The Gordie Howe International Bridge, a six-lane span between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, is set to begin construction this fall after the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) selected a team to design and build the structure. Bridging North America, an architecture, engineering, and construction 'whos-who' team including ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc., Dragados Canada Inc., Fluor Canada Ltd., AECOM, RBC Dominion Securities Inc., Carlos Fernandez Casado S.L/FHECOR Ingenieros Consultores, S.A., Moriyama and Teshima Architects, and Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects, LLP, will oversee construction of the $3.7 billion bridge. The WDBA touted the bridge’s benefits in a project update on July 5. The Detroit-Windsor crossing is currently serviced by four separate crossings and accounts for 25 percent of the trade between the U.S. and Canada. Gordie Howe is supposed to streamline entry and exit across both countries for the 2.6 million trucks that make the crossing annually. The 1.5-mile-long span would be the largest cable-stayed bridge in North America and would be supported by two enormous, A-shaped structural towers. In addition to the six lanes for vehicles, three in each direction, bike lanes have been planned for the side of the bridge facing Detroit. The bridge project includes new ports of entry on both borders and a new connection to I-75. Not everyone is on board with speeding up the flow of goods from Canada. Reflecting the sometimes tumultuous relationship that the Trump administration has had with America's neighbor to the north, owners of the nearby Ambassador Bridge, the Moroun family, are reportedly trying to kill the project. The Ambassador Bridge currently handles 60 to 70 percent of truck traffic across the Detroit River, and the Canadian Government, owners of the WDBA, have stipulated that the Ambassador Bridge will need to be torn down once the Gordie Howe is complete. In response, the Morouns have been buying commercial airtime on Washington, D.C.-area Fox News stations in an attempt to influence Trump to scrap the Gordie Howe. The family has also been trying to get the Trump administration to inject the Gordie Howe into NAFTA negotiations and to pressure the Canadian government to drop its requirement that the Ambassador Bridge be dismantled. The Morouns are also fighting to keep the Michigan Department of Transportation from using eminent domain to acquire the land it needs to build a 167-acre port-of-entry in Detroit’s Delray neighborhood. The WDBA is still negotiating contract details with Bridging North America, and if everything proceeds as planned, work on the Gordie Howe should begin by the end of September.
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Molson Coors, the Canada-based beer brewing company has completed the construction of an hockey rink on top of a 32-story building in downtown Toronto as part of their #anythingforhockey campaign. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TST3BbW4-Us The mysterious rink was installed at 120 Adelaide St. W. in Toronto’s financial district over the last month and a half for an upcoming Molson beer commercial shoot. Building on last year’s #anythingforhockey event, which took hockey fanatics to a secluded rink on British Columbia’s Shamrock Lake high in the Rocky Mountains, hockey fans were asked to share what the sport means to them on social media. As with last year’s event, a handful of participants will be selected to play on the special rink. In a press release, Molson commented on how the rink is just the right size for a three on three game, which also happens to be the format for this year’s NHL All-Star game. https://youtu.be/cPzQl3l_D7Y Finished on January 10th, the rink is roughly one half the size of an NHL professional hockey rink. Like in the pros, the rink is has regulation height glass panels and netting surround the ice to prevent stray pucks from falling to the busy streets below. As for getting to the rink, new stairs were added to the building to provide access, but due to weight restrictions, only a limited number of people will be allowed up to the rink at any given time. Construction was accomplished with the help of cranes on neighboring building under construction, and some innovative ice and snow clearing solutions. As snow cannot be removed from the roof, the rink can be flooded with warm water to clear snow, and the ice itself when not in use. This technique is also used to smooth the ice, as a Zamboni machine is not practical for obvious reasons.
