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VIEWS: 120 PAGES: 17

                                                                                   The Journal of the

                                                                                   Ontario Association

                                                                                   of Architects

                                                                                   Volume 12, Number 3

                                                                                   Fall 2004 $5.00

Feature – going on architectural pilgrimages
                                               Ontario Association of Architects
        Practice – picking the right mentor

 The Profession – knowing the competition

International – sketching with a tour group
                                  INTRODUCTION                                       personal part, and writing about this is not easy. In
                                  by Gordon Grice OAA, FRAIC                         fact it is very difficult.

                         A      bout a year ago, I came across a newspaper
                         article written by Lisa Rochon, discussing a
                                                                                           One respondent wrote back that the long-term
                                                                                     effect of her pilgrimage could not be appreciated
                                                                                     because it was too early in her career to assess it.
                         “pilgrimage” that she had made to Le Corbusier’s*           It’s true: some important experiences take time to
                         pilgrimage church of Notre Dame-du-Haut at                  assimilate and you don’t really know how they have
                         Ronchamp [“A Chapel worth worshipping”, The                 affected you until you look back at them much later.
                         Globe and Mail, August 27, 2003]. We architects             But let’s be honest, if the pilgrimage experience
                         know this church well — for half a century, it has          meant enough to you that you’re prepared to call
                         been a destination for architectural as well as             it a “pilgrimage”, then you must have felt something.
                         religious pilgrims — and we have studied it to death.       The evidence is always there if you look for it. It
                         I thought I had read enough about it already, but, as       strikes me that reflecting on significant experiences
                         your editor it is my job to pursue these things, so I       is never a waste of time.
                         waded in.
                               In her article, Ms Rochon succeeded not in            *   The significance Le Corbusier’s work will become apparent as
                         describing the building, but in explaining its attraction       you read through the following accounts.
                         and its “meaning”— to herself, to succeeding
                         architects, to the thousands of pilgrims, religious and
                         secular, and to Corbusier himself. This is something
                         that I had never entirely understood. I had never
                         bothered to visit Ronchamps, but now I felt I had                       VILLA SAVOYE AT POISSY —
                         really missed something. Clearly, the building holds a                  ON A SHELF OF ITS OWN
                         wealth of inspiration that is only available to those
                         who take the trouble to go there and seek it. That’s                    Ernie Hodgson OAA, MRAIC
                         what a pilgrimage is.
                               It occurred to me at that moment that whether
                         we have intended to or not, many of us have made
                                                                                     W      e left Paris on a rainy April morning in 1976
                                                                                     on the next leg of the Grand Tour of Europe. We
                         pilgrimages and have been profoundly affected by            were on a pilgrimage to Poissy to see the Villa
                         them. I wanted to hear about some of these and              Savoye, but we took a wrong turn and ended up on
                         assumed that you would too, so the Perspectives             the road to Versailles. Stopped for a visit. Been there,
                         Pilgrimages feature was born.                               done that — another chateau.
                               A pilgrimage is not like other kinds of travel. It         Later in the day we pulled our VW bus into the
                         has a structure: beginning (setting out with certain        parking lot where the Villa Savoye was supposed to
                         expectations), middle (the journey), a climax               be. All we saw ahead were a wall, a gate and a
                         (reaching the goal) and an ending (the lasting effects      screen of shrubbery. No post card stands. Fed up
                         of the experience on the “pilgrim”). Other kinds of         with the cold, my wife crawled into her sleeping bag.
                         travel tend to be rambling affairs, where events all        This is one of the most famous houses in the world,
                         have an equal value. When writing about this kind of        I told her, but to no avail. The great expanses of
                         travel it is very difficult to provide a developmental
                         thread and this leads to writing that may also
                         ramble. With a pilgrimage, on the other hand, the
                         structure is already provided. Writing about it should
Perspectives/Fall 2004

                         be quite simple. Or so I thought.
                               But the word “pilgrimage” has a religious or
                         spiritual overtone. The pilgrim is on a quest. Some
                                                                                                                                                        Photo: Ernie Hodgson

                         sort of life-altering experience (great or small) is
                         anticipated and the pilgrim is either satisfied or
                         disappointed. So while descriptive writing is part of
                         the exercise, the real heart of the experience is the
Versailles had drained her energy. So I set out alone.
      As I approached the gate it mysteriously
opened. I walked by the caretaker’s house followed

                                                                                                                Photo: Debbie Friesen
by pairs of children’s eyes in the window — children
wondering what the heck this guy was doing here on
this lousy afternoon. Corb’s ultimate “machine for living”,
lay just down the path. My heart beat a little faster.
      Looking upon the real Villa Savoye it was all so
familiar. As a student of Peter Prangnell, in his early       in hand, I led my spouse on a marathon walk
years at the University of Toronto, I had been                through the Eternal City to the Piazza di Spagna.
immersed in Corbusier. (Was Peter obsessed with                      First stop was to gaze out over the city from
Le Corbusier’s work? He had a purpose-built                   Michelangelo’s splendid piazza on the Capitoline
bookshelf sized exactly to hold all VII volumes of            Hill. Then, on to Old Rome, where I stared up,
Corb’s Oeuvre Complète.) He taught us why we                  entranced, for the longest time at the magnificent
should care about this great architect.                       dome of the Pantheon. But our ultimate goal was
      I needed no floor plans to navigate from room           still a ways off and we had to move on. By then it
to room and up the ramps to the rooftop. As I                 was around five p.m. and we were getting really
wandered alone, in silence, I had the odd feeling             hungry. We knew that dinnertime in Europe was
that the spirit of the architect was looking over my          much later than is typical in North America, but we
shoulder. I enjoyed the scale of the place — the              weren’t prepared for the fact that restaurants in
other end of the scale from Versailles — and I felt           Rome close at three o'clock in the afternoon and
at home.                                                      don’t re-open until seven. Desperately we searched
      But my home at that moment was a rolling                for a place to eat, becoming weaker by the minute,
metal time traveler with my wife asleep in the back.          knowing we couldn’t complete our journey without
I pointed the van in the direction of the Loire Valley,       food. We finally found a place open in the area of
woke the navigator and headed for another chateau.            the Trevi Fountain that obviously catered to
      There were many other pilgrimages on that               Americans. While we had wanted an authentic
trip, including Ronchamp, Unité, the Centre Le                Roman dining experience, we just couldn’t wait and
Corbusier in Zurich, and ultimately the Parthenon,            had to settle for mediocre spaghetti. On top of that we
but the Villa Savoye is there on a special shelf in           had to eat in a rush or, because it was November,
my memory.                                                    we wouldn’t make it to the Steps before dark.
                                                                     But food for the soul was more important than
                                                              food for the belly and the less than satisfying meal
                                                              could not dim our spirits as we trekked on with
                                                              aching feet and finally came upon the famous
         PIAZZA DI SPAGNA —                                   Scalinata just as the sun was going down. I’ve always
         ROME IN A DAY                                        had a thing for steps as public space and here I was
                                                              finally at the grandmammy of steps-as-public-space
         Debbie Friesen OAA                                   — a place for people to come together and, as
                                                              Fodor’s says “to see and be seen”. This was Rome.
T  he “Crazy Canucks” they called us. To the thirteen
Americans traveling with us on a tour of Italy and
                                                              This was Architecture. I could have lingered for
                                                              hours, but as the darkness deepened, we reluctantly
Greece, we were adventurous beyond belief because             headed towards our hotel.
                                                                                                                                        Perspectives/Fall 2004

