No Mean City: The World of Architecture, As Seen From Toronto

 
Sep 22

Hiatus

2014 / Categories: Uncategorized

This blog has been on hiatus for a while now – essentially since I became The Globe and Mail’s architecture critic last year.

I will continue to write for other outlets and will update No Mean City sporadically, but you can find my Globe work here. And please do!

Thank you all for reading and for your support over the past few years.

Do find me on Twitter, too.

Feb 18

In Dwell: The Mjolk House

2014 / Categories: Uncategorized

Mjolk House, photo by Derek Shapton.

The design shop Mjolk is one of Toronto’s, and Canada’s, most special retailers: It stocks a very unusual and carefully selected range of Japanese and Scandinavian design.

Upstairs, owners Juli Daoust and John Baker live in a wonderful apartment renovated by Studio Junction. I recently paid a visit and wrote about it for Dwell.

Read my story here, with photos by Derek Shapton.

Feb 18

The Globe and Mail’s architecture critic

2014 / Categories: Uncategorized

Hi. Alex Bozikovic here. Thanks for stopping by.

This blog has been very slow lately; this is because I’ve changed day jobs and become the Globe and Mail’s architecture critic.

Read my Globe stories here.

I’ll continue to post the occasional story I write for other outlets here.

Thanks for reading over the past couple of years – I appreciate your support.

 

 

Oct 28

Banksy, here are some Canadian skyscrapers that aren’t “vanilla”

2013 / Categories: Uncategorized

Telus Sky

A bit of click-bait I wrote for The Globe: Five tall buildings in Canada that aren’t so dull.

(I could have included some other towers.)

My piece was, of course, in response to this provocation by Banksy..

 

Oct 5

Laurentian Architecture Laurentienne: Canada’s new architecture school

2013 / Categories: Uncategorized

Laurentian-Architecture-LGA-Architectural-Partners

In The Globe and Mail this weekend: my story about the new school of architecture at Laurentian University.

I first wrote about the plans for this school back in 2009, and it’s exciting to see this model – of  regionally specific, hands-on, community-focused architectural education – come into being. More here at the website of LGA Architectural Partners, who are designing the new faculty building.

And, for comparison’s sake, some thoughts about the new building for University of Toronto’s architecture school, designed by NADAAA.

Sep 16

Tower Renewal

2013 / Categories: Uncategorized

Tower-market

In last week’s Globe and Mail – where I’m now contributing regularly to the Arts section – I had a story on the important, complex initiative that is Tower Renewal. This is a combination of architecture, infrastructure and planning fixes to Toronto’s suburban highrise neighbourhoods, together with community and economic development. Read more here. My previous post on the subject is here.

Visit the research group CUG+R for background, or ERA Architects’ Tower Renewal Blog.

 

 

Aug 28

Toronto, the city parks of the future and ‘landscape urbanism’

2013 / Categories: Uncategorized

 

Corktown-Common-Michael-Van-Valkenburgh-And-Associates

Recently in The Globe and Mail I wrote about new urban parks: the breed of new ones that are filling marginal spaces in cities, serving growing numbers of city dwellers, and doing serious ecological work at the same time.

Toronto’s Corktown Common is an excellent example: as I’ve written here, the park represents a useful example of infrastructure and recreation all in one, protecting the heart of downtown Toronto from flooding while animating a new neighbourhood. The park is designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates of New York and Boston, one of the world’s leading design firms in this area…

MORE

Jul 24

Redesigning Newfoundland: Culture of Outports

2013 / Categories: Uncategorized

Culture of Outports, Port Union, Newfoundland

I was pleased to cover a project called Culture of Outports – in which Toronto-based heritage architects ERA, and students from Ryerson University, are helping rural Newfoundlanders build a future for their communities. This summer it was in Port Union.

This union-built town on the Bonavista Peninsula, a three-hour drive from St. John’s, has a long history of mercantile and cultural activity. But like many of Newfoundland’s coastal outports, it has faded, with fishing gone and no industry to speak of. This is why Culture of Outports, a non-profit program run by Toronto’s ERA Architects, landed here. It’s an unusual exercise: part community-building, part city planning, part economic development.

And the program’s founder, ERA principal Philip Evans, hopes it will answer some difficult questions. “After the end of the fishery, what do you do?” asks Evans, who is descended from several generations of Newfoundland shipbuilders. “What would make someone my age, who is thirtysomething, have an interest in living in these communities?”

Read the story here.

 

Jul 18

Bjarke Ingels’s big idea for Calgary

2013 / Categories: Uncategorized

Telus Sky

In the weekend Globe and Mail I had a story about Telus Sky, a new tower proposal for downtown Calgary.

Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group with DIALOG, it’s a bold combination of top-tier office space and apartments, with a clear ambition to be an icon and do serious city-building. Read more.

The Calgary design is responsive to the building’s uses but also gleefully, wildly sculptural. That’s typical for his practice.

The developer Ian Gillespie is working with Ingels and BIG in Vancouver; he strongly hinted about doing a Toronto project with BIG. I hope this happens.

Jun 28

Clear Lake Cottage by MJM Architects

2013 / Categories: Uncategorized

Clear Lake Cottage, MJM Architects

This week in The Globe and Mail: my story on a contemporary cottage designed by Ted Watson of MJM Architects.

From the outside it is a low, irregularly shaped trapezoid with triangular points on both ends. Mr. Watson jokingly compares it to a Stealth bomber, which is pretty apt. Decks on either end are made of clear cedar, but once you step into the building you are on a concrete floor. The walls around you and the vaulted ceiling above are wrapped in Douglas fir plywood; the central hallway is marked by a stripe of black-stained cedar and a fireplace made of black mild steel.

All this, according to the architect, makes it comfortable. “We really wanted to avoid making the building feel too precious, where you have to take your boots off,” Mr. Watson says. “So it has a very robust exterior, and the concrete floors – which are heated, so they are literally warm, even if some people think concrete is figuratively cold.”

Photos after the jump.

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