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Are our roofs a wasted resource?

I have occasionally worked on high floors in office buildings, which means I get to see the roofs below me. I have memories of the sparkle of the snow on frigid days in January and the sparkle of cars in the intensity of July sunshine. But I don’t remember ever seeing solar panels. In travelling …

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“Five Big Moves” of Ottawa’s new Official Plan

City staff should be congratulated for setting an ambitious goal with the “Five Big Moves” of Ottawa’s new Official Plan. These are, indeed, big moves for the city. But creating the built environment is a political act. How will our local politicians approach these five planning goals? The first goal seeks more growth by intensification than …

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Volunteering and Advocacy

Two weeks ago at the OAA Annual General Meeting, Heather Dubbeldam, OAA, FRAIC, was awarded the G. Randy Roberts Service Award. This award celebrates an OAA member for their extraordinary service to the membership. In her acceptance speech, Heather talked about her role in the Toronto Society of Architects, founder of BEAT (Bringing Equality to …

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Creative Mornings

Two years ago, a good friend introduced me to Creative Mornings Ottawa. On April 27 I had the honor and pleasure of speaking at the monthly gathering of creative minds to speak on equity. I chose to address the topic of how we design washrooms in general, and specifically women’s washrooms. Based on my November …

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There Should Be A Rule About That!

As someone who has written policies for companies large and small, people often assume that I am “for” policies, rules and laws. And I am, I think they should exist and I think the same laws should be applied to everyone in the same way. Where I buck people’s frequently voiced perceptions of my mind …

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Let’s Normalize Equity in Design

In Layman’s Terms (A Non-Architect’s Point of View) “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 New International Version In thinking about the backlash against efforts to bring about a more equitable world …

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Climate Change is Everywhere

Climate change is everywhere, and architecture has a big part to play in making change. Awareness of the built environment, and its role in effecting change is crucial: how we plan our parks, allowing rivers to overflow; how we create sustainable suburban communities and halt the ravage of unchecked #sprawl; how we invest in existing, …

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Awards: The Echo Chamber of the Mainstream

In Layman’s Terms (A Non-Architect’s Point of View) It feels like we’re perpetually in awards season. There’s always some group patting themselves on the back. It makes me uncomfortable. When my kids were in grade school the awards were generally pointless so I saw all awards as harmless praise. My opinion has evolved and I …

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Accessibility in the Built Environment | CBC Ottawa Morning

On Monday, March 11 2019, the Honorable David Onley former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, slammed the Province of Ontario for failing to reach accessibility goals. He noted that unnecessary barriers persist in the built environment, and called on architecture schools, and the profession, to take action. The following day, Kenzie McCurdy and I were invited …

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Conference Characters

A layman’s view (not an architect) For those of you who have never been to a conference, I would recommend you experience it at least once in your life. To feel the collegiate spirit. To watch people interact as they applaud themselves and their peers is a moment to enjoy. A conference is like a …

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The Common Sink: A layman’s view (not an architect)

There’s a concept in economics called the tragedy of the commons which states that without external controls, people will act in their own self-interest to the detriment of the whole. Where we don’t impose guidelines about how to show respect in a given situation, some people will act in their own self-interest to the detriment …

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Diving In

Last year we had a unique opportunity and took to chance to dive right in. A local hotel had been having trouble with their pool and had hired an engineering company to do the structural repairs to their pool. In that process, the pool was found to be leaking, causing problems for the hotel ballrooms …

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Making intensification work in Ottawa

Making intensification work in Ottawa More people living on less land means less sprawl. However, when poorly designed or located in inappropriate areas, infill development is often accused – with some justification – of degrading the urban landscape and livability of a community. There are basically four levels of density.

