Projects, Competition, In Brief


Canada Water, London. Urban Strategies Inc., a Toronto planning and urban design firm, has been selected along with a consortium of partners for the development of the $3.5 billion Canada Water waterfront site in southeast London, England. The partners include British Land, property developers, and Canada Quays Ltd. A vote in July by London’s Southwark Council has designated Urban Strategies Inc. as “lead master planners” for the 16-hectare property, which fronts the Thames River across from the Docklands, on the Rotherhithe Peninsula just west of Greenwich. The area is a former water supply for gunpowder factories built in the 16th century but was given the name Canada Water when the docks later housed and unloaded timber, grain, and other raw materials from Canada. An extension of the Jubilee tube line to Canada Water in 1999 and the adjacent development of Docklands’ Canary Wharf have partly revitalized the area. The Urban Strategies Inc. plan for Canada Water will build on a traditional pattern for London and include new streets, pedestrian ways, green spaces, and water links with new mixed-income residential communities, a central library, and a community resource centre. Two distinct but integrated districts of low- and medium-density housing are also proposed–the Maple and Blue Heron Districts.

A commercial/retail sector will be designated the Galleria District and the riverside will be fronted by a wooden boardwalk. A retail glassed-in galleria will replace part of the current large parking lots to form a canal-side High Street, and public areas will include such “Canadian” features as outcroppings of Canadian shieldrock similar to that found in Toronto on Cumberland Street and at Ryerson University’s skating rink. The plan’s environmental features, formed in consultation with the community, includes a network of raised islands of different heights and lower ones planted with reeds for the creation of bird and fish habitat while higher ones will contain willow, alder and other trees.

Urban Strategies Inc. will also develop the $4.7 billion Silvertown Quays project, the last large site in the Royal Docks district of the city east of Canary Wharf.

Torre Mayor, Mexico City. The tallest building in Latin America, the Torre Mayor designed by Zeidler Partnership of Toronto with Mississauga architects Adamson Associates, opened in June in Mexico City. Developed by Toronto’s Reichman International, it sits at the end of the pre-eminent avenue in the city, the Paseo de la Reforma. The 55-storey tower addresses seismic forces that may affect a structure’s design in Mexico City, and has received the CERF Charles J. Pankow Award for Innovation (presented to Cantor Seinuk Group and Enrique Martinez Romero in collaboration with Zeidler and Adamson, and Taylor Devices Inc.) A total of 98 seismic shock absorbers, unique in Mexico, guarantee total protection against earthquakes (even stronger than those that struck the city in 1985) and are activated automatically as soon as the building detects early vibrations. Reichman International will also develop the immediate vicinity of the Torre Mayor to improve Paseo de la Reforma. Projects include a restoration of the pedestrian tunnels connecting the avenue with the Chapultepec subway station, improving its integral surveillance and security system, enlarging sidewalks, repaving damaged areas and eliminating all the parking meters on the thoroughfare. The city’s first skyscraper, the Seguros La Nacional Building located across from the Fine Arts Palace, was built in 1940. It was followed by the Latin American Tower (1956) and the PEMEX Tower built in 1984–the tallest tower for two decades.

Sturgess to design FireWorks. Calgary’s Sturgess Architecture has been selected to design the 30,000 square foot FireWorks, the Canadian Fire Discovery Centre. To be located in Vermilion, Alberta, the interpretive centre will display on firefighting practices, procedures and equipment, as well as interactively demonstrate on fire’s science, behaviour in nature, and safety issues associated with it. Construction is slated for spring 2004 and the Centre will open in 2005 in conjunction with Alberta’s Centennial celebrations. Established in 1993, Sturgess Architecture has designed Banff Town Hall, the Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel in Nikko National Park, Japan, and the Yukon Visitor Reception Centre in Whitehorse, among other projects.


