We were surprised last Friday evening at the OAA Awards Ceremony to receive the 2018 Michael V. and Wanda Plachta Award. The prize honors architectural excellence for projects in Ontario that cost no more than 8 million dollars. This annual award was established in 1991 by Mrs. Wanda Plachta in honour of her late husband, Michael Plachta’s wish to recognize younger firms that create excellence in smaller projects.
The Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) recognizes outstanding built works of architecture that acknowledge the altered circumstances of the human condition in our contemporary age. Honoring projects that consider how we might elevate the quality of our built environments by extending our interests beyond the proverbial four walls, the MCHAP process examines the many excellent works realized in the Americas as recommended by an international and interdisciplinary group of nominators.
We are thrilled with this nomination, not only as the architects, but also for the clients (Binh and Michael) and builder (David Bernstein) who together form the team that makes a project like this come to life. After reviewing the nominations, an incredible set of buildings across the Americas, it is clear that Canada is under represented. Given what the rest of the Americas is showing as their best, we can easily think of another two dozen beautifully constructed projects across Canada that have been built with innovative design and forward thinking clients. I don’t know if we are short on nominators up north or if it is our natural modesty coming into play. This is something to work on after this cycle is complete. For now, here are the nominated projects.
The House on Ancaster Creek has been named a winner of an Award of Excellence from the Ontario Association of Architects. The Awards of Excellence recognize the innovative skills of Ontario architects in creating spaces, buildings, and communities that respect and enhance the environment and enrich human activity.
“Every year it is a privilege to honour the very best in Canadian architecture and design. The OAA Awards help to champion and encourage a new standard of excellence every year and 2018 has been no exception, “said John Stephenson, OAA President. “Every project submitted for the awards has showcased how architects continue to help build and strengthen communities around the world and is a testament to the strength of our industry.”
Award recipients will be honoured at the Celebration of Excellence Awards Ceremony at the 2018 OAA Annual Conference in May.
” This Ontario home rethinks suburban norms, sticking all the standard pieces on a highly unusual floor plan. And it won’t be the last of its kind.
Every family is different. Why are so many family homes the same?
The North American ideal of the nuclear family has shaped the way we live for a century now, informing everything from city planning to builders’ floor plans. A new house near Hamilton suggests a different model: a place that provides the suburban virtues of privacy and comfort, while making room for the elders of a family to live and age in place.”
I hope everyone was able to see Alex Bozikovic‘s article in the Globe and Mail on Saturday. He outlines the premise and form of the house and talks about how regulations must change as we embrace caring for our elders. It is an important discussion that we are having with clients, both public and private. And because it seems to be teaser week, there are some great images in the article, but you will just have to wait to see this ‘highly unusual floor plan!’
“For a certain doctor in Ontario, there was never any doubt. He always knew that he would take care of his mom and dad in their old age. When the time came, they moved into the basement of a bungalow that he shared with a social worker, the man he planned to marry. After an initial adjustment, period, they truly became a family.
The stairs to the basement, however, became a problem. So the couple considered building a new home. They found a teardown in Ancaster, near Lake Ontario and the hospital where the doctor practices, The 1/2-acre lot was unusually wide for its neighbourhood of stucco McMansions.
A search for an architect let to another couple, Betsy and Shane Williamson of the firm Williamson Williamson….”
To see how this story ends pick up the January edition of Interior Design magazine…
The Canadian Wood Council has a robust Wood Design Awards Program that features architects from North America and abroad who are working with wood in excellent and innovative ways. This year, Betsy served on the jury alongside Alan Organschi, Principal at Gray Organschi Architecture, and Rich Bonnin, Design Principal, HGA Architects and Engineers. This year, the jury was excited to see the incredible design work in the commercial, institutional, and industrial categories. Those projects drove innovation and design excellence, while residential, an area that can often be more experimental, seemed to be behind the curve, aside form a handful of notable exceptions. (Haus B, I’m talking to you.) We had some great conversations that day. Congratulations to all the winners.
Archinect has a great series on practices called Small Studio Snapshots and WWInc. was featured in December. There are a hundred different ways to practice architecture and we are grateful for the opportunities that come our way to allow us to practice on our own terms. We try to shape our practice by asking ourselves and our colleagues at the studio the question, “What do we want to be doing every day.”
You can link to the article here.
We are excited to announce that the House on Ancaster Creek has been shortlisted for the annual Interior Design Best of Year Awards, sponsored by Interior Design magazine. Congratulations to all those shortlisted, and we look forward to the announcement and party on December 1st in New York City – and the Michelangelo show is on so it is a win regardless.
Architects, engineers, developers and other construction industry professionals at the forefront of wood design in Ontario came together to celebrate excellence in wood design at the 17th annual Wood WORKS! Awards night in Toronto on November 2, 2017. The awards program honours people and organizations that, through design excellence, advocacy, and innovation, are advancing the use of wood in all types of construction.
“It is our privilege to celebrate Ontario’s wood design leaders through the Wood Design Award program,” said Marianne Berube, executive director of the Ontario Wood WORKS! program. “Wood is an extraordinary building material, as you can see from the projects that received awards tonight. It is also a sustainable building solution. Design professionals who understand the need for sustainable development are specifying wood products for innovative, environmentally responsible construction. Some of those leaders were recognized tonight.”
Ontario Wood WORKS! presented 12 awards at the event. Ten awards went to specific wood projects and two were given to professionals for contributions to the building industry that advance the case for wood design and construction. Please CLICK HERE for the complete list of award winners.
Betsy will be in Montreal on October 17th, at the World Design Summit speaking about WWInc’s work on Inter-generational homes. An international multi-disciplinary, multi-modal, solution-oriented congress, the World Design Summit is an international incubator for re-thinking the mission of the designer and the design process. This is about more than just the latest trends – it is about the designer’s role as a creative leader in society, business, culture and governance. Designers, architects, planners and landscape architects are gathering for the first time under one roof to share perspectives, foster collaboration and cross-pollinate innovative ideas. This is about our future. And how to transform it together by design.
You’ll find me at the World Design Summit because the world is facing complex challenges. The more complex the problem, the more the need for synthesis; if there is any power in Design, that’s the power of synthesis. – ALEJANDRO ARAVENA, WDS Congress Keynote and 2016 Pritzker prize winner
Since Betsy is heading down for the AIA Houston jury tomorrow, she initiated a meeting with Women in Architecture Houston and look what they planned in two days time! We love it when everything comes together.
The 2017-18 academic year has begun with Shane as the new Director of the MArch Program at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. The official announcement from the faculty follows:
Associate Professor Shane Williamson has been appointed Director of the Master of Architecture Program for a three-year term effective July 1, 2017. Williamson’s research and creative practice employ advanced digital tools as a means to critically engage/transform traditional modes of construction and tectonic expression. His work seeks to situate digital fabrication and wood construction in a broader cultural context and link theories of design and technology to sustainable building strategies. He is a Principal of Williamson Williamson Inc., a Toronto-based architecture and design studio that operates at multiple scales ranging from furniture design to master planning. One of the recurring themes within his (and Betsy Williamson’s) studio’s body of work is the notion of “Incremental Urbanism” which recognizes the possibilities of intensification latent in the morphology of urban fabric.
Williamson’s built, projected, and speculative work has been widely-published and has garnered significant awards and accolades, including the Ronald J. Thom Award for Early Design Achievement and the Professional Prix de Rome for Architecture from the Canada Council of the Arts, the Emerging Architectural Practice Award from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Young Architects Prize and the Emerging Voices Award from the Architecture League of New York, and various design/construction awards, including awards from Residential Architect, a Journal of the American Institute of Architects, the Ontario Association of Architects, the Canadian Green Building Council, and the Canadian Wood Council.
Williamson brings with him his interest in the Master of Architecture program’s relationship to the City of Toronto and the broader profession, and his focus on the nexus between architecture, urbanism, and digital (and traditional) modes of representation and fabrication.
Last night was a beautiful evening spent at the Palais Royal enjoying the late summer warmth and the lake view while celebrating the winners of this year’s Toronto Urban Design Awards. Betsy spent two days on the jury in June with Elsa Lam, David Anselmi, and Gary McCluskie visiting nearly three dozen projects before narrowing the field to twelve Awards of Excellence and 9 Awards of Merit. Visiting the work is critical to assessing the level of detail and care in the design and construction and seeing how well the spaces are configured and maintained. It was a strong group of entries this year and every team recognized should be thrilled with their achievement.
The Jury Report is available here as a PDF and the Jury Statement is below.
Every two years, the City of Toronto Urban Design Awards program provides an opportunity to assess the progress of the city’s built environment, and to recognize those buildings that strengthen the public realm. The program looks at buildings in their context to identify those that make a positive contribution to the life of the city, and to assess how well they respond to their surroundings.
Above all, the jury seeks to identify projects that are unequivocally public—that engage people through their presence in or proximity to the public realm, adding noticeably to the civic experience. These considerations can’t be measured solely through presentation panels and project texts. So, after compiling a shortlist of projects, the jury piles into a mini-van to visit every chosen site as a group. Over the course of two days of touring and deliberations, this year’s jury travelled to the city’s furthest reaches—from City Hall, to Etobicoke, to North York, to Scarborough—to arrive at the present list of award-winning projects.
The selected projects share a number of common characteristics. Aside from being exemplary in their contributions to the public realm through siting, programming, or composition, all the winning projects also demonstrate conceptual rigor, fine detailing, and equally fine craftsmanship in their construction.
The quality of a project’s detailing and construction is critical in contributing to the experiential quality of the city and raising the bar for public projects. Craftsmanship is exemplified in two projects that received awards of excellence in the Elements category. The public art installation Two Circles and the pavilions at the East Point Bird Sanctuary are each made of a single, carefully manipulated material— ceramic tile and Corten steel, respectively—with results that demonstrate discipline and restraint, and that add to the works’ settings both from afar and up close.
The reuse of heritage buildings also requires a degree of craftsmanship, as well as a vision for an existing building’s potential. The jury found this embodied in the Queen Richmond West development, in which a new block is perched atop two heritage warehouses, supported by sculptural columns in a publically accessible atrium—a stunning blend of old and new. As a more traditional adaptive reuse,
Betsy, along with her colleagues from the RAIC Age Friendly Housing Options Task Force, Rudy Friesen, MAA, PP/FRAIC Hon. FAIA and owner of ELDERing.ca, and John L. Brown, AAA, FRAIC, principal of Housebrand, will be presenting Innovative Design for Healthy Aging at the RAIC Festival of Architecture this week. While this year’s session is full, our group will continue to meet and work on the guidelines that we are tasked to prepare over the coming years. There will be more presentations to come. We’ve been told that we were one of the first sessions to sell out which speaks to the importance of this timely issue.
The grey tsunami of baby boomers is quickly approaching and architects need to develop new strategies to meet their emerging needs. This session addresses a spectrum of design possibilities related to aging-in-community. An overview of emerging trends and best practices from around the world will be followed by case study examples of multi-generational private residential projects and a new model for community-based long term care. It concludes with an open forum discussion on current challenges and future opportunities for Canada’s architectural profession. The session is offered by the RAIC Age Friendly Housing Options Task Force.
We are always honored to be featured by Architectural Record. It is a publication that we have admired since we were students and to be included in its pages, digitally or in print, is something that we never take for granted. Thank you to the amazing editorial staff for always looking out for out best work.
Check out the article here.
Words have the power to change lives. Get Lit is a one-of-a-kind fundraiser where a lineup of notable Canadians read from their favourite book and tell the story of how it impacted their lives. Since 2005, Get Lit’s roster of notable speakers have shared passages from one of their favourite literary works. Although authors are often featured, successful and inspiring Canadians of all professions are invited to share their excerpts with hundreds of enthusiastic attendees of all ages.
To date, the reader line-up has included architects, opera singers, musicians, doctors, artists and chefs. Each tells the story of one book that inspired them, altered their perspective or impacted their lives. We meet, mingle, share our stories and help First Book Canada deliver over 100,000 books each year.