we chose to remain in downtown Rome and                              Our American traveling companions were
explore on our own rather than travel back to the             dumbfounded: “You walked back to the hotel?!” We
hotel on the bus after our guided tour ended at the           were equally dumfounded that anyone would travel
Coliseum. It was only two o’clock in the afternoon,           all the way to Rome and spend the afternoon sitting
the hotel was maybe a twenty-minute walk from                 in the hotel. But they outdid themselves when they
central Rome and I was not going to leave Rome                spent three hours in McDonald’s in Ravenna while
without climbing the Spanish Steps. So, Fodor’s guide         we Canucks explored the amazing mosaics of the
                         Tomba di Galla Placida, the Basilica di San Vitale, and      of xenophobia by expelling all foreign nationals from
                         the church of Sant’Apollinare Nouva. But that’s              its soil. For some of these people, it was merely a
                         another story.                                               matter of going back home, but for the Jewish
                                                                                      community of Shanghai, there was no home to
                         Postscript: We did make some wonderful American friends on   return to. And so they fanned out all over the
                         the trip, in spite of their lack of architectural spark.     world, taking their story with them. Still, their sense
                                                                                      of community remained strong.

                                                                                      The journey

                                  The SHANGHAI JEWISH QUARTER                         It was three years ago that I first heard the story of
                                  — A CONTINUING STORY                                the Shanghai Jewish community, at the funeral of a
                                                                                      neighbour’s father. Subsequently, a series of odd
                                  Clifford Korman OAA, MRAIC                          coincidences resulted in my meeting with Ian
                                                                                      Leventhal, an artist and a former high school
                         Background                                                   classmate who, with his partner Tom Rado, was
                                                                                      doing a project in Shanghai. Ian and Tom had been

                         T  here are many stories of people and communities
                         that were displaced by the Nazis during the Second
                                                                                      “coerced” into mounting an art show in the
                                                                                      synagogue in Shanghai’s Jewish Quarter, but had
                                                                                      been approached by the North Bund Development
                         World War. Some of the stories are touching, some            Office to consider planning a redevelopment of the
                         are horrifying. Perhaps one of the least well-known          entire area. Ian and Tom were looking for an
                         of these stories concerns the Jews of Shanghai.              architect to collaborate on the project and had
                              When the Third Reich began its purge of the             already interviewed some US firms. In April 2004,
                         Jewish population of Europe, some families had the           Ian interviewed me (our firm was already doing
                         resources, luck and courage to leave everything and          three other projects in China at the time) and
                         begin anew in some distant country. But there was            prevailed upon me to go to Shanghai and look at
                         another challenge to be faced: very few ports in the         the Jewish Quarter project.
                         world would accept these displaced people.                         All together, it took five long days of travel, but
                              One quite unlikely place welcomed these mostly          when I finally arrived in Shanghai and met the Asia
                         well educated immigrants, provided that they could           Projects consultants, I was amazed by what I saw.
                         pay their way in: the teeming city of Shanghai. During       The Jewish Quarter lies directly across the river
                         the years 1937 to 1945, some 20,000 individuals              from Pudong, one of Shanghai’s built-up areas —
                         settled here.                                                basically, a slum adjacent to extreme affluence.
                              By 1949, the Shanghai Jewish community had              The area seemed frozen in time. In addition to the
                         reached a population of 40,000. Their small enclave          Synagogue, which has been tended by the same
                         encompassed about nine city blocks and had                   caretaker since 1939, there was also a functioning
                         become a thriving, vibrant close-knit neighbourhood.         Buddhist temple. All the buildings were in a state of
                         But misfortune struck again: the newly victorious            disrepair, victims of benign neglect.
                         communist government of China, began its long era                  But this was about to change: A tunnel, recently
                                                                                      built under the river, connecting Pudong to the
                                                                                      northern boundary of the Jewish Quarter, had
                                                                                      greatly increased the value of the land and had made
                                                                                      it extremely attractive to development interests.
                                                                                      China has not been aggressive in protecting historical
                                                                                      sites, but fortunately, this site had caught the interest
                                                                                      of Dr. Wu, from Tongji University who wanted to
Perspectives/Fall 2004

                                                                                      restore the area as a collection of museums.
                                                                                            Our firm Kirkor Architects has developed an
                                                                                      exciting proposal for the Jewish Quarter that may
                                                                                      eventually see the return of vitality to the area, while
                                                                                      still maintaining its historical character. We hope that
                                                                                      this project will form a future International column
                                                                                      in Perspectives.
                                                           Photo: Kirkor

While it was the commercial opportunity that
took me to Shanghai, that isn’t what sustains my
enthusiasm.You become an architect to do
something meaningful. This is a big story and an
opportunity to do something truly meaningful:
architecturally, culturally, personally, and spiritually.
      In October of this year, on the fifty-fifth

                                                                                                                     Photo: Paul Jurecka
anniversary of their expulsion by the Chinese,
friends, family and survivors of the Shanghai Jewish
Quarter will make a pilgrimage for a grand
reunion. By a quirk of demographic circumstance,
the reunion will probably be held in Toronto.                    I recall coming upon a passage written by
I’ll be there.                                              Palladio who, by renaissance standards, had almost
                                                            pop-star status and who, about a century after
                                                            Alberti, invoked his ghost by saying, “Alberti we have
                                                            need of thee. Architecture is a fen of stagnant
                                                            waters.” Coming upon the entrance vault of San
          MANTUA — MURKY IMAGES                             Andrea by accident (we were looking for a
          BROUGHT TO LIFE                                   restaurant) on a rainy night, I understood Palladio’s
                                                            admiration for his mentor — and I enjoyed one of
          Paul Jurecka OAA                                  those rare and sublime moments when the

