One of PLANT’s most enjoyable collaborations of 2018 was teaming up with poet Ronna Bloom for one of the two Everyone Is King curb lane parklet installations we designed as a complement to the King Street Transit Pilot. For the Asphalt Poetry parklet, we stencilled Ronna’s poem “The City” in foot-high letters onto a 30-metre stretch of urban curb lane. Check out Ronna’s new YouTube video, in which she talks about her interdisciplinary collaborations with PLANT, a filmmaker, an artist, and others … and also explains why, when someone asks her for a poem, she treats it as “an emergency request.”

PLANT’s Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden in Toronto has received a Downtown Achievement Award from the International Downtown Association. Based in Washington, DC, IDA is North America’s premier industry organization for Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) and other property-owning or business-owning groups who partner with municipalities to revitalize and sustain downtowns and neighbourhood business districts. In 2018 IDA received a record-breaking number of submissions for its awards program and bestowed Pinnacle Awards, Excellence Awards, and Certificates of Merit across six categories. The winning organizations represent cities in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and South Africa. The Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden received an IDA Excellence Award in the Public Space Category.

Working with the Roncesvalles Village BIA and the City of Toronto, PLANT transformed a paved, triangular urban ‘remnant’ – formed by the acute intersection of Dundas Street West and Roncesvalles Avenue – into a gateway parkette and community gathering space that is part of the 1812 Binational Heritage Peace Garden Trail.

The peace garden’s design, which integrates curved benches with local plantings, makes engaging and accommodating use of the compact site. An artist from the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and a non-Indigenous artist from the Roncesvalles area worked with young people from their communities to create designs reflective of local heritage stories. Incorporated into the paving, these graphics commemorate both the Indigenous history of the area and more than two centuries of unbroken peace and friendship between Canada and the United States.

News of Junction Craft Brewing’s Architectural Conservancy Ontario Heritage Award is spreading: check out the post on Archinect about this PLANT project’s win of the Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse. (We usually lead with a taproom photo of this multifaceted project, but here’s an image by Steven Evans Photography that really captures the functional beauty of Junction’s production area.)

Congratulations to one of PLANT’s newest team members: on Monday, October 22, Margot Shafran will be in Philadelphia to accept an ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) Student Award at the ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo. The ASLA describes The One Tree Project, the winning submission by Margot and seven of her Washington University in St. Louis classmates, as “a multidirectional and exhaustive survey of nearly everything one can learn from a single tree.”

With the pending expansion of the university’s Missouri campus, a historic pin oak allée was targeted for removal. This prompted Margot’s team of landscape architecture, architecture, and fine arts students to collaborate amongst themselves and with a wide range of external partners to analyze ecological and cultural aspects of one of the pin oaks. They then extrapolated this information into the surrounding environment. For example, the team took core samples from the tree’s trunk and used sonic tomography to understand the environmental stresses the tree had survived. The studio shared its findings on a blog and hosted on-site stage performances, lectures, and other events.

Margot earned Master of Landscape Architecture and Master of Architecture degrees from Washington University in St. Louis in 2017 and joined PLANT’s team earlier this year. She is now working on the Beach Village BIA Streetscape Master Plan and other public realm improvement initiatives.

Several weeks ago, we were delighted to learn that Architectural Conservancy Ontario (ACO) had nominated Junction Craft Brewing’s new home in a former incinerator for a heritage award, and would be hosting its 2018 awards ceremony in this PLANT-renovated venue. The outcome of this October 11 event has left us positively euphoric: Junction Craft Brewing won the Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse (Corporate). ACO states that this award “recognizes those responsible for projects that highlight and incorporate significant heritage structures in fitting and imaginative ways, thereby conserving them for future use and enjoyment.”

Constructed in 1934 in Toronto’s west-end Stockyards, the building once known as “the Symes Road Destructor” served originally as an incinerator and later as a waste transfer facility, before being decommissioned in 1996. For more than an decade, this massive, elegantly detailed building lapsed into dereliction. It was then acquired by a developer in 2012, and has now been fully renovated.

Junction Craft Brewing’s space, which opened in April 2018, contains a brewery, taproom, retail space, and office space. Designed to do double duty as an events venue, the brewery has hosted gatherings ranging from rock concerts to catered private parties. (It has hosted more than 30 weddings, including the recent nuptials of a PLANT team member.)

“The redesign and refurbishment of the Symes Road Destructor by Junction Craft Brewing and PLANT Architect Inc.is an impressive example of the adaptive reuse of a venerable heritage building by a business,” ACO states. “Their work retained the stunning Art Deco design and industrial character of the site, while repurposing it for a technically demanding manufacturing system. They have not only saved but revitalized one of the few remaining buildings from the industrial enclave once critical to the Stockyards area of the Junction.”

We are delighted to have something in common with Japanese super-architect Kengo Kuma. One of his projects and one of ours have been shortlisted – along with entries from Beijing, Tainan, Taiwan, and Chicago – in the Architecture+Metal category of the 2018 Architizer A+ Awards. We won’t hold it against you if you check out Kuma’s Cultural Village at Portland Japanese Garden, but we hope it’s PLANT’s East Point Park Bird Sanctuary Pavilions (shown) that will win your Popular Choice vote. Here’s where to view the Architecture+Metal finalists and cast your ballot! Voting closes July 20.

Be sure to check out the Summer 2018 issueof Landscapes | Paysages, the magazine of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. PLANT’s Kew Gardens Streetscape gets a rave review in the Prologue section of the CSLA’s annual Awards of Excellence issue. The CSLA praises the way we created a new public realm zone by intertwining new and existing elements, and proclaims the detailing and materials “beautiful.” You can download a PDF of the entire issue here – and catch up on outstanding new Canadian landscape design coast to coast.

We are tremendously proud that the team led by PLANT and Mandaworks is shortlisted for the design of Toronto’s York Street Park. Waterfront Toronto has now posted the design concepts by the five York Street Park finalists and the five Rees Street Park finalists here. We would love to hear what you think!