Shawn in Montreal

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About Shawn in Montreal

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  • Biography
    Montreal-born baby boomer. Bilingual.
  • Location
    Mile End
  • Interests
    Montreal history, culture, architecture
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  1. OPINION: Canadian architects are taking on the world DONALD SCHMITT/CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL Donald Schmitt is Principal of Schmitt Architects. On Monday, Lincoln Center announced that my firm, Diamond Schmitt, would lead the transformation of its David Geffen Hall, the home of the New York Philharmonic symphony orchestra. Canadian architects aren’t just winning more work beyond our borders; we’re designing iconic work for a few of the world’s pre-eminent institutions. KPMB Architects was selected by Boston University for their new Center for Computing and Data Sciences. In October, Hariri Pontarini Architects won the RAIC International Prize for their extraordinary Baha’i Temple of South America in Santiago, Chile. So what gives here? Aren’t Canadians supposed to finish out of the medals? Certainly, the remarkable growth in our urban centres has helped. There are more buildings to explore design ideas on, and more architects are delivering environmental and built form innovation. But the most creative architects from elsewhere also see Canada’s growth as an opportunity for them too. Foster and Partners and WilkinsonEyre from London, 3XN and BIG from Copenhagen and Snohetta from Oslo are all transforming the Canadian landscape. There was a time when Canadian architects feared this competition. But now, we welcome excellence from anywhere because it makes us stronger competitors everywhere. In fact, our profession is stronger, more diverse and confident than at any time in many decades. But I believe we do well globally because our northern home gives us a clear-eyed perspective; our landscape may be vast, but so is our diversity. We’ve learned to use the forces of technological, environmental and social change to create more livable, useful spaces – especially public places and institutions. There’s something else uniquely Canadian that gives us a competitive edge, though. An architect is often viewed in the popular imagination as a lone wolf, single-handedly wresting design from stone and metal, delivering a singular vision against all odds. While this is often indeed true in the United States and Europe, for my colleagues at our offices in Toronto, Vancouver and New York, the best evidence of what beats the competition are ideas built from multiple viewpoints. For us, teams work. We shape the team as an ensemble of gifted players, each skilled in their own right, but more certain to achieve an elegant solution because that idea can be nurtured and perfected far better by the interplay of the virtuosi. Canadian architects shine with institutions that have demanding design programs, complex circumstances and the need for high performance. For example, many firms here have emerged as leaders in environmental performance because foundational work by the National Research Council in Ottawa drives our designs to achieve dramatic energy savings and zero-carbon building performance. Another factor in our architects’ global success is the work we’ve done here at home. The work of MJMA Architects in exemplary community facilities across Canada led to their winning Johns Hopkins University’s Recreation Center. We were on Lincoln Center’s radar because of our innovative concert hall for L’Orchestre Symphonique in Montreal. Lincoln Center is one of the most famous arts complexes in the world. But we unlocked its Rubik’s Cube of uninspired and under-performing public places at Geffen Hall applying the lessons learned in our transformation of Ottawa’s National Arts Centre. Its re-imagined lobbies, animated by the warmth of Canadian wood, activated by community use over the day, connected the artistry of the NAC’s performers to the community inside and out. A decade ago, Valery Gergiev of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia saw the Four Seasons Centre in downtown Toronto. He understood that a single hall can have a modern design, great sound and sightlines – and be built on budget and on time. The result was an invitation for us to compete for the New Mariinsky. We won that competition, and now “there simply isn’t a better place to stage opera in Russia," according to Kommersant, a leading journal. Our winning Geffen Hall is certainly gratifying. But it shouldn’t be surprising that Canadian architects are consistently winning big commissions abroad. In the bruising world of global design competitions, expertise is table-stakes. What the world is insisting on is a set of values that celebrates collaboration and straight dealing, and an eagerness to use design as a competitive advantage. Yes, the world needs more Canada, now more than ever. (to see the images, you'll need to click on the link above. It may be paywalled, not sure)
