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 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!

We will have paint under our fingernails for the foreseeable future, but the stencils are off and the results speak for themselves – in more ways than one. We’ve just finished installing Asphalt Poetry, the second of our Everyone is King ‘public space activators’ on King Street. (More about our other installation, Face to Face, here.) We asked one of our favourite collaborators, Ronna Bloom, to write something for the occasion, and then the PLANT team stencilled her poem The City onto King Street West near Brant Street. The Everyone is King installations are adding curb appeal to one of Toronto’s busiest traffic arteries while the King Street Transit Pilot is testing out the option of more streetcars and fewer cars on King. Our installation ensures that you can experience Ronna’s ode to urban exploration whether you’re on on the streetcar or on the sidewalk: we think it’s well worth reading from both perspectives.

We are basking in the media spotlight today and loving it: PLANT’s newly installed Face to Face / Tête à Tête parklet opposite the King Edward Hotel was the lead image in the print and online versions of the Globe and Mail’s coverage of the public realm-enhancing phase of the King Street Transit Pilot project. (Chris Donovan, your photos photos for both versions rock!) Today CBC Radio One’s Mary Ito also interviewed PLANT partner Lisa Rapoport about Face to Face and our pending second parklet on King Street, Asphalt Poetry. Lisa’s interview will uploaded soon to the CBC’s site.

A few months ago, the City of Toronto’s King Street Transit Pilot project got down to the serious business of investigating whether one of T.O.’s most congested traffic arteries can function better with amped-up streetcar service and fewer cars. Now the fun part of the mega-experiment is beginning, and we’re happy to be part of it – twice over. Earlier this year the City held the Everyone is King design competition for two “durable destination” parklets and a larger number of shorter-term, temporary public space installations, all for curb lane locations a mere six feet wide. PLANT’s team was the only one to score a win in both categories. Our friends at Oriole Landscaping have just installed Face to Face/Tête-à-Tête, our durable destination parklet, on King Street just east of Yonge, opposite the King Edward Hotel. Flanked by continuous benches and wrapped with planting, two long tables zigzag through the parklet, providing space for concentrated community conversation or solitary musing. In leaping orange letters on a navy ground, the piece’s title projects over all its surfaces. Watch for Asphalt Poetry, by PLANT and poet Ronna Bloom: our temporary installation will be in place in early May on the south side of King west of Brant Street.