This Week in Project Five

Tuesday is an important day. This will be your last formal classroom review session prior to your final presentation for the semester. Everyone is expected to be in attendance at 12:00 sharp.

At this session, you need to clearly define your thesis direction for us, by telling us what you intend to design, how you intend to design it, and how you intend to represent your design at the final presentation on November 6. This final list of tactics is especially important: we will let you know if your proposed deliverables are suitable and sufficient. Remember, the final presentation is an opportunity to revisit and refine some of the work you’ve done previously. Your list of deliverables can include some of these revisions.

Please post some simple photographic documentation of your Test Experiment to the blog when you get a chance, using the category Project Four. You may do this after Tuesday. Also after Tuesday, please post a written summary of your design strategy: your program, your concept and your tactics, as approved by Martin and I.

Remember, this is your project. While Martin and I will provide you with criticism, it is always up to you do decide how to proceed. The golden opportunity you have been given in this final part of the semester is the opportunity to define your own terms of engagement, and fulfill them as you see fit. Martin and I would like to act as consultants to your emerging comprehensive environmental design solution: do not let us drive your projects for you. Be bold, be strong, and be prolific.

This Week in Project Four

A couple of thoughts about what’s due this week.

First off, don’t build a model that’s specific to your precedent. The model you’re building should be of the site you’ve chosen for your own project, yet to be designed. Select the site  that you would like to intervene within over the next five weeks and next semester. Pick the precedent that is most relevant to your future intervention, and see how you can fit it into your site. Imagine that you’re the designer of your chosen precedent, and that you’re asked to design a similar project for your chosen site. In some cases, you may be able to rearrange the physical ingredients of your precedent and fit it to your site, while in other cases you may only be able to apply the core ideas of your precedent to your site.

Second, don’t try to make a presentation model. You don’t have time for this, nor would it be appropriate at this time. This isn’t to say that your model should be shoddy, but it should be simple and expedient. We don’t want this model to be so precious that you’re afraid to make changes to it. The hope is that you will continue to operate on this site model for the rest of the semester, making changes as necessary. The installation of your precedent is the opening move in this process: you can represent the precedent in a very simple way, e.g. using foam blocks or through overlay on the surfaces of your model. The most important thing in this Project is that you are working directly in three dimensions. Have fun with this!

Third, try your best to keep the scale of your site model to 1:200 or smaller (i.e. 1:100) if possible. I’ve spoken with most of you about this individually. If your site model is at a larger scale then you’re likely dealing with too much territory. In some cases more territory might be OK but try to resist this urge.

Next week we’ll meet in 556 at 12:00 with your models. Martin and I will bring your precedent printouts back so that you can pin up the one you selected alongside your model. At 17:00, we’re going to meet Toshi Aoyagi from the Japan Foundation, who will be giving us a tour of the Struggling Cities exhibit. We’ll head up there by subway at about 16:30. Class will end at the show at 18:00.

Project Two: Force Analyses

Modal Choice

Streets are lively when there are more than two choices of transportation along the road.

Dundas and Bathurst streets are busy with automobile traffic, frequent streetcar services, heavy flow of pedestrians and cyclists along the arteries. This intersection, however, is not as busy as those of Queen/Bathurst, College/Bathurst and Dundas/Spadina which all have
nightlife, commercial activities and are crowded for most of the time.


Entry Points

Garages and entry doors are more than just entrance to the building. It serves as a memorial and reflection and revealing its condition of a neighbourhood.

Most homes have primary entrance at the front, and garages at the back of the property through alleyways. Due to proximity to downtown, garages found in homes are less relevant in downtown than those in the suburbs. Some garages are rarely used so that they become art murals, depicting the views of Toronto.


Project 3: Elaine Kinyanjui

The Prisma project:

This development served as an investigation of two principle ideas:

–       how the concept of microeconomics can reinvigorate a neighbourhood

–       the conception of sustainable architecture as a means to: pleasurable environments and energy savings.

Christi Walk:

This housing development generated ideas about how architecture can be devised to serve community wellbeing. Some of the key devices are the strategies delineating public and private spaces (subtle thresholds), inclusivity, pathways of activity, pockets of seclusion, community gardens and place making.

The Olympic Sculpture Park:

The relevance of this project is two fold; the approach to pedestrian pathways that traverse large transport arteries, and how to integrate spaces for other activities within the new infrastructure. Although this is a macro intervention and is an imposing approach, the ramp typology was of interest because of how it redefined circulation into a promenade experience where users become spectators of both urban movements and the activities related to the site (art).


Project 3: Case Studies

Precedence 1: Rag Flats

Current site: 1338-52 E. Berks St. Fishtown, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Interesting article about ecologic utility systems from Onion Flats by Grid Magazine


Precedence 2: The Green Building

Current Site (picture shown in 2008): 732 E. Market St. Louisville, KY, USA

Videos related to The Green Building (courtesy of Stephanie Brothers)


Precedence 3: 60 Richmond Street East

Current Site (picture shown in 2008): 60 Richmond St. E. Toronto, ON, Canada

Projected data estimate for energy savings summarized by TCHC

Janessa Bremner: Project Three



Reuniting monocultures through mixed use, pedestrian oriented, ecologically sound developments. By injecting ecology into existing built up spaces and replacing greyfeild developments without ignoring their past, community developments will become more prosperous- ecologically and economically.
In every city, people have three main places- first being Home, second being Work, and third being a space to hangout and build community. The importance of this “Third Place” is that it allows us an area to engage with one another, to build relationships, to educate, and to thrive. Neglected commercial sites give us the opportunity to take our least sustainable landscapes and convert them to vibrant, dynamic spaces which enrich their economic and ecological context. By linking residential development with a walkable network of public, retail, & social spaces we can begin to reunite the cultural aspects of community which have become distorted and often forgotten in the megalopolis.