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LRT – A discussion on Public Interest and P3

The following are the notes used for my address to Ottawa City Council last Wednesday with minor notes for clarity, as well as links for reference to articles and research. This follows on the publication of the Ottawa Citizen Editorial of February 28 2019 “LRT Stage 2 – Is a P3 Model really the right way to …

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Long-Term Planning, Not Band-Aid Solutions

The other evening I was driving home and listening to CBC Ottawa’s All in a Day with Alan Neal. He was interviewing Canada’s Auditor General Michael Ferguson on the Phoenix payroll system. When the payroll system was in the beginning stages, the federal government had a budget of $155 million. IBM said that for all …

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The CEO: The Modern Day Housekeeper

A layman’s view (not an architect) I have probably read thousands of historical novels and history books. It occurred to me that in some ways my work life and my fictional life have a similar cast of characters. Many of the books I read have butlers and housekeepers. The butler is the gate keeper and …

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China and Canada: Wood Trading

The Globe and Mail published an article in early December 2017 entitled Ottawa holds up venture capital deal to highlight benefits of Beijing ties. The article discusses the business travel to China of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna. While in Beijing, the two countries have agreed to work together on issues …

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Size Matters

I was happy to read that the sale of Aecon was recently scuttled. It was a bad idea from the start. PCL, Ledcor and others recently met with the feds to ask that they block the sale, citing concerns that the state-owned construction company has a poor track record in safety, corruption and it would …

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Travelling to Understanding

A layman’s view (not an architect) I was in my forties the first time I visited Europe. My family emigrated from Europe, mostly France and Poland, hundreds of years ago. As someone brought up in Canada, emotionally, Europe is as fantastical as Asia: a continent I thought I would never understand. I’ve seen thousands of …

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The Future of Architecture: Valuing and Expanding on our Heritage

In August of this year, I graduated for the second time. After having spent four years deep in academia at the University of Toronto – Major in History, double minor in English and East Asian Studies – heading back to school wasn’t in my plan. I pushed to take my final semester abroad, and ended …

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Expect the Unexpected

I’m going to start off by saying I have no direct, hands-on, experience with this subject. But I know of it, and that this is often taboo; no one wants to talk about, especially not guys. But, as a guy, happily married to a beautiful woman, and dad of two great boys, I’ve come to …

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OAA Annual General Meeting: Spring 2018

This is an abridged text of my (short) speech at the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) annual general meeting, held in Toronto May 2018. Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I’m big on threads, and once I get on a soapbox, it’s hard to get me to change the subject, especially …

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Support Local – From Food to Architecture

A Communication Professional’s Perspective When I walk around Hintonburg, where Architects DCA’s office is located, I see shops proudly displaying their buy local signs. This is a wonderful initiative, supporting small businesses in the community who are selling products made in Ottawa, Ontario or Canada. When I speak with colleagues about architectural services however, it …

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Making Byward Market more pedestrian friendly

Making Byward Market more pedestrian friendly Should William and Byward Streets be closed to traffic, CTV’s Leah Larocque explains.

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Architect’s plan for ByWard Market curbs street parking

Architect’s plan for ByWard Market curbs street parking | CBC News A local architect is hoping Ottawa will embrace his vision for a ByWard Market built more for people than for parking. Toon Dreessen, president of the Ottawa-based group Architects DCA, presented his plan for the market at an open house Tuesday evening.

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Ottawa architect promotes plan to make major ByWard Market streets car-free

Ottawa architect promotes plan to make major ByWard Market streets car-free A prominent Ottawa architect has spent his own time and money to come up with a plan that he says will revitalize the ByWard Market in part by taking cars off several major streets and turning them into pedestrian- and bike-friendly thoroughfares.

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Local architect pitches dream vision for ByWard Market with more focus on pedestrians

Local architect pitches dream vision for ByWard Market with more focus on pedestrians A local architect is challenging people to think about how the ByWard Market can be more pedestrian friendly through a concept he put together on his own time, simply because he loves the place. Toon Dreessen, president of Architects DCA, unveiled his …

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PEDESTRIANS FIRST: Architect pitches ByWard Market dream vision

PEDESTRIANS FIRST: Architect pitches ByWard Market dream vision A local architect is challenging people to think about how the ByWard Market can be more pedestrian friendly through a concept he put together on his own time, simply because he loves the place. Toon Dreessen, president of Architects DCA, unveiled his vision Tuesday at the central …

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Create a Better ByWard Market

