News (May 01, 2003)


Bank Street Building, Parliament Hill.

Five teams of architects have been selected to compete for the $211 million Bank Street Building design, the first new building in the Parliament Hill precinct in more than 70 years. The new building will be located at the western edge of Parliament Hill, with 200,000 square feet above grade in an area called the lower plateau which is now a parking lot at the intersection of Bank and Wellington streets. It will house 39 offices for senators and 12 committee rooms for the House of Commons. Competing teams are: Diamond and Schmitt Architects of Toronto with Katz Webster Clancey Associates of Ottawa; Dan Hanganu Architect of Montreal with Lemay Dorval Fortin Doyle & Associates of Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City, and Mill & Ross Architects of Kingston and Ottawa; Provencher Roy associs of Montreal with Zeidler Grinnell of Toronto and Hotson Bakker Architects of Vancouver; Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects of Toronto with Gagnon Letellier, Cyr Architectes of Quebec City and Barry Padolsky Associates of Ottawa; and Saucier + Perrotte of Montreal with Dunlop Architects of Toronto and Cohos Evamy of Alberta. A detailed design from each competing team will be evaluated this fall by a panel of architects, Parliamentary representatives, Public Works officials, heritage reviewers, and the National Capital Commission. The guidelines stipulate, among other measures, that the building reinforce the triadic composition of Parliament’s Centre, East and West blocks. New views from various vantage points should be created, and the building should enhance the skyline and be compatible with the character of the surroundings and night views of the precinct from the other side of the river. In addition, the maximum height should relate to the eaves of the roofs of the adjacent West Block (1859) and its facing neighbour, the 1927 Confederation Building, both in the Gothic Revival style. Construction is planned to begin in 2005 with completion in 2009.


New Student Centre, UTSC.

Ground was broken last month for a new Student Centre at the University of Toronto at Scarborough, in Scarborough, Ontario. Designed by Dunlop Architects of Toronto, the $10 million project was funded through a partnership of students and the university and is expected to be completed by September 2004. The three-storey, 48,000 square foot building will house offices for the student union, student clubs, associations, and the student media centre as well as the university’s office of student affairs, the centre for health, equity office, a multi-faith prayer space, lounges, pub/restaurant, food outlets, retail stores and services, a games room and study area. Key features of the design are its prominent site at the gateway to the famous John Andrews-designed campus, a clear pedestrian circulation plan that makes the new Centre the desired entryway into the existing university corridor system, a distinct roof line, commanding views from the interior to terraces and the campus beyond, and green design and construction. Environmental sustainability was a clear goal for the project, established from the outset by the students and the architects with green workshops held during all stages of the design process. The facility has been designed for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

Maison de la Musique.

L’Architecte Jacques Plante in partnership with Les Architectes Bernard et Cloutier and St-Gelais Montminy Architectes have won a design competition for the $13.5 million Maison de la Musique, a new 1,150-seat concert hall for Quebec City. The hall will provide a permanent home for the internationally acclaimed chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy. The facility is to be located within the 1931 Art Deco Palais Montcalm theatre. Architect Peter Smith of Toronto will act as a consultant. Shortlisted competitors included Dan S. Hanganu, Emile Gilbert et associs in partnership with Denis St-Louis Architecte and Les architectes Gallienne Moisan in partnership with DMG. The concert hall is scheduled to open in fall 2004.

Henriquez Partners in Gastown.

A $32 million, 717,750 square foot fast-tracked project by Henriquez Partners Architects in Vancouver’s Gastown will consist of two parkades, offices, a theatre and retail units at grade. Gastown contains examples of Victorian Italianate and Edwardian Commercial style buildings, and the architectural goal was to develop a vocabulary which is modern yet sympathetic to, and drawing inspiration from, the heritage context of the area. One of the parkades, on Water Street, includes three floors of offices above. Principal stair towers designed to evoke the neighbourhood’s fire escapes will be hung from the faade while the parking will be screened by granite and traditional metal framework. A roof-top row of tulip trees and ivy covered walls will bring some natural elements into the largely concrete environment.

Film Festival’s new venue.

Toronto architects Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg (KPMB) have been selected to design the new headquarters for the Toronto International Film Festival. To be located in the heart of the city’s entertainment district at King and John streets, the $120 million facility will include a five-storey podium building, expanded archives, touring exhibition space, a library, dining, screening and lounge facilities, and also a Festival Tower residential condominium with approximately 400-500 units. The project, with completion expected for the start of the 2006 festival, was the result of a partnership that included Canadian film director Ivan Reitman, his sisters, and real estate developers The Daniels Corporation. Along with the main film festival screenings, the centre will house current programs including the children’s festival Sprockets, Talk Cinema and Cinematheque Ontario. The centre is expected to screen 4,000 films annually, and will house an expanded audience of nearly two million. Financial commitments to date have totalled $18.5 million, with a significant naming gift, and a comprehensive fundraising campaign to raise the rest. KPMB was selected from a short list that included Toronto’s Kohn Shnier Architects and Kohn Pederson Fox of New York. –Sean Stanwick


Architecture for Humanity.

Architecture for Humanity reported in March that architects, designers and engineers from all over the world have begun communicating with the United Nations, regional governments and non-governmental organizations with offers to help and to connect Architecture for Humanity’s 4,000 members with organizations providing camp and shelter facilities at Iraqi borders. Architecture for Humanity is a non-profit organization founded for the promotion of architectural and design solutions to global, social and humanitarian crises. The organization’s first venture, in 1999, was an international competition to design five-year transitional housing for Kosovo’s returning refugees. The organization’s Web site is at

AL&D at 2003 Rotterdam Biennale.

The Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto will exhibit a design project for the A13 Motorway in Holland at the Netherlands Architecture Institute’s Rotterdam Biennale, to be held May 7 to July 7 this year. Accompanied by a publication, the installation will present an overall design theme in “suitcase- projects” that offer alternative forms of development along motorways in the Netherlands. Using new materials and digital technologies, this large-scale installation will be entirely constructed with contributions from industry and government, in order to display the highest level of design innovation in North America.


Dangerous naivety.

Joseph Baker’s letter (see CA March, 2003) is one-sided and misleading. The RAIC should not be used as a political platform to express the views of part of the profession which pretends to represent the membership as a whole. His letter is dangero
us in its naivety, citing statistics from suspect sources. Philosophically it is good for architects to be against war; indeed we should do our utmost to make sure that regimes like Saddam Hussein’s do not threaten or have a chance to obliterate neighbouring cities, poison water supplies and air. We would do better to protect human life, including Iraqi lives, and cities both in the Middle East and North America, by making sure that evil regimes are not tolerated in a civilized world.

Arthur Muscovitch, OAA, MRAIC,