This project is located Denver Colorado’s suburb of Lakewood. Redevelopment began in 1998, and completion is projected for 2012. The first phase of Belmar opened in May 2004. The new downtown district has 650,000 square feet of retail, 210,000 square feet of office space, 132 townhomes, 109 apartment units, 12 loft condominiums, three large supermarkets, a Cineplex theatre, art galleries and studios, and nine acres of public open space. Phase II of Belmar, launched in the fall of 2005, will offer more homes, offices, stores, and cultural venues. The residential and retail components will be completed in 2010; full build-out may take longer.
The focus of the project began with the 1.4 million square foot Villa Italia Mall, which was the social center of Lakewood for a span of 35 years. Retail success in the mall began to fall in the mid 1990’s, which prompted the city to consider a mixed-use initative to restore the neighbourhood vibrancy. Essentially the project turned the mall inside out, creating a pedestrian friendly network of public space.
s u s t a i n a b l e , n e w  u r b a n i s t  m o d e l :
The 23 urban-scaled streets and blocks are the new downtown that Lakewood never had. Belmar is a mixed-use, walkable destination with shopping, residences, offices and civic uses. The authors note that new buildings are LEED certified, site drainage is carefully handled, demolition materials are recycled, a 1.8-megawatt rooftop solar array is in construction, and there is even a wind farm in one parking lot.
-Approximately 130 mature trees from the original site were transplanted to a temporary nursery site and replanted in the Belmar district.
-The Belmar district also features a small urban wind farm with 14 turbines powering lighting for a large parking lot.
The wind farm has the potential to generate 700-900 kilowatt hours of electric power per month
8,300 solar panels will be installed on the roof of three parking garages (installation scheduled for August 2008).
The 1.7 megawatt array will generate approximately 2.3 million kilowatt hours of clean electrical energy per year.
The power output will offset approximately 5% of the total Belmar power consumption.
Belmar is an example of an adaptive reuse that adds cultural signifigance to a community, which in turn enriches the area and responds to a social need for community space. A series of pedestrian oriented interconnected mixed-use urban villages, that establishes and restores local ecology. Turning traditionally interior spaces inside out to expose them and reunite us with their function & origins – consider a bulk grocery store and how we only see things displayed in perfect order, we miss the whole process of collecting, producing, delivering, etc…


Granville Island is located beneath the south side of Granville Bridge, in Vancouver. It’s a small peninsula that was originally set up as an industrial sector.
Prior to the Depression, Granville island was a booming space full of industry.  In the 1950s the area went through a massvie change as industry was evolving and the area started to decline rapidly. During the 1970s the government created a new plan to turn the area into a more people friendly place and the construction of the new Granville Island began. Walking Granville Island today, you can see the traces of its origins. Around some of the trees you can see the sandy soil deposited for millennia by the streams draining into False Creek. Railway track can still be seen amongst the cobblestone streets and the industrial heritage of the Island is stamped on every building. In the narrow lots and buildings, you can see the logic of early Twentieth-Century industrial land use; the 50-60-foot-wide lots allowed the tenants frontage to the water at one end and to the Island’s rail network, running roughly along the course of today’s streets, at the other.

The absence of curbs and sidewalks responded to the need for unobstructed passage for trucks, trolleys and forklifts.


n a t u r e  h a s  r e g e n e r a t e d  h e r s e l f . . .

Granville Island now sustains a thriving, healthy ecosystem. Nature has regenerated itself, with the help of the Government of Canada, the City of Vancouver and private developers. Adapting a site that is in the midst of an oceanfront ecology and was so abused and turning it into a community that supports local artisians and natural vegetation is relevant to my site, as the Don Valley Ravine would naturally extend farther than is currently developed.
The strengths of this project revolve around the visibility of the island’s origins, which create a unique atmosphere. The ailway track can still be seen amongst the cobblestone streets and the industrial heritage of the Island is stamped on every building. My site has a similar- perhaps not as intensive- industrious history, which I want to hold on to and incorporate into my schematic design. Linking community spaces, residential buildings and ecological spaces has come together to make this project a success.


The original plan for Phalen Wetland Park in 1995 envisioned how the restored natural area would serve as a neighborhood amenity, wildlife habitat, and means of cleaning stormwater runoff. The idea of replacing one of St. Paul’s oldest shopping centers with a wetland park was first proposed by landscape architect Joan Nassauer, architect Harrison Fraker, and students at the University of Minnesota.
Restoring wetland ecosystems in neighborhoods where they have been engineered into pipes and filled in
for development has become a familiar goal within ecological design. However, it may also be a successful economic redevelopment strategy for urban neighborhoods. The right design for a wetland park can provide the necessary public amenity to attract new, high density, mixed-use development. I wanted to investigate the success of restoring a biodiverse community which has been buried under commercial development, as this is essentially what happened along the Don Valley Ravine.
In addition to creating a signature public amenity, the plan envisioned the park linking to a new wildlife habitat “spine” and helping filter and retain local stormwater. Today important changes in the original landscape plan for the wetland park have emerged—partly in response to the great success of the park as a focal amenity for development. The restored wetlands have indeed become an effective part of the area’s stormwater retention system. However, habitat connections among wetlands in the area have been restricted by new residential development that has begun to encroach on the park itself.
My site encompases such a large area of residential housing that I need to be cautious of any boldly ecological design moves, to avoid this site becoming a downtown suburbia. I am curious about the link between the Ravine system and my site, and would like to explore an opportunity to link them through a series of ecological insertions…
For this project, the demolition of the shopping center and the construction there of a new urban ecosystem that mimics the original natural system is an idea that definitely worked. Studies on the site have shown that the local biodiversity has been dramatically increased, and has effectively connected the area to the rest of downtown St. Paul.
The local problem was that commercial activity was relocated from the old shopping center to arterial streets and not to the streets beside the park, where it could have clearly defined its boundaries. Creating “a natural amenity with the only active spaces being a farmers’ market and an amphitheater,” left the open space too vulnerable to residential development pressures, particularly as the park was recognized as a desirable amenity. Since my aim is to incorporate more biodiversity into my site while maintaining the sites cultural heritage, I found the complete demolition of the shopping mall interesting. I need to consider the pressure of further residential development of the area if I create open greenspace.