R    enaissance architecture holds a particular
fascination for many architects. The personalities of
                                                            experience exceeds the expectation.
                                                                 The next day we walked past numerous chièse
                                                            and baroque palazzi en route to the Pallazzo Te.
both the designers and their patrons are documented         Aside from the person at the entrance who asked
and fascinating but, more, the work itself is bold and      us not to take photos we toured alone and were
compelling.                                                 amazed and amused in almost equal measure.
     My recent trip to northern Italy was to
experience first-hand some of the buildings that                 My pilgrimage to Mantua now complete, we
lurked as murky images from a student memory.               moved on to Vicenza to see several Palladian
At university, along with my architecture studies,          masterworks. But I have new colour images now to
I took a second major in history and was the                replace the shadowy memories left by “University
teaching assistant for the Renaissance architectural        Prints”. My first-hand experience exceeded my
history courses. There I daily viewed shadowy black         expectation so much so that I came to one mind
and white images flashed on the screen before a             with Palladio: Alberti, we have need of you.
slumped crowd of mostly sleeping architecture               Architecture is a fen of stagnant waters.
students. We all tried to make easy distinctions
between the images so that we might more easily
identify them during the dreaded exams.
     So, more than thirty years later, our trip was
planned to include the predictable destinations such                 MAISON du VERRE —
as Venice and Florence but also several side trips                   CORBUSIER’S INSPIRATION
including two days in Mantua. If the Gonzaga family
had not chosen this swamp as the center of their                     Peter Hamilton, RCA, FRAIC, AIA
empire and built the imposing Palazzo Ducale, there
would be no reason for anyone to be in Mantua               F ollowing graduation from architecture school in
                                                                                                                                           Perspectives/Fall 2004

much less to create masterpieces of architecture.           Toronto in 1963, I traveled to Finland to work for
I refer to the trip as a pilgrimage because no tourist      Bengt Lundsten, one of Viljo Rewell’s associates on
would choose to go to this city with little sunshine        the design of the Toronto City Hall. This was the
and few hotels, except to be steeped in an amazing          beginning of an odyssey that eventually took me to
array of Renaissance architecture from the very early       a charming richly detailed house that has provided
San Andrea (1470) of Alberti to the mannerist               unlimited inspirational material.
Palazzo Te of Giulio Romano.                                     It began in Scandinavia and later central Europe.
                                                                                     including future friends, Henri Ciriani and Borja
                                                                                     Huidoboro, were working on huge housing estates
                                                                                     for the French government, using prefabricated
                                                                                     concrete panels. In the Gomis atelier, I made a
                                                                                     startling architectural discovery.
                                                                                          At the suggestion of Douglas Richmond, an
                                                                                     American architect in the office, I peeked into a
                                                                                     courtyard in the rue Saint Guillaume, which was on

                                                           Photo: Peter Hamilton
                                                                                     the short walk between my apartment in the rue
                                                                                     Jacob and the Gomis office in the boulevard Raspail.
                                                                                     At the end of the courtyard was a wall of glass
                                                                                     block. I had only seen this expanse of glass block
                                                                                     used before in Corbusier’s Clarté apartment building
                         I discovered the work many of the early modernists          in Geneva. Passing the courtyard every day
                         in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark. Jacobsen,           eventually gave Douglas and I courage to ring the
                         Asplund, Leverends, Aalto, Saarinen, Blomsted, Sonck,       doorbell. The owner, Madame d’Alsace answered and
                         Ruusuvuori Piettila and the Sirens are a few whose          guided us through one of the most stunning
                         work was very interesting.                                  examples of early modern residential design. The
                               My apprenticeship with Bengt Lundsten ended
                         with an offer of work from one of the great early
                         French modernists, Eugene Beaudoin. I left for his
                         Paris studio, where the search for those architectural
                         masterpieces by the leaders of the modern
                         movement continued: le Corbusier, Prouvé, Beaudoin
                         and Lods, Paul Nelson, the Perrets. Unfortunately,
                         after I arrived my place at Beaudoin's office did not
                         materialize.The reason, I learned later, was that despite
                         Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau’s wishes, Beaudoin
                         was not selected to design Man and His World,
                         Expo ‘67. Consequently, I was no longer needed.
                               At one job interview I met Paul Nelson who

                                                                                                                                                Photo: Peter Hamilton
                         was the architect of the American hospital in Paris
                         and the incredible Maison Suspendu, a futurist design
                         that was never realized. He told me that given the
                         current circumstances he could not possibly play a
                         Lord Nelson to my Lady Hamilton. The recession in           house was the Maison du Verre, designed and built
                         1964 had many architects out of work yet he kept            by Pierre Chareau and Bernard Bijvoët in 1933.
                         his sense of humour.                                        It was filled with original Chareau furniture, Lurçat
                               Not at all shy, I went to 35 rue de Sèvres, le        tapestries and the d'Alsace's art collection. Originally
                         Corbusier’s office. He was working on the Firminy           designed as an office and home for a doctor and his
                         Vert church. A large paper study model was on the           family, the house is full of invention to solve everyday
                         first desk in the long corridor of the old monastery        living issues in unique and delightful ways, using
                         he had turned into his studio. The interview was            mostly rather mundane materials: industrial white
                         short. He sat across from me at a table and said in         rubber flooring, plywood panels, perforated metal
                         a gruff tone that he had nothing to tell Canadians.         and translucent walls of glass blocks bringing in light
                         Apparently, he had also expected to design Man              and providing privacy. The modernist tenet “the
                         and His World but the work was awarded to                   ordinary is poetic” is an overriding principle of the
Perspectives/Fall 2004

                         others.                                                     design.
                               Candilis Josic and Woods were architects whose              Madame d’Alsace told the story of a man in a
                         work I admired. Shad Woods, who later became my             black felt hat visiting the job site every day on his
                         teacher at Harvard, gave me an interview. He had            bicycle and making sketches. The man who made this
                         no openings at that time but directed me to the             daily pilgrimage was the same man who inspired
                         atelier of André Gomis, who hired me. Here, an              countless architectural pilgrimages: le Corbusier.
                         international group of enthusiastic young architects,             The Maison du Verre is a seminal icon of
modernist ideas. When le Corbusier built the Maison
Clarté a few years later, he took Chareau’s lessons
to heart developing many of Chareau’s earlier ideas:
large façades of glass block to let in light, exquisite

                                                                                                                          Photo: Marc Hallé
steel detailing, high ceilings with an open plan and
space, well proportioned space. Seeing the house
in real life gelled many ideas that I was struggling to
apply to buildings in a northern climate: light, delight,
invention and economy of means and space all using           complex was nevertheless still plagued with
ordinary materials. This moment in modernism                 imperfection, somehow cursed with an eternal
continues to provide inspiration for me. Its optimism        incompletion, the result of architectural hubris and
presents a model for design that has been lost to            the infamous corruption. Buckminster Fuller’s great
many practicing architects, whose “retro-renaissance”        geodesic dome of the U.S. Pavilion had already lost
designs indicate a loss of direction from the ideas          its plastic bubble sheathing to a spectacular, toxic fire.
the modernist movement pointed towards.                      It sat empty and diminished, a great spherical ghost
     Upon my return to North America I looked for            of a glorious experiment. At least Montreal could
other work by Chareau and found reference to one:            claim architectural controversy
the painter Robert Motherwell’s studio on Long Island,             One fall afternoon I was off to explore Ile
New York. Chareau had used a Quonset, originally             Ste-Hélène, the site of Expo 67: Terres des Hommes.
designed as an inexpensive storage building for the          The original, nature-made part of the island con-
military, as its structure. I tried to find the studio but   tained the old Romanesque swimming pool building,
discovered that it had been torn down in 1985.               with the much newer denuded geodesic dome
     I now have a vast resource of first-hand                close by. Part of the Korean or Japanese log pavilion
knowledge to draw on from masterpieces visited               was still there, as were the French and Quebec
both ancient and modern, vernacular and classic.             pavilions, soon to be morphed into a casino. These
The Chareau house will provide inspiration for me            parts of the island were never empty. I carried on
as long as I’m able to hold a pencil or, as now, type        upstream.
on a keyboard.                                                     At the very tip of the island, it sat quietly, just
                                                             under the bridge that takes you by Safdie’s Habitat:
                                                             la Place des Nations, the ceremonial heart of
                                                             Expo 67. This place would become my architectural
         ILE ST-HÉLÈNE —
         THE SHADOW OF EXPO '67                              Today, Place des Nations is very quiet and
                                                             overgrown with purple phlox. That day too, the
         David Winterton, intern architect,                  space was serene and mysterious and it was not till
                                                             I deciphered a graffiti-covered plaque that I realized