Addition to the Bibliothque de Charlesbourg. From an open anonymous competition, Croft Pelletier Architectes has been selected to design a 3000 square metre addition to the Bibliothque de Charlesbourg, a library in Quebec City. Located in the historical district known as “le Trait-Carr de Charlesbourg,” the $5.5 million project was chosen for the design’s address of the particular character of the site, the landscape and the historical buildings. A separate component of the Croft Pelletier program will comprise a $1.1 million landscape design. The short-listed finalists in the competition were Ct Chabot Morel, architectes + Jacques White, architecte; Atelier Big City + NIP Paysages + LOEUF; and Double G architectes + Vlan paysage. The new library is scheduled to open in 2005.

In Brief

CaGBC launched. The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) was launched last month in Vancouver, and has entered into a licensing agreement with the American Green Building Council (USGBC) to establish a partnership between both organizations. The liaison will begin to promote green building including, to begin, the inauguration of the LEED BC Building Assessment in the province of British Columbia. Over the past two years, the provincial government, the Greater Vancouver Regional District, BC Hydro and Terasen Gas have worked together to adapt LEED 2.1 to British Columbia standards and conditions so that it will be easier and more cost-effective to apply LEED to local green building projects.

SSEF student competition winners build project. Chris Lee and Rory Heath of Dalhousie University, winners of the 2001-2002 Steel Structures Education Foundation (SSEF) student design competition (see CA, Aug. 2002) will see their design for a bus shelter built in Halifax. The Director of the School of Architecture at Dalhousie has sought and secured agreements with both the Transit Authority of Halifax and the university to have the winning design built on Barrington Street, a windy downtown site that sees a heavy flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The SSEF student architectural competition is Canada’s only design competition for students of architecture only, and calls for an integration of technology and concept.

Habitat for Humanity Canadian anniversaries. A tour of homes built by Habitat for Humanity in Winnipeg, Regina, Medicine Hat and Vancouver last month by former Governor General the Right Honourable Edward Schreyer culminated in Habitat for Humanity’s 700th house built in Canada since its inception in 1985. In addition, last month marked the 100th home built in Winnipeg. The charitable housing program, dedicated to the elimination of poverty housing through the building of simple, yet affordable houses, also provides interest-free mortgages to families who would otherwise not be able to purchase their own home. Homeowners invest “sweat equity”–hundreds of labour hours–into the building of their home; a 3-bedroom costing between $50,000 and $80,000 with an average mortgage of 20 to 25 years.

WTC competitors receive US$100,000. A competition held for the design of a memorial for the World Trade Center site in New York City, to be judged this Fall, will choose eight finalists who will receive more than $100,000 to further develop their ideas, according to NY Newsday. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation authorized US$250, 000 for an exhibit of the memorial finalists and the competition’s eventual winner, likely to be held in the World Financial Center’s Wintergarden. US$1.75 million are allocated for a continuous environmental review of the Trade Cente
r’s site plan.

2003 Waterfront Awards. At a ceremony held this month in Montreal, the Waterfront Center announced the winners of the 2003 Excellence on the Waterfront Awards at its 21st conference. The Top Honour Project award went to Jinji Lake Waterfront Design in Suzhou, China submitted by Jacinta McCann of EDAW Inc. and Shi Kuang of the Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative District. The Top Honour Plan went to Wadi Hanifah Comprehensive Development Plan in Riyadh Saudi Arabia submitted by George Stockton of Toronto’s Moriyama and Teshima Architects, Buro Happold and Ibrahim Al Sultan of the Arriyadh Development Authority. Larry Beasley of the Central Area Planning division of the City of Vancouver, along with Don Vaughan of West Vancouver and Don Wuori of Philips Wuori Long Inc. of Vancouver won a Project Honour Award in the Park, Walkway and Recreational category for the Vancouver Waterfront Promenade. In the same category, awards were given to Wheeling Heritage Port, Wheeling, West Virginia; Hungerford Bridge, London, UK; and Central Indianapolis Riverfront Upper Canal, Indianapolis. The Excellence on the Waterfront program was begun in 1987 with a grant from the American National Endowment for the Arts to recognize projects and plans completed in the context of the urban waterfront regeneration movement.