Towards a canadian tectonic ?
Patkau's winning submission for the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery (1986) is one of those architectures that sounded the end of the 60s monolithic modernity, as well as the 80s dissonant postmodernism. Kenneth Frampton recognized early on that the Patkau's architecture was the sign of a new tectonic culture…
As a reminder, this competition was organized by Larry Wayne Richards and the jury composition accounted for three solid architectural personalities: Kenneth Frampton, Eberhard Zeidler and Dan Hanganu (thus 3 architects out of a 5-member panel: if I'm correct this represents a good way to achieve the sought after 50%, still troublesome for many competition organisers!) Brian Carter's monography (T.U.N.S., 1992), already gave a very good account of this exemplary competition. Today, thanks to the collaboration of the Patkau and Diamond Schmitt firms, we are pleased to offer some extra documentation and furthermore, during this “back to school” period, some food for thoughts on the originality of a “Canadian” poetics of construction. In this era of digital dematerialisation and of environmental anxiety, we should appreciate the finesse and appropriateness of the details and materials presented in Patkau's dark and massive models. Some recently disclosed drawings reinforce the models, and the final outcome confirms it: the carpentry operates the link between these fragments that are held together uniquely by the threads of a skilful composition. It is not merely an artistic pavilion elegantly set on undisturbed ground. It is emergence, a sudden appearance of an architecture operating the fragile encounter of concrete, brick and wood. Who said that we needed more intelligence and less concrete? Those that associate “concrete” and architecture – when criticizing the depletion of allocated finances – should bring closer together the project of the Patkau with Montreal-based Atelier TAG's 2001 competition Châteauguay Library winning entry. This is a good way to initiate the understanding of a new coherent tectonic of the “concrete/spatial refinement/urban insertion” equation which has been brought to light in Canada over the past two decades.
On another subject, we can already announce that in the following months we will be presenting the projects submitted for both the Félix-Leclerc Library and the ‘îlot des Palais' competitions. This could not be possible without the collaboration of Professor Jacques White, newly appointed director of the Université Laval's school of architecture, and also professional advisor for recent cultural contests. Furthermore, the Toronto-based agency, Urban Strategies, has generously shared their archives pertaining to numerous events organised in Ontario over the past decade. During the summer months, we have worked on the documentation of many too-quickly forgotten competitions and will have the pleasure of revealing certain hidden documents before the end of 2007.
Detail of interest: the CCC's documentation database is now located on a new server and it was deemed opportune to include a new feature on the main page: this is a selection of Canadian and international competition announcements allowing us to promote (to students and young architects in particular) the participation to the challenges of potential architecture and the tectonic displacement of ideas.
In October 1986, an invitation to prepare a design for a new gallery for the display of contemporary Canadian clay and glass art was extended to a group of eight significant architects practising in Canada. This gallery was to be located on an important site in Waterloo, Ontario which was donated by the City of Waterloo. Funding was to be provided equally by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and from private donations.
The designs were considered by a distinguished international jury and the winners were announced in December of that year with all of the entries displayed in a public exhibition during the same month.
Due to delays in funding the development of the competition, design was postponed until the beginning of 1989 and by this time, construction costs had increased such that it was necessary to reconsider the scope of the original building program. Consequently, the development of the design has evolved from the original competition winning submission of 1986 to the present design.
This national gallery will collect, document, preserve, study, display and interpret the finest contemporary works of art in clay, glass, stained glass and enamel by Canadian as well as international artists. A vibrant program of exhibitions and events of national stature will be provided by a staff of professionals. The building will feature major gallery areas including an innovative and exciting gallery designed specifically to house exhibitions of stained glass. Integral to the Gallery and its programme and goals will be a tea room and gift shop, theatre, library and resource centre, glass blowing studio and administrative space. The use and visual quality of surrounding outdoor areas is to be considered and future expansion taken into account.
The brief required that the Gallery design:
- Create a unique and innovative environment for the display of clay and glass objects
- Establish and develop a relationship to Silver Lake and the surrounding parkscape
- Address the complexities of the urban context, attempting on the one hand to accommodate the difficult existing conditions but at the same time to generate a vision of what the given site and the surrounding area might ideally become
- Consider and anticipate a strategy for future expansion
- Provide a barrier-free environment for people with disabilities
- Be an energy efficient structure. (Competitors were not required to submit an energy analysis)
The site for the new Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery is located in Waterloo in Ontario. The City of Waterloo is situated about 100 kilometers from Toronto at the western end of Lake Ontario and supports a population of about 350,000 people.
The site for the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery is in the north-west quadrant of the intersection of Erb Street and Caroline, adjacent to the uptown core of the City of Waterloo. Located at the southeastern edge of Waterloo Park, it is bounded by Caroline Street, the CNR rail lines and the south shore of Silver Lake.
(From competition documentation)
(Consult the competitors' projects for specific comments from the jury)
Larry Wayne Richards, Architecte
Kenneth Frampton, Architecte
Dan S. Hanganu, Architecte
Ann Roberts, Céramiste
Donald Roughley, Ingénieur civil
Eberhard Heinrich Zeidler, Architecte
November 10, 1986: Distribution of competition documents to invited architectural teams , Question period begins
November 19, 1986: Question period ends at 3:00 p.m.
November 24, 1986: Answers by courrier to competitors
December 9, 1986: Presentation of competition boards at 3:00 p.m.
December 10 to 13, 1986: Evaluation by technical committee and jury
December 16, 1986: Announcement of winning team
December 17 to 30, 1986: Public exhibition of competing projects
(From competition program)
Articles de presse :
The Toronto Star, 19 juin 1993
University of Waterloo Gazette, Wednesday, February 4, 1987, Volume 27, Number 21 with article 'Gallery design is unveiled,' p.7.
Countdown to one thousand, Endowment Campain Newsletter, Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Volume One, Number One, Summer 1989.
Revues spécilaisées :
Any 14, article 46, 1996
Canadian Architect, Février 1987, Vol.32, #2
Canadian Architect, Mai 1987, Vol.32, #5, pp.39-43
Canadian Architect, Dec 1990, Vol.35, #12, pp.9-24,29
Canadian Architect, Apr 1995, Vol.40, #4, pp.26-33
Baumeister, Apr 1995, Vol.92, #4, pp.34-37
The Architectural Review, Mai 1993, pp.20-23
Deutsche Bauzeitschrift, July 1995, Vol.43, #7, pp.41-46
The Architectural Review, Août 1995, pp.60-64
Architectural Record, Janvier 1995, pp.64-69
Progressive Architecture, Septembre 1995, pp.54-5
The Leadline, Artsits in Stained Glass, 1988 (Toronto), featuring article on Patkau's winning design for the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery.
1. The Canadian Clay