  2. Indeed. And important to remember that the park was not in fact completed according to his design:
  3. Croyez-vous que Maestria représente un changement par rapport à cette approche?
  4. Avec tout le développement sur Bleury, je m'interroge sur le parking à côté du Black Watch.
  5. No mention of any concrete plans in Montreal but I wonder if this means that Brookfield will try and be more active here in acquiring and developing projects? Brookfield returns to its roots, turns focus to Canadian investments RACHELLE YOUNGLAI PUBLISHED 2 HOURS AGO; UPDATED NOVEMBER 10, 2019 FOR SUBSCRIBERS Brookfield Property Partners LP is putting renewed focus on its roots in Canada after spending years building a huge portfolio of foreign real estate holdings, saying it is now seeking investments in Canadian hotels, apartments, offices and large-scale development projects. The Toronto-based company has appointed Ashley Lawrence to lead that effort, which will see Brookfield join a crowded field of deep-pocketed investors all chasing similar assets in the country’s booming regions of Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa. “My mandate was to grow and to expand, especially in sectors that we are not in," said Mr. Lawrence, a 43-year-old Canadian who returned to Toronto in June, 2018, to fill a new position as regional head of Canada after managing Brookfield’s retail property division in New York for two years. “We have certain things we are looking for. Not every deal has them. In order to find them, you have to evaluate a lot of deals in the market,” he said. Brookfield has about US$194-billion in assets under management around the world. Its Canadian assets total US$9-billion – just 4.6 per cent of its portfolio – consisting mostly of two dozen offices in Ottawa, Calgary and Toronto, including First Canadian Place, a 72-storey tower in Toronto’s financial district and the tallest office building in the country. Mr. Lawrence wants to add to that, and the company is currently constructing a third tower to its Bay-Adelaide office complex in downtown Toronto. In comparison, Brookfield has US$137-billion in assets under management in the United States, US$31-billion in Europe and the Middle East, US$14-billion in the Asia-Pacific region and US$3-billion in Brazil, according to its most recent investor presentation. That includes a significant collection of malls and rental apartments throughout the United States, part of the Canary Wharf business hub in London and a sizable office and residential development in Dubai. “As we have grown globally, we have gone into a lot of sectors that we are not in in Canada,” Mr. Lawrence said. Brookfield had always planned to increase its Canadian footprint, according to the company, but did not find the right openings. Since he has taken the new job, Mr. Lawrence has doubled the size of the Canadian investment team to cover more ground and find exclusive deals. “In order to do that you have to spend a lot of time out in the market, talking to people, making relationships,” he said. “It takes time and effort.” But as Brookfield seeks to move into other property types, especially in rental housing, it will be competing with pension funds, real-estate investment trusts, as well as local and global developers for a piece of the action. A flurry of multi-residential development is taking place in Toronto and Vancouver and their nearby suburbs, due to a housing shortage and soaring home prices. However, Mr. Lawrence believes Brookfield will make a big mark in the country’s urban centres. “It takes a long time to get these developments out. These are not coming in the next 24 months. This is 10-15 year horizons,” he said. “We are relatively patient in terms of finding the right opportunity.” With corporate headquarters moving to downtown Toronto along with the growth of tech companies, the city’s commercial property market has been on fire for nearly a decade. That has driven up land prices and spurred interest in large patches of land such as Bombardier’s airport property, which was sold to a Canadian pension fund in 2018 for just over $800-million. Recently, Brookfield was a contender for East Harbour, 38 acres of mostly vacant land east of Toronto’s financial core, according to a source, who was granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. But it lost to Cadillac Fairview, which plans to build 10 million square feet of office space. Mr. Lawrence would not comment directly on Brookfield’s interest in East Harbour but said: “Any large parcel of land that comes up, we would be interested. We are a long-term believer in the city of Toronto and its growth.” Mr. Lawrence said there there isn’t a specific amount of capital dedicated to Canadian acquisitions. But given Canada’s smaller commercial property market, he said Brookfield is willing to do deals in the US$30-million to US$40-million range. On the flip side, Mr. Lawrence suggested there are no limits. Brookfield Property can use its own capital, as well as financing from parent company Brookfield Asset Management’s third global real-estate fund, which raised US$15-billion earlier this year. “We like to put out larger amounts of capital,” he said. “That being said, we do like building businesses where the initial amount of capital may not be as sizable. But over time, as you build out that business, as you add assets, they get to that scale that makes sense to us or strategically.”
