John MacDonald   I’ve been reading an article entitled Why You Should Use an Architect for Your Project, from the 2011 Ontario Association of Architects "Profiles 2011" Membership guide. Although  the article is interesting, informative, and mostly on target in the mind of this particular architect, I couldn’t help but wonder how a broader audience receives its message.   The article basically takes the point of view that a professional can help you make informed and important decisions about your project, with your best interests in mind. So far so good. It also points out that your project can benefit from the architect’s perspective on how the project can contribute to the quality of our communities and public interest. That̵… Read more ...
Natural daylighting is a strategy we attempt to use in every design we undertake. It is a no-brainer in our eyes to light a space with the sun. Daylighting has many benefits including;   sunlight views to the exterior electricity savings   The sun has a path that it travels each day throughout the season. The path has two angles that affect how a space can be daylit. There is an angle relative to the building usually indicated by North, South, East, and West. Then there is the angle above the earth. Each direction that the light comes through has a different characteristic.   North light is consistent. The sun never gets close to north in this region, so the light entering a north window is never direct rays but incident light reflected off of … Read more ...
What's with all the black and dark grey building exteriors lately? New construction; building renos; paint jobs to existing brick buildings; it seems to be the flavour (or colour) of the month. The Oxlea Tower on Frederick St., for example, now hulks even more on Kitchener's skyline, courtesy of its Darth Vader colour scheme. Black and grey come in all sorts of materials: as siding, baked coatings, panels, back-painted glass, and even masonry. Black is showing up in homes, office & residential towers, commercial buildings and public institutional facilities.   Are these a symptom of our times, something dour and lifeless that we're living through? Or perhaps emblematic? Will we look back at them and say, “Oh yeah, 2nd Decade!”?     Why suc… Read more ...
Numerous studies over the past two decades have touted the popular phrase “Good Design is Good Business”. But with such an intangible product, how can you know that good design will be “good” for your business?   With all the great things we know design can do for your business (such as increase productivity, reduce turnover, increase sales, reduce building maintenance costs and many more) it can be difficult for designers and firms to understand the reluctance to invest in design. Perhaps you never knew what design can do? Ask Apple. They will tell you.   While the most notable studies on the topic have come out of the U.K, there is increasing recognition throughout the Globe about the connection between design and business success. With … Read more ...
“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” – Jane Jacobs   Every year citizens in cities across the globe gather to participate in organized walking tours in honour of Jane Jacobs. Jane was an activist and writer who introduced the world to ground-breaking ideas about community-based approaches to city building. She believed that is it important for local residents to become familiar with their neighbourhoods and have input on how their neighbourhood develops. Jane’s Walks are hosted each year on the first weekend of May and focus on a variety of themes relevant to the local planning, history, people and culture of the city in which the walks take place.  … Read more ...

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