Architects DCA, is on a mission – we want to bring Ottawa’s ByWard Market up to the standards of world-renowned destinations like Vancouver’s Granville Market, Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade and Boston’s Fanueil Market. Architects DCA has shared the results of a self-directed research and design report on the untapped potential of Ottawa’s ByWard Market. …

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Success is Continuous Learning

In Layman’s Terms (A Non-Architect’s Point of View) I was talking with a well-respected business leader and asked her how she manages to keep her employees engaged in a highly competitive environment and she told me that they do weekly learning. Sometimes its 15 minutes, sometimes it’s a full day, but every week the team …

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The Beauty of the Humble Cubicle

A layman’s view (not an architect) We spend a lot of time in the office. Sometimes we spend more time at the office than we do at home. While this is not a healthy way to live, sometimes it’s necessary. Some of the places I have worked have managed to make my home away from …

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What Robert Venturi Taught Me

On Tuesday, September 18, 2018, the world of architecture mourned the passing of the, “father of postmodernism”, Robert Venturi at the age of 93. Robert Venturi graduated from Princeton University in 1947 and again in 1950 with a Masters of Fine Art degree. Along with being an architect, he was a noted writer, teacher, artist …

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Resilience

On Friday, September 21, 2018, the nation’s capital was hit with six tornadoes. The hardest hit areas were Gatineau and the west end of Ottawa including Dunrobin. After this natural disaster, I believe that people will take tornado warnings far more seriously than in the past. I hope too that people will prepare emergency kits …

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Thank You DCA

Let me start off by saying that this is my first blog and I am nervous to share this. I thought about talking about my position at DCA and what life is like returning from my maternity leave, but I want to talk about something a little more personal. Let’s get real. Being a mother …

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Coolest Job in Parliament: Dominion Sculptor

In Layman’s Terms (A Non-Architect’s Point of View) The Dominion Sculptor is not an elected position, it’s an appointment, but it may be the coolest job on Parliament Hill. I came across R. Eleanor Milne, Dominion Sculptor from 1962 to 1993 while doing some surfing on the Parliament of Canada website. What I found amazed …

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The Future of Malls

I remember being in high school and meeting friends at the Rideau Centre after school. When I lived in British Columbia it was the same. We’d usually hang out after school taking our time to get home. The mall was the hang out place of choice at the time. My son is sixteen years old …

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Transit as a tourist

In Layman’s Terms (A Non-Architect’s Point of View) Once I went on a vacation with a friend who did not travel much and as we approached the entrance to the subway she voiced her fears: she had heard subways were dangerous, filthy and violent. I realized in that moment that my 10 year-old was more …

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Concrete has issues. What can we do about it?

Concrete has issues. What can we do about it? Making cement puts out a lot of CO2. Making concrete needs a lot of sand. Both are big problems. Yes, concrete is wonderful stuff. It can last millennia if you build it like the Romans did. Much of our modern world is made of concrete.

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Zoning and ROI

IN LAYMAN’S TERMS (A NON-ARCHITECT’S POINT OF VIEW) Something I read recently made me have an epiphany that, when I said it out loud to the architect in my life, he gave me that look. You know the one where you realize your personal thought is not only not original, but is so old that …

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DCA In the media

  All Things Home Architect Toon Dreessen: Pushing the Envelope The Globe and Mail Are we doomed to a future of mediocre public buildings? Canadian architecture needs the support of a national policy Huffington Post How Architecture Can Bring Communities Together Smarter Buildings Can Help Canada Hit Its Climate Goals I Love My Architect Where’s …

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Food and shelter: Local and national organizations helping communities in a big way

On February 7, Miranda and I went on a tour of the Ottawa Food Bank. Architects DCA made a financial contribution at the end of 2017 thanks to our wonderful clients. You can read more about why the Food Bank is important in Miranda’s blog, Charity of Choice. There were a lot of interesting facts …

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The economic case for retrofitting buildings

The economic case for retrofitting buildings This column is part of Globe Careers’ Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers . Find all Leadership Lab stories here. Beyond social responsibility, more and more data are proving it makes economic sense for landlords …

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Architectural Lessons From an Ottawa Valley Laboratory