  6. Plus d’un mois plus tard, peu de progrès, à mon avis.
  7. Il est compréhensible qu’ils veuillent l’ouvrir à toutes les activités - Jeanne-Mance n’est pas la même rue générique que dans les années 70. Mais je conviens que cela semble un peu déroutant. Un autre mish-mash.
  8. Le batiment Winter Club était le NCSM Donnacona.
  9. Je me suis posé la même question. Une grande partie des travaux concerne l’ascenseur jusqu’à la réception de l’hôtel (qui reste opérationnelle). Mais peut-être qu'ils veulent déplacer la réception au rez-de-chaussée? Et comme je l’ai mentionné ci-dessus, la plus grande partie de la réception est fermée pour rénovation jusqu’en juin.
  10. I was also thinking that they should really go with conifers there. Less leaves on the ice surface and to give it a distinct feel from the rest of the Q des Spectacles, for example the trees along the Place des festivals which are all deciduous.
  11. C'est notre nouveau chalet au centre-ville! Avec la patinoire et les espaces verts à droite.
  12. Alors qu’un premier contrat pour la conception architecturale et de design intérieur des nouvelles stations de la ligne bleue vient d’être accordé, certains souhaiteraient que celles-ci intègrent des éléments qui rappellent la culture et l’histoire de Saint-Léonard. « C’est un point que j’avais apporté lors d’une rencontre avec les gens de la STM, confie le conseiller de ville, Dominic Perri. Ce serait l’un de mes souhaits que l’on puisse avoir cette touche d’adaptation locale. » Le projet de prolongement de la ligne bleue compte cinq nouvelles stations. De ce nombre, trois sont prévues sur le territoire de Saint-Léonard, dans l’axe de la rue Jean-Talon, aux intersections de la rue Viau et des boulevards Lacordaire et Langelier. Paul Micheletti, président de la SDC Jean-Talon, aimerait donc que ces nouvelles stations soient représentatives de l’histoire de l’arrondissement. Par exemple, est-ce qu’une station pourrait évoquer la vie rurale de la paroisse Saint-Léonard-de-Port-Maurice, ou la présence historique de la communauté italienne ? M. Perri reconnaît que le processus est à peine entamé, et que bien des étapes seront encore nécessaires avant d’en arriver là. L’hommage ne créerait pas un précédent, alors que les nombreuses œuvres d’art dans les stations existantes peuvent rappeler le contexte dans lequel elles s’inscrivent. Les stations Viau et Pie-IX, notamment, intègrent des œuvres ayant les Olympiques en thématique. Autre exemple, la station De Castelnau veut rappeler la présence du marché Jean-Talon. Sans compter les nombreux hommages à différents moments de l’histoire de la Ville. La dénomination des nouvelles stations est également incertaine, alors que les artères Pie-IX, Viau et Langelier ont déjà des stations homonymes. Le système actuel prévoit que chaque station soit nommée en fonction de la rue où elle se trouve. « Il n’y a pas assez de stations nommées en l’honneur de femmes », croit M. Micheletti, pour qui les travaux pourraient être une occasion de souligner leur contribution. Pour sa part, M. Perri suggérait qu’une station soit nommée « Saint-Léonard », afin de rappeler aux voyageurs qu’ils entrent dans l’arrondissement, une appellation qui s’inscrirait dans une certaine continuité avec le système actuel.
  13. BTW I see that while Quebecor has the contract for bus shelters/abribus display, Astral still operates the sidewalk display panels. I guess everywhere?