This year the speakers include jazz vocalist Molly Johnson, Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, Sarah Keenlyside of Inkblot Media, author Kamal Al-Solaylee, and The Honourable Mitzie Hunter.
Wednesday April 26th at 6pm
Tickets $125, incl Food + Drink
The Berkeley Church
315 Queen Street East
The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s annual Celebration of Heritage commemorates Niagara-on-the-Lake’s heritage and pays tribute to those members of the community who have made a significant contribution to the preservation of historical property. The Exchange Brewery is proud to be a recipient of a 2017 Commendation for Heritage Restoration. It is always rewarding to see our clients get recognition for achievements associated with the service we provide the community.
for an insightful discussion moderated by Chatelaine‘s Sarah Boesveld about why we talk about gender in architecture and if we still need to have this conversation.
In Canada, women represent roughly 28.9% of architects. The Ontario Association of Architects found that during the past 10 years, 33.1% of newly licensed Ontario architects were women.
While women and minorities continue to be underrepresented in architecture and design, and those who are practicing can endure obstacles in the workplace, they have made incredible gains in the profession. Still, their achievements and gender are inseparable – unlike their male counterparts. During our talk we will delve into the question, in 2017 is It Architect or Female Architect? And why do we still need the distinction?
Shane will be presenting our work as part of the 2016 Fall Lecture Series at Prairie View A&M University on Wednesday October 26, 2016. Special thanks to Ross Wienert for the invitation.
Betsy has been selected as a jury member for the 2017 Winter Stations Competition. Fellow jurors include, Lisa Rochon (Senior Fellow, Global Cities Institute U of T; Founder, Friends of the Beach Parks), Dragana Maznic (Design Director, Great Gulf), Mark Ryan (Principal/Co-Founder, PUBLIC WORK), Michael Ondaatje (Novelist), and Renée Daoust (Founder, Daoust Lestage).
Winter Stations is now embarking on its third-year, opening an international design competition to bring temporary public art installations to The Beaches, exhibited to celebrate Toronto’s winter waterfront landscape. This year they are expecting to include up to six lifeguard stands, including an addition three by invited universities, across Balmy, Kew and Ashbridges Bay beaches located in the heart of the Beach community, south of Queen Street East, between Woodbine and Victoria Park Avenues. These utilitarian structures are to be used as the armature for temporary installations, which will need to be able to withstand the rigours of Toronto winter weather. The exhibition is to run February 20 until March 27, 2017. This is a single-stage open international competition, welcoming artists, designers, architects and landscape architects to submit concept proposals for Winter Stations’ temporary artwork installations.
Betsy Williamson, Sonia Ramundi and Dimitra Papantonis will be hosting a forthcoming session of BEAT‘s Mentorship Mondays on the evening of Monday November 14, 2016. The objective of the event is to provide a platform for dialogue, networking and mentorship while supporting and advancing equality within the Architecture profession. Invitations are open to those at different points in their careers and to those practicing or pursuing various forms of design. See Eventbrite for more info and registration.
Grange Triple Double Receives a 2016 Innovation in Sustainability Award from the CaGBC Greater Toronto Chapter
Each year the CaGBC Greater Toronto Chapter Chapter hosts its annual Innovation Awards Program which distinguishes individuals in the green building industry, as well as projects in Southern Ontario which go above and beyond the normal scope of sustainable best practices. Grange Triple Double was selected by the jury as the winner for the Innovation in Sustainability Award. Grange is a project with a story about multi-generational living that we are eager to talk about. It is a part of a larger conversation focused upon keeping the ageing in their own neighborhoods, and designing for both affordability and long-term programmatic flexibility.
The Exchange Brewery has received a 2016 Canadian Interiors Best of Canada Award in the retail category.
Canadian Interiors’ annual Best of Canada Design Competition is the country’s only design competition to focus on interior design projects and products without regard to size, budget or location. Categories for project submissions include: exhibit; hospitality; institutional; marketing; office; residential; and retail. For the past nineteen years, a distinguished industry panel of jurors have awarded exceptional interior design projects, as well as uniquely design products, the prestigious Best of Canada award.
“On Tranby Avenue, history is for the birds. Stained-glass birds nest in almost every transom on this narrow east Annex street, the work of the artisan Robert McCausland when its houses were built around 1890. Most of these birds have been preserved and refurbished – including the one on No. 66, which was cleaned up by Andrew McCausland, great-grandson of the original artisan.
And behind the façade is one of the best modernist renovations I have ever seen in Toronto. It suggests a new and welcome approach to the city’s Victorian houses: to preserve the craftsmanship of the 19th century, and match it with the design and craft of the 21st.”
Alex Bozikovic praises our collaboration with 3GEN and Geronimo in his latest Globe and Mail article seen here.
Our renovation of an 1892 Victorian House in the Annex has caught the attention of Designlines’ editor Tory Healy. Along with Darcy and Alexis of 3Gen Developments, our job was to make this complicated renovation look effortless. As noted by writer Matthew Hague, “The strategy was simple: rooms that were in good condition were preserved, which such details as art nouveau doorknobs and hinges left intact. Areas that had been chopped up by previous renos – the kitchen, bathrooms and master bedroom – were made proudly new.”
Shane will be delivering a keynote lecture as part of the Chair Jorge Montes 2016 at the Universidad del Istmo Facultad de Arquitectura y Diseño. During the Chair, students of architecture of national universities throughout Central America attend lectures, workshops, and participate in competitions. This year’s Chair puts forward the theme ” Roots of Change: Designing the Future” and runs from September 19-23.
Grange Triple Double is profiled in the recent issue of Monocle as part of a piece titled Generation Gaps [Housing]. Sophie Grove puts forward the preface that “Our grandparents deserve a better standard of care and that calls for a multigenerational approach – hence a new model that makes the presence of youth in old people’s homes a central tenet.” She notes that “while many of us might baulk at the thought of sharing close quarters with elderly in-laws, the careful configuration of the Grange Triple Double (with its series of courtyards, decks and large communal areas) provides the family with privacy and the possibility to adapt the spaces as their circumstances change.”
The projects of the exhibition were chosen via a triennial, international architecture competition, Architecture of Necessity. The competition and exhibition aim to gather and present ideas and solutions for sustainable architecture.
The WOOD 2016/TRÄ 2016 exhibition is one of the largest exhibitions in Northern Europe in wood and sustainable architecture and is on display until December 4th.
An exhibition catalogue, Välkommen till framtiden (“Welcome to the future”), has also been released.
Today officially marks the new beginning of Williamson Williamson Inc. as our partnership in Williamson Chong has come to an end. The momentum of our practice remains as we have a number of great clients on-board and projects underway. We couldn’t be more excited about the future. Betsy, Shane, Chris, Sonia, Eric, Paul, Dimitra, and Melissa welcome you to next iteration of our practice.
Over the past 5 years, Williamson Chong produced a number of award winning projects and received notable practice-based honours, including the Professional Prix de Rome from the Canada Council of the Arts, the Emerging Architecture Practice from the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada, and the Emerging Voices Award from the Architecture League of New York.
In July of 2016, Donald Chong left the partnership to head up HDR Toronto’s new architectural design and research studio. Betsy Williamson and Shane Williamson continue to build upon Williamson Chong’s body of work as Williamson Williamson Inc.
Donald Chong, Design Principal
255 Adelaide Street West.
Toronto, ON M5H 1X9
Betsy Williamson and Shane Williamson, Principals
235 Carlaw Ave. Suite 400
Toronto, ON M4M 2S1
Architecture defines cities, neighbourhoods and communities. It provides form for the human experience. Buildings, homes and institutions shape the environment and reflect each society’s cultural values. Although some buildings ultimately become icons, is architecture art? Come find out at this lively discussion between some of Canada’s top architects and public art practitioners.
As part of Doors Open Toronto 2016, Betsy will be presenting Moments of Engagement, at the Architecture is Art? presentation at Doors Open Toronto 2016.
Please join her at The Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr. on Saturday May 28th at 2 PM.
Additional speakers include:
Michael Awad (B.Arch, M.Arch. M.U.D.), is an architect, photographer and Assistant Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design.
Christie Pearson (B.E.S., B.Arch., M.Arch., OAA) is an architect, teacher, guest critic and lecturer.
Paul Raff is an award-winning architect and the founding principal of Paul Raff Studio.
Kim Storey (B.Arch., OAA, MRAIC) is an architect, urban designer and founding partner of BROWN+STOREY and the Office for Responsive Environments.
Rohan Walters (B.Arch) is the principal designer of Spaces By Rohan Inc. and an Art Director with the Directors Guild of Canada (Resident Evil and Suits).
Betsy Williamson has been elected to the College of Fellows of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. The RAIC bestows Fellowship in recognition of outstanding achievement. Criteria include design excellence, exceptional scholarly contribution or distinguished service to the profession or the community.
Representing Canada coast-to-coast, the 41 new Fellows come from Charlottetown, Pokemouche, St. John’s, Dartmouth, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Calgary, Burnaby and Vancouver.
Fellows will be inducted at the College of Fellows Convocation, which takes place during the RAIC’s Festival of Architecture in Nanaimo, BC, June 8 to 11.
Betsy is honoured to serve on the 2016 Portman Prize Jury with this year’s Portman Visiting Critic, Brigitte Shim. The purpose of the Portman Prize and the Portman Visiting Critic Program is to foster design excellence and student creativity in the School of Architecture at Georgia Tech. Recognizing student accomplishment and excellence in the integration of technical considerations as a key constituent of the design process the Portman Prize is awarded through competition by a distinguished jury chaired by the Portman Visiting Critic who also participates over the semester as a roving design studio critic and public lecturer.
It is also Scott Marble’s first year as the William H. Harrison Chair of the School of Architecture at Georgia Institute of Technology. Scott is founder of the innovative and award winning New York practice Marble Fairbanks and was Betsy’s very first professor of architecture in the undergraduate program at Barnard College in 1993! His direction and encouragement helped shape her career in architecture and the practice that he and Karen have built serves to inspire not only the studio here at Williamson Williamson, but the hundreds of students – now professionals – whose careers they have touched over the years.
Grange Triple Double has been named a finalist for an Award of Excellence from the Ontario Association of Architects. The Awards of Excellence recognize the innovative skills of Ontario architects in creating spaces, buildings, and communities that respect and enhance the environment and enrich human activity. Award recipients will be honoured at the Celebration of Excellence Awards Ceremony at the 2016 OAA Annual Conference in May.
Writer Martha Breen eloquently tells the story of the Grange Triple Double. The house is a contemporary contextualization of the site and neighborhood while at the same time, a forward thinking solution for the ‘sandwich generation,’ describing how a young family can accommodate the needs of both children and parents on an urban lot in downtown Toronto. “The house is dynamic both inside and out; it was designed so that it can be adapted as needs change.” The ground floor rental unit can be connected to the home’s living spaces if the grandparents require a fully accessible unit at grade. For the time being, they rather enjoy the view from the third floor with it’s large private deck!
“Among the many well preserved valleys surrounding Toronto, Canada, it is not unusual to see disused railway lines that coexist with suburban residential fabric. It is in this scenario where the Canadian office of Williamson Chong Architects installed the House on Bala Line , a house that runs 18 mt above the line of the old railway line “Bullet Line” which ran early twentieth century….”
“Canadian architecture practice Williamson Chong has transformed a narrow Edwardian property in a suburban neighborhood of Toronto. The existing home was a poorly renovated residence, and required a complete overhaul in order to provide spacious and comfortable living accommodation. Beginning at the front elevation, every effort was made to produce open and airy family-oriented spaces out of what was previously a cluster of small and awkward rooms.” Please find the link here.
Many thanks to Birgit and Philip for publishing this project. The stair is one of our favourites!
“Young adults are getting squeezed out of the housing market. Their parents, meanwhile, want to downsize without leaving familiar neighbourhoods. The solution couldn’t be simpler to a growing group of designers: Rethink (and rebuild) the family home to suit several generations for the long haul.