Article in the Ottawa Business Journal written by Toon Dreessen. Architectural lessons from an Ottawa Valley laboratory Travel two hours northeast of Ottawa to Chalk River, and you’re likely to see the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) – a complex established after the Second World War to provide nuclear research lab space for Atomic Energy of …

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May is Bike to Work Month

During the month of May, we celebrate Bike to Work Month in the nation’s capital. This month signifies the start of riding season for many Ottawa residents. In fact, just the other week I went with my son to help him choose a new bike. How do we inspire more people to use bikes as …

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Panel Discussions: Focus on the table skirt not the woman’s skirt

Over the years, I’ve been on, and attended, a lot of panel discussions and conferences. When I am on a panel discussion, I am generally on stage sitting in a deep chair that isn’t quite comfortable. In recent years, there’s been more awareness of the need for inclusivity in panels, and moving away from the …

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The problem with public-private partnerships: mediocre buildings

The problem with public-private partnerships: mediocre buildings The new East Vancouver campus of Emily Carr University of Art and Design should be a showpiece. This is an art school, after all, committed to creativity. You’d think lead architects Diamond Schmitt would get a chance to do something great for the faculty and students.

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From Sears-Simpsons, to Sears Canada, to no more Sears

Sears Canada, at the beginning Simpsons-Sears, began in 1952 as a mail order company where people bought household and clothing items. Until 2017, when the Canadian company filed for bankruptcy, Sears continued to sell via magazine and also in store. The first Simpsons-Sears stores were opened in Ontario and British Columbia before more stores opened …

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Let’s Value Architecture Like We Do Music and Art

Article in the Ottawa Citizen written by Toon Dreesen. Dreessen: Let’s value architecture like we do music and art Starting in 1872, Canada had a Chief Architect, originally a Dominion Architect, responsible for the design of many federal buildings. However, that role ended in 1975. In some federal departments, such as the Department of National …

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Terrazzo Flooring – A Trip Down Memory Lane

In Layman’s Terms (A Non-Architect’s Point of View) A Blog by Miranda Paquette The Globe & Mail announced back on September 21, 2017 that Terrazzo was being rediscovered. This is huge! Why they buried the article on page L3 I will never know. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this moment since I became …

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China and Canada: Wood Trading

The Globe and Mail published an article in early December 2017 entitled Ottawa holds up venture capital deal to highlight benefits of Beijing ties. The article discusses the business travel to China of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna. While in Beijing, the two countries have agreed to work together on issues …

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Making Infrastructure Green

Infrastructure is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as, the basic systems and services, such as transport and power supplies, that a country or organization uses in order to work effectively. Infrastructure includes the bike lanes and roads that take us to work and school as well as the buildings where we live, work and play. …

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WOONERF

In Layman’s Terms (A Non-Architect’s Point of View) A Blog by Miranda Paquette I learned a new word today. I’m the second oldest person in our office so sometimes I feel like I’ve plateaued compared to my peers. But not today because I just learned about a woonerf. For those of you also learning today, …

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Statistics and Building Science

This blog post is not actually about statistics. It’s about the way building science uses statistics to help design. Building Science is the bundled fields of architecture and engineering whose goal is to calculate and respond to how the building works in its environment. By this I mean how the building reacts to the environment: …

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Social media or architecture business?

Social media is all around us. On a personal level, Twitter keeps us informed on the latest news, Facebook with our friends and family’s lives, and LinkedIn for professional networking. You may be wondering, why do businesses use social media? More specifically, why would an architecture firm use social media? Recently I have had discussions …

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Architects talking to everyone, not just architects

Whenever architects get together, we have lots of things to say to each other. We talk about fees, who won which project, where we traveled, what we learned and what engineers we recently worked with, or didn’t. Like many industries, we talk to each other. While that’s all very good, it limits us because we …

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Architect Toon Dreessen’s recipe for success

Article in the Ottawa Citizen written by Toon Dreessen. Architect Toon Dreessen’s recipe for success Architect Toon Dreessen is never happier than when he’s cooking up a storm in his kitchen or designing trendy urban lofts, slick car dealerships and modern high-tech facilities at his Wellington West office.

