The making of an eco-deco mansion

“Is that ‘echo’ with an ‘h’?” asks architect Paul Dowsett cheekily, referring to the extensive list of eco-friendly and sustainable technologies his firm, Scott Morris Architects, is incorporating into the renovation and expansion of this historic mansion.

There is a duality to the project. Firstly, Mr. Daniels’s team – which, in addition to Mr. Dowsett, includes project manager Nick Egizii, landscape architect Ron Holbrook, interior designer Phillip Moody and Simon Boone of Generation Solar – will be restoring as many of the home’s art deco features as possible. They include the domed foyer ceiling, the sweeping terrazzo staircase and the amazing sprung-floor ballroom in the basement.

“I’m fanatically devoted to Toronto and to preserving what we can of the housing stock,” explains Mr. Daniels, a self-confessed heritage lover. Reconsidering, he corrects himself: “Preserving is not the right word because this is not a preservation, this is a reimagining of something but trying to respect as much of what the original building has to offer.”

Since the home’s deco features seem to stop somewhere past the foyer (perhaps because the original owner got a case of cold feet), Mr. Daniels is “reimagining” what might have been and installing deco trim, moulding and other finishes throughout. more at Globe and Mail – Dave Leblanc

Orange County Great Park

In another small step toward the construction of the Orange County Great Park, Irvine will spend $14 million during the next year and a half to spruce up the area around the tethered orange balloon ride that opened this summer by surrounding it with five acres of grass, shade trees, benches and tables, the Great Park board decided Thursday.

Although completion of the 1,347-acre park is decades away, Ken Smith, the landscape architect designing it, said the open space around the balloon would give a preview of what is to come.

“The balloon was born out of the idea of giving the public access to the site while we’re still building the park,” he said. “Now that we have the balloon up, we’re realizing we actually have to provide amenities,” he said. Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times

Orange County Great Park is having an ‘Open House’ on December 1st and 2nd between 10am and 2pm

Wall Street 9/11 Memorial Fountain

What could be simpler than a glass bowl?

Actually, when it is the nine-foot bowl of an outdoor fountain, just about anything could be simpler.

“It proved to be a lot more difficult in the execution than anybody imagined,” said Adrian Benepe, commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation.

As part of a downtown parks program financed by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Deutsche Bank proposed in 2004 to donate a memorial fountain at the foot of Wall Street. It was to commemorate bank employees who were killed on Sept. 11, 2001, and, more abstractly, take the place of the handsome fountain at the base of the former Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty Street. That fountain, the setting of Ophelia’s drowning in the 2000 movie version of “Hamlet,” was destroyed on 9/11.

The new fountain was to be set — like the period of an exclamation point — at the east end of Manahatta Park, a narrow landscaped plaza along Wall Street designed by George Vellonakis, a landscape architect in the parks agency. He specified a fountain made of structural glass.

more at New York Times David W. Dunlap

Seven win Designers of the Year awards

ARCHITECT Mok Wei Wei of W Architects has become synonymous with designing buildings that are sensitive to their surroundings.

Mr Ban Yinh Jheow is the founder of toy company Stikfas, a multi-million-dollar enterprise famed for its three-inch-tall plastic action figures.

Then there is Paris-based fashion designer Andrew Gn, arguably Singapore’s most successful fashion export whose designs are sold worldwide.

The three are among seven who were crowned Designers of the Year at this year’s President’s Design Award.

The others are landscape architecture firm Cicada’s Casey Gan and Lim Swe Ting, advertising director Lim Sau Hoong of 10AM Communications, artist Eng Siak Loy and graphic design firm :phunk studio comprising Jackson Tan, Alvin Tan, Melvin Chee and William Chan.

The award, now in its second year, recognises Singapore designers who develop unique and iconic products that make an impact on the international design scene. more at Strait Times

Design at heart of sustainable Wales

DEVELOPERS should push the boundaries of design to help Wales achieve its sustainable development goals, the new development director of the Design Commission for Wales has said.

Wendy Richards, an experienced urban designer and landscape architect, has been involved in delivering a diverse portfolio of high profile design projects, ranging from a major urban park development in Hong Kong’s New Territories to the Riverfront Theatre in Newport as part of a team at Austin-Smith: Lord.

She has spent the last three years working with Newport City Council and Newport Unlimited as their principal urban designer and has worked within the private and public sectors over a number of years, as well as being a voluntary member of the Design Commission’s own Design Review Panel. more at westernmail

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