…Such adaptability can be built into a house’s architecture. One example is the Grange Triple Double, a house by Williamson Chong Architects: Their clients, a Toronto couple in their 30s with a young son, decided to move in with the wife’s parents. They built a bespoke house that would accommodate them all together with rental income – and then change, multiple times, as the family’s needs evolve through the decades.”
Alex Bozikovic investigates the growing trend of multigenerational homes in Toronto in his latest Globe and Mail article seen here.
Architectural Record reports on the latest work being developed in our office. We are excited to be featured in their February issue.
“The architects are further investigating multigenerational living in their Ancaster Creek House (set for completion this April), an elegant modernist dwelling composed of two double- height volumes, linked by a central glazed dining area, for a couple and their elderly parents. The architects incorporated finely crafted details, like a gently twisting staircase, as well as universal design elements including generous entryways and living quarters on the ground level. “No one wants to feel like they are moving in with their parents, so it’s important to develop spaces that are discrete but connect on a family level…””
Check out the link here.
Betsy will serve on the jury this year for the AIA Portland 2015 Architecture Awards. The Architecture Awards Competition is an annual event open to all AIA Firms, Members, and Associate Members throughout Oregon. A nationally recognized jury of individuals, review and select projects that reflect the best architecture Oregon architects have to offer.
Jury Critique Night: October 29
Center for Architecture | 403 NW 11th Avenue
Awards Celebration: October 30
Revolution Hall | 1300 SE Stark Street
Shane Williamson presented recent work and research to Laval University’s Faculty of Planning, Architecture, Arts and Design as part of their 2015-16 Lecture series. Special thanks to Samuel Bernier-Lavigne for the invitation.
Fellow speakers in the series included:
Moment Factory (Montreal), Stephane Rasselet (Nature Humaine, Montreal), Jean Perre Crousse (Barclay & Croussse, Lima/Paris), Alexander Redford (Jardins de Metis), Dominiqu St-Gelais and Stephan Lengevin (STGM, Quebec)
The City of Edmonton and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) believe it is important to promote public and private awareness of the role of urban design.
Every two years, since 2005, the City and the RAIC have co-hosted the Edmonton Urban Design Awards to recognize individuals, organizations, firms and projects that have contributed to urban design and the quality of life in Edmonton.
Betsy Williamson has been included in the five leading voices on urban design will be speaking at Stanley Milner Library, on Thursday October 8, 2015, discussing their perspectives on urban design and its contribution to public spaces.
These experts are known for their work nationally and internationally, and come from varied backgrounds:
Eduardo Aquino, Artist, Winnipeg, MB
Anne Cormier, Architect, Montreal, QC
Christopher Phillips, Landscape Architect, Vancouver, BC
Gordon Price, Planner, Vancouver, BC
Betsy Williamson, Architect, Toronto, ON
They are in Edmonton as jurors for the 2015 Edmonton Urban Design Awards.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Stanley Milner Library Theatre
Designlines Annual Homes issue has come out and features an article on the house we recently completed on Roxborough Street in Toronto. The thoroughly modern clients encouraged us to strip away the dark and deteriorated parts of an old Toronto home and re-engage light and space. Creating a four story curved volume through the home that allows light to transform the interior was the nexus of the project, connecting all the floors to daylight and tying together the once disparate spaces.
In an interview with the Architectural League of New York’s program director, Anne Rieselbach and executive director, Rosalie Genevro, Paul Makovsky writes about Emerging Voices’ enduring mission. We are so proud to have been a winner in the 2014 Emerging Voices Series. In this article, the work of Williamson Chong is prominently featured alongside Steven Holl, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects, Eric Owen Moss and Toshiko Mori!
Each year, Wallpaper Magazine publishes a list of 20 firms that they see as the rising star and breakthrough practices from around the globe. We are pleased to announce that the 2015 Architects Directory has been announced and Williamson Chong is featured on the list. A full digital feature is featured on the Wallpaper website.
Between June 3rd and 6th, 2015, architects, interns, students and associates as well as the general public will gather in Calgary, Alberta to network, discuss issues related to the practice of architecture and design, celebrate achievements and socialize. Williamson Chong will be presenting their research at a session on Friday morning. It will be informative, fun, and get you three whole con ed points!
As recipients of the 2012 Professional Prix de Rome from the Canada Council of the Arts, the 2014 Emerging Voices Award from the Architecture League of New York, and the 2014 Emerging Architectural Practice from the RAIC, the principals of Williamson Chong will present the findings of their recent travels and research that focused upon advanced wood technologies, emerging fabrication platforms, and exemplary wood buildings. Amongst other topics, new growth timber will be discussed relative to its predominant position in the discourse of sustainability, and its role within the distinct and varied building industries of North America and Europe.
Betsy Williamson is an invited speaker at this year’s Saskatchewan Association of Architects conference and annual general meeting. Held at the Elk Ridge Resort, located north of the prairie flatlands in the boreal forest, from May 8”10, 2015, the conference theme is Evolve, Make, Build and will focus on methods that architects use to broaden their influence during the construction phase of a project.
The intent is to open a conversation with the profession examining and exposing new ways to consider the role of the profession up to and during construction. There are many sides to this conversation, cost, schedule, accuracy, quality, durability, reliability along with many others. New methods of construction, redefining the role of construction documents and/or looking at benefits of improved access to local resources and technology are all affecting the traditional way we practice.
Betsy will be speaking and taking part of an open discussion on the way in which we practice, highlighting the research and work we are doing that explores the use of digital tools with traditional methods of construction in projects like the House in Frogs Hollow and the Living Wood exhibition.
“The breeze flowing over your table as you’re sitting down to dinner on a summer evening,” the owner says, is one of the best experiences they’ve had in the house: “There are those magical moments when you feel you’re connected to the place.” When nature provides you with magic, sometimes the wisest course is to let it flow.
Alex Bozikovic elegantly describes the spaces, systems, and details in the Bala Line house. It is nice when our urban projects feel so connected to Toronto’s great natural resources.
Shane Williamson presented recent work and research to the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design as part of their 2014-15 Lecture series.
Fellow speakers in the series included:
Ole Schroeder ( Tredje Nature, Copenhagen), Cornelia Hahn Oberlander (Cornelia Hahn Oberlander Landscape Architect, Vancouver), Peter Rose (Peter Rose + Partners, Boston), Sam Jacob (Sam Jacob Studio, London), Carla JuaÃ§aba (Carla JuaÃ§aba Arquiteta, Rio de Janeiro), Patricia Patkau (Patkau Architects, Vancouver), and Jimenez Lai (Bureau Spectacular, Los Angeles).
Betsy Williamson and Shirley Blumberg, partner at KPMB Architects, have recently established WIA Toronto, a leadership network focusing on the issues of women in architecture. The Missing 32% Project, published in Architecture Magazine in October 2014, notes that 42 percent of architecture graduates are female, but the number of licensed female practitioners and senior leaders in the profession hovers between only 15 and 18 percent.
In order to initiate change, Betsy and Shirley have organized Women’s Leadership Seminars at the architecture schools in Toronto. Architects who have established their own practices or have risen to leadership positions in large firms will present their work and practices, then in one-on-one sessions, take small focus groups on office tours and through projects.
These events are envisioned as a way promote discussion between young women coming up in the profession and those of us who have established a presence.
“Now in its fourth year, the AJ’s Women in Architecture programme continues to promote equality in the profession and to host the annual WIA Awards.”
England’s The Architects’ Journal has a wonderful issue out on women in the profession. Betsy is featured as a finalist in the Emerging Architect Prize Category and the magazine is filled with profiles of other talented architects. We are looking forward to the day when a special issue like this won’t be required.
On the heels of the finals of the Interior Design Best of Year Awards, Pilot has been published in Interior Design Magazine with the other winners.
Designboom just posted some great images and an article about Pilot Coffee Roasters. It was great to meet Birgit Lohmann and take her through the space. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in Toronto.
The House on Fox Lake, which won an award of excellence in the 2014 Canadian Architect Awards, is featured on the cover of the the awards issue of Canadian Architect. Inside, you can find the jury comments, project images, and great coverage of the other award winners.
Betsy Williamson Selected as a Finalist for The Architects’ Journal 2015 Emerging Woman Architect of the Year
The Architects’ Journal, a leading architectural publication in Britain, has revealed the finalists for both the 2015 Woman Architect of the Year and the Emerging Woman Architect of the Year Awards. Ten up-and-coming stars have made it onto the shortlist for the AJ’s fourth Emerging Woman Architect of the Year Award. Betsy Williamson is the only woman from North America on the list.
The winner will be announced at the Women in Architecture Awards Luncheon on Friday, February 27, 2015, at Claridge’s in London. Phyllis Lambert will be speaking at the ceremony along with Sheila O’Donnell from O’Donnell + Tuomey. The winners of the Ada Huxtable Prize and the Jane Drew Prize will also be celebrated at the event.
Emerging Woman Architect of the Year 2015 shortlist:
Laura Highton, architect, Purcell
Jillian Jones, team leader, DRDH Architects
Sally Lewis, founding director, Stitch
Katy Marks, director, Citizen Design Bureau
Marta Pelegrin, co-director, Mediamundo Arcquitectos
Chloe Phelps, deputy team leader, placemaking team, Croydon Council
Tatiana von Preussen, Catherine Pease, and Jessica Reynolds, founders, vPPR
Betsy Williamson, partner, Williamson Chong Architects
The jury for this award is significant. Of the fourteen jury members, the following names are just a few that stand out: Norman Foster and Eva Jiricna are internationally known practitioners. Martha Thorne is the executive director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize and Laura Lee is the chief executive of Maggie’s Centres. Moira Gemmill is the design director of the V&A Museum and Christine Murray is the editor of the Architects’ Journal.
Canadian Architect has announced that the House on Fox Lake is the recipient of a 2014 Award of Excellence. One of only two national award programs devoted exclusively to architecture, the Awards of Excellence have recognized significant building projects in Canada on an annual basis since 1968. Awards are given each year to architects for buildings in the design stage. Jurors considered response to the program, site, geographical and social context, and evaluated physical organization, structure, materials and environmental features.
Six Awards of Excellence were given to the following firms:
Williamson Chong Architects for the House on Fox Lake in Huntsville, Ontario.
5468796 for the Arthur Residence in Regina.
MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects + Acton Ostry Architects””Architects in Association for the University of British Columbia Aquatic Centre.
gh3 Architects and Landscape Architects, Borden Park Natural Swimming Experience in Edmonton.
Atelier Tag + Jodoin Lamarre Pratte Architects in Consortium for the Saint Jerome Performance Hall.
Chevalier Morales Architects for the Maison de la Litterature de l’Institut Canadian de Quebec.
“Williamson Chong’s installation of sculpted forms and prints is a tribute to wood’s beauty and malleability, and to the expressive lyricism that wood, trees and forests have inspired in poetry, art and architecture since antiquity,” John Bentley Mays eloquently writes on the Living Wood exhibition now installed at the Corkin Gallery in the Distillery District. The article can be found on the Globe and Mail’s website or in the November 27th print edition of the paper.
The Exhibition will be up through the holidays.
Ellen Himelfarb profiles Williamson Chong as part of The New Radicals series in the Globe and Mail. The article speaks to our research travel in the last two years as well as the exhibition that opens on November 20, at the Corkin Gallery.
“They’re at the forefront where theories of design and technological advancement come together,” says gallerist Jane Corkin of the architects, “an intersection representative of the arts in the 21st century.” To support the work of Williamson Chong, Corkin has curated a supporting exhibition called On Architecture and Structure, linking the firm’s theories on design, technology and ecology to painters, photographers and digital artists.
Interior design Magazine has just announced the 2014 Best of Year nominees and Pilot Coffee Roasters is a finalist in the Cafe category. We won an Award of Merit and had a wonderful evening cheering on the Toronto offices and their many wins throughout the night!
It is an honour to have Domus publish the House in Frogs Hollow in their online publication. The layout is beautiful and the format suits the project well. You can see the project here.
