Search Results for 'edwards'

Edwards Gardens’ exquisite pavilion

Postcard c.1965 by Williams, Toronto

Located at the southwest corner of Leslie Street and Lawrence Avenue East, Edwards Gardens was once the private sanctuary of businessman Rupert Edwards. After purchasing the rural 27-acre site in 1944, Edwards created a glorious ravine garden with one of the largest rockeries in Canada, an elaborate series of pools and waterfalls and a nine-hole golf course. In 1955, with development encroaching upon his pastoral idyll, he sold the property to Metro Toronto as a public park. The original Civic Garden Centre, the former Edwards manse, burned down a few years later and architect Raymond Moriyama was commissioned to design the replacement Garden Centre and the new Garden Pavilion.

The Pavilion is the more distinguished of the two structures. Set on the crest of the ravine and overlooking the garden below, it’s defined by a massive Wrightian hipped roof clad in cedar shingles and inset with translucent skylight panels. Diffused natural light washes down over the beautifully detailed Douglas fir roof trusses, the precise joinery and pattern recalling Japanese building traditions. Soffits, decorative screens and benches are of cedar and redwood. The roof is supported by tapered limestone columns organically emerging from the pavilion’s terraced stone base, itself a remnant of the vanished house. The stonework is a tribute to the mason’s art; pieces fit tightly in intricate patterns and the mortar is nearly invisible. Completed in 1964, the pavilion was recognized for its enduring quality and timelessness by a 25-Year Award from the Ontario Association of Architects.

IMG_2436 Moriyama Edwards Garden V2 MR

Born in Vancouver in 1929, Raymond Moriyama received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Architecture in Civic and Town Planning from McGill University. He began a one-man practice in the spring of 1958 and immediately gained notice for his exquisitely-designed small buildings. His steel-and-brick gatehouse for the Crothers Used Equipment Centre in Leaside (1960, demolished) and the delicate Halfway House for George Crothers’s private golf course (1958) were a finalist and a Silver Medal winner respectively in the 1961 Massey Medals for Architecture competition. The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (now the Noor Cultural Centre), completed in 1963, was his breakthrough project and earned him national acclaim as one of Canada’s most promising young architects.

As Moriyama’s reputation grew, the firm was awarded a series of major civic projects: the Ontario Science Centre (1969), the Scarborough Civic Centre (1973) and the Toronto Reference Library (1977). In 1970 the firm became Moriyama & Teshima with the appointment of Ted Teshima as partner. Key works from the 1980s onward are Science North in Sudbury (1984), the North York City Centre and Central Library (1984-91), the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, Japan (1991), York University’s Vari Hall (1992), the Bata Shoe Museum (1995) and, most recently, the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa (2005). Moriyama and Teshima have since retired; the firm is now led by sons Ajon and Jason Moriyama and two other partners.

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Echoes of Aalto on The Bridle Path

One of the major influences upon the development of Modernist architecture in Canada is the famed Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto (1898-1976). Aalto’s warm, tactile, and often idiosyncratic work, created for an environment similarly cold and dark for much of the year, offered postwar Canadian architects a more humanistic alternative to the sometimes austere International Style.

In Toronto, one of the more prominent champions of the Nordic great has been architect Jerome Markson. At 63 The Bridle Path, completed in 1967, Markson integrated Aalto’s principles into a sculptural and expressionistic residence for Wilfred Posluns, co-founder of onetime apparel giant Dylex Diversified and a prominent philanthropist.

Markson House Posluns V2 crop

The visual drama of the Posluns house begins with its radical geometry. Markson rotated the living and dining areas 45 degrees off axis, opening the house to the southern sun and introducing a spatial dynamic echoed by the angled master bedroom, main entrance and triple garage. Horizontal bands of brick and wood fascia boards elongate the wall planes, countered by vertical slit windows, a pillar-like chimney and twin peaked roofs in irregular hexagonal shapes.

Inside, strategically-placed skylights and smooth white plaster walls and ceilings help to spread natural light throughout the interior, the luminosity offset by purplish-red brick and dark-stained oak millwork. The sunken living room, open to the dining room and entry hall, is visually expanded by a peaked ceiling and glass walls overlooking the gentle contours of the rear lawn.

A 1953 graduate of the University of Toronto, Jerome Markson is best known for his innovative yet humanistic residences, multi-unit housing complexes and community facilities. Much of his early work is in Hamilton, and includes a trio of houses on Hamilton Mountain (45, 79 and 125 Amelia Street, 1957-60) and the startling steel-and-glass Moses residence (8 Mayfair Place, 1960). In Toronto, Markson’s residential commissions include the nearby Jack Posluns residence (23 Park Lane Circle, 1962, demolished) and Kofman residence (32 Saintfield Avenue, 1961), and a renovation for future Barrick Gold baron Peter Munk (63 Woodlawn Avenue West, 1961). Notable multi-unit housing and community facilities are Stanrock Terrace housing (Elliot Lake, 1957; Honourable Mention, Massey Medals for Architecture, 1958); Group Health Centre (240 McNabb Street, Sault Ste. Marie, 1963; Massey Medal, 1964); Alexandra Park Public Housing (with Webb Zerafa Menkes and Klein and Sears, Bathurst Street and Dundas Street West, 1967 and 1969); True Davidson Acres Home for the Aged (200 Dawes Road, 1973); an expansion of the Jewish Community Centre and the new Lipa Green Building (4588 Bathurst Street, 1977 and 1981); an expansion of the Civic Garden Centre at Edwards Gardens (777 Lawrence Avenue East, 1975); David B. Archer Co-Operative Housing (160 The Esplanade, 1980); and the Market Square condominiums (80 Front Street and 35 Church Street, 1984). Awarded the prestigious Order of Da Vinci by the Ontario Association of Architects in 2009, Markson is currently practicing as Jerome Markson Architect.

 


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