M     y family never made it to Expo 67. We were
on our way, via some camping in Algonquin Park, but
I got the mumps from my big brother and we had
to turn the yellow ‘66 Mercury back to the humid
depths of southwestern Ontario. I was one-and-a-
half and I had missed my first big architectural
     By the time I was ten, in 1976, the Olympics
                                                                                                                                                Perspectives/Fall 2004

came to Canada: another international gathering
(with architecture to complement) landed by
glamorous Montreal. The photo of the model of
the Olympic stadium was among the first to set
my imagination on a path to architecture.
     Twenty-five years after Expo I was living in
                                                                                                                            Photo: Marc Hallé

Montreal. The Olympic stadium finally had its
intended leaning tower and retractable roof. The
                         its rôle in Canada’s greatest world exposition. Place                   NORTH AFRICA and ANDALUSIA —
                         des Nations was the setting for the ceremonies and                      MOZARABIC LANDSCAPES
                         pageantry of our greatest Expo. The scratched-up
                         plaque showed pictures of full bleachers and                            Kathy Velikov OAA
                         Mounties galore; a sun-drenched Queen and what
                         could only be the indefatigable arch-burgher of
                         Montreal, Drapeau himself, aided by the youthful and
                                                                                        A    fter a season of archeological research in
                                                                                        Carthage, I travelled with a colleague from Tunisia,
                         imminent-hippie facilitators from across the land.             through Morocco, to Andalusia, in southern Spain.
                               For anyone of my generation interested in the            During the three-week journey, we moved from the
                         course of twentieth-century Canadian architecture,             vast emptiness of the desert landscape to the
                         the shadow cast by Expo 67 can be compared to                  labyrinthine streets of traditional medinas to the
                         the influence of growing up in the Trudeau era:                spatially complex interiors of mosques and palaces,
                         learning the metric system; hanging happy posters              following the development of Moorish architecture
                         inculcating multi-culturalism; singing the songs of            and urban form.
                         Gilles Vigneault in French class; drawing a proper
                         maple leaf (that you didn’t even realize was part of a
                         brand new flag because you had been born with it).
                         With Expo, like Trudeau, you had a sense that,
                         striding with your youth, your country too was fresh
                         and modern and maybe even important. Later you
                         would piece it together that, at the time, Canada
                         was authoring its own crisp, cool social and built

                                                                                                                                         Photo: Kathy Velikov
                         modernity. Later on you would lament its
                         dilapidation. These experiences would trigger a
                         sense of national identity and later, they affected
                         my own ideas of making architecture here, and of
                         its various expressions in the works of other                  On the edge of the Sahara Desert, vernacular
                         architects.                                                    Berber villages lay camouflaged in the hillsides, their
                               I found myself going back to Place des Nations           buildings the colour of the earth. Whitewashed
                         in all seasons. I’d almost always be the only one              mosques glowed in the morning sun.
                         there (except for the groundhogs). I would sit on
                         the empty bleachers and absorb the space: a                    In the hot, arid lands of central Tunisia we came to
                         complete and digestible space, both intimate and               the seventh-century holy city of Kairouan. The
                         grand. Aztec temple-like with its earth mounds,                buildings in the old medina have been painted a
                         offset, square geometry, surrounded on all four sides          blue-white in order to reflect as much of the harsh
                         by terraced steps, concrete bleachers or huge                  sun as possible. The courtyards and prayer rooms of
                         glue-lam beams, it felt to me the essence of New               the mosques and mausoleums carved open spaces
                         World building, and it transmitted its optimistic              out of the dense fabric of anonymous softly curved
                         power across four decades.                                     masses.
                               The current empty aura of the Place des
                         Nations is juxtaposed with its past: of throngs of
                         happy tourists (minus one family) pondering the
                         brave new world set before them; of celebrating and
                         proud officials clambering for the respect of their
                         international peers. Now the space sits empty and
                         overgrown: preserved because of its robustness, a
                         symbol of a previous generation of architects’ sense
Perspectives/Fall 2004

                         of national identity and also the spirit of a quiet
                         The Place des Nations was designed by architects André and
                         Pierre Blouin.
                                                                                                                                                                Photo: Kathy Velikov

                         All photos courtesy Marc Hallé, @ Claude Cormier architectes
                         paysagistes, inc., Montréal

                                                                                                                 Photo: Kathy Velikov
                              Photo: Kathy Velikov

                                                                                The Alhambra defined the pinnacle of architectural
                                                                                refinement and subtlety within Moorish culture. The
                                                                                most profound experience for me was finding within
                                                                                the Alhambra’s composition of form, space, light,
If Tunisia was ochre and white, Marrakech was red                               colour and relationship to the land, a resonance with
oxide. The buildings and the surrounding earth were                             the primary structures of the North African desert
the colours of unpainted lips, of the insides of                                villages. I realized it was this modern paradigm, the
mouths. North of Marrakech was the city of Fez,                                 experiential choreography of mass and light, that
with its famous souk where, without a guide, one                                so moved Le Corbusier during his own travels in
could get lost for hours in the skein of spice, fabric                          the Mediterranean sun.
and animal hides. The solidity of the architecture
dissolved in the intricate plaster traceries of the
mosques and madrasas.

                                                                                         NOWHERE —
                                                                                         PORTBOU, SPAIN

                                                                                         Luke Andritsos OAA
                                                                                   ilgrimage” connotes a journey undertaken towards
                                                                                a place laden deep with meaning. What if the inverse
                                                         Photo: Kathy Velikov

                                                                                were true: that special places pull unwitting pilgrims
                                                                                within their spheres?
                                                                                      Where do you begin inscribing a memory? Let’s
                                                                                start by tracing logistics and events manifesting this
Across the Strait of Gibraltar, The Great Mosque                                proverbial curve-ball of discovery:
created the ultimate foil to the dry, empty landscape                           • over-exuberance for travel, revelry and reverie,
around Córdoba: a completely internal world where                               • hopping the wrong train.
countless tiered arches multiplied in all directions,
defying conventional spatial orientation.                                       The wrong train yields plenty of surprises: a random
                                                                                town’s usually the result. On this occasion, however,
We finally arrived at the Alhambra, the thirteenth-                             it was to be different. Dropped off as parcels at the
century fortified palace of the Nesrid kings and the                            border, we (traveling companions and I) awaited the
last stronghold of the Moors in continental Europe.                             French connection to take us Paris-way. It wasn’t to
                                                                                                                                           Perspectives/Fall 2004