Of 700 entries and 26 victors, Williamson Chong took home three awards at this year’s Residential Architect Awards!
“These winners represent some of the best residential architecture that North America has to offer… The assembled winners represent the hopefulness of a market that is recovering, if not recovered, and transitioning, if not transformed. Such are the beginnings of a revolution in the definition of “home.””
“One of the most striking features of the house is the sliding east window wall at the rear of the house, which blurs the distinction between interior and exterior space. This absence of boundary is further enhanced by the wraparound condition at the corner, where the north wall of glass also pulls away, creating a completely eroded corner that captures even more expansive views of landscape and sky. On the day of my visit, the children were running and jumping between the backyard and living room, moving effortlessly in and out of the two spaces as if they were one.”
Leslie Jen writes a compelling description of the Bala Line house in Toronto, highlighting the integration of the house and the site.
The House in Frogs Hollow is now live on the Phaidon Atlas! Here is a link. The Phaidon Atlas is now an on-line idea as opposed to a printed volume. This allows projects to be uploaded by the editors as they are completed which makes it current and timely. We have already starting exploring the website to see what has already been published and have found lots of inspiring projects with fantastic drawings and details along with all the images that we are accustomed to seeing. Making it into Phaidon should be our goal for every project we do.
Ninan and his team have put together a fantastic issue of EDITION29 on the House in Frogs Hollow. It is designed for the iPad and is accompanied by an oral description of the house culled from a conversation between Ninan and Betsy last month. We are very excited to show our work this way and are looking forward to another collaboration.
Alex Bozikovic from The Globe and Mail recommends a visit to Pilot Coffee Roasters in Doors Open Toronto: 10 things you need to see this weekend.
This weekend’s Doors Open festival is an opportunity to explore some of the best of Toronto’s architecture. Running both Saturday and Sunday, the event features 155 of Toronto’s most interesting places, and each year the most popular venues are 19-century ones such as Old City Hall.
But most of Toronto was built after 1950, and its architecture and design is livelier than it’s ever been. Architecture critic Alex Bozikovic picks four Doors Open spots that tell that part of the story – plus a panel discussion of influential architects “redesigning” the city, and four more places outside the festival where you can sightsee, have a coffee or go swimming 21 century-style. All in all, here are ten places and events that should be on your can’t-miss list.
Beyond Doors Open
Beyond the official tours this weekend, there are places across the GTA where you can experience great modern and contemporary design first hand. Here are four that’ll make your Doors Open weekend richer.
Pilot Coffee Roasters
Young architects rarely get to design public buildings – but occasionally find great clients in retail and hospitality. Such as Pilot Coffee Roasters, who hired the ambitious firm Williamson Chong Architects to design their roastery, warehouse and tasting bar near Greenwood and Gerrard. Head down the laneway; inside the warehouse you’ll find a gorgeous, curvy bar of finely detailed white oak and concrete. And excellent coffee.Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. 50 Wagstaff Dr.
“Towards a New Pro Forma: Making the case for a new urban prototype where multi-generational living is the natural buy-in.” Metropolis Magazine invited us to envision a multi-generational home for this century. We responded by featuring the Grange Triple Double and showing how it can accommodate a flexible three- or four- generational living condition that can include rental units and accessible spaces for an ageing family member while folding in exterior green spaces and natural through ventilation.
The House in Frogs Hollow, the Howland Residence, and the Blantyre House Receive 2014 Residential Architect Design Awards
Williamson Chong is honoured to have 3 projects selected for the 2014 Residential Architect Design Awards. The winning projects were selected from nearly 700 entries and “represent some of the best residential architecture that North America has to offer””from luxurious custom beachside estates, to net-zero prefab infill, to high-density affordable living units.” Jurors included Cary Bernstein, AIA, Gregory Hoss, AIA, Joel Sanders, AIA, and Josh Shelton, AIA.
Williamson Chong was recognized for the following projects:
Custom Home | Under 3,000 Square Feet | Citation
House in Frogs Hollow
“You get this iconography of grasses in the stair,” juror Gregory Hoss said. The exterior cladding of the upper level, stained in iron oxide pigment, blends parametric design with more traditional shiplap siding. Juror Cary Bernstein was impressed with how the architects took commonplace elements such as the cladding as opportunities for “exploring new technologies for fabrication and integrating [them] in a really great way.”
Renovation | Award
“It has a level of exquisite compositional and material precision that I think really finds a way of blending hard edges and curves,” said Juror Joel Sanders.
Kitchen | Honorable Mention
“It’s beautifully crafted and the composition is very beautiful,” juror Cary Bernstein said. “It’s a piece of design.” Calling the kitchen wall unit “sculptural,” juror Gregory Hoss noted that “you don’t read any constituent parts; it looks like one big piece. Realizing that all these cabinet doors open and reveal lots of different things is really wonderful.”
“From roasting to cupping, Pilot’s micro-roastery offers coffee aficionados and baristas a one stop shop for mastering their brewing…” Thank you to Azure for spreading the word on this great coffee shop and especially to Alison Garwood-Jones for the wonderful article.
Williamson Chong is the Recipient of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s 2014 Emerging Architectural Practice Award
Williamson Chong is honoured to be the recipient of the 2014 Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) Emerging Architectural Practice Award. This award is to recognize the principals of an emerging architectural practice that has consistently produced distinguished architecture. The award recognizes the achievements of the principals for the quality of their built work, service to their clients, innovations in practice and public recognition. Donald, Betsy, and Shane will be in attendance at the Presidents’ Dinner & Awards Gala at the forthcoming RAIC Festival of Architecture in Winnipeg on May 30th.
The WAN AWARDS 21 for 21 category is a major international competition now in its fourth year. It is an initiative aiming to highlight 21 architects who could be the leading lights of architecture in the 21st century. WAN will be selecting outstanding, forward-thinking people and organizations who have the demonstrable potential to be the next big thing in the architectural world. We are very pleased to announce that Williamson Chong was selected for the shortlist of World Architecture News (WAN) in 2014, as one of the final architects eligible for the prize.
Shane Williamson will be speaking at the this year’s NXNE as part of the Interactive stream of artists and designers. North by Northeast (NXNE) is a ten day festival of Music, Film, Interactive, Comedy, and Art. Now celebrating its 20th year, NXNE takes over Toronto with showcases, screenings, panels, parties, installations, and a whole lot more. From free shows at YDS to extended last calls at your favourite sweaty club/bar, NXNE is the premier destination for bands, filmmakers, innovators, funny people, artists, and most importantly: fans of all of the above. NXNE Interactive: We’re talking big ideas with bright, innovative thinkers. NXNEi panels, presentations, and keynote addresses open the doors of discourse on technology, music, and cultural trendsetting. It’s your opportunity to hear from the best in the business about interesting, relevant topics and gain valuable insight on their experiences developing and progressing these ideas.
NXNE Interactive: Creative speakers include:
Alex Bozikovic (The Globe and Mail) | @alexbozikovic | Toronto, Canada
Kestrin Pantera (filmmaker, RVIP Lounge) | @kestrin | Los Angeles, USA
Liam Oscar Thurston (The Working Group) | @LiamThurston | Toronto, Canada
Matthew Milan (Normative) | @mmilan | Toronto, Canada
Pablo Vio (Jam3) | @pablovio | Toronto, Canada
Ryan & Hays Holladay (Bluebrain, Artisphere) | @BluebrainMusic | Washington, D.C., USA
Shane Williamson (Williamson Chong) | @williamsonchong | Toronto, Canada
Betsy Williamson has been invited to present the work of Williamson Chong at LATITUDE6, a two-day symposium reflecting on architecture in the Americas hosted by the University of Texas at Austin. The symposium will take place on April 3 +4 in Goldsmith Hall, Mebane Gallery, on the UT Austin Campus. As with the first “Latitudes” conference, initiated by the UT Austin Center for American Architecture and Design and held annually since 2009, the ambition of this symposium is to explore the question of whether there is””already, still emerging, or never to be””an “American” modern architecture, that is, an architecture that transcends the North/Central/South America division and that is in some way distinguishable from European, Asian, and other models.
Clearly latitude matters, climatologically, geographically, and culturally. But, what are the current challenges for American architects in contemporary metropolises now that post-colonialism and post-modern regionalism are fading into history?
Prominent and upcoming practitioners from the Americas will present their recent work in roughly these terms, focusing on the development and execution of a single project in their oeuvre.
Other symposium participants include:
Joeb Moore, Joeb Moore & Partners, Greenwich
Joshua Aidlin, Aidlin Darling Design, San Francisco
Fernanda Canales, Fernanda Canales Arquitectura, Cuidad de Mexico
David Barragan, Al Borde, Quito, Ecuador
Francisco Tomboly + Sonia Carisimo, Asuncion, Paraguay
Rodrigo Perez de Arce, Santiago, Chile
Federico Mirabal Pietra, OAP Arquitectos, Punta del Este
The third evening of the 32nd annual Emerging Voices lecture series, featuring TALLER |MauricioRocha+GabrielaCarrillo| and Williamson Chong Architects is coming up fast. Don, Shane, and Betsy will be travelling to New York on Thursday to present the work of the office.
Mauricio Rocha Iturbide and Gabriela Carrillo Valadez, founding principals of Mexico City based TALLER |MauricioRocha+GabrielaCarrillo|, focus on “the importance of the vernacular, craftsmanship, sustainability, and socially-responsible design.” For more on TALLER |MauricioRocha+GabrielaCarrilloI, click here.
“Context, materials research, economies of construction, building performance, and client-based collaboration” all shape the design approach of Williamson Chong Architects. The Toronto-based practice was founded by Betsy Williamson, Shane Williamson and Donald Chong.
For additional information on all 2014 Emerging Voices, as well as the program in general, click here.
Moderator Annabelle Selldorf is the principal and founder of Selldorf Architects and is the President of The Architectural League of New York. She served on this year’s Emerging Voices committee.
Time & Place: Thursday, March 20, 2014, 7:00 p.m., Scholastic Auditorium, 557 Broadway.
Tickets are free for League members; $10 for non-members. Members may reserve a ticket by e-mailing: email@example.com. Member tickets will be held at the check-in desk; unclaimed tickets will be released fifteen minutes after the start of the program. Non-members may purchase tickets online here, beginning March 13.
blogTo calls out one of our newest projects completed for Pilot Coffee Roasters.
Pilot Coffee Roasters have outdone themselves. They moved the roaster at Te Aro into 50 Wagstaff Drive, making a combination roastery, lab, tasting bar and distribution centre that’s slick, gorgeous and technically impressive. It’s unlikely that you’ll find another place in the city (or the country for that matter) that shows off speciality coffee culture functioning at such a high level….
Shane Williamson will be presenting our 20 slides at tonight’s Pechakucha Lecture. It starts at 6:30 so don’t be late! There is also a Napkin Sketch Auction to which Don has submitted a beautiful drawing so get your checkbooks out too. …and of course food and wine. Williamson Chong will be out in full force so come say hello and take part in the celebration.
Each year the League selects eight emerging practitioners through a juried, invited portfolio competition. The Emerging Voices award spotlights individuals and firms based in the United States, Canada, or Mexico with distinct design voices and the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape design, and urbanism. The jury reviews significant bodies of realized work and considers accomplishments within the design and academic communities. The work of each Emerging Voice represents the best of its kind, and addresses larger issues within architecture, landscape, and the built environment.
Being named an Emerging Voice by The Architectural League is one of the most coveted awards in North American architecture, and the program is notable for its thirty-year history of identifying and nurturing firms that go on to have influential practices. For a complete list of past winners, click here.
This year’s jury included Fred Bernstein, Paul Lewis, Kate Orff, Thomas Phifer, Annabelle Selldorf, and Adam Yarinsky. Emerging Voices is organized by League Program Director Anne Rieselbach.