Toronto's ambitious plan for a linear garden under the Gardiner Expressway is made of 55 "outdoor rooms"
Toronto’s waterfront is separated from the city by the elevated Gardiner Expressway. While access underneath is relatively easy, it isn’t a pleasant transition. Torontonians, however, can expect some changes to their waterfront corridor as 10-acres of new public space and a mile of multi-use trail are being built under the highway. Project: Under Gardiner was designed by city planner and urban designer Ken Greenberg with Marc Ryan and Adam Nicklin of PUBLIC WORK, an urban design and landscape architecture studio in Toronto. The new park is slated to open in 2017. The scheme is strategically placed along a portion of the expressway that connects numerous destinations—including the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium, Fort York (an historic military site and museum), BMO fields, and the CNE fairgrounds—as well as a string of high-rise neighborhoods. The project is conceived as a series of 55 "outdoor rooms” formed by the structural bays of the Gardiner. While it is a continuous park, each section or “room” will have a distinct atmosphere and will lend itself to particular activities and programs, including gardens, art fairs, playgrounds, and public markets. In addition to multi-use park space, the project boasts a 1,640 foot connection to a prominent GO train station, a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists over Fort York Boulevard, and an urban theater at Strachan Avenue to accommodate public programming and year-round performances. Like the High line in New York and The 606 in Chicago, Project: Under Gardiner uses existing conditions as a catalyst for new urban engagements, while also adding significant public space to an underused portion of the city. “The re-imagination of this stretch of vacant land under the Gardiner has the potential to connect 70,000 residents to a linear spine of diverse active and passive spaces and place,” explained Paul Bedford, Former Toronto Chief Planner. “It links our past with our future and establishes a totally new way for city hall to embrace transformative city building.”
International firm Perkins+Will has unveiled plans for a new six story, 210,000 square foot scheme at the University of Toronto Mississauga in Ontario, Canada. The creatively named 'North Building Phase B' has a construction budget of $69 million and is due to be complete by the summer of 2018. The project will be home to six university departments: English & Drama, Historical Studies, Language Studies, Philosophy, Political Science and Sociology, featuring student lounges, study areas and dining space. Part of a wider scheme, it is the second installment of a three-phase program replacing a not-so-temporary structure that was the campus' first building, built in 1967. In terms of its impact on the vicinity, the building will complete a circle of public space that surrounds the campus green creating a more holistic and established area for academia and university life. Notable features of the design, which was granted after Perkins+Will won a two-stage competition, include a terraced atrium that is part of a multipurpose event space, numerous state-of-the-art Active Learning Classrooms, elevated roof gardens and terraces overlooking the campus green for students and staff. The firm has also employed a sustainability focused approach using solar shading and natural ventilation in tandem with clever siting and building orientation. This isn't the first time Perkins + Will has designed for the University of Toronto. The practice has built four other buildings on the university's campus.
In a recent essay for the forthcoming book Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal, Frank Gehry reminisced about his childhood in Canada. “My family was one of approximately 30 Jewish families in our town—Timmins, Ontario—and for a while, I was the only Jewish kid at my school. I used to get beat up regularly for ‘killing Christ.’” Perhaps that’s why he has such a thick skin today when dealing with critics and internet commenters. Gehry also talks about how his shrink and mentor, Milton Wexler, helped him combat criticism from peers in his early career: “Screw them! There aren’t any rules. Just because they did it that way last week doesn’t mean you have to do it that way today.” So did his therapist also advise young Gehry, when in doubt, and if words won’t suffice, just flip the bird to a meddlesome critic?
Everyone's favorite canoe museum, the Canadian Canoe Museum in Ontario, Canada, is expanding. The museum has short-listed six firms to design its new facility at the Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site. The canoesuem (our word, not theirs) paddled its way through 90 submissions before settling on the finalists which come from Canada, the United States, and Ireland. The Peterborough Examiner reported that Richard Tucker, the canoesuem's executive director, wants the firms to team up with local architects who can make site visits and meet with local officials. Drawings are due on August 11, and a winner will be announced in the fall. The finalists are Kohn Pedersen Fox from New York City; Heneghan Peng Architects from Dublin; 5468796 Architecture from Winnipeg; as well as three teams—Bing Thom Architects from Vancouver and Lett Architects from Peterborough; Provencher_Roy from Montreal and NORR from Toronto; and Patkau Architects from Vancouver and Brook McIlroy from Toronto.