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Architect Toon Dreessen: Pushing the envelope

Architect Toon Dreessen: Pushing the envelope – allthingshome.ca He not only wants to push the envelope in his designs, Ottawa architect Toon Dreessen wants to push his profession. That’s why the past-president of the Ontario Association of Architects and president of Dreessen Cardinal Architects Inc. is advocating for a national architecture policy.

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Where’s the profession of architecture headed

Frank Cunha III of I Love My Architect interviewed Toon Dreessen of Architects DCA.

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Back to Work

It’s that time of year again, the new year has arrived and everyone is eager to start it off on the right foot. For most people, the holidays are a time of excitement with an underlying note of stress. Whether the stress was aimed at having to pack up the family for holiday travels, getting …

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An Architectural Experience of a Lifetime

Last year, I had the experience of a lifetime when my best friend and I drove and camped out across Canada and the United States. After spending two weeks as rural as it gets in Wyoming, where deer casually walk across the residential front lawns of their small towns, the feeling of driving into Chicago …

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Canadian architecture needs the support of a national policy

Article in the Globe & Mail written by Toon Dreessen. Canadian architecture needs the support of a national policy An architecture policy sets an aspirational goal for what we value about the built environment, and helps create a framework for that contribution to culture. The Ordre des architectes du Québec (OAQ) is actively consulting with …

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Modern Ottawa offices changing how companies work

“We are seeing office environments where there is dedicated space for collaboration, for whiteboard sessions, for cafes and for interactive space,” says Toon Dreessen, president of Architects DCA and past-president of the Ontario Association of Architects. “We are now creating spaces where people can come together and solve problems and they are not stuck at …

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Ontario Association of Architects Council: Toon Signing Off

The old adage says that when one door closes, another one opens. This is very true today as it marks the last Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) Council meeting I will be attending. For six years, I’ve had the honour of serving the architecture profession’s regulatory council. Elected by the members of Eastern Ontario, it …

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Charity of Choice

One year my New Year’s resolution was to pick a charity of choice – an organization that I could contribute to whenever I felt the urge to donate to a worthy cause. There were a couple of reasons why I wanted to do this: I was on so many lists that I was getting a …

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DCA Monthly Round-Up: The Urban Realm

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for me, from conferences to speaking engagements and everything in between. Travelling from Ottawa to Toronto and “virtually” sparking conversations with people all over the world via the DCA Twitter account, I’ve been on a mission to help educate and inspire a new way of thinking about architecture, …

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Buying better buildings: How governments should hire architects

Buying better buildings: How governments should hire architects Procurement is the process used by large organizations such as governments to buy goods and services. There is an expectation – and a requirement – that purchasing goods and services in the public sector will be in a competitive, open and transparent environment so that best value …

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A small wonder or wonderfully small

In Layman’s Terms (A Non-Architect’s Point of View) A Blog by Miranda Paquette I don’t get out much. My family left Europe in the 1600’s and doesn’t go back very often – for several generations, they we didn’t go back at all. So my second trip to Europe was the year I turned 45. I …

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Making Sustainable Architecture That Works

Has LEED reached the tipping point? Flipping through the magazines that come into our office we noticed that everyone is claiming to somehow be related to LEED. It’s used as a selling feature for homes and offices alike. From what we see it has become synonymous with “good.” In our human ability to short-phrase complex subjects, …

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The Neighbourhood Fabric

In Layman’s Terms (A Non-Architect’s Point of View) A Blog by Miranda Paquette Flashback to my teen years – I lived briefly in Orléans, went to Catholic Secondary School Garneau and babysat kids all over town. I cashed my first cheque on St. Joseph Blvd, and with all that cash ($30 or so) took a …

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ISO 9001:2015 Certification

Architects DCA has maintained a Quality Management System and certification under ISO 9001:2008 for over 10 years. On September 18, 2017 we achieved the milestone of an upgraded certification to ISO 9001:2015. We believe it’s an investment in methodology that will help us consistently deliver excellent services to our clients. When it comes to quality, our commitment …

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Ontario condo buyers grapple with monthly fees amid slow rollout of new rules