The 2014 Emerging Voices are:
David Benjamin, The Living, New York City
James Lord, Roderick Wyllie, Geoff di Girolamo, Surfacedesign, San Francisco
Joyce Hwang, Ants of the Prairie, Buffalo
Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello, Rael San Fratello Architects, Oakland
Mauricio Rocha, Gabriela Carrillo, TALLER l MauricioRocha+GabrielaCarrillo, Mexico City
Betsy Williamson, Shane Williamson, Donald Chong, Williamson Chong, Toronto
Basar Girit, Aleksey Lukyanov-Cherny, Westley Rozen, Brad Samuels, Situ Studio, Brooklyn
Salvador MacÃas Corona, Magui Peredo Arenas, Estudio MacÃas Peredo, Guadalajara
The Architectural League organizes a number of competitions each year to nurture excellence, particularly among younger designers, and to explore ideas of topical note. Each year the League runs two prestigious programs for early and mid-career architects and designers: Emerging Voices, an invited competition for North American firms and individuals with distinct design voices and significant bodies of realized work; and the Architectural League Prize, a juried portfolio competition organized around a yearly theme for young architects and designers ten years or less out of school.
Betsy and Shane Williamson were recipients of the 2006 Architecture League Prize.
Shane Williamson will give a lecture on Friday November 22 at 4:30 pm at the University of Wisconsin School of Architecture and Urban Planning (SARUP). Shane will be presenting the recent work of Williamson Chong Architects as reflected in the notion of “Incremental Urbanism,” which recognizes the possibilities of intensification latent in the morphology of urban fabric.
Other speakers in the lecture series include:
Meredith Sattler, Louisiana State University
Juan Moreno, Juan Gabriel Moreno Architects
Kyle Reynolds and MClain Clutter, mclainclutter / University of Michigan
Hanno Weber, Hanno Weber & Associates
John Cook and Joan Soranno, HGA
Rodolfo Machado, Machado Silvetti Architects
Carl Elefante, Quinn Evans Architects
Chris Macneal, KieranTimberlake
Filip Tejchman, Untitled Office
Shane Williamson gave a lecture on October 24th at the TU Graz Faculty of Architecture as part of the Research/In Architecture Series. Shane’s lecture titled “Incremental” focused upon the relationship of self-initiated research projects and prototypes relative to the commissioned work of Williamson Chong. Other speakers in the lecture series include: Ardershir Mahdavi, Tu Vienna Silke Steets, TU Darmstadt Johannes Fiedler, Addis Alaba University Andreas Rumpfhuber, Vienna Petra Petersson/Christina Linortner, TU Graz Timotheus Vermeulen, Radboud University Nijmegen
“Torontonians are finally rejecting fussy Victorian architecture and going bold. In almost every neighbourhood, there’s a house or two that stands out…Here, a look inside some of our favourites.” The November issue of Toronto Life features Blantyre House in a feature on new homes in Toronto.
“Betsy Williamson ’88 is an artist. Her medium is wood, her palette is very large, and her official job title is architect, but in Williamson’s mind, the two disciplines are inextricably linked.” Many architects will tell you that they have wanted to be architects since they were kids. Betsy locked in after taking a series of architecture and art history classes in high school at Phillips Exeter Academy. Lori Ferguson’s Exonian Profile this month outlines Betsy’s start and Williamson Chong’s recent Rome Prize research.
Add-on ’13 is a two-phase competition for a freestanding, affordable, accessory dwelling unit on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Williamson Chong developed a first round proposal that adopted fresh thinking about housing, resource conservation, and the relationship between the natural and built environment. As stated in the design brief, “Add-on is a way to consider the role of affordable housing in a context outside the city and re-envision the relationship between architecture, infrastructure, resources and land.” We look forward to the Wellfleet Forum on May, 26th and developing the proposal further this summer.
The artifacts produced for Stitches:Interstices have been selected to be part of Making It Real, a juried exhibition of digitally fabricated objects organized by OCAD University faculty members Jesse Jackson and Greg Sims, with the assistance of Gregory Phillips of Spandrel Media. The exhibition takes place May 14-28 as part of the Toronto International Jewellery Festival and coincides with the Society of North American Goldsmiths’ 2013 conference, Meta-Mosaic.
Shane Williamson recently presented Williamson Chong’s current work and research to the professors and students of the Center for Information Technology and Architecture (CITA) at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation School of Architecture. Special thanks to Prof. Martin Temke for the invitation.
Shane Williamson will give a lecture today, April 19, 2013 at 1:30 PM at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture.
Shane’s lecture titled “Up to Small” will focus upon digital fabrication and wood technologies as deployed in the furniture, objects, installations, and buildings of Williamson Chong.
Other speakers in the lecture series include:
Marco Casagrande, Casagrande Laboratory, www.clab.fi
Ville Hara, Avanto Architects, www.avan.to
Janne Pihlajaniemi, M3 Architects, www.arkkitehdit-m3.fi
Teemu Palo, APRT Architects, www.aprt.fi
Anders Adlercreutz, A-konsultit Architects, www.a-konsultit.fi
Pekka Helin, Helin & Co Architects, www.helinco.fi
Markus Wikar & Eero LundÃ©n, LundÃ©n Ã–sterlund Wikar, www.nilas.fi
Magnus Silfverheilm, AIX Architects, www.aix.se
LucÃa C. PÃ©rez Moreno, Zaragoza University, arquitectura.unizar.es
Betsy Williamson will give a lecture next week, April 2, 2013 at 12:00 PM in the Centre Space of the John A. Russell Building at the Faculty of Architecture on the University of Manitoba’s Fort Garry campus. This talk is part of the Food for Thought lecture series. Betsy’s lecture entitled “By Any Means” will discuss the relationship between the tools used in their emerging practice and the local urban condition in which they practice and how this relationship offers a new take on the incremental growth of architecture in the city. She will discuss the topic through a series of selected projects and studio vignettes.
“For a Toronto couple with a love of minimalist Japanese architecture, a sleek, storage-packed kitchen was the first priority in their home.”
Dwell Magazine has done us right this month with a double page feature on the Blantyre House kitchen. Writer Alex Bozikovic talks about the design of the “kitchen studio” as the centre of this new home in Toronto’s east end.
The Canadian Wood Council just released a publication celebrating the 2011-12 North American Wood Design Award Winners. This is a follow-up feature for the House in Frogs Hollow which has now been recognized for a 2010-11 North American Wood Design Award and a 2011-12 Ontario Wood WORKS! Award. The jury for this past year included Michael Green, Michael Green Architecture Inc., Tye Farrow, Farrow Partnership Architects, and Brian Rudy, Moriyama & Teshima.
Shane is holding final reviews for his third year graduate studio at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design today. The students are presenting a diverse array of solutions to the following brief:
“This studio will be guided by the supposition that technology is never neutrally deployed but always encompasses ideology, whether consciously declared or subconsciously assumed. Our field of operation will oscillate between practice and theory without subjugating, in the name of idealized principles, the one to the other. Working in pairs, your research will focus upon material adaptation and deployment with particular attention paid to the technical exigencies and contemporary discourse associated with sustainability. As opposed to the appliquÃ© of energy conservation technologies, the studio will mandate the adaptation of an abstract spatial field to performative criteria. We will seek to extend the concept of material systems by embedding their material characteristics, geometric behavior, manufacturing constraints, and assembly logics within an integral design model that promises an understanding of form, material, structure, and behavior not as separate elements but rather as complex relations.
Our presumption will be that the City of Savannah Department of Environment (SOE) and the State of Georgia have partnered to develop a new Pulaski Environmental Center (PEC) along the intracoastal waterway adjacent to the historic Ft. Pulaski and strategically positioned between downtown Savannah and Tybee Island, GA. The environmental center building will have many functions, including but not limited to being an educational resource on the cultural and ecological heritage of the area and serving as an operational base for research activities, environmental remediation and ecological rehabilitation, as well as a base for volunteer stewardship in the region.
In many ways, Ft. Pulaski represents the historical circumstances of the South’s flawed and tragic tendency to overestimate the power of entrenched ideology in the face of agile innovation. With its 11ft thick masonry walls masterfully supported on 70ft pilings in a marshy river environment, Ft. Pulaski was an icon of Southern impenetrability yet after only thirty hours of bombardment, Confederate troops inside Fort Pulaski surrendered to Union forces. The rifled cannon, an experimental gun that was being field-tested by Union Captain Quincy A. Gilmore, rendered masonry forts obsolete, with Ft. Pulaski being its first exemplar.
In December of 1864 General William Tecumseh Sherman telegraphed to President Lincoln, “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the City of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty guns and plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.” It should come as no surprise that Sherman’s March to the Sea and its scorched earth policies have always been highly controversial, and his memory has long been reviled by many Southerners. Rather than address the vestiges of the Old South, though, the Pulaski Environmental Center will embody forward-thinking principles, focused upon cultural and ecological diversity. It will question and or embrace the architectural typologies of the South, while establishing a powerful and engaging presence for both locals and visitors alike.
Sometimes the details get noticed...On the Pleasures of the Window Seat in today’s Globe and Mail.
The window bench in the House in Frogs Hollow was conceived of for a fairly practical reason. The Loewen window we used only came about 7-1/2′ tall. We didn’t want to have a transom above the window to fill the 9′ tall space, so we shifted the windows up and installed the bench below. As you can see on the right side of the fireplace, the same size window sits on the floor and the space above holds ducts and structure concealed in a bulkhead.
The bench is solid maple with a stainless steel liner in the wood storage area just to the left of the fireplace. The other bench storage areas hold the stereo equipment and speakers with the wires running through a chase in the back. We configured the bench to relate to the maple panels on the other side of the fireplace that conceal a fresh air vent and a structural column while providing a place to house the fire tools.
The cushion on top of the bench was custom made in 2-1/2″ thick high density foam. It is a very comfortable place to lay and read in both the summer and the winter. We looked at a lot of fabrics at Maharam and finally chose the pattern ‘Venn” in paprika colour because it matches the natural colours in the landscape and helps to tie the inside and outside of the house together. The fabric is quite durable and has held its colour well, even with so much exposure to direct sunlight.
Digifest is Toronto’s international festival celebrating innovation and digital creativity. From October 18-20, 2012, it will be bringing together some of the world’s best and brightest to showcase next generation digital art, science & design at Corus Quay on Toronto’s waterfront. Established and emerging designers, technologists and artists will come together during Digifest for presentations, incredible demos, interactive exhibitions and parties. Shane Williamson will be joining the Digifest feel. speaking roster on Friday, October 19. He joins an impressive list of speakers from the worlds of fine art, advertising, gaming, business…too many to name here so just have a look at the schedule. Shane will be speaking on Friday afternoon. The Saturday lecture – not to miss – is Carlo Ratti, director of the SENSEable City Laboratory, a research initiative at MIT. The work they do is really incredible.
It was a packed agenda yesterday at the Old Mill Inn. Betsy Williamson, along with David Moses from Moses Structural Engineers, and Lloyd Hunt from Lloyd Hunt Architecture, with guidance from the Wood WORKS! team from North Bay, made some tough decisions among a very strong group of submissions. Williamson Chong will be in attendance at the 12th Annual Ontario Wood WORKS! Awards Evening on November 7th. We will see you there.
It was a pleasant surprise to get a call from the Globe and Mail this week when they decided to feature the residence we renovated in the Annex. The full article is featured on their website and there is a nice slideshow as well. We are happy that the convertibility of the student lodging on the upper floor and basement apartment were part of the story. Those features are what make this project a unique and important essay on incremental urbanism.
This is the first time we have had a project in Architectural Record and we couldn’t be more excited about it. The Blantyre House, with its ‘kitchen studio’ that opens the ground floor up to become a contiguous space with the street and the back yard, has been chosen for the 2012 Record Kitchen & Bath portfolio in Record Interiors. As always, thank you to Ken and Bonnie for being gracious with their time. And Bob, once again, your photos are taking us to some pretty great places. There is a greater array of photos on the website and the September issue is on sale now.