MAD Architects, the Chinese designers known for their organically curving buildings from Inner Mongolia to Canada, will work with two local firms—including Studio Gang Architects—to bring filmmaker George Lucas’ new Chicago museum to life. MAD will design the building, while Studio Gang Architects will provide landscape work—an integral part of the lakefront site—and VOA Associates will be the architect of record, said officials for the forthcoming Lucas Museum of Narrative Art Monday. The Chicago Tribune first reported the story, with Blair Kamin calling "the star-studded team … a surprise given Lucas' penchant for traditional designs." Many also called Lucas' choice of Chicago for the museum, over other West Coast options, surprising. The Star Wars creator’s museum is currently targeting a lakefront site between Soldier Field and the McCormick Place convention center. It would take the place of two surface parking lots, replacing those spots and then some with parking below grade. But that proposal is currently facing a challenge from lakefront advocates, who point to a city ordinance forbidding private development east of Lake Shore Drive. Their qualm may carry legal weight if Lucas doesn’t hand over the museum, in which he is expected to pour $700 million of his money, to the city’s park district upon completion. At any rate, the involvement of MAD’s Ma Yansong and Studio Gang's Jeanne Gang is likely to produce memorable architecture for the new museum, which will house movie memorabilia and selections from Lucas’ extensive art collection. Yansong’s work includes the Ordos Museum, an otherworldly blob in the deserts of Inner Mongolia, and Ontario’s Absolute Towers—sculptural, round apartment towers that have been dubbed the "Marilyn Monroe Towers" after the curvaceous actress. That style seems in keeping with Gang’s own tastes, which tend toward organic forms and eye-grabbing designs. VOA has designed offices for Ariel Investments, a company led by Lucas’ wife Mellody Hobson. Lucas has also pledged to help fund an $18 million pedestrian bridge at 35th Street to improve access to the site. The museum is expected to open in 2018.
A renovation and addition bring an historic church complex into the 21st century.The Diocese of Toronto approached architectsAlliance (aA) about renovating the St. James Cathedral Centre with two objectives in mind. On a practical level, they wanted more space for the cathedral’s outreach program and the Diocesan archives, as well as quarters for the Dean of the Cathedral and visitors. At the same time, the Anglican leadership wanted to make a statement about the Church’s relevance to contemporary Canadian society. “The idea of the addition was to convey an image of the Church itself as a kind of more open institution, much more transparent and contemporary,” said aA’s Rob Cadeau. “[It was] really driven by the dean, who wanted to refresh the image of the Church.”The architects designed the addition to the Parish Hall as a glass cube. “There’s a lot of use of glass, both as a contemporary material, but also to convey that idea of transparency, for the symbolism of the project,” said Cadeau. At the same time, the see-through extension “defers to the old building. It doesn’t take away from the presence of the old building as opposed to solid masonry construction.” The upper stories of the stick system curtain wall are wrapped in a floating sunscreen comprising repeating bands of laminated glass. “It was very important to the church that there be a sort of green aspect to the design in the way it’s conceived and constructed,” said Cadeau. “So the sunscreen was designed as a passive means of providing shading.” To maximize shading during the summer and solar gain during the winter, aA ran the sunscreen design through shadow analysis testing in ArchiCAD. They worked with Stouffville Glass to engineer both the sunscreen and the curtain wall. The sunscreen hangs on a vertical system of stainless steel brackets anchored to the HSS beams surrounding the slab edge of the second and third floors. The glass panels’ interlayer is printed with a linear pattern recalling the original building’s narrow button bars. “The idea of the lines within the sunscreen was to create a finer grain of detail on the glass,” explained Cadeau. The curtain wall itself is built of Solarban 60 glass. “It still provides the U value we wanted, but we didn’t want too much reflectivity because it’s a fairly small building,” said Cadeau. The firm also improved the thermal performance of the original Parish Hall building, which opened in 1910. With help from a building envelope consultant, they ran a thermal analysis of the structure to determine how much spray foam insulation to insert between the masonry wall and a new stud wall. The goal was to boost insulation while allowing some heat transfer. “That’s very important in heritage upgrades,” said Cadeau. “[T]he mistake you can make is over-insulating. Masonry walls rely in some sense of heat loss so that the water [trapped inside] never freezes. If the water absorbed in the brick freezes it will start to crack the brick.” The new St. James Cathedral Centre unites a previously disconnected cluster of buildings across an enclosed courtyard. In that way, aA suggests, the glass addition functions as a contemporary cloister. “In a larger, urban planning sense [the objective] was to complete the ensemble of buildings, create more of a connection between the buildings as a whole,” said Cadeau.