Its name was derived from hamra, the Arabic word                                be till the morn after, and so a day was stolen back
for red: the Red Palace.The city’s rich tapestry of                             into schedule-less bliss at Portbou, Spain. As night
buildings, courtyards and gardens had been woven                                fell we settled all in for an evening of saffron-infused
together by a continuous thread of water. Having                                Paella, Spanish moonlight, revelry and reverie. The
come here by way of the African desert, its constant                            morning's rays revealed weathered landscapes
presence was amplified in still pools, gurgling                                 battle-scarred by time and divided by Franco-Spanish
channels and fountains.                                                         political lines yet unfolding.
                                                                                       that this was unseasonable for Athens at this time of
                                                                                       year. Despite coming down with the flu for a few
                                                                                       days, I managed to spend quite a bit of time with my
                                                                                       father, albeit in the house.
                                                                                            By the sixth day the weather cleared up and I
                                                                                       decided I really needed to get out. It was Tuesday
                                                                                       and my cousin offered to treat me to dinner in a
                                                                                       trendy district that had recently undergone a renewal,

                                                              Photo: Luke Andritsos
                                                                                       similar to that in Toronto’s Yorkville area in the early
                                                                                       seventies. That evening, as we strolled through the
                                                                                       narrow winding streets in our ascent to a quaint old
                                                                                       restaurant, a remarkable sight suddenly struck me.
                              This was Portbou! and as the Speedos hung to             Just as we turned a corner, there, shimmering like a
                         dry we trod up and down the poly-storied town of              lighthouse beacon, stood the east facade of the
                         myriad terraces (notice now, reader, the journey has          Parthenon, up-lit by an array of white floodlights
                         no destination; the pilgrimage’s target yet unknown.)         glowing against the night sky. I had first visited
                         A severed church straddled the borderline and
                         regimented fenceposts traced the rails. Beyond this, and
                         a thousand stairs high, the built-up areas gave way to
                         grassy fields atop bronzed cliffs arising from azure seas.
                              It was then I saw at a forty-five degree angle a
                         strange sight: a rusty tube, two meters square
                         piercing the cliff ’s preternatural architecture; a

                                                                                                                                        Photo: Evangelo Kalmantis
                         staircase to NOWHERE.
                              For NOWHERE became the theme — this
                         place (constructor unknown) never existed ere this
                         chance venture, the inverse of pilgrimage.
                              The stairs led downward and teetered high over
                         the sea-scarred cliff face. A landing-less flight of stairs   the Acropolis in 1980 and, as I stood gazing at it,
                         (not to code I’m sure) led to square-framed seawater          I sensed the passage of time that had altered
                         all aglare, and beyond that, an eerie NOTHING.                both our states of existence. There and then, I
                              A glazed barrier provided the transition                 decided that I must once again visit this architectural
                         between the living and the dead, literally and                relic.
                         otherwise. And so was inscribed solemnly in fine                    It was now Saturday and my brother offered to
                         point, names of beings devoured by the traipses of            take me to Plaka, a touristy district at the foot of the
                         wars past. And something else: this was a tribute to          Acropolis. It was the perfect day for my second
                         Walter Benjamin, a name oft encountered in the                pilgrimage. The sky was clear and the city’s abundant
                         hallways of higher learning.                                  marble reflected light in a way that is not common
                              A place bereft of geography yet full of location.        in our part of the world. After shopping along the
                         This was to be an upturned pilgrimage of power and            streets of Plaka for several hours, we began our trek
                         poetics, for the artifact found me and I not it.              up the gentle slope towards the Acropolis. It was
                                                                                       late afternoon and the sun gently washed the west
                                                                                       façade of the Propylaea; the gateway to the
                                                                                       Acropolis. As we climbed the ancient steps we had
                                                                                       to be careful not to slip as time had worn the
                                  The PARTHENON —                                      surfaces down to a shine.
                                  A SECOND TIME                                            When we reached the top I realized that this
Perspectives/Fall 2004

                                                                                       was an instant of profound significance in my life. I
                                  Evangelo Kalmantis OAA, AIA                          was caught in the moment. My senses were

                         L    ast November, I took a couple of weeks off to
                         visit my father who lives in Athens, Greece. I was
                                                                                       heightened. I made sure to record to memory all
                                                                                       that I saw, heard, smelled and felt. I wanted to touch
                                                                                       the towering columns as I did twenty-three years
                         hoping for better weather, but it was cool, damp and          earlier, but this time I was unable to reach them. The
                         rainy for the first six days. My relatives assured me         extensive scaffolding necessitated by the ongoing
restoration work wouldn't allow it. The passage of                                                             The quest for knowledge, the embodiment of
time had in fact altered the Acropolis as it had also                                                     order, the creation of theories (deities in our case)
altered me. I was a different person at the first                                                         to answer otherwise inexplicable phenomena or
pilgrimage, but oddly enough, this ancient ruin had                                                       experiences, the expression of values — these
changed as well. I expected to find things just as I                                                      traits exist today just as they did then. They
                                                                                                          differentiate humankind from all other species and
                                                                                                          are self-evident in the ruins of the Acropolis. I felt
                                                                                                          humbled and dwarfed next to the ruins of the
                                                                                                          Parthenon, like Stanley Kubrick’s ape confronted by
                                                                                                          the monolith. Could this encounter alter the course
                                                                                                          of my development as an architect?

                                                                              Photo: Evangelo Kalmantis
                                                                                                               I had made a pilgrimage with my past self and
                                                                                                          my heritage, and I also discovered that my
                                                                                                          sensibilities shifted over time from a focus on how to
                                                                                                          an appreciation of why. I came to realize that without
                                                                                                          the vision, aspiration, conviction and determination
                                                                                                          of why, the question of how might never be asked,
had left them twenty-three years prior. How                                                               let alone answered.
insignificant twenty-three years must be in
comparison to over two-and-a-half millennia. I realized
that by revisiting the Acropolis, I was really seeking a
connection with my younger self.The Acropolis was
merely a point of reference.                                                                                       THE ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL —
     What I discovered was that my re-encounter                                                                    THIRTY YEARS LATER
with this architectural icon involved an entirely
different outlook. Whereas my first visit revolved                                                                 Ian Ellingham OAA, MRAIC
around confirming all that I had read and seen in
photographs, this spontaneous visit prompted me                                                           I recall the curious feeling of anticipation, sitting on
to look deeper — to discover the raison d'être of                                                         that train on a sunny July afternoon, a couple of
this wonder. What compelled a civilization to bring                                                       years ago. I had received an invitation to a reception,
together newly discovered laws of mathematics,                                                            from an associate of Allies and Morrison, Architects,
an appreciation of the arts, and a philosophy                                                             of London. I knew exactly where I was going. I had
that postulates absolute beauty and exalts the                                                            been there before, on a similar summer day thirty
quest for perfection, in the creation of the                                                              years before, at the point in my life when I had just
Acropolis? I couldn’t help but feel a sense of                                                            started to take an interest in architecture. That visit
connectedness for this was the work of my                                                                 had made a big impression.
ancestors. Surely, I thought, the hands and minds that                                                          Much had changed over the years. I could now
gave form to these structures ought to have traces                                                        number a few dozen buildings I had personally
in my blood. I had also chosen to pursue the                                                              inflicted on society, together with an immense
tradition and discipline of architecture. This sense of                                                   amount of paper. I was certainly older, and hopefully
connectedness closed the circle for me. I felt fulfilled                                                  wiser. In some ways it seemed like yesterday when
in my choice of profession, yet not deserving of the                                                      I first saw that building; I could recall the encounter
legacy of such work of perfection.                                                                        with clarity yet, in other ways, it seemed so remote:
                                                                                                          so many years, so many buildings. What would I find,
                                                                                                          what would it tell me?
                                                                                                                The Royal Festival Hall overlooks the South
                                                                                                                                                                     Perspectives/Fall 2004