This Week in Project Three

Thank you to everyone who presented Project Two last week. I think we had some very interesting discussions and many of you have made substantial progress. You will have noted that the students who have precisely defined the scope of their topic and have a clear and strong hypothesis were better able to leverage this Project. This will be the case with all Projects.

Remember, the structure we provide you with is specific so that you know what to do, but open-ended so that you’re able to manipulate it to your own ends. In Project Three, the only strict requirement is the format: two 11″ x 17″ pages per precedent. How you choose to approach the precedents remains up to you: the headings provided give you a place to start, but you should organize your case studies as you see fit, in a way that best suits your emerging thesis.

Also, note that you will be submitting your pages but presenting this Project directly from the blog. Maximize the presentation utility of the blog version of your case studies.

This week I am away at Acadia 2011. Martin will be available to provide feedback on your case studies in-progress. I will check in on the blog on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights and provide feedback to any posts you make. We’ll start at 12:00 sharp on Tuesday, October 18 beginning with Eve, Priya and Joti’s Project Two presentations, followed by your case study presentations directly from the blog.

Project Two: Bryan Chao

My site for project two is the neighbourhood of Dundas St East and Carlaw Ave. My five forces are: TRAILtrack, GREENways, POSITIVEspaces, NOVELties, and ABANDONEDsouls.










































Project Two: Final Thoughts

By now your final synthetic map should be well underway. You will be presenting these, along with your five annotated observations and your five force maps, this Tuesday starting at 12:00. Please be ready on time.

Below are some final thoughts with regards to this Project.

Re-read the project instructions, especially the Deliverables section on the last page. Note that each individual should have five annotated observations, five force maps and one synthetic map: although you are encouraged to share work with your partner, the final deliverables must be prepared individually.

Use the correct formats. Your observations must be compiled onto 8.5″ x 11″ pages, and your force maps must be formatted onto 11″ x 17″ pages. The synthetic map does not have a prescribed size but it does have a prescribed scale: 1:500. Some of you are struggling to prepare a map at this scale: see my other post that describes one way to do this.

Narrow your field. Many of you have explored well beyond the 250m radius required, and your force maps reflect this larger field. This is fine, even sensible, given the expectation that you re-centre your field somewhere other than the prescribed intersection. Your synthetic map need not cover this expanded field: narrow it, so that the prescribed scale doesn’t result in an excessively large page.

Select the best observations. You do not need to compile all of your observations, only a representative selection. Keep your entire observation set available for future use, or for use on your synthetic map. And don’t forget the annotations: one or two sentences that describe what you’ve observed.

Teach us something. Each force map should quickly teach us something new about your site, something that isn’t immediately legible from a satellite image or a conventional street map.

Don’t just make a map. One of the purposes of the synthetic map is to “escape flatland”: incorporate both plan and non-plan information, such as images, sections, sketches, and quotations.

Be rigorous. For each force you have selected, take care to ensure that you have indentified all of the parameters of the force and have accurately documented the extents of these parameters across your entire field. For example, several of you have asked me how to prepare a sun and shadow study: see my other post that describes one way to do this. Given that the synthetic map is at a larger scale, you may need to augment the quality or quantity of information you compiled for your force maps; for a sun and shadow study, an approximate method might be appropriate for your force maps, but the more accurate method described in my post might be required for the synthetic map.

Make it useful. The annotated observations and the force maps are process work, and it may not be immediately clear in some cases why this information is pertinent to your topic and hypothesis. The synthetic map, on the other hand, should be deliberately prepared so as to maximize its relevance to your thesis: select, augment and present an analytical composition of forces that support your emerging thesis project.

Notes on Scale

A number of you have explored your sites well beyond the 250m radius specified in Project Two. This is fine, and likely even fruitful, because it provides you with more contextual information and the opportunity to re-centre your field somewhere other than the assigned intersection. Given that they do not have a specific scale, it is acceptable that your force maps encompass your entire area of exploration. Your final synthetic map, however, must be prepared at 1:500, a scale that will require you to reduce the boundaries to no more than 250m from the centre of your field.

A quick-and-dirty way to establish reasonably accurate scale for your synthetic map is to take a screen shot of a google map of your site, and match the scale on the google map to a known dimension on your map file. Click here to download a Photoshop file that demonstrates this method.

In short: make a file at the page size you want to use; place two guides at a known distance apart (e.g. 10cm), cut-and-paste the screen shot into the file, and transform the screen shot until its scale lines up with the two guides as appropriate. In the demonstration file, I’ve lined up a scale that reads 50m with two guides that are 10cm (0.1m) apart, thus establishing a file at 1:500.

Introduction: Eve Zorawski








Hello, my name is Eve. My interests in Environmental Design lie within multiple levels of manipulating human ecology; from interiors to urban [and suburban] planning. I cannot predict what I will or want to become as I am still in more of an exploratory stage. However, I can see myself creating some kind of avant-garde havoc in the overhaul of Toronto’s Design- whether it be urban ecology, architecture, interiors or even some sort of artistic intervention. I would really hope to become more well versed in the realm of waste management and energy in this coming year.

