floors of the building accommodate multiple entrances for consular and immigration functions to fit changing slope conditions. The main entry will be located at the corner of Chinnah and Ahenk Streets, opening the site by extending the landscape beyond the boundary wall to the public space at the corner. The landscaping leads visitors to appropriate entrances in a secured environment within the boundary wall, which is overlooked by gate-houses. The building will consist of an administrative tower and a low-rise, more public pavilion with a linking multi-storey space featuring a grand stair. The copper-clad low-rise pavilion is located close to the main street and appears to be embedded into a landscape reminiscent of the Canadian Shield.


Waterloo students win competition.

The Metal Construction Association’s 2002 Student Design Competition drew 94 entries from advanced-level students of architecture worldwide. The First Place prize went to Andrew Lind, Anthony Round and Ivan Ilic of the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo for a bandshell design in Washington Park, Chicago. A panel of architects judged the entries using criteria based on the creative use of metal, effectiveness in meeting needs, efficient implementation of building systems and consideration of the preservation and improvement of the surrounding environment.

UDI Awards.

The Urban Development Institute (UDI) has awarded Commercial, Office Park and Sustainable Awards to Bunting Coady Architects of Vancouver. The Broadway Tech Centre Campus received the Commercial/Development Award along with its developer, Bentall Corporation. It has been designed to re-use approximately 500,000 square feet of warehouse space and will eventually contain a complex of eight buildings. Discovery Place won the Industrial/Office Park Development Award for the architects’ redevelopment of the Masterplan and the design of seven facilities that take advantage of the existing heavily wooded landscape. Vancouver Island Technology Park garnered the Sustainable Development Award sponsored by BC Hydro Power Smart. The Park’s 35-acre site features Bunting Coady’s green design strategies with buildings oriented to take advantage of sun and shade, with high performance envelopes and systems showcasing building-integrated photovoltaics, water conservation systems and LED lighting, among other features.

WZMH’s Canadian Embassy, Warsaw.

The Canadian Embassy in Poland has been named the year’s best public building by the City of Warsaw. Canadian Ambassador Ralph Lysyshyn was awarded one of three Warsaw Honorary Awards for the city’s best architectural achievements. The Toronto firm of Webb Zerafa Menks Housden Architects has created a clear glass and custom-designed aluminum plate that make up a significant portion of the faades from which a bridge crosses over a landscape of rocks and grasses indigenous to Canada. Commonly-used Canadian building materials are highlighted in the design as well. Since its opening in October, 2001, the building has also been named Best Building of the Year 2001 by Polish Business News, an English-language bi-monthly magazine. A virtual tour of the embassy is at


Boris Zerafa.

Boris Zerafa, one of four founding partners of Webb Zerafa Menks Housden, now WZMH Architects, died last November at the age of 69. His renowned designs in Canada include the Royal Bank Plaza, the Sun Life Centre and Hazelton Lanes in Toronto, the Bank of Paris in Montreal, Calgary’s Bow Valley Square and the Petro-Canada Centre. He garnered a Massey Medal for Architecture for the design of Lothian Mews (1963) and a Canadian Architect Award of Excellence for Hazelton Lanes. His substantial work abroad included the Elf-Aquitaine headquarters, Paris and the King Abdul-Aziz University in Saudi Arabia. Born in Cairo in 1933, he immigrated to Canada in 1957 and was a fourth generation architect in his family. Just prior to retirement in 1998, Mr. Zerafa was working on designs for a hotel in Guam, a housing development in Switzerland and a city centre in Kazakhstan among other projects.

Robert Halsall.

Robert Halsall, B.Sc., P.Eng. C.Eng., F.C.S.C.E., F.E.I.C., F.I.C.E., F.I., STRUCT.E., Eur.Ing., M.C.S., Forensic Science, Designated Consultant, President of Robert Halsall and Associates Ltd. and Chairman Emeritus of Halsall Associates Ltd. died in November of last year of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Halsall arrived in Toronto in 1954 after graduating from the University of Glasgow and serving with the Royal Engineers Regiment in the Middle East from 1947 to 1949. He was one of Canada’s premier structural engineers, having collaborated for 46 years with Ontario architects on engineering solutions for building designs. His work with architects has garnered a Massey Medal, five Governor General’s Awards, three Ontario Association of Architects Awards of Excellence and many urban design awards, among others. His firm has worked with notable architectural commissions such as the National Gallery of Canada and the recently announced Royal Ontario Museum addition. Under Mr. Halsall’s most recent direction, the firm has emerged as highly regarded specialists in
the field of building science. He is survived by his wife, Anne, of 51 years.


The photograph of Marc Boutin Architect/ID8 Design Group appearing on page 13 in December 2002 as winners of an Award of Merit for the Truss House should have included Alex Percy and Mauricio Rosa, pictured below, at right, as part of the team.

Bernard Flaman’s news report on the 7th annual DOCOMOMO Conference was edited erroneously. Eric Mumford’s book does not, in fact, mention the DOCOMOMO. And rather than suggest an increase in the number of Canadian working groups, Flaman proposes a strategy of expansion of the extant working parties in Canada.

We regret the omission of co-winner Diana Gerrard Landscape Architecture in the credits for the recipients of a 2002 Award of Excellence for Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant Site Design.