News (August 01, 2001)


Suicide prevention barrier.

Toronto City Council has voted to proceed with the installation of a suicide barrier along the Prince Edward (Bloor Street) Viaduct, which spans the city’s Don Valley. The project, The Luminous Veil, won a Canadian Architect Award of Excellence in 1999 (see CA December 1999). Designed by Dereck Revington Studio of Toronto, with the Yolles Partnership as structural engineers, the project won a two-stage national design competition for the creation of a piece of public art and provision of a barrier to the viaduct’s frequent use as a suicide site. The controversial project was held up by two years of committee reviews and spirited debate after it came in over the original budget.


Destruction of synagogue in St. John’s.

The Beth-El Synagogue in St. John’s represents one of the most elegant and creative works of architecture in Newfoundland from the post-World War II period (see CA, March 2000). Designed in 1956 by Angus Campbell of Cummings and Campbell Architects, it was recently selected as one of 25 outstanding works of Modern architecture designed and built in the Atlantic Provinces and was featured in the exhibit Modern Legacies–Atlantic Architecture 1950-2000 concurrent with the RAIC Festival of Architecture in Halifax.

When I learned last year that the congregation planned to renovate the building extensively and subdivide the property, I volunteered to assist with heritage building designation and to help obtain funds for restoration and upgrading of services and energy efficiency. The congregation declined this offer and is currently proceeding with renovations that completely destroy the integrity of Campbell’s design. This sad situation reflects an appalling lack of awareness of the historical value of early Modern Canadian architecture, and represents the myopic state of heritage preservation policy in Newfoundland. If a building doesn’t have narrow clapboards, Victorian trim, and a gable roof, it’s not worthy of preservation. Consequently, a valuable example of Newfoundland’s Modern heritage is being lost.

Robert Mellin

Hotson Bakker expands partnership.

Hotson Bakker principals Norman Hotson and Joost Bakker have taken on two new partners, Bruce Haden and Alan Boniface. Bruce Haden had previously worked with the firm, but for the past five years practiced as a sole practitioner (Haden Architect), working on residential, small commercial and institutional projects. Alan Boniface comes from the office of Christopher Bozyk Architects, where he worked on many large-scale commercial office projects. Hotson Bakker are based in Vancouver and also maintain an office in Toronto.

Two new programs at Ryerson.

This fall, Ryerson University in Toronto will launch a Certificate in Architectural Preservation and Conservation, developed by the university’s Department of Architectural Science in conjunction with the Centre for Advanced Building Technologies. The program, which will be offered through the Division of Continuing Education, was developed for architects, engineers and other construction professionals who seek to specialize in architectural renovation, restoration, rehabilitation, preservation and conservation.

In addition, the university will offer Canada’s first certificate in Design Management through its School of Fashion. The program is geared to business and general background students who need to understand the creative and design field, or to students with a creative education who need to strengthen management and business knowledge. The program will serve fashion, landscape design, architecture, engineering and business.

Sustainable built environments.

The International Initiative for a Sustainable Built Environment (iiSBE) is a newly established non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the movement toward a global sustainable built environment. For the first two years, Natural Resources Canada will provide administrative support for a Secretariat established in Ottawa under the Executive Directorship of Nils Larrson.The iiSBE will manage the Green Building Challenge, in which 20 countries participate every other year.


The photograph of the Ottawa Airport Combined Services Building that appeared in the News section of the June 2001 issue should have been credited to Adrian Searle.

In the Art of CAD story in the June 2001 issue, the credit for Black Ice was erroneously printed as Vivek Manon. The correct spelling is Vivek Menon.