News (May 01, 2001)


Pritzker Prize 2001.

Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron have been chosen to share this year’s Pritzker Architecture Prize. Both born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1950, they attended the same schools and formed their architectural partnership, Herzog & de Meuron, in 1978. Recently renowned for their conversion of London’s Bankside power station on the Thames to a new Gallery of Modern Art for the Tate Museum, the architects have built in Europe, Japan, and the United States. Among their better-known projects are the Dominus winery in California’s Napa Valley, the Prada headquarters in New York and the Ricola cough lozenge factory and storage building in Mulhouse, France. Both Herzog and de Meuron are professors at ETH Studios in Basel, and their firm has grown to a staff of 120, with offices in Basel, London, Munich and San Francisco.

CSLA Professional Awards winners.

The Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and its component provincial associations have announced the winners of the 2001 CSLA Professional Awards. Recognition is given at the National and Regional levels in the following categories: Design, Planning & Analysis, Communication, Research, and New Directions. A National Honour Award went to Claude Cormier architectes paysagistes for the Blue Stick Garden, Jardins de Mtis, Matane, Quebec. National Merit Awards went to du Toit Allsopp Hillier for their study Fort York: Setting it Right, Toronto; BDA Ltd for Greenwich Day Use Facility, Greenwich, P.E.I.; Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg for the Landscape at Richmond City Hall, Richmond, B.C.; Durante Kreuk Ltd. for Burnaby Mountain North East Secondary School, Burnaby, B.C.; Urban Strategies Inc. for the University of Toronto St. George Campus Open Space Master Plan; and Philips Wuori Long Inc. for Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver. National Citations were awarded to Schollen & Company Inc. for Achieving Integrated Habitat Enhancement Objectives–A Technical Manual; Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg for the Canadian Police and Peace Officer’s Memorial, Ottawa; Rose-Marie Goulet and Marie-Claude Robert for Nef Pour Quatorze Reines, Montreal; Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg for the Parliament Hill Plan, Ottawa; and Jim Peterson for the Seine River Greenway Study, Winnipeg. Regional Honours and Merits were also awarded.

Reich + Petch go to Washington.

Toronto firm Reich + Petch Design International has won an international competition to design the Behring Family Hall of Mammals at the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, on The Mall in Washington, D.C. The CDN$24 million project is scheduled to open in Fall 2003. Work involves the restoration of the Hall of Mammals and includes building new display and lighting technologies. Displays of specimens, as well as simulated environments like the Savannah, a forest canopy, an Arctic tundra, rainforest and Australian grassland comprise the restoration and will allow visitors to experience changes in season, temperatures, and lighting. The Hall’s 2,200 square metres on one level occupy one wing of the museum and encompass an open space at the gallery’s centre which rises to a height of 54 feet. Reich + Petch’s multidisciplinary work includes the Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery at the Royal Ontario Museum, the National Museum in Saudi Arabia, and the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, among other international projects.


Restoration of the Eaton Auditorium.

The Eaton Auditorium in Toronto’s College Park building, closed since the company shut down its old flagship department store to relocate to the Eaton Centre in 1977, will be restored to its former art deco glory. The Friends of the Eaton Auditorium and a local city councillor have been instrumental in influencing the new owner, Great West Life, to restore the seventh-floor, 1,200-seat auditorium and the Round Room restaurant, both designed by the Parisian architect Jacques Carlu and opened in 1931. The restoration project is part of a scheme for two residential condominium buildings on nearby Bay Street and the redevelopment of the College Park shopping centre.

Genomic research building at UBC.

Vancouver architects Henriquez Partners will design the University of British Columbia’s Michael Smith high tech facility. The 80,000 square foot building, named after the recently deceased 1993 Nobel Laureate, is the university’s component of the Centre for Integrated Genomics (CIG), a collaborative venture between UBC and the British Columbia Cancer Agency (BCCA). Research conducted will be in genomic science in all life sciences areas. Construction of the $20 million project will begin in early 2002, with completion estimated for November 2003.

Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Toronto firm Zeidler Roberts Partnership/ Architects and Calgary’s Kasian Kennedy Architecture Interior Design and Planning, along with Anshen + Allen Architects of San Francisco, have been selected to design the $135 million Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary. Zeidler Roberts will act as design architects for the facility while Kasian Kennedy will be prime consultant and Anshen + Allen, a leader in pediatric planning concepts, will carry out the programming and master planning for the hospital.


Down on the Farm.

Your March 2001 issue landed on my desk the same day that the Fonds foncier communautaire Benny Farm signed a “Protocole d’entente” with Canada Lands that will allow this non-profit organization to acquire the entire 13-acre site as a Community Land Trust and develop it for affordable housing for families, seniors and those with special needs. This will mean the renovation of the remaining 300 existing units and the building of additional new housing in the form of 124 stacked walk-ups proposed by architects Daniel Pearl and Mark Poddubiuk. And what do I find but a paean penned by Rhys Phillips to a misguided proposal (that, fortunately, will be limited to a restricted corner of the site.) I have no quarrel with the architectural quality of Saia and Barbarese’s buildings. But they are there to fulfil CMHC’s commitment to re-house the veterans who would be displaced by the Corporation’s original intent to demolish all the original six-plexes and sell the property to what it knew would be eager developers. It was win-win for CMHC: with the end of the vets’ tenure, these handsome apartments would find no shortage of upscale buyers in the hot Notre-Dame-de-Grce market and allow it to recoup its investment.

I disagree with Mr. Phillips’ assessment that the S&B plan for redevelopment is “a strong model of urban design”; nor is it “enshrined within Montreal’s bylaws.” It ignores the value of the original Benny Farm concept, as did the several consultants retained by CMHC who would have consigned the modest six-plexes to the dust heap. If the Fonds fonciers, which enjoys the support of numerous community service organizations, can realize its vision–and its Board knows it has an immense amount of work to accomplish–there will be no sell-off of remaining parcels for future private development. Rather we shall see a unique project administered by a Community Land Trust offering a mix of co-operative and rental tenancies as well as affordable home ownership for families of modest income. In this way, perhaps some of the true ideals of the early Modernists can be recouped.

Joseph Baker, Montreal