Shane will be presenting our current work and new research in a keynote address at the annual conference on Digital Design at the Harbin Institute of technology in Harbin, China. His lecture will be on Saturday August 25th at 2PM. The conference is hosted by the National Specialized Guidance Committee for the Subject of Architecture and the Teaching Committee for Digital Technologies in Architecture. The conference is co-hosted by School of Architecture, Harbin Institute of Technology and supported by Autodesk (China) Inc.
Other speakers featured at the conference are Ali Malkawi from the University of Pennsylvania, Dennis Sheldon from MIT and Gehry Technologies, Jiancheng Li from South China University of Technology, Immanuel Koh from the AA and the office of Zaha Hadid, Liang Zhong from RTKL Associates, and Shouheng Chen from Shouheng Design and Technology Inc.
“Advances in building technologies are expanding the architectural possibilities of wood. Toronto-based Williamson Chong Architects will be spending their Prix de Rome winnings on a road trip to scout out new uses for high-tech timber.” – John Bentley Mays
We have already started planning our first trip for Spring 2013. We are getting great responses from the folks working in Austria.
Our favorite freebie in Toronto has got to be Design Lines. Listing all the best places to shop, eat, and mine for inspiration, we always end up with a few on the coffee table. We are very happy to have a project featured in the fall issue. Our Howland Avenue Residence modernizes a former rooming house in the Annex into a house that will transform and grow with a family committed to a car-free downtown lifestyle. As the writer Will Jones puts it, “City living doesn’t come cheap, and local architecture firm Williamson Chong believes a house should work hard for its owners.”
The Design Lines website has a list of locations where you can pick up a copy.
“Too many newly-built homes in Toronto are muscle-bound hulks bullying their way into established neighbourhoods. Williamson Chong’s new Scarborough project shows a thoughtful, sensitive alternative.” – John Bentley Mays
The Blantyre House is an example of one of our ground-up infill projects that contributes to our developing notion of ‘incremental urbanism’ in Toronto. Thanks to John Bentley Mays for the article, Bob Gundu for the photographs, and Ken and Bonnie for opening their home. The full article can be found on The Globe and Mail’s website with a slideshow of images by Bob Gundu.
We just received the publication put out by the City of Edmonton that chronicles the entries for the Park Pavilion Design Competition held last year. Our Victoria Park entry, Aspen Overpass, is on pages 108 and 109. When we look at the competition boards, all we smell is pizza. So much work went into these entries.
The Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture is awarded annually to an architectural firm that has completed its first built works and has demonstrated exceptional artistic potential. The prize encourages the development of artistic excellence in contemporary architectural practice by supporting the winner to travel around the world to develop their skills, their creative practice and to strengthen their position in an international architectural milieu.
Our winning proposal, titled Living Wood*, focuses upon innovative wood products and manufacturing technologies in a broad cultural context with the intent of establishing a critical relationship between sustainable buidling practices and emerging architectural design methodologies. The two-year agenda engages international architects, research institutions, and industry leaders in advanced wood construction.
We are all familiar with the economic and political importance of Canada’s export economy of soft wood lumber. New growth timber is the only major building material that grows naturally and is renewable. It is sustainable, acts as a carbon sink, and has a low energy of production. Where steel and concrete were the focus of 20th-century development in the building industry, we believe that technologically-advanced wood products will drive the next wave of innovation. Canadian architecture should be at the forefront of this work.
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) made its debut fifteen years ago in Austria and has gained traction through the green building movement ever since. This emerging industry, based primarily upon new growth timber from Europe, has been identified by the forest products industry and the research and wood design communities in Canada as a new opportunity for wood in non-traditional applications.
While recognizing that engineered wood products offer a strong combination of environmental performance and sustainability, cost-competitiveness and structural integrity, we are also interested in design opportunities afforded through the integration of emerging manufacturing technologies with both cross-laminated timber and traditional large-timber construction.
The proposed travel spans the following countries:
Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands (Precinct 1: Shared Biomes)
Switzerland and Austria (Precinct 2: Transformative Technologies)
Japan and South Korea (Precinct 3: Craft)
* Living Wood was the title for Alvar Aalto’s design for the Finnish Pavilion at the Paris World Exposition in 1937. In the pavilion, he combined both traditional and modern architecture and showcased his functionalist design sensibilities.
We are so pleased to be included in this year’s City Home guide. Look for us on page 105. There is a nice photo of the office and descriptions of the 16 most incredible offices in the city!
We are delighted to take part in Doors Open Toronto 2012. Please join us 10 am – 5 pm on Saturday, May 26 as part of the Toronto Society of Architects: Self Directed Architectural and Design Studio Tour
“Meet some of Toronto’s leading architects as they open their studios for Doors Open Toronto on Saturday May 26 only. This is your opportunity to see the buildings where architects work, to view their studios and to learn about the work they have completed or are developing. Print a copy of the tour map and visit the 10 featured firms. Staff will be on site to provide information and answer questions about their work spaces, their design approach and their past and current projects. Some architects use their studios as demonstration sites to test materials or ideas. In all cases, the studio is the centre for generating ideas, developing solutions and creating the building and urban designs that effect our built environment and how we live and engage with it. As Doors Open Toronto celebrates 200 years of developing the urban environment, we are delighted to introduce you to the architects whose buildings will be celebrated for the next 200 years.” – Doors Open Toronto 2012
Dean Kaufman’s aerial photo of the Galley House garden in bloom is one of our favorite images of this space. Thanks again to Dwell for its continued support of this project.
Betsy Williamson will be joining the fourth year options studio headed by Dr. Shelagh McCartney for their final review. The option studio addresses the experiential substance of light and the power of light to articulate architecture, to make space literate and to activate the interplay between thought and form.
As quoted from the studio brief, “The human eye is naturally attuned to twilight. It sharpens our vision and engages our imagination. The excessive bright light in most contemporary buildings blinds our range of vision. Removing light creates an opportunity to use of our imagination in space, eradicating visual excitement, to experience being and creating a sense of space and widening the methods to appreciate spaces, from being visually pleasing to mentally stimulating as the foundation of design. Students will explore the sensuality of light in space, using light to unravel details or to layer spaces at scales that build throughout the term. Through both reading the buildings of masters of light and sculpting the design of shadow, students will further master the equilibrium between the illuminated and unlit, aiming to allow space to bask in a sensuous and mentally‐stimulating atmosphere. Giving light a particular weight, temperature, viscosity, sound or to slice in a directional sheet to cut through the darkness of space.”
The House in Frogs Hollow has been included in Architectural Record’s March 2012 “All in the Details” section of featured houses. Special thanks to Alex Bozikovic for the write-up.
Shane Williamson represented the office last night in a round-table discussion of the ongoing exhibition STITCHES: Souzou Fast Forward at the WORKshop Gallery. Andrew Payne moderated the discussion which focused upon how the exhibition raises the concern of how we establish meaningful connections between pre-modern and modern craft traditions. Fellow participants included Philip Beesley (Philip Beesley Architect), Lisa Steele (Steele and Tomczak), Rhett Russo (Specific Objects), Eric Boyd (Hack Lab), Rodolphe el-Khoury, Christos Marcopoulos, and Carol Moukheiber (Responsive Architecture at Daniels).
Natural Light brought to you by Tiltco Fenestration, Kilbarry Hill Construction, and Williamson Chong Architects, received a Gold Award at the 2012 Interior Design Show. Conceived as a hybrid mock-up of a forthcoming residence designed by Williamson Chong, the booth features an origami like ceiling, walls built from an array of uniquely designed windows, including a 13 foot high curtain wall with a solid wood back box, and a living room space featuring an art installation built from window sections.
Abbey Gardens is in distinguished company in this year’s Awards of Excellence. The December issue of Canadian Architect highlights all the winning projects.
HydroLAB: Graduate Studio Review at the Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning at the University of Michigan
Betsy Williamson learned a new word last week: Anthropocene… Professor Geoff Thun’s advanced studio was charged with designing a laboratory for the 21st century and presented provocative and complex projects at their final studio review. It was a pleasure to sit with Kiel Moe and Amy Kulper to engage and discuss the students’ work.
An excerpt from the studio brief, “What should be the ambition of architecture in a time when the earth’s lithospheric and geoclimatic condition has been so fundamentally reshaped by human intervention as to necessitate the definition of a new geologic era, recently proposed to be called the Anthropocene? The identification of this new geologic period attends the emergence of our cultural awareness of a trans-terrestrial interdependent ecosystem, of globalized cultural and economic activity, of ubiquitous computing and information exchange – an era of ever expanding interconnectedness across intellectual and disciplinary boundaries, causality, time and space. This is also an era that has been referred to as the Petabyte Age, where the ability to gather, process and store massive amounts of data is transforming the fields of science, business and technology to move beyond coherent models and unified theories for explanation, and, increasingly, rely on the correlation of the numbers themselves, producing a fundamental paradigm shift in scientific theory across disciplinary specializations. On the one hand, this context reinforces the blurring of boundaries between categories previously juxtaposed; landscape:building, culture:nature, inside:outside, system:environment, control:observation, robust:weak or structured:self-propagating.
In this context, how might we rethink the construct of the Laboratory, simultaneously a locus for scientific discovery, a site intended to foster creative innovation, an engine for public education, and a substrate for new ecologies? If the laboratory is to really embody the “spirit and culture of our age” then it must do so not only by way of program, but by way of the architecture itself – and in turn this may suggest new architectural models”¦The hydroLab Studio and Seminar will explore these questions in developing the Joint Institute for Caribbean Marine Studies (JICMS) Marine Research and Education Center, a radical closed-loop high performance micro campus facility located in the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. This new building type will be shaped by the unique pressures surrounding island development within a tropical climate, where resource scarcity, proximity to sensitive ecosystems, human comfort in a relentless environment, and the demand for resilience often produce competing agendas. Rigorous technical development and system performance simulation will occur alongside a fundamental questioning of the social and environmental realms produced by such institutions.
Betsy Williamson spent a fantastic 24 hours in Boston, catching up with old colleagues and meeting new friends at MIT’s core studio reviews on Friday. Professor Meejin Yoon, along with Professors Sheila Kennedy and Andrew Scott led an ambitious studio to develop architectural design proposals for the new West Lab research and development facility for the famed Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Mass. A follow up tour of the Media Lab and visits to the Foster + Partners addition to the MFA, Simmons Hall, Howeler + Yoon’s BSA space and the ICA rounded out the whirlwind visit.
From the studio brief, “During World War II, the research laboratory emerged based on a diffuse affiliation of military and university research. Private foundations, military projects, and academic created a “network of networks” dedicated to the emerging technological fields related to national defense. The war effort yielded intense research and applications for technologies ranging from armaments to communications to cybernetics. MIT contributed to these efforts by taking on a leading role in advancing strategic defense through its research and development of radar systems. The success of such ventures encouraged the military to capitalize on the synergies between speculative academic research and commercial industry in order to pioneer new technologies for national security. After the war, the machinery of this research and development model was perpetuated through the establishment of the RAND Corporation (1946), Lincoln Laboratory (1950) and the National Science Foundation (1950), accelerating the interdependences of what would come to be known as the “military-industrial (academic) complex.”
During and after the Second World War, Architecture was also enlisted to serve in the project of national security. This period produced extensive innovation and research in both building types (ranging from the Pentagon to Levittown) and building technologies (ranging from new insulation to fluorescent integrated floor lighting). A new type of building, the research laboratory, became a typology of intense architectural experimentation. Reinhold Martin argues that the architecture of this “aesthetic and technological extension of the military industrial-academic complex acted as a “conduit for organizational patterns,”¦ unifying spaces and subjects into patterns of organization generated by new communication and systems infrastructure.”
Canadian Architect has announced that Abbey Gardens is the receipient of a 2011 Award of Excellence. One of only two national award programs devoted exclusively to architecture, the Awards of Excellence have recognized significant building projects in Canada on an annual basis since 1968. Awards are given each year to architects for buildings in the design stage. Jurors considered response to the program, site, geographical and social context, and evaluated physical organization, structure, materials and environmental features.