Ontario condo buyers grapple with monthly fees amid slow rollout of new rules When Joe Byer bought a condo in a 24-storey downtown building in 2009, he and his wife were attracted in part by the appealingly low monthly fee: $400 for the two-bedroom unit. After about a year, recalls Mr. Byer, an IT sales …

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Surfing Today’s Online Design Feeds

My internet life is fairly well curated. I receive articles filtered by the applications I use based on the tags I’ve picked and the stuff I have read before. While part of me finds it a little creepy, a huge part of me finds it convenient. There is too much for me to read, I …

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Good Design Matters

Speaking as a panelist at the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) Industry Environmental Scan on August 20th-21st at Ottawa’s Delta City Centre Hotel, Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) past President Toon Dreessen of Architects DCA identifies emerging trends and the challenges ahead which affect design and construction, and how they will continue to be delivered. “We’ve seen …

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The Sharing Economy

A Blog by Miranda Paquette Ottawa is rarely on the cutting edge of trends. By the time a trend gets here it seems to be passé in the great metropolises. Sometimes a trend is just a great idea whose time has come. What’s been called “the sharing economy” seems to have fallen into that category. …

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In Layman’s Terms (A Non-Architect’s Point of View)

A Blog by Miranda Paquette Our Twitter account ArchitectsDCA has been chatting about procurement with regards to Public Service, and DCA President Toon Dreessen asked me to think about it from a generalist perspective and offer an opinion (in layman’s terms). When the government buys “things” they are spending our money. They are buying it …

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Exploring Design Trends: What’s Up Next? The Linen Look  

We’ve been keeping our eyes on the ever-evolving design styles and changing trends, and (you heard it here first) we feel the “wood-look” tile might be on its way out. While absolutely beautiful, practical and welcoming, similar to every other trend, once it reaches the point of saturation, it too will be passé. What’s up …

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A walk down Wellington Street: Exploring Ottawa’s contentious communism memorial

A walk down Wellington Street: Exploring Ottawa’s contentious communism memorial Parliament Hill, the Supreme Court of Canada … and the Memorial to the Victims of Communism. Strange as it sounds, that will be the sequence along Confederation Boulevard in Ottawa if the capital’s newest memorial goes into the ground this year as planned.

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Does Architecture Tell a Story?

Simply put: yes! With each concept, design and building, architects tell a story. Whether the building is a new home, an apartment building, or just the fit up of a commercial space, we tell a story about the client, the function of the space or the community it sits in. Successful buildings do all three. …

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The Harriet Brooks Canadian Nuclear Lab

Built in 2016, the Harriet Brooks building is a two-storey, Class C radioisotope laboratory, named after Canada’s first female nuclear physicist. Architects DCA was integral in the design to replace the existing R&D infrastructure at the Chalk River Laboratory Complex. The building houses 85 scientists and engineers focused in the field of nuclear energy. The …

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The economic case for retrofitting buildings

Article from the Globe & Mail written by Toon Dreessen. The economic case for retrofitting buildings This column is part of Globe Careers’ Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers . Find all Leadership Lab stories here. Beyond social responsibility, more and …

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Signing Off As OAA President

As they say, “all good things must come to an end” and this sentiment hits close to home for me this week. For the past two years, I have had the pleasure and distinct honour to represent the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), as their President. Today, my two-year term comes to an end. The Ontario …

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Smarter Buildings Can Help Canada Hit Its Climate Goals

Article from the Huffington Post written by Toon Dreessen – Committed to cultivating a dialogue with the public about the value of architecture to society. Smarter Buildings Can Help Canada Hit Its Climate Goals Back before we talked about climate change and the damaging environmental impact of fossil fuels, Fram oil filters introduced an iconic …

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Project: Synapcity

Synapcity Toon Dreessen, President of Ottawa’s Architects DCA and Synapcity alumni presented his design to residents, bringing to life their co-created vision for their home.