Environmental Design Inspirations:
New terminal for Stockholm/ C.F Møller Architects/ Stockholm, Sweden 2010

















>>>>>>>>>>> click me for more

Porta Volta Fondazione Feltrinelli/Herzog + de Mueron/ Milan, Italy 2013

















>>>>>>>>>>> click me for more

Flow/Satoshi Kurosaki Apollo Architects/ Umiraky Urayasu City, Japan 2009












>>>>>>>>>>> click me for more

Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space.”           – Mies van der Rohe


Sun and Shadow Studies

A number of you have asked me how to produce a sun and shadow study. Click here to download a reference guide prepared by the Ontario government that demonstrates how “to determine the shadow effects of buildings in planning for efficient use of energy.” You can also find a different presentation of these methods in Architectural Graphic Standards, which is available in the Quick Reference section of the library (and is a book that you should probably know about anyhow: it’s full of useful information).

You’ll note that the method for drawing shadows is quite elaborate — possibly too elaborate for your Project Two site studies. Instead, you could consider the parameters that influence shadows — e.g. orientation, season, building height — and represent reasoned estimates for the different features of your site. You could then demonstrate the method with greater accuracy as part of your synthetic map.

Project One: Bryan Chao

Mohsen Mostafavi’s concept of ecological urbanism represents a more holistic approach to urbanism. Ecological urbanism works on a new “system-based” approach perceiving the city as an ecology of people, natural systems, processes, power structures, human environs, etc. working in a symbiotic relationship, rather than an object-based urbanism that is mainly concerned with questions of built form. The strategy of ecological urbanism is the idea of action-and-opportunity mode of practice that is similar to urban acupuncture, where: “…the interventions in and transformations of an area often have a significant impact beyond the perceived physical limits”. Ecological urbanism acknowledges the fragility of the planet and its resources in search of design innovations for imagining a new urbanism that incorporates and accommodates the conflicting conditions of ecology and urbanism. The principles of ecological urbanism encourage the overlap of natural systems with constructed environs and patterns, a holistic approach with alternative and imaginative way of thinking and designing, the idea of large scale, flexibility to adapt to local circumstances and conditions, and the attachment to indeterminacy where nature has the opportunity to inflict change over time. “One of the major challenges of ecological urbanism is to define the conditions of governance under which it could operate that would result in a more cohesive regional planning model.”

Hypothesis: The principles of ecological urbanism would bridge the gap between the conflicting conditions of ecology and urbanism to achieve a state of symbiosis in the manufactured landscape.

Evergreen Brick Works (Toronto, Canada) – Adaptive re-use approach run by a not-for-profit. It’s a landscape designed for education, ecology and human interactions. It’s an ecology of collaboration in action, not just among people, but allows wild nature to help populate areas designed for such purpose.


Freshkills Park (New York, United States) – A remarkable transformation of the world’s biggest landfill into a sustainable ecosystem. Ecologyl and built infrastructures coexist in harmony. It’s a reminder of  human impact (both positive and negative) on the earth.


Landschaftspark (Duisburg, Germany) – Transformation of contaminated industrial land into a public park and a healthy ecolosystem. Wild nature is embraced and encouraged to spread in many areas of the park, while other areas are designed to compliment the existing structures. It’s an integration of industry, people and nature in a healthy living environment.


Topic and Hypothesis

TOPIC and HYPOTHESIS                                                        Keli Liu, September 12, 2011

While Canada is an international leader in immigration, its urban centers are culturally diverse. In Toronto, schools become places where immigrant children first encounter and integrate into the Canadian urban ecology, a complex one where ethnic violence and cultural segregation is not absent. Multiculturalism as fairly recent policy demands new programs from class rooms and playgrounds, such as English as Second Language classes (ESL), prayer rooms and class rooms for children with mental disabilities. The experience of spaces for public education may take on both public and private. Issues in cultural integration can be traced to Canada’s past where workers learned to share living and work space. From industries we learn about portability and economy. While these were usually harsh and poor environments, they held the seed for multiculturalism.  What can these rational environments in Canadian history teach us in regards to cultural integration?

I believe Canadian industrial history and their spaces can address contemporary issues in creating spaces for public education that support ethnic integration and enable diverse individuals to engage in learning together.




Jennifer Siegal’s design connects ideas of education and mobility.









In Douglas Cardinal’s design for this Elementary school, rational forms express the values of Sioux Valley reserve.



Open Air School designed by Johannes Duiker addresses health and education through material and construction.



Project 1: Topic and Hypothesis

Self-Identity and Liberation (Synthesis of Adaptive Reuse and Urban Transportation)

 Toronto is a unique city of its own in Canada, with many neighbourhoods possessing own character and history. Historical districts such as Little Italy, Beaches, and Queen West mainly preserved its buildings throughout the centuries, though its uses slowly changed over the time. Yet some such as St. Jamestown and Alexandra Park were once affluent districts, razed to pave way for social housings during the population boom in post-World War II. Absent of architectural qualities, they are undesirable to live in, have low property values and isolate themselves from rest of the city. Hence, crime took on the rise and foster suspicion of corruption and maladministration upon municipalities.

 Architecture can bring life back to these neighbourhoods, liberating them from its past of disrepair that once existed in form of mono-cultural housings. To accomplish such revitalization the existing buildings must undergo transformation individually rather than rebuilding in bulk. First, it should adapt local circumstances of a neighbourhood – accommodate the personal choice of space, give flexible transformation through additions/subtractions, and respect the environment. To make a true self-sustaining community, considering primary mode of transportation is encouraged. Advocating bicycle as a prime form of transportation not only encourages minimizing traffic and pollution generation but also cut the space burden of accommodating automobiles.

           Hypothesis: Approaching in local manner to restore urban blight through ad­aptive reuse and advocating car-optional lifestyle will result a freer, fuller community.