Eight Awards of Excellence were given to the following firms:
Williamson Chong Architects for Abbey Gardens in Haliburton County, Ontario
B+H Bunting Coady Architects Inc. for the West Coast Middle School in Anmore, British Columbia
Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects in association with Smith Carter Architects and Engineers for the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Patkau Architects Inc. in joint venture with Kearns Mancini Architects Inc. for the Fort York National Historic Site Visitor Centre in Toronto, Ontario
gh3 Architects and Landscape Architects, R.V. Anderson Associates Limited for SWQF in Toronto, Ontario
Saucier + Perrotte Architectes in joint venture with Hughes Condon Marler Architects for the UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences/CDRD in Vancouver, British Columbia
MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited for the Two Hulls House in Port Mouton, Nova Scotia
The Canadian Wood Council just released a publication celebrating the 2010-11 North American Wood Design Award Winners. The House in Frogs Hollow is featured along with the work from Studio Gang Architects, IwamotoScott Architecture, Cutler Anderson Architects, David J. Agro, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, Mankouche/Bard/Schulte, Flansburgh Architects, Robert M. Cain, Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects, HGA Architects and Engineers, The Miller Hull Partnership, StructureCraft Builders Inc. , and McFarland Marceau Architects .
The House in Frogs Hollow has received a 2011 Wood WORKS! Award. The Wood WORKS! Awards recognize the people and organizations pursuing excellence and innovation in wood design, advancing the use of wood in Ontario. The 11th Annual Wood WORKS! Awards evening took place on Thursday November 3, 2011 at the Ottawa Convention Centre.
WCa recently took part in a day-long charrette that focused upon design proposals for a new Coach House Institute (CHI) and a new Faculty of Information Building for the University of Toronto. Other design teams included Bruce Mau Design, Diamond-Schmitt Architects, and IBI Group. Special thanks to Dr. Seamus Ross, Dean Faculty of Information (iSchool) and Dr. Dominique Scheffel-Dunand, Director of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, Faculty of Information Coach House Institute for the invitation.
STITCHES: Suzhou Fast Forward, features seven pieces of hand-crafted embroidery from the Zhou XueQing Embroidery Art Center in Suzhou, China. Dexterously stitched in fine silk threads, these exquisite pictures represent an array of subject matter including flowers, birds, and landscapes, continuing Suzhou’s 2000-year history of embroidering illusionistic scenes. Believing that this ancient craft could be the springboard for experimentation, resulting in contemporary expressions of what embroidery might be in the 21st century, WORKShop invited a small group of architects, artists, designers, and inventors to create original works. Inspired by the Suzhou tradition, they employ new technologies, processes, and materials, resulting in objects that range from purely decorative to highly functional.
WORKShop Inc.”Ž, 80 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 2V1
October 26, 2011 – Februray 18, 2012
Curator: Prof. Larry Wayne Richards
Advisor: Dr. Michael Prokopow
Donald Chong, Shane Williamson and Betsy Williamson, Williamson Chong Architects
Rodolphe el-Khoury, Christos Marcopoulos, and Carol Moukheiber, Responsive Architecture at Daniels (RAD)
Eric Boyd, Hack Lab
Rhett Russo & Katrin Mueller-Russo, Specific Objects
Philip Beesley, Philip Beesley Architect
Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak, Steele and Tomczak
Shane recently presented our current work and new research at The School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington as part of their 2011 Fall lecture series. Special thanks to Albert Marichal for the invitation.
Smart. Studio. bills itself as “the world’s smallest, and possibly the craziest, mobile TV studio: agile, trendy and versatile.” Journalist Alex Bozikovic takes Pete on a tour of Toronto’s architectural highlights including the Galley House. Prior Smart.Studio. destinations have included Amsterdam, Berlin, Frankfurt, Lisbon, and London. See the YouTube clip here.
We spent a lovely afternoon with John Bentley Mays at the House in Frogs Hollow and enjoyed his reading of the house featured in last week’s Globe and Mail. The article can be found on The Globe and Mail’s website with a slideshow of images by Bob Gundu.
John Bentley Mays, “Grey County Home Rides an Uncompromising Landscape,” The Globe and Mail, August 19, 2011; G.
Will Jones introduces Toronto’s infill housing to Croatia. The Galley House is featured this month in Oris, a magazine for architecture and culture that is published bimonthly as a Croatian-English edition.
Our firm has be profiled in the April 2011 issue of Canadian Builders Quarterly, featuring the House in Frogs Hollow.
Williamson Chong’s design for a new skating pavilion in Edmonton’s Victoria Park has won a citation award in the open design competition sponsored by the city of Edmonton. More information about this award can be found here.
We were thrilled to hear that Williamson Chong’s design for a new park pavilion located in the Mill Woods Sports Park was shortlisted by the jury. We congratulate the winners and are looking forward to seeing the built projects.
Thank you to Lucie Lavigne from La Presse for including two of our projects in the French language publication Construire, Renover, Transformer.
Shane will be presenting our current work and new research at The School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation at at Roger Williams University on Wednesday February 16th at 6PM in the D.F. Pray Lecture Theater. Special thanks to Andrew Thurlow for the invitation.
The House in Frogs Hollow has won a 2011 Wood Design Award. “The Wood Design Awards is the only North American Program to recognize, award and publicize excellence in wood architecture, and to publicly acknowledge the importance of architecture to our society…The selection of the 13 winning projects was challenging for the jury, as all of the projects displayed innovative uses of wood as a building material. These projects push the boundaries of conventional wood building practices and highlight the special qualities, versatility and sheer beauty of wood as a building material.”
The House in Frogs Hollow has won a 2010 Design Exchange Award for residential architecture. The project received a bronze award at last night’s ceremony. It was wonderful to spend the evening with friends and colleagues and support Canadian design.
The DX Awards celebrate excellence in Canadian design, successful partnerships between designers and clients, and the importance of design in all organizations. It is the only Canadian design award to judge entries based on results, balancing function, aesthetics, and economic success.
The House in Frogs Hollow will be showcased alongside fellow 2010 DX Award winners at a special exhibit at the Design Exchange, from November 24, 2010 to January 30, 2011.
Betsy was honored to be a member of the jury for this year’s AIA/IIDA Cleveland Design Awards. These awards celebrate exemplary designs of Northeast Ohio firms for work built locally and abroad. It was a pleasure to serve with jury chair Don Schmitt and fellow jurors Diego Burdi, Ian MacDonald, Paul Raff, and Barry Sampson. Congratulations to the winners!
Shane will be representing WILLIAMSONWILLIAMSON at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture this Saturday, October 16th, to take part in a day long symposium about current architectural practice.
Paths to Practice is a day long event hosted by the School of Architecture and Co-operative Education & Career Services to bring together students, professionals, faculty, and co-operative education in exploration of current Architectural practice and employment opportunities. Also on the panel are Manon Asselin from Atelier Tag, Heather Dubbledam, Andrew Jones, Kristina Ljubanovic, Drew Sinclair, and Merike Reigo. The event is sponsored by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the Ontario Association of Architects.
Azure magazine has a fabulous cover this month; a sunset view of the house in Frogs Hollow!
Plan Magazine, out of Dublin, Ireland, has chosen The House in Frogs Hollow as one of its featured “one-off houses.” Bob Gundu’s photographs look amazing.
The House in Frogs Hollow has won a 2010 Award of Excellence from the Ontario Association of Architects. The Awards of Excellence recognize the innovative skills of Ontario architects in creating spaces, buildings, and communities that respect and enhance the environment and enrich human activity. Award recipients will be honoured at the Celebration of Excellence Awards Ceremony at the 2010 OAA Annual Conference May 7, 2010.
Jin-Young Yoo, “Unique Homes: House in Frogs Hollow,” Casa Living, April 2010; p. 211.
Congratulations to Negar Jazbi, PJ Latoszek, and Farzam Mohajer, students from our recent Daniel’s Options Studio, for winning a 2010 OAA Award for their studio project “Re-Crate.” It was an innovative and comprehensive study for the reuse of discarded wood boards into a highly figural three season structure via a light steel frame and tension cable system.
Betsy was honored to be a member of the jury for this year’s Governor General’s Medals in Architecture. These awards recognize outstanding achievement in recently built projects by Canadian architects and contribute to the development of the discipline and practice of architecture by increasing public awareness of architecture as a vital cultural force in Canadian society.
Congratulations to the medal winners, whose work is best described by the Governor General herself, “Faced with the growing standardization of the urban landscape, we can’t help but recognize their originality, their daring, their vision and their sensibility,” said Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada.
We just wrapped up our design studio at the University of Toronto Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. Many thanks to our students for their hard work. An excerpt from the studio brief follows.
This studio will seek to extend the concept of material systems by embedding their material characteristics, geometric behavior, manufacturing constraints, and assembly logic within an integral design model that promises an understanding of form, material, structure, and behavior not as separate elements but rather as complex relations.
We will be guided by the supposition that technology is never neutrally deployed but always encompasses ideology, whether consciously declared or subconsciously assumed. Our field of operation will oscillate between practice and theory without subjugating, in the name of idealized principles, the one to the other. Working in pairs, your research will focus upon material adaptation and deployment with particular attention paid to the technical exigencies and contemporary discourse associated with sustainability.
The presumed familiarity of the small scale typology of the single family house will allow the studio to achieve an unusual degree of specificity and detail. Due to the expectation of complex fabrications and material explorations, sponsorship for this studio has been attained and each project will receive funding to fabricate large scale representations of the final proposals. Students will be encouraged to exploit the resources and technical expertise of the Daniels’ Fabrication Lab as well as the production capabilities of local fabricators.
Night shots by Colin Field are featured in this article.
Betsy has begun her service on the Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel. Comprised of Canada’s leaders in architecture, landscape design, engineering and planning, the Waterfront Design Review Panel is an independent advisory body that guides and informs the revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront. The Panel’s mission is to set new design standards across the waterfront and help Toronto achieve worldwide recognition as a centre of creativity and good design.
Galley House, Small Fridges Make Good Cities, and our competition entry for the New National Library for the Czech Republic have been published in Twenty + Change.
Door with Peephole is featured in Lisa Iwamoto’s new book on digital fabrication.
Tunnel Gallery, Barnard College, New York, NY. The House in Frogs Hollow along with the work of 11 other alumni of the Barnard and Columbia College Architecture Program was selected for the inaugural alumni exhibition 12 ALUMNI: ARCHITECTURE CHANGE GLOBALITY.
Participants were asked to reflect on the following questions: In what ways do the various aspects of your practice reflect the changes that are happening in our world? What are some of the global issues you address through your practice? How are new practices, like building sustainability, redefining how architects think about the responsibility of the profession and the malleability of the environment? How has the global sourcing of materials impacted your practice of architecture? Does it simply represent the widening of available materials, or has the unpredictability of global commodity prices forced architects to re-invent the design process? If modern architecture played a role in defining globality in the 20th century, then contemporary architecture should be capable to playing the same role in the 21st century.
We are honoured to be included in the National Post’s “40 Under 40″ listing of fresh ideas from young Canadian designers. Along with distinguished designers in the fields of fashion, furniture, industrial design and crafts, we are happy to share this honor with our friends and colleagues, superkul inc architect.
We are honored to receive the Ronald J. Thom Award for Early Design Achievement from the Canada Council for the Arts. The award is given to a candidate who is in the early stages of their career and who demonstrates both outstanding creative talent and exceptional potential in architectural design. The successful candidate must also demonstrate sensitivity to architecture’s allied arts, crafts and professions within the context of an integrated built environment. The Ronald J. Thom Award for Early Design Achievement was established in 1990, in collaboration with the Canada Council for the Arts, by friends and colleagues of this eminent Canadian architect. The award, which honors Mr. Thom’s life and work, reflects the qualities of his legacy to Canada. This legacy includes both his buildings and the encouragement and inspiration he gave his colleagues in architecture and its allied arts and professions.
Betsy is one of Toronto’s Mille Femmes! The exhibit opens this evening at BCE Place in Toronto as part of the Luminato Festival.