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Time Flies

Originally published in OAA Perspectives Winter 2016/2017 on page 6.  TIME FLIES. THERE IS NO time like the present. A good time was had by all. Ahead of one’s time. Big time. Closing time. The year 2017 marks a major milestone in Canadian history. It is the 150th anniversary of Confederation and the 50th anniversary of Expo 67, …

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Ottawa Hospital – A Compromise Solution at Best

Having watched the debate on the NCC’s deliberations for site selection of the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus, the news last week that Site 12, formerly the Sir John Carling Building has been recommended is disappointing, at best. Here’s why we, the citizens of Ottawa, may come to regret this choice. To be clear, I’m fully …

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The Way We Weave

When we talk about food, shelter and clothing, we generally mean these three to be separate things, and, to be one thing: our basic needs. They can also be seen as the same activity in deferent mediums. They are the weaving of different elements together to form comfort. When we look at the literal meaning …

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ARCHITECTURE vs. ENTERTAINMENT

Originally published in OAA Perspectives Fall 2016 on page 8. AS ALWAYS, IT SEEMS THAT the deadline for submission of this quarterly message comes tight to another project deadline. In addition to the never-ending tasks and seemingly endless conference calls, running a full-time practice is, as many of you know, at least a full-time job. …

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Designing Bicycle Storage for Small Spaces

We’ve been riding bikes since the early 1800s and since then, have produced more than 1 billion bicycles worldwide – that’s twice as many bikes than cars! Biking is a major source of transportation for the world, and for some a lifestyle. North America and abroad, many people are opting to pay a small fortune …

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2016 World Architecture Day
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Emerging Architectural Trends

When you think about the future, how do you envision your environment? What do buildings look like, both inside and out? As frequently as the trends in fashion and design change, so do the trends in architecture which influence how structures around us are designed and constructed. Beneath those changes are fundamental elements and standards …

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Why bother?

Originally published in OAA Perspectives Summer 2016 on page 6. A FEW WEEKS BEFORE WRITING this, I was in Vancouver with colleagues from across the country, reviewing and validating the fall edition of the Examination for Architects in Canada (ExAC), as a committee member. This was followed by a meeting, again with national colleagues (mostly …

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The Architect’s Role in Climate Change – Now and Then

Architecture has always played a huge role in climate change. We know that buildings contribute to nearly half of the nation’s CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions – which is a huge part of the problem, but the good news is, it’s a huge part of the solution. When we add the fact that transportation accounts for …

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Architects and City Building: Westboro Brainery Presentation

Recently, I was invited to speak to a group of interested Ottawa residents as part of the Westboro Brainery’s ongoing series of crowd-sourced education programs. The subject: The Architects Role in City Building. We explored a number of topics to better understand what role architects play in the design and planning of a city and …

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June, So Far

June has been an eventful month for our team so far. On June 4th, Evelyne Cardinal was officially inducted into the OAQ (Ordre des architects du Québec) .     On June 8th, Toon Dreessen was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.     We invite you to visit our Facebook …

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RAIC: Who is, and who isn’t

On April 28, 2016, the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada announced it was changing its designation categories. Starting in a year, only licensed architects can use the term RAIC (and interns can use RAIC (Intern) to reflect the importance of the internship process to the profession). This announcement, in RAIC news was also posted to the …

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2016 RAIC Fellows

Each year, The College of Fellows of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) bestows Fellowship in recognition of outstanding achievement. Among 2016’s 41 new Fellows is our very own Toon Dreessen, OAA, AIA, LEED AP. The criteria for Fellowship include design excellence, exceptional scholarly contribution, or distinguished service to the profession or the community. …

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Urbanism: How Public Transit is Shaping our City

All across Canada, city planners are working towards more livable communities with the goal of providing residents with increasing opportunities for a better quality of life. Public transit plays a major role in shaping where people choose to live, work, and spend time. Businesses and developers are focusing on building in areas close to mass …

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Project Spotlight: 360 Lofts

The 360 Lofts Condominium brings sophisticated and contemporary architecture to the urban-Ottawa Byward Market neighbourhood. Located at 360 Cumberland Avenue, between York and George Streets, the 38 unit building is an in-fill construction with a style and unique design that aims to get Ottawa locals excited about architecture. The location of the building provides convenience …