Onion Flats – Rag Flats (Philadelphia, PA)

Formerly a rag factory in Philadelphia, Onion Flats (developer/architects) took responsibility to transform unusable brownfield into sustainable community space. Built with emphasis on density, community and intimacy the firm took much advice from the locals to execute the transformation. All flats across the complex feature renewable energy features and incorporate preserved and renewable materials.

Daly Genik – Camino Nuevo Charter Academy (Burlington – Los Angeles, CA)

A former abandoned mini-mall in MacArthur Park, one of the most impoverished districts in LA. Daly Genik took responsibility to reuse the space in form of charter school. The firm understood that the school design reflected the diversity and character of the City and at the same time making breakthrough of urban renewal. Since its opening, the charter academy reported a dramatic improvement of students and the community as a result.

Alejandro Aravena – Quinta Monroy (Chile)

This housing complex was to accomplish three goals: to enhance urban fabric and promote community development, boost the quality of living, and improve the value of the investment over the time. While the use was the public housing, the application of space usage is anything but social housing. Here, one has power to modify the space to accommodate the owners’ needs rather than be constraine­­­d by physicality.

Towing the line

When we leave an island, we have to go through the breakers before we reach the open sea. We can’t see for the height of the waves. Our fear of drowning governs our actions.

Equipment as prosthesis.





Towing the Only Line, follow or be jailed


Towing the One  Design Line, unsuspecting followers





Follow the One Liner in Design: One person’s expression. Royal Crescent, John Wood , the younger. Bath




Multiple Lines;  Democratic Expressionism, West 8,  Borneo-Sporenburg, Amsterdam



Multiple Lines , an Expression of Community, Main Square,Zachariase z Hrdace, Telc. Czech Republic.




Multiple Visions ; A unified Community Expression.




Multi Visions, caring for the new as well as the old. Valencia market





Multiple Visions, caring for the Private as well as the Public Interests. Painter Pieter de Hooch, Rotterdam



Project one: Camille Bleytou


The world’s population predicted at 9 billion people in the next 40 years can only raise the question of population density and our next challenge is going to deal with how we can manage it. It is a term that can apply to several elements of our world. It causes issues in terms of agriculture, pollution, waste, jobs and habitat,…  Population density calculates how many people are living on a piece of land and what do they need to sustain themselves. The degree of urbanization of a city is important to understand in order to organize the city in terms of its planning. Where population density happens can be easily tracked geographically and most of the time it is located in larger cities and/or and shores.


Population density will force us to rethink our impact on the planet while dealing with our understanding of private and public spaces in a modular structure that bring back a sense of community living.


1-Hong Kong’s Urban intervention.

2-New housing solution in the Netherlands/modular habitat in Malaysia.

 3-Koen Olthuis’s projects that expend onto the sea.


Project 1: Janessa Bremner

Modern urbanization is associated with higher incomes, improved health, higher literacy, and improved quality of life. However, it also places enormous strains on a city’s institutional and natural resources. This strain could be offset by emphasizing the importance of permaculture throughout the design process for new infrastructure. In-migration, a result of urbanization, refers to the concentration of growth and settlement around the downtown heart of a megalopolis. In Toronto, in-migration patterns necessitate a new approach to high-density housing projects because the current strategies neglect the importance of permaculture.

Both existing and prospective residential designs require a more environmentally ethical approach focused around permaculture for us to thrive within future our urban environments.


“Instead of disguising the rich potential of towers that have a mix of uses, we looked for a way to express that diversity.”
This project emphasises the importance of breathability within a building, treating it as a living organism instead of a static entity. Intentional gaps within the building open up upon itself to allow access to green space, creating a strong sense of community.


This project was designed with the intention of each unit being self sustaining in every aspect. Wind turbines, solar film and hydrophonic technologies bring urban farming indoors in an attempt to minimize the need for factory farming.


LA-based architecture firm Standard looked to the cliff dwellings of the Anasazi Indians to provide inspiration for Co-Op Canyon, a terraced sustainable city block that incorporates housing, gardens and community spaces. This project could house up to 1000 people while producing zero emmissions and wasting no water.



Project One: Margarita Massioukova


   Zero Net Energy Design is a design of the structure that aims at producing as much energy from on-site renewable sources as it requires for consumption.  Ultimately such design would be capable of operating independent of the grid. Zero Net Energy Design could be achieved through the use of modern energy producing technology as well as some clever planning and designing of the structure with the use of energy efficient appliances and lightning. Such design is becoming more and more popular due to increasing costs of practically everything in the world. Further more, with the new ‘green’ trend becoming more popular, the Zero Net Energy Design can allow consumers to minimize the negative effects on the planet and its ecology. Such design could be very beneficial in third world countries, where people are already forced to live in Zero Net Energy homes due to lack of resources.

   Zero Net Energy Design provides a solution to many problems we encounter today, as well as provide sustainable structure that will be self sustainable and will not interfere with its surroundings. Zero Net Energy building will operate free of rising energy costs and with time will minimize the total cost of ownership.


*Dutch headquarters of the World Wildlife Fund in Zeist, 2006

   This building is capable of producing more energy than it requires allowing it to harvest energy needed for its community.


* Masdar City in Abu Dhabi (currently under construction), designed by Foster+Partners.

   Masdar city is designed to harvest its own required energy.  This project is a possibility of our future. A preplanned city/community that is capable of providing energy for itself and thus relieving stress from the grid. Incorporation of such design strategies into new communities could resolve the problems around energy consumption and could possibly supply excess energy to older surrounding communities.


* Pearl River Tower in China, 2006-under construction, Gordon Gill

   This 71-storey office building is energy efficient and generates renewable energy from solar and wind.

Introduction: Jesse Colin Jackson

Hello everyone, I’m Jesse Colin Jackson. I use my middle name so as to not be confused by the other, more famous Jesse Jackson.

I am living out my intentions within Environmental Design as we speak: teaching you, and producing experimental architecture and photography.