                                                                                                          Bank of the Thames and is the sole remaining part
                                                                                                          of the 1951 Festival of Britain. I didn't know the
                                                                                                          building when it was new, but had seen some aerial
                                                  Photo: Evangelo Kalmantis

                                                                                                          photographs, taken during construction: a new, clean,
                                                                                                          white building, rising against a grey, dreary, worn-out
                                                                                                          and blitzed city. Contemporary conditions are hard
                                                                                                          to imagine now: meat rations were introduced

                         during construction; the opening commemorative
                         publication noted the use of “steel and other scarce
                         materials”. The building, designed by the London
                         County Council Architects, notably Leslie Martin
                         (later renovations by Allies and Morrison), was the
                         first large post-war building in England. It seemed

                                                                                                                                       Photo: Ian Ellingham
                         to point the way to a bright new future.
                               That was not what I had seen in 1969. The
                         building was obviously unloved, neglected and
                         ill-maintained. It appeared as a relic from a best
                         forgotten antiquity, perhaps deserving to be                but seemed to have restored it. Curiously, while the
                         demolished and replaced with something more like            building was little changed physically from 1969
                         the new neighbouring Queen Elizabeth Hall. To a             (or 1951), the vistas from it had. But the building
                         visiting Canadian looking northwards across the             still seemed different, so the only possibility is that
                         Thames, London appeared impoverished and                    I was seeing it differently. Something had happened
                         unkempt. Shabbily dressed people shuffled past.             to me.
                          The bright new future had obviously not been                      What might that be? One possibility is that I
                         realized.                                                   have now become a connoisseur of fine architecture.
                               Thirty years later, I again contemplated London       I am now clearly more observant about buildings,
                         from the Royal Festival Hall, this time from a balcony      but is that all that has happened?
                         high above the Thames. London was now clean,                       It seems more likely that society has changed,
                         bustling, and affluent. In contrast to 1969, many           and carried me along with it. Certainly the people
                         well-dressed people strolled by. The building was           using the Royal Festival Hall in 2002 seemed to love
                         now serving an affluent, leisured and educated              the building. Perhaps part of the change is an
                         populace. The restaurants, shops, displays and bars         inevitable reaction: people tend not to like the things
                         now existed in their own right, inviting people in          their parents built, but find some attraction in their
                         from the riverside promenade. I watched people              grandparents’ creations. There may be more though
                         enter to browse the CD and book shops, pause for            — something relating to a particular era. I remember
                         a drink while listening to a quartet, or have a meal        the ‘60s and ‘70s, and the rejection of many of the
                         at “The People’s Palace”. It glowed in the warm             values and symbols of the previous generation.
                         sunlight, contrasting with the now-grubby and dated,        During the Beatles era, we perceived many flaws
                         brutalist Queen Elizabeth Hall (which probably              with a future based on 1950s ideas, so perhaps
                         should be demolished and replaced with something            reactions were stronger than usual.
                         like the Royal Festival Hall).                                     Now, perhaps the culture of 1950s is no longer
                               Clearly, the Royal Festival Hall adapted well to      seen as a threat, or maybe we have forgotten it,
                         the world fifty years after its creation. But there was     so buildings of that time can be embraced, and
                         something more. The recent work on the Royal                reinterpreted in terms of our own values. Perhaps,
                         Festival Hall had not changed its overall demeanour,        in the early twenty-first century, the Royal Festival
                                                                                     Hall fits better; the optimism which accompanied its
                                                                                     creation may have returned, or perhaps the original
                                                                                     vision has now been fulfilled.

                                                                                     Thinking back, the role of societal evolution, and my
                                                                                     immersion in it became clear. Attitudes change and
                                                                                     sweep everyone and everything along, but it is a
                                                                                     complex process, and I am not immune. That may be
Perspectives/Fall 2004

                                                                                     what the Royal Festival Hall tells me: a building, over
                                                                                     a period of fifty years is subject to, and measured by,
                                                                                     continually evolving societal attitudes and beliefs.
                                                                                         Heading home, I recognized the personal
                                                              Photo: Ian Ellingham

                                                                                     importance of the Royal Festival Hall. It has been a kind
                                                                                     of marker, of where I had been, and where I am now.
                                                                                     I wonder how it will appear after thirty more years.


         Gordon Grice OAA, FRAIC

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos
(“The sleep of reason produces monsters”)
     — Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, 1799

                                                                                                                                               Photo: Gordon Grice
During the summer of my twenty-first birthday, I
paid a visit to Antoni Gaudí’s Church of the Sagrada
Familia in Barcelona. The experience had a subtle but
permanent effect on my architectural thinking that
has taken me all these years to understand. Like the                        completely encrusted with it. For me, I suppose,
cathedral itself, the transformation is still incomplete.                   much of the attraction of Gaudí’s architecture was that
      The visit took place many decades ago. I had                          it was taboo — completely opposed to everything
just completed my third year as an architecture                             that I had been taught to value. There was form
student and was firmly indoctrinated in the form-                           everywhere — billowing piles of it — but function
follows-function design approach. For all of us at the                      was nowhere in sight. It was horrible and wonderful.
University of Toronto School of Architecture, the                                  I visited some of Gaudí’s other work — Parque
“sweet jeezly nonsense” and “Italian wedding-cake                           Güell, Casa Batlló — and found it just as amazing.
foolishness”1 typical of baroque and rococo                                 With the deft hand of an artistic genius and with
architecture was best avoided. Adolph Loos said it                          apparently few objective criteria to guide him, Gaudí
best: “ornament is crime.”                                                  had created masterpieces of unreasoned delight.
      That summer, I had intended to spend some                             Nikolaus Pevsner, in his Pioneers of Modern Design,
time taking in the work of the Scandinavian masters                         ignored Gaudí entirely, referring to him and Sant’Elia
that we all admired — Jacobsen, Aalto, Utzon — but                          as “freaks” and “fantasts”2 Gaudí was merely
I was on a tight budget and southern Europe, espe-                          “ . . working in the comparative isolation of
cially Spain, was a lot cheaper. So I had little choice:                    Barcelona and working for a clientele nationally
instead of the cool contemporary rationality of                             disposed in favour of a fantastical architecture.”3
Northern Europe, I headed south to see strange old                          Naturally, at the time that Pevsner was writing,
places: the cave dwellings in Guadix, the Alhambra in                       “modern” design owed very little to Gaudí.
Granada and the work of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona.                                 But all that has changed. Modern
      Gaudí was the real problem. His work seemed                           architecture has passed into history. Aestheticism,
very weird.The Sagrada Familia can best be described                        tactility and visual richness are OK and, after more
as bizarre.There is simply no other building quite like                     than a hundred years, as construction of the Sagrada
it anywhere. At first glance, it looks like a Gothic                        Familia nears completion (currently estimated at
cathedral gone terribly wrong (which, indeed it is:                         2025), Gaudí has finally found favour.4
Gaudí started out with a gothic base building and                                  The summer that I attained “the age of
winged it from there). The proportions are odd, the                         reason”, I was exposed for the first time to one of
towers are too tall, the building is too short; and it is                   life’s delicious paradoxes: reason doesn’t always
not embellished with ornamentation as much as it is                         provide the best solutions; the abandonment of
                                                                            reason is often a lot better and always more fun.