Toronto’s Mille Femmes is a tribute to 1,000 artistic, creative and inspiring women from Toronto and their protÃ©gÃ©s, who embody the passion and heritage of the city. Architects, actors, dancers, designers, journalists, musicians and others have been chosen in recognition of their achievements and leadership in their field.
Joined together, the 1,000 portraits will become a visual network, a chain of recognition that celebrates not only an extraordinary community of women, but also the creative character and diversity of Toronto. French artist Pierre Maraval calls his photo exhibitions ‘‘human landscapes,” each a collection of 1,000 portraits of individuals linked by a common characteristic or shared passion. Athletes, AIDS workers, Internet pioneers, and women from some of the world’s greatest cities are among those whom Maraval has celebrated since he began his project in ’93.
Look for Stock Space alongside the work of Andrew Kudless and Kevin Klinger in the May/June issue of AD.
Shane is moderating a session on Building Information Modeling at the 2007 Construct Canada building and construction trade show. The session, BIM: Practical Tools and Strategies for Architects, Engineers and Contractors, examines the impact of Building Information Modeling (BIM) on fundamental aspects of project design and organization. The benefits of BIM scalability, CAD standardization, and File to Factory approaches to fabrication and construction will be discussed relative to ongoing and recently completed projects. The session includes presentations by Allan Partridge, Principal, HIP Architects, and Andy Thomson, a senior associate at Altius Architecture, and Principal of Sustain Design Studio.
We are exhibiting Galley House, Small Fridges Make Good Cities, and our competition entry for the Czech National Library as part of the Twenty + Change exhibition. The show opens at the Gladstone Hotel Upper Galleries on Friday June 8 from 7-9pm and runs through July 8.
Twenty + Change is an exhibition of contemporary architecture, landscape, and urban design showcasing built, in-the-works, and speculative projects by twenty emerging design practices. Also featured in the exhibition are Superkul, Donald Chong Studio, Lateral Architecture, Gow Hastings Architects, and North Design Office. A complete list of the firms and exhibition information can be found at www.twentyandchange.org.
One of our CNC milled pieces from the Topologies series lands on the cover of Canadian Architect this month. Also be sure to check out the back page which features Smoke Tray.
Chodikoff, Ian. “Smoke and Mirrors.” Canadian Architect June 2007: 50.
Shane and Betsy begin teaching a ten week graduate level studio course this week at Lawrence Technological Institute in Southfield, MI. The Master Class Practitioner series has been previously led by William Massie, Nader Terani and Monica Ponce de Leon of Office dA, and Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis. It is an introduction to the graduate level masters program and serves as a vehicle to introduce students to a critical approach to architecture. Above, a final rendering of the Immigration Tower-Museum in New York’s Battery Park by Babak, David and Galina.
PAP did a wonderful job on the publication that accompanies the Young Architects Award from the Architectural league of New York. It has just been published.
Shane contributes a paper to this year’s ACADIA Conference Proceedings.
Williamson, Shane. “Stock Space.” Synthetic Landscapes | Digital Exchange. Ed. Cory Clarke, Gregory Luhan, Phillip Anzalone, and Mark Cabrinha. University of Kentucky: Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA), 2006. 546-47.
Betsy has been invited to join the Toronto Sculpture Garden’s Art Advisory Board. Located at 115 King Street East, the Toronto Sculpture Garden has been the site of innovative contemporary sculpture installations since 1981. This small, urban park in the downtown core serves as a testing ground for artists to experiment with public space and to address issues of architectural scale, materials and context.
Shane is conducting a workshop dedicated to the future of computer aided design as part of the Subtle Technologies 2006 Festival in Toronto. Using practical software tools and advanced rapid-prototyping systems, the themes of digital simulation and fabrication were explored respective of the interplay between design and computation. Topics included simulation, optimization, form finding, evaluation and genetic algorithms. The workshop was based upon Bentley’s Generative Components software platform.
Williamson, Shane. “Stock Space.” Responsive Architectures: Subtle Technologies 2006. Ed. Philip Beesley, Sachiko Hirosue, Jim Ruxton, Marion Trankle, and Camille Turner. [Cambridge, Ont.]: Riverside Architectural, 2006. 152-57.
Published twice a year, Designlines Toronto is brought to you by Azure, Canada’s leading magazine of architecture, design, and art. It serves as a city and neighborhood guide to the best design sources Toronto has to offer. Our digital design and fabrication work is featured in an interview with Elizabeth Pagliacolo.
Pagliacolo, Elizabeth. “New Wave.” Design Lines Toronto Fall 2006: 46-48.
Mercer Union’s “Stellar Living” is an exhibition and auction that celebrates 50 international artists, architects and designers and their visions of contemporary urban life.
Smoke Tray was designed and fabricated exclusively for the show. It was displayed at the preview exhibition held at Givens-Shaw Public School and sold quickly the night of the auction after a ferocious bidding war.
Shane Williamson was a keynote speaker at eSim 2006, the Tenth Annual International Building Performance Simulation Association Conference. This bi-annual conference was organized to bring together professionals, academics and students interested in building performance simulation issues and applications. It was held in Toronto, Ontario on May 4 and 5, 2006, at the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design located within the downtown campus of the University of Toronto.
Betsy and Shane traveled to New York City this week to install Door with Peephole and a custom slide viewer in the gallery space of the Municipal Art Society, located in the Villard Houses at 457 Madison Avenue. We are delighted to share the exhibition space with installations from our fellow winners and look forward to our lecture later this week. Please join us on April 27th at 6pm for the lecture and opening reception of the group exhibition.
DogTrot was featured on Inhabitat in March of 2006. The link is no longer active.
Scalar is featured in the latest issue of Thresholds.
Williamson Williamson Selected for the Architectural League of New York’s 25th Annual Young Architects Forum
WILLIAMSONWILLIAMSON are winners in the Architectural League of New York’s 25th annual Young Architects Forum Competition. Their work, along with that of the five other winners, will be featured in a book to be published by Princeton Architectural Press. An exhibition of the work will be open to the public on April 27th at the Urban Center Gallery. Shane and Betsy will lecture along with co-winners Yansong Ma and Yosuke Hayano of MAD Office at the Urban Center on the opening night of April 27th at 6:30 PM.
Founded in 1881, The Architectural League of New York is an independent forum for the presentation and discussion of creative and intellectual work in architecture, urbanism, and related design disciplines. Since its inception in 1981, the Architectural League’s Young Architects Forum has provided many of the leading talents of succeeding new generations of architects and designers a valuable opportunity to present their work and ideas.
The 2005 Interior Design Show was held at the National Trade Centre, Exhibition Centre, Toronto, from February 10 – 13 2005. StockSpace, an installation designed and fabricated by WILLIAMSONWILLIAMSON and a dedicated crew of master’s students at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, was commissioned for and exhibited at the Interior Design Show’s annual display of Concept Spaces. Other invited participants included Will Alsop Architects and Saucier Perrotte Architects.
Shane Williamson co-chairs “FABRICATION: A Conference Examining the Digital Practice of Architecture,” the 23rd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA), the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Technology and Practice (TAP). The FABRICATION conference was held November 11-14, 2004, at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Waterloo and the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto. Workshops, tours and exhibits of new rapid-prototyping machinery and European building technologies complemented professional presentations and refereed research papers. Featured speakers included Mark Burry, Cristian Ceccato, Chuck Eastman, Siamak Hariri, and Lars Hesselg.
Accompanying publications were produced concurrently:
Shane Williamson, Nancy Yen-Wen Cheng, and Phillip Beelsey, ed. Fabrication: Examining the Digital Practice of Architecture. Proceedings of the 2004 AIA/ACADIA Fabrication Conference, Toronto: Coach House Press; 2004.
Mercer Union’s “Better Living” is an exhibition and auction that celebrates 50 international artists, architects and designers and their visions of contemporary urban life.
Door with Peephole was commissioned for this event and exhibited at the Mercer Union auction preview.
Shane juries the 2004 Digital Media Awards sponsored by Canadian Architect. “Speculative Conception: Digital Media Awards 2004,” Canadian Architect, vol. 49, no. 6, June 2004; 19-25.
WILLIAMSONWILLIAMSON was a finalist in the 2004 Burnham Prize Competition, Urban Waterways: The Chicago River Project.
The Burnham Prize is a two-stage biennial competition sponsored by the Chicago Architectural Club, the winner of which is awarded a three month scholarship for study at the American Center in Rome. The program for the 2004 competition was for the design of three water taxi stops along the Chicago River from downtown south to Bridgeport. Jury members include Jesse Reiser, Nanako Umemoto and John Ronan.
The six finalists’ projects in the Pentagon Memorial Competition are currently on exhibition at the Urban Center Gallery in New York. The show is sponsored by the Municipal Art Society of New York and is held in conjunction with a public lecture and symposium moderated by Terrence Riley and Reed Kroloff.
Shane Williamson is the principal investigator for a Digital Design and Research Production Facility grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) New Opportunities Fund and the Ontario Innovation Trust (OIT).
Shane Williamson lectures tonight at Auburn University School of Architecture (Auburn, AL) as part of their 2003 Spring Lecture Series: Digital Boundaries Symposium.
Participants included Dennis Sheldon (Gehry Technologies), Hermann Zschiegner (Two-N), Jonas Coersmeier (Probehead), Dean DiSimone (KD Labs), Joseph Kosinski (KD Labs) and Marco Steimberg (Harvard).
“Pentagon Memorial Competition – Stage One Entry Display” opens on October 30 at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. More than 80 of the 1200 entries submitted to the competition are on display at the Museum and the proposals by the six finalists will be featured. The exhibition runs through November 9, 2002.
WILLIAMSONWILLIAMSON are finalists in The Pentagon Memorial Competition, a two-stage, open international design competition for a memorial to the victims of the September 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon in Arlington, VA. More than 1,200 architects, artists, designers, school children, and members of the general public from around the world submitted concepts for consideration. Six finalists were chosen by a jury chaired by Reed Kroloff and Mark Robbins and including Terry Riley, Mary Miss, Walter Hood, and Gregg Pasquarelli.
Shane presented a paper titled “Of Digital Processes and Spatial Relations” at the recent 2000 ACSA: East Central Regional Conference at the University of Michigan.
Abstract: Geometry primers are almost unanimous in presenting the fundamental ideas of space as resting upon Euclidean concepts such as straight lines, angles, squares, circles, measurements, and the like. This view would appear to derive support from studies in perception of visual and tactile ‘gestalten’. On the other hand, abstract geometrical analysis tends to show that fundamental spatial concepts are not Euclidean, but that they are topological, based entirely on qualitative or ‘bi-continuous’ correspondences involving concepts like proximity and separation, order and enclosure. In accordance with Piagetian theory, a child’s space, which is essentially of an active and operational character, invariably begins with this simple topological type of relationship long before it becomes projective or Euclidean. First, I would like to present design research that investigates the role of topology in terms of spatial relations and the generation of form. Through the utilization of topological modelers and computer numerically controlled (CNC) processes this research explores the intermodal relations of vision and touch. Among other topics, I will addresses physically based modeling of nonrigid materials and the promise of a haptic paradigm within a digital design environment.
Second, I would like to present two furniture pieces that reexamine and reassess the relationship of surface to construction. Traditional distinctions between functional and symbolic elements – tops, fronts, hardware, structure, surface — are eliminated in these two pieces of cabinetry in lieu of a smooth and singular strategy; all aspects of the design are accounted for through the act of routing into the depth of the wood. Both pieces are designed to accommodate repetition as well as variation, an option easily afforded through digital modeling. So too, each piece capitalizes on three-axis milling techniques to produce artificial and invented graining as a result of the striations latent within laminated plywood constructions. Challenging modern orthodoxy’s treatment of surface as skindeep, detached, and supplemental, these cabinets designed in collaboration with Office dA seek to integrate surface and solid. As a result of the calculated removal of material through milling, the cabinets acquire a perverse reading in which the draped qualities of fabric conflict with the monolithic qualities of wood block to contradict any preconception that surface is merely veneer.