Within the context of Urban Ecology, I find the following designs inspiring.

Paolo Soleri, Arcosanti, 1970-present
Teddy Cruz, Manufactured Sites, 2000-present
Peter Latz, Landschaftpark Duisburg-Nord, 1988-1999

I plan to take some time to describe why I find these precedents inspiring during the coming weeks.

Introduction: Benny Nguyen

My name is Benny or Ben, never Benjamin.

My plan for the future is to find a job in the field of architecture upon graduating OCADU. I would like to gain experience with work, and further expand my knowledge in the field before pursuing a masters program in architecture or urban planning. I am also considering working abroad, particularly in Vietnam.

3 Visual Examples:

Zaha Hadid Architects

MAXXI Museum

Rome, Italy




SoHo Architektur

MuUGN Haus

Memmingen, Germany






Chuck Hoberman, Hoberman Associates

Transformable design

Tokyo, Japan







Project One: Steph Pavan

Cities are designed to house people, businesses, government and services.  They provide routes and modes of transportation and there are endless systems that distribute resources and manage waste of all kinds.  Cities often facilitate a fast paced, consumer based economically driven and individualistic society.  Cities and urban environments do not presently effectively manage their resource potential and thus their job and design opportunities and prospect to be truly sustainable.  The high density of urban environments provides a unique set of circumstances for the extremely efficient use of energy and resources as well as the management and use of waste.  Nature provides us with an excellent guide to the efficient use of space, water and energy while perpetuating a diverse set of self sustaining species.  Natural principles can contribute the paradigmatic ideals for a new urban ecology and urban growth as nature is a model for maximization of harnessing of resources.
A biomimetic approach to resource and waste management can optimize an urban environment’s potential to be ecologically and economically sustainable. 
APHIDoIDEA’s design for The Environmental Center of Regenerative Research & Education in Long Beach, California takes the use of local waste to new aesthetic and environmental heights.  Besides its environmentally sustainable design features (passive solar, green roofs etc) the use of shipping containers is significant in Long Beach and this design exhibits the productive (and beautiful) use of waste for the built environment.  Its innovation was recognized as it placed as a finalist in the AIA-LA USGBC Emerging Talent Design Competition.

Architect Sarah Mohd chose a biomimetic approach with her Symbiotic Mushroom Towers design taking these principles up to a massive scale.  Each of the mushrooms mimics the fungi itself and together, they mimic the levels found within an equatorial rainforest.  Though the natural world may not produce organisms of this size, that should not limit the possibilities of biomimetic infrastructure.  
Mithun’s proposed design for The Center for Urban Agriculture in downtown Seattle is a fresh solution to urban farming. This example of urban, vertical farming considers not only its energy needs but it also incorporates residences and proposes a new, urban agricultural way of life.  The footprint of the building is minimal and therefore the productivity of the site is maximized by vertical space. 

Project One: Yewon Karen Lee

Topic:    Energy generation

  • Summary:

     Since industry developed, energy became absolute source in everyone’s daily life. However, energy needs to be generated through the generator. The principle of electricity generation was discovered by Michael Faraday in 1820’s to 1830’s. Fossil fuel, Natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric conventional and renewables are ways to generate the energy, but the most way of generating the electricity energy today is by burning fossil fuel (coal, oil, and gas). Unfortunately, the quantities of resources are limited whereas people crave for more and more energy. To solve this problem, variety of method is used to produce the energy. Green and renewable energy generation is new way to solve problems; exhaustion of resources, and environmental pollution. Green and renewable energy generation runs by solar, wind, biodiesel, biomass, hydro, and geothermal.

  • Hypothesis:

     As people crave for more comfort life style, energy is becoming more important and demanded. However, to keep this comfort, sustainability is an absolute necessity. Green and renewable energy generation satisfies this matter but it is not yet fully developed. When architecture itself can conserve and produce green-renewable energy, it would lead world sustainable place.  

  • Three Images:


Aquarius Tower in Atlanta:

Wind turbines and a solar roof              (Condominium complex)        





Green Energy Theme Park in S. Korea:    

 Wind, geothermal, solar energy                

 (Park/Korea Electric  Power Corporation)




Oppenheim’s Sloping Beach :

Solar and wind energy

Natural breeze decreases energy used on air conditioning


Project One: Elaine Kinyanjui


Adaptive living in the urban landscape is the most effective way forward. History’s lesson has been hinged on two key points: first nothing is static not even culture; and secondly  – plurality is a condition of a thriving existence. To reconcile the perpetual shifts in the cultural and economic sphere with the needs of its inhabitants, the urban environments needs to provide an open ended framework that provides for and is sustained by changes of its users. The service economy and the prevalence of the online work and communications is beginning to replace traditional office work.  Environmental concerns are shifting the conventional approach to everything from food production to living conditions.  Immigration indicates a shift towards multicultural urban populations. All these factors confirm a trend of transition.  Static and monumental approaches to designing space are proven limited and obsolete by trends like gentrification and urban renewal projects within the inner city while the suburban approach is unsustainable. A micro approach to conceiving the built urban environment is imperative. One that is responsive to socio-economic, cultural and environmental l shifts through three main principles: provision of basic needs; accommodation of personal choice, changes through an additive approach and; buildings that are generated to form a symbiotic relationship to the natural environment.


To create an environment for a self-sustaining transitional community would require the provision of a hybrid architectural framework. This model based on the generation of an interdependent community would initially address the low-income and unemployed demographic could have the potential to enrich a new way of life in the urban landscape.

Please check out this project: Its an example of an adaptive environment based on the design of structural reconfiguration.

