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Canadian Modern Architecture: Daniels Spectrum

17 Oct 2019
Image Credit: Daniels Spectrum in Toronto, view of east façade.
Architectural Credit: Diamond Schmitt Architects, 2012.
Photo Credit: Courtesy Breathe Architects

This month, World Architecture Day is celebrated around the globe. In Canada, October also marks the debut of the first comprehensive review of Canadian architecture in decades. Co-published by Canadian Architect magazine and Princeton Architectural Press, the book Canadian Modern Architecture, 1967 to the Present, will be released on Monday, October 28. It launches with a series of events in cities across Canada, including several events in Ontario that have been supported by the OAA.

To celebrate the book, the blOAAg will include eight excerpts—chosen by co-editor Elsa Lam—over the month. Today’s selection is about Daniels Spectrum, taken from Ian Chodikoff’s chapter, “Urban Revitalization.”
In 1995, residents began organizing meetings with the Metro Toronto Housing Authority and the provincial Ministry of Housing. Newsletters were printed in half a dozen languages, and open meetings ensued with architects and urban planners. With the newly amalgamated City of Toronto came the newly formed Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCH), an organization that managed over 58,000 affordable units throughout the city, including over 2,000 units in Regent Park.

An initial plan for Regent Park’s transformation was completed by Markson Borooah Hodgson Architects and Greenberg Consultants in 2002. The plan sought to integrate market and social housing with a ratio just under two-to-one (in favor of market housing) and to reestablish roadways through Regent Park and into the surrounding neighborhoods. The same basic strategies remained in subsequent plans: to strengthen physical and social links between Regent Park and the city around it; to pursue a rate of development that would maintain the social fabric of the existing community; and to allow social-housing residents to return to the area if they wished. With a new park, recreation facilities, and ground-oriented housing along secondary streets, it was believed that Regent Park could once again become a dynamic neighborhood connected to the city.

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