                                                                            (1)   If you studied architectural history with James Acland or
                                                                                  William Goulding, you will recognize these phrases.
                                                                                                                                                                     Perspectives/Fall 2004

                                                                            (2)   Charles Jencks, Modern Movements in Architecture. Garden
                                                                                  City: Anchor Press, 1973
                                                                            (3)   Nikolaus Pevsner, The Sources of Modern Architecture and
                                                                                  Design. New York: Praeger, 1973. p. 104.
                                                      Photo: Gordon Grice

                                                                            (4)   Last year, the 80,000-member Gaudí Beatification Society
                                                                                  and the Archbishop of Barcelona initiated a process where-
                                                                                  by the architect could be named a Catholic saint

Tips for sketching           while travelling in

                                                                                      2                                3

                         1                                                            8                                9

                         By Errol Hugh

                         During our excursion to France, every member of            help you capture and understand the passion of
                         the entourage had one or more cameras. It was              the architect's design.
                         delightful to see more than 20 people shooting the         It is nice and easy to say all this, my friends tell me,
                         same scene. Missing from the group, however, were          but doing it is another story. By observing a few
                         members with one or more sketchbooks.                      sketching tips you could speed up your sketching
                                                                                    time, discover your style, and build your confidence
                         Freehand sketching is enjoyable — a relaxing process       that could enhance your creativity.
                         that gives you a sense of satisfaction and                       Get yourself a small artist sketchbook. Four by
                         accomplishment. I started sketching from a very            six inches, perfect binding, hardcover with about
                         early age and kept at it through all my school and         100 pages. Perfect binding allows a two-page spread
                         university years. I believe sketching is similar to your   while spiral bound, although opening flat, restricts
                         signature.You discover it, grow with it, and it is         you to a single-page sketch. I prefer pages without
                         always yours. Eventually your technique becomes            lines or dots, and thick enough to prevent ink
                         your sketching style.                                      soaking through to the other side. Sketching with a
                              I mention this because your sketches do not           felt pen is convenient. The ink flows smoothly and
Perspectives/Fall 2004

                         have to be an imitation of anyone’s.You should not         you can create varying line thickness while sketching.
                         be reluctant to show your sketches. Other's will           These are all the materials you really need. Le
                         never be the same as yours. Sketching is visual            Corbusier had a sketchbook wherever he traveled.
                         poetry created in a few minutes, capturing the             He was not hesitant to sketch anywhere, anytime.
                         essence and spirit of your observations. With the          Not surprising his sketches varied from “messy” to
                         proliferation of digital cameras, there is no need to      precise details exploring spatial qualities. Herman
                         make your sketches picture prefect. Sketching will         Hertzberger also travels with his sketchbook. He has
a tour group

4                              5                                 6                                7

                                                                                                                                Sketches: Errol Hugh
10                             11                                12                              13

     compiled more than 80 sketchbooks, with beautiful                of your sketchbook. This will be either portrait or
     sketches, over the last two decades. Sketching while             landscape, that is, single– or double-page (sketch 17).
     touring may appear to be fruitless, after all a                  Next, quickly decide if your sketch will be a one-
     photograph will do the job quickly. Rembrandt did                point (sketch 9) or two-point (sketch 3) perspective.
     not have a camera, but his landscape sketches are                Closing one eye will help to determine your
     masterpieces. Frank Lloyd Wright did numerous                    perspective view.
     sketches before all his final designs. Helmut Jahn uses               Your eye level is the horizon line of your sketch.
     plan and axonometric sketches to record and illustrate           Quickly note this somewhere in your frame. The
     all his designs. We all sketch one time or another in            horizon will help to establish the vanishing points
     our office. Sketching is an art that is an essential part        and allow you to visualize the foreground, middle
     of our communication and our profession.                         ground, and background in your sketch.
                                                                           Before starting to sketch, I purposely seek out
     The Process                                                      these parameters by moving around the site until I
     Sketching while traveling with a group can be tricky             discover the view I want to work at. The foreground
     business. The tour leader is moving the group along              for example, could be the foot of the inclined
                                                                                                                                                       Perspectives/Fall 2004

     and you would like time to sketch. It means you have             pathway (sketch 5), an automobile (sketch 10),
     only a few minutes. Keep an eye on the movements                 or leaves from trees above (sketch 6). Start by
     of your group, but do not be discouraged, be                     sketching these first, and the scale of your drawing
     determined to record the essence of your                         will begin to unfold.
     observations.                                                         Buildings and interiors are easy to sketch
          You first establish the “frame” of what you                 because the walls recede to the vanishing points, and
     intend to sketch and relate that frame to the scale              when these are drawn, the scale and makeup of the
                          14                                15                             16

                                                                                          Here are some of the sketches I completed during our
                                                                                          France excursion:

                                                                                           1. Lyon Airport Railway Station main hall, Architect Santiago
                                                                                           2. Lyon Airport Railway Station taxi stand, Architect Santiago
                                                                                           3. Sainte-Marie-de-la-Tourette monastery, Eveux-sur-Arbresle,
                                                                                              south-west exterior, Architect Le Corbusier.
                                                                                           4. La Tourette nave, Architect Le Corbusier
                                                                                           5. Chapel at Ronchamp, east elevation, Architect Le Corbusier
                                                                                           6. Ronchamp, north-east elevation, Architect Le Corbusier
                         17                                                                7. Ronchamp, west elevation, Architect Le Corbusier
                                                                                           8. Ronchamp, south east interior elevation, Architect Le Corbusier
                                                                                           9. Ecole Nationale Suprieure de Beaux-Arts, library
                                                                                          10. Rue Juillet, Paris
                                                                                          11. Salvation Army hostel interior, Architect Le Corbusier
                               building, or the interior, will begin to create the        12. Villa La Roche, entry courtyard, Paris, Architect Le Corbusier
                               “middle ground.” Usually the middle ground is the          13. Villa La Roche, entrance door, Paris, Architect Le Corbusier
                               focus of the sketch. The easiest way to achieve this is    14. Villa La Roche, interior footbridge, Architect Le Corbusier
                               to sketch a recognizable part of the building or           15. Villa Savoye, sitting room, Poissy, Architect Le Corbusier
                               interior first, such as a significant wall (sketch 4), a   16. Villa Savoye, terrace from sitting room, Poissy, Architect Le
                               table, door or window (sketch 16), or perhaps a part           Corbusier
                               of the roof. Then sketch other parts, scaled to relate     17. Brazilian Pavilion, entry, Paris, Architect Le Corbusier
                               to it. Keep adding parts in this manner while being
                               faithful to the vanishing points and the scale of
                               your overall sketch. I found this technique more
                               manageable than trying to sketch the entire
                               composition and then going into details.
                                     Background sketched as “objects” gives the            make your sketch appear messy. Shadows must
                               perception of depth to the drawing. These can be            respect your vanishing points to be effective
                               the outline of trees, people, or undulating terrain.        (sketch 2). A narrow-tip light-blue magic marker will
                               Keep away from details in background objects.               help to create shadows quickly. I did not have much
                               Overlapping of objects in the background will also          time to include shade and shadows in all my sketches.
Perspectives/Fall 2004

                               give additional depth to your sketch, and this                   Knowing when your sketch is complete is
                               technique if used in the middle ground could                perhaps the most difficult decision to make. The
                               enhance the sense of space.                                 image with minimum lines and details (sketch 11)
                                     Shades and shadows will also add depth to your        makes a compelling sketch. Surprising how your
                               sketches. If you have the time, hatching the walls to       mind will fill-in the missing parts.
                               simulate shade (sketch 5) will give a third dimension
                               to your sketch. However, too much shading could               Errol Hugh is an OAA member practicing in Hong Kong
                         Ontario Places

                                                                                                                     presidential residence. In these violent

     Porsches Pave Parliament                                                                                        circumstances began the history of our
                                                                                                                     struggling democracy.
                                                                                                                            With their walls still intact, the
                                                                                                                     parliament buildings were converted into
                                                                                                                     temporary military barracks and then used
                                                                                                                     as immigrant housing. In 1820 money
                                                                                                                     became available to complete the original
                                                                                                                     intent of joining the two Houses with a
                                                                                                                     central section, but only six years later, most
                                                                                                                     of the expanded structure accidentally
                                                                                                                     burned down again.The buildings were
                                                                                                                     never restored. By 1829, more elaborate,
                                                                                                                     new parliament buildings had been
                                                                                                                     constructed on the expanding west side
                                                                                                                     of town at Simcoe Place on Front
                                                                                                                            During the next half-century, the site
                                                                                                                     experienced many changes. In 1838, a large
                                                                                                                     stone jail was completed there, but was
                                                                                                                     closed in 1860 to be replaced in another
                                                                                                                     location by the still-standing Don Jail.This
                                                                                                                     heralded the end of public ownership of
                                                                                                                     our first parliament site.

                                                                                                             Photo : Gordon Grice
                                                                                                                            In 1879, the Consumers Gas Company
                                                                                                                     bought the property and replaced the
                                                                                                                     empty jail with its own extensive industrial
                                                                                                                     buildings for the production of coal and
                                                                                                                     water gas. When natural gas became
                                                                                                                     available in Toronto in the 1950s,
                                 From an article by Stig Harvor for St. Lawrence and              Consumers Gas became a natural gas retailer and sold
                                 Downtown Community Bulletin, May, 2003                           the site. Since the mid-1960s, it has been the home of car-
                                                                                                  related businesses.
                                 Parliament Street is a major thoroughfare in Toronto. It runs         In the past, efforts have been made by Toronto
                                 west of the Don Valley all the way from Lake Ontario to          politicians and public-spirited citizens to buy the entire five-
                                 Bloor Street. Have you ever wondered how this currently          acre site bordered on the south by a city-owned, leased
                                 unprestigious section of town got its name?                      parking lot and the Parliament Square park, adjacent to the
                                       According to early records, the very first Upper           David Crombie Park of the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood.
                                 Canada parliamentary buildings were erected between              These efforts were pushed aside by the forced
                                 Parliament St. and Berkeley just south of Front Street, which    amalgamation of Toronto by the provincial government
                                 followed the original shoreline of the lake. An archeological    in 1997
                                 dig in the fall of 2000 almost miraculously found remnants             Without the new city’s knowledge, the vacant Fuhrman
                                 on the site of one of the two small and modest                   Autocentre on the site was bought in December, 2000, for
                                 parliamentary buildings constructed only 4 years after the       $5.1 million by a luxury car dealership. Awakened, the City
                                 founding in 1793 of the Town of York, now Toronto.This           stalled the approval of a building permit, arguing time was
                                 historic land where our democracy first took root has had a      needed to negotiate purchase of the historic land.
                                 tumultuous and colourful history, as told in the book,                 But the new owner appealed to the Ontario Municipal
                                 Government on Fire, by archaeologists Frank A. Dieterman         Board and won the right to build. It was agreed, however,
                                 and Ronald F. Williamson published in 2001 by                    that construction could not start until December 1, 2002,
                                 eastendbooks.                                                    in order to allow negotiations to proceed.The provincial
                                       The first parliamentary buildings were plain, one-and-a-   government became involved, as well it should be; since
                                 half storey, brick structures only forty feet by twenty-four     this is a site of province-wide importance.The feds were
                                 feet in size.They housed the two Houses of Parliament            interested, but said they could do nothing until the site was
                                 consisting of the Legislative Council and the Assembly.          in public hands.
                                 Behind them were two smaller, wooden buildings for                     Frustratingly, the negotiations were confidential.
                                 committee meetings. All buildings were used as well for          Two extensions of the deadline went by without result.
                                 other government, public and social purposes since space in      A complex land swap has finally been worked out and if
                                 the primitive settlement was scarce.They served as the first     and when the deal is signed, the land will finally revert to
                                 courts of law and the first church. St. James’ Cathedral and     public ownership, after being lost for 120 years.
                                 Osgoode Hall trace their beginnings to these modest                    Today you can buy new expensive foreign cars in a
                                 structures.The two main buildings stood in line north-south,     new building on this important site, but Ontario’s history
Perspectives/Fall 2004

                                 seventy-five feet apart awaiting a larger section to fill the    is effectively hidden. It may all be a true indication of the
                                 space between them in the future when hopefully more             values and priorities of our consumer society.To paraphrase
                                 money would be made available by the colonial government         a headline in a local newspaper, “Porsches Pave Parliament”
                                 in London.
                                       This expansion had to wait longer than expected.
                                 In 1813, American forces attacked York, held it for 6 days           Stig Harvor is a writer and retired architect, living next
                                 and burned the parliament buildings, as well as destroying         door to the first parliament site. He writes a regular column
                                 Government House at Fort York. A year later, the British           on architecture, urban design and planning in a local
                                 attacked Washington and burned the Congress and                    downtown newspaper.

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