Initial research:

Corbusie’s vision: our reality

Contemporary City for three million:

An idealist theoretical approach to social housing.
Housing in towers, social space in large greened plazzas.
-generated a disconnect from natural environment





Unite d’habitation:

– application of theoretical approach

What works: provision of vital  sun light interiors through good planning, indidual units planned so maximize space – mezzanine level allows light into all areas, double stacking of units for a compact arrangement.

Failings: generates an isolated community. The configuration of a tower encircled by a forest of green space cuts off exterior interaction with the life the city – the forgotten city! Tower dwelling creates a disconnect with the vitality of the earth-the natural environment. Permanence and monumentality prove t be an an approach that leads to obsolescence as evidenced by gentrification and revitalization projects.

Lessons: temporality, accomodation, grounded architecture, permeability and plasticity- ADAPTIVE!

Alejandro Aravena: Quinta Monroy

-social housing development that can be built cheaply and allows individuals to transform it to suit their needs. Basic model + additive.

Failings: Basic initial model offers the same for everyone. The mundane face of democracy. While offering the vital essentials, the buildings are conceived in a bare bones fashion and provide nothing in an inspirational capacity. Where does nature come in to play? an off site park? where do the children play on the tarmac road or the concrete pavement? How does this environment initiate community interaction? If were all facing one direction how can we enjoy and gain from the intricacies found by looking at each other?

Lesson: find a happy meeting of individuality and community, permanence and transition, nature and the built environment.

A community can only thrive if it functions as a productive component of a larger whole.



ecoLogic Studio- STEM wall: adaptive strategies, re-use

informal intervention:

this low-tech approach interests me not only on the grounds of ingenuity but also because it takes real world materiality to solve exiting concerns such as the looming question of how to put waste to use, how to make environments dynamic ‘living’ spaces and how individual interventions can make a difference.

Algae filled plastic bottles function as a thermal wall: a sunscreen which through photosynthesis produces oxygen and decreases Co2.

Lesson: responsive design

Also see:






Introduction: Margarita Massioukova

NAME: Margarita Massioukova

INTENTIONS: Although I have not yet established my path of action fr the future, I am certain that I want to pursue my career with in an architectural field. Over my years in OCAD I have developed a strong interest in Critical Regionalism and Ecological Sustainability that will likely guide my career choices. As for architecture, my interest lies in corporate and commercial buildings/environments. Over the next year, I hope to establish and refine my goals in life.


* Mario Botta, Wellness Center, 2003-2006


*Frank Lloyd Wright, Falling Water, 1936-1939


*Luis Barragan, Cuadra San Cristobal, 1968

Introduction: Martin Liefhebber

I’m Martin Liefhebber.

Here are my three +1 examples.

1. Favela Houses – Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Santa Marta


2. Hubertus House by Aldo Van Eyck- Amsterdam, Nethelands

3. Medical Faculty Building by Lucien Kroll – Belgium


4. Friedensreich Hundertwasser Building by Heinz M. Springmann – Darmstadt, Germany

Independent thought, independent means, independent mind/towing no ones’ line.

It’s for the love of the life, not the dictates of the line. 




Introduction: Ho-Been Lee

Hello everyone,

My view of urban ecology is the chemisty, balance and successful composition of urban elements that revolve around our daily lives. Like art and music, it has blends and traces of both likeable and unlikeable elements that harmonizes to create a new combination of expression and meaning. Like mechatronics and nanoengineering, it takes solving complexities through series of simple and awkward steps. It takes more than steady knowledge of architecture but from uncountable list of disciplines that are affected through chain reactions across the field.

My vision toward urban ecology is not mere design (and engineering, sigh…) alone. It will take wandering into psychology, socio-ecology, socio-economics, business and various degree of regional planning through partnerships and collaborations. My initial intent is to become an architect, and branch out from there onto other areas such as planning, real estate, engineering and construction management…

My goal is to achieve an ethical, self-sustaining and libertarian method of developing meaningful architecture. I believe that through infusing sense of individual expression while engaging the community into architecture will define what is widely acknowledged urban environment.

The folloing below are something I have been deeply fascinated at:

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (Zaha Hadid Architects, 2011)

Tate Modern (Herzog & de Meuron, 2000)

Seattle Public Library (Rem Koolhaas/OMA, Joshua Prince Ramus, 2004)

Introduction: Keli Liu

Hi, my name is Keli.

My future intentions in the field of environmental design is to pursue grad school and career as architect.

Here are three examples of what I find interesting.

LOT-EK, architecture, APAP Open School, Korea, 2010

Michael Collins, photography, Battersea Power Station Turbine Hall A, London, 2006

Santiago Cirugeda, architecture, Insect House, Spain, 2008

Introduction: Karen Lee

My full name is Yewon Karen Lee But call me Karen

My future intention within the field of environmental design is to become an architect and an interior designer. So in a nearest future, I would like to travel around the world and gain knowledge. After the trip, if I think this is what I really want to do for rest of my future, I would continue my study through a master’s program. For now, I am interested in urban ecology. So in a long run, I want to create a space and architecture that harmonize with the nature. I believe this would give better quality of life to individuals, especially for the people who live in high density area.

Visual examples







Namba Park In Japan by the Jerde Partnership in 2003







Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao By Frank O. Gehry in 1997







A Striking Green City

Introductions: Elaine Kinyanjui







Hi all,
My interest in urban ecology comes from a broad ranging curiosity on how environments affect our quality of life. Its hard to narrow down because it applies to various disciplines. I’m beginning to think that architecture is really a form of social engineering because spaces essentially define a way of living. Each era marks a change in lifestyle, values and the way individuals and groups perceive themselves. Because we are currently in the midst of one of these paradigmatic shifts I am re-evaluating what I really want to do with my career. A masters in architecture was always my top priority but I now want to explore other avenues of architecture -what could be termed as alternative practices. This could mean enriching mainstream Western knowledge with ideas from other cultures. Sociology, anthropology, cultural theory, landscape architecture, cultural architecture are all of great interest to me. My task is how to apply these ideas into meaningful experiential architecture. How can we build so that people can be self sufficient while also fostering a sense of community: To use a cliche term – an urban village.

