I finally carved out the time to immerse myself in the world of Passivhaus!
In completing this intensive course on the finer details of designing and building to meet the very stringent energy requirements of Passivhaus – a German system that is arguable the most appropriate certification system for housing – M J | architecture is set to design the most energy efficient homes possible. A Passive House is a very energy efficient building which requires such a small amount of heat that it can be heated mainly by “passive” sources such as incoming sunlight and existing appliances. The ultimate consequence is as beneficial for the environment as it is for one’s pocketbook.
Did you know that heating, lighting and cooling is the major component of a buildings environmental impact over the total life cycle of the building? In the order of 85%! This means that while environmental products are good for indoor air quality they are by no means the answer to a ‘green’ building. Passivhaus avoids the greenwashing.
Check out the April issue of Toronto Life. M J | architecture has been featured in an article on Live Work Spaces in the ‘Great Space’ column. Thanks goes to Alex Bozikovic who proposed this opportunity to show case our space.
Click Here to read the full article: 2012 Toronto Life – 409 Shaw Live Work
Click Here to read the article online: http://www.torontolife.com/daily/style/from-the-print-edition/2012/04/16/great-spaces-taking-care-of-business/4/
A beloved piece of architectural heritage has been demolished. I drove by the site of the former office of Moriyama & Teshima Architects a month ago and found an empty site with only a few stems from a huge old wisteria vine still sticking out of the ground. As a former employee of the office I very much enjoyed writing the following article for Canadian Architect (copied and pasted from how it appears online). Please have a read if you have the time. I welcome your comments.
Time to Go
The venerable Toronto-based architecture firm of Moriyama & Teshima recently moved out of their original offices on Davenport Road that they have occupied since 1966.
TEXT Melana Janzen
PHOTO Moriyama & Teshima
I arrived late to the farewell party. Coming through the forged iron gate of the garden wall at 32 Davenport Road, it was too dark to notice the missing yew tree (already transplanted to a new home), but the wandering wisteria vine was a strong tangled silhouette, twisting around, up, and over the trellis and parapet walls–its deep roots likely to be one of the last grips held as the plot of land is cleared and excavated for a new sky-bound development. The building itself–the party honouree–had already been emancipated of 45 years’ worth of drawings, material samples, proposals, magazines, and financial records. Inside its empty shell was a palpable sense that this space and its layered history would soon be gone. The entry sequence began with a Zen garden-like walled forecourt, followed by a crafted and weighty solid wood door, and then, finally, a stone slab spanning an interior fishpond. Once inside, visiting clients and employees alike were brought into the cedar-clad interiors of a unique piece of living history coupled with the Modernist sensibilities of a practice enmeshed with the Japanese cultural heritage of its founders. The space has developed mythic significance, as perhaps only a handful of other design offices have–a place where architecture has been shaping the Canadian context for almost 50 years. In 1966, Raymond Moriyama transformed a former automotive garage into a dynamic architectural practice that gave birth to many of our country’s seminal buildings and planning projects: the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, the Meewasin Valley Master Plan in Saskatoon, and the Wadi Hanifah Restoration Project in Saudi Arabia.
The spaces of this unique building embodied a spirit and character that was imbued in the practice from its inception. In the February 1967 issue of Canadian Architect, Moriyama describes his office as “a workshop for the mind, a tool built first to serve the staff, and second to help give the client a rounded view of the firm and its basic attitude.” It is true to say that many architects have sought work at Moriyama & Teshima because of the office’s unique environment. Passing through the front reception area and moving toward the back, the building becomes a split-level stacked studio space. A double-height space in the centre provides natural daylight and a visual connection between the various levels.
As I left the farewell party, Moriyama was having his last cigar on the terrace outside the loft. This small space, tucked above and to the side of the larger spaces of the building and accessible via a tiny winding stair, is of legend–steeped with years of discussion and debate. With that last puff, the towers encroaching upon the firm’s vacated offices on 32 Davenport Road will no longer cast it in shadow. Perhaps in moving on from their legendary building, Moriyama & Teshima demonstrate the ability of the profession to understand and respond to context–a poignant recognition that the time for a storied space in which some of our key urban environments have been conceived, is past. CA
Melana Janzen, formerly an employee of Moriyama & Teshima, is now a partner at MJ | architecture in Toronto.
We are happy to announce that M J | architecture has received a citation award for the CP Harbour House from the North American Wood Design Awards Program sponsored by Wood Design & Building magazine. Note that we received the award under previous office name of McMinn + Janzen Studio.
I recently entered a competition put on by the latest team chosen to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale for Architecture. The team, calling themselves MLO (Migrating Landscapes Organizer), asked entrants to discuss the relationship between their migration story and the un/settling feeling of dwelling. There were two mediums of expression required – a video and a model. I have received news that my entry will be proceeding from the regional exhibition to the national exhibition which will open March 15th, 2012 in Winnipeg.
Photo Credit Michele Friesen.
My video entry can be accessed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9TDMe-kLZ4.
It is now almost a couple months old, but the Rattray Marsh House was published in the Globe and Mail. A big thanks to Dave LeBlanc for writing about the house and interviewing both John and I, as well as the clients.