Here are some examples of projects I found interesting:

Alvaro Siza: Leça Swimming Pools


Renzo Piano: California Academy of Sciences


And some thought provoking TED talks:


Introduction: Bryan Chao

Hello everyone, my name is Ku Wing Chao…aka Bryan.

My future plans within the field of environmental design is to pursue a master degree in architecture, landscape architecture or urban planning. I’m interested in the importance and value of green spaces in the city and the complexity of urban transportation and urban planning. Why can people and vehicles coexist in harmony? I hope to have my own professional practice in the near future and create innovative designs.

Here are some of the projects I find fascinating and inspiring:

The High Line is know as New York City’s “park in the sky”. The design is a collaboration between James Corner Field Operations (landscape architecture firm), Diller Scofidio + Renfro (architecture firm), and planting designer Piet Oudolf. The project is divided into 3 sections. Section 1 begun construction in June 2006 and opened to the public in june 2009. Section 2 opened June 8, 2011 and section 3 hasn’t started construction yet.

UK’s “Seed Cathedral” Pavilion at Shanghai World Expo 2010 is designed by Thomas Heatherwick. The six-story cube-like structure is pierced by some 66,000 transparent acrylic rods containing seeds at their ends and the whole thing moves gently in the wind. The simplistic landscape is made of a soft turf-like material that resembles a wrapper revealing the seed cathedral.

Millennium Park in Chicago is a perfect example of combining art, design, architecture and landscape architecture into a beautiful project. The planning for the park begun in October 1997, construction started in October 1998, and opened to the public July 16, 2004. The park features the Jay Pritzker Pavilion (by Frank Gehry), Cloud Gate (by Anish Kappor), the Crown Fountain (by Jaume Plensa), the Lurie Garden, and many more attractions.

Introduction: Camille Bleytou

Hi, I’m Camille!

After debating between urban planing and architecture I think my goal is to practice as an architect and maybe deal with city issues that can still lead to projects related to urban planing someday. I am more interested in larger projects such as public infrastructures or condominiums as I think a “new” city like Toronto could benefit from a smart building plan that answers tomorrow’s population density questions.

My 3 examples:

The Opera House of Lyon, France-Jean Nouvel:

The new addition on the roof kept the opera up to date but the base of the old building was restored and kept and I think it is an important thing to respect even in our cities that tend to prioritize urban density.

-Buren’s columns, Paris-Daniel Buren:

Interesting way of adding interest in the landscape, half architectural elements, half art/design features.

-Millenium Park, Chicago:

Green spaces are crucial in our cities and Chicago seems to have resolved it with a blend of art, design, architecture in a downtown urban park.

Introductions: Steph Pavan

My name is Stephanie, but I usually go by Steph.  In the future, I plan to work in the  field of Landscape Architecture and hope to get into a Masters program for next September at UBC or UofT.  Once finished school, I would love to eventually work with a firm and/or the government on large scale landscaping and urban planning projects.  As I’ve also spent a lot of time teaching (and in school, especially with this masters plan), I also aspire to  teach in this field of design.


Inspiring Environmental Designs
Ekostaden Augustenborg, Malmö, Sweden 1998


Humber Arboretum Center for Urban Ecology, Toronto 2007
Architects: Taylor Hazell Architects Limited and architectsAlliance Landscape Architects: gh3
more info


The High Line, New York 2009
Design Team: James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofido + Renfro and planting designer Piet Oudolf

Introduction: Yvonne Kwack

My name is Yvonne.

 ED Intentions: My future intentions within the field of environmental design is to get into a masters program in urban design or urban planning to further expand my knowledge and education. Hopefully after that I’ll be able to get a job in a related field that involves aspects of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design or regional planning and would like to take advantage of working abroad if possible.

3 Inspirational Visual Examples:

1. Renzo Piano – Tjibaou Cultural Centre (1998) 

2. Glenn Murcutt – Magney House (1988-1990) 

3. James Corner Field Operations & Diller Scofidio + Renfro – The High Line (2009) 


Introduction: Janessa Emily Genevieve Bremner

My name is Janessa.

“Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children.” -Kenyan proverb

A re-purposed building is allowed not only to survive, but to begin a fresh new chapter, building on history rather than destroying it. I believe as we enter into a new era of exploding urban populations, the rush to construct new habitat combined with the desire for profit has left our existing infrastructure forgotten. I am primarily interested in how to meet the demand for new construction without destroying our past. I look to other cities around the world for inspiration, especially Europe, where the lifestyle is completely different to that which we are accustomed to. I want to change society for the better, through architecture. After completing a Masters program, I plan to pursue a career in architecture with a focus on retrofitting & re purposing.

Three design inspirations:

1. Singapore’s School of Art, Design & Media

“Like a stroke of calligraphy writ large, two sweeping green roofs create a mesmerizing effect that turns the building into pure landscape. The roof is as smart as it is beautiful – the carpet of grass controls storm water by soaking up monsoon, significantly reduces cooling loads, and adds biodiversity to the campus.”

2. Victoria BC’s Dockside Green

“A model for holistic, closed-loop design, Dockside Green functions as a total environmental system in which form, structure, materials, mechanical and electrical systems interrelate and are interdependent – a largely self-sufficient, sustainable community where waste from one area will provide food for another.”

3. Chicago’s Post Office Renovation

“A newly unveiled proposal for the huge old post office in downtown Chicago is only the beginning of a grandiose plan to build a massive mixed-use development. The architect says all the buildings are to be LEED certified and use “potentially ground breaking energy efficiencies.” Further promising that keeping a low carbon footprint will be a high priority.”