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Serene, pristine, modern’: St. Mary’s Ukrainian Church a landmark for Ontario architects

Article in CBC News written by Toon Dreessen. ‘Serene, pristine, modern’: St. Mary’s Ukrainian Church a landmark for Ontario architects | CBC News The recognition gives the church – the brick building with the dome near the intersection of St. Anne’s Road and Notre Dame Avenue – iconic status and should help foster pride, the …

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Creating Secure Environments

Every type of building, whether in a commercial, residential, or a secure environment, must meet specific standards to ensure the structure can meet safety requirements and function to the intended program while raising the human spirit through its timeless beauty. One of the more difficult structures to design, from an architectural standpoint, is a secure …

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Be an Informed Consumer

Recently, I’ve been involved in a number of conversations on Twitter relating to unhappy buyers of new homes and their dissatisfaction with the design and construction of their investment. Many of these conversations show the frustration homeowners have with Tarion, the body that is supposed to provide the warranty for new home construction in Ontario. …

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Architecture as Artistic Expression

Like art, great music and architecture pushes boundaries a little bit at a time. Taking raw materials and putting them together to create something beautiful and interesting. Whether it’s paint and canvas, guitar and piano sounds, or glass and steel, it’s up to the designer or artist to assemble the pieces however they see fit. …

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Farrow Dreessen Architects Inc becomes Dreessen Cardinal Architects Inc

Building on decades of experience and a spirit of innovation and collaboration, Toon Dreessen is pleased to announce the following evolutionary changes to the firm:  Evelyne Cardinal, Steve Lajeunesse, and Derek Ruddy will join Toon as partners, and the firm will now be known as… Dreessen Cardinal Architects Inc A Group of Architects While our commitment to quality, …

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On the threshold, ready to run

Originally published in OAA Perspectives Winter 2015/16 on page 8. Over the past year, I’ve had the pleasure and privilege to serve as the President of the OAA. In doing so, one of the things most often talked about in formal and informal settings, in media interviews, procurement meetings, presentations and other events has been the role …

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A New Home for FDAI

As architects, we spend a great deal of time imagining form and function as it relates to design and ultimately, to the impact each project will make on its surroundings. The process of developing a new website to showcase those designs is not much different. We have spent some time over the last few months …

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Sketching our Town

A few weeks ago, the DCA team took to the streets of our Wellington West (Ottawa) neighbourhood to explore our community with fresh eyes.  Sketchpads in hand, we took the opportunity to return to our roots. Many of us have had training and experience with old-school pencil-to-paper drawing but rarely have the opportunity to flex …

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THE SOUND OF EXCELLENCE

Originally published in OAA Perspectives Fall 2015 on page 8. Living with teenagers is, among other things, a lesson in tolerating the music of another generation. I’m guessing my father would probably say the same thing. It was my father who got me interested in what is now called classic rock, probably to ensure I didn’t …

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Windsor rife for development of community hubs

Windsor rife for development of community hubs, says architect A planned overhaul of the historic Sandwich Towne post office could become a shining example of how to transform an aging and unused public building into a modern community hub, proponents of the project said Wednesday.

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How Architecture Can Bring Communities Together

How Architecture Can Bring Communities Together Communities are comprised of a diverse mix of people, functions, and uses. The built form that we give to communities helps to foster connections and communication: it becomes the stage for our culture. Single destination buildings serve a single function, obviously, so they become like a single experience, rather …

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Design Excellence: what does it mean?

Originally published in OAA Perspectives Summer 2015 on page 8. The busy awards season is now over. Our Design Excellence Awards were presented at the gala in Hamilton last month and are featured in this issue. Leading up to the OAA Conference, I had the opportunity to speak to the media about our award winners, and …

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President’s Message

Originally published in OAA Perspectives Spring 2015 on page 8. The Theme of this issue of OAA Perspectives – Advice for Aspiring Architects – got me thinking. It’s easy to get “aspire” and “inspire” mixed up. Both words come directly from Latin. The first translates as “breathe towards”; when we aspire to something, we really …

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Design enthusiasts drawn to Glebe house tour

Glebe home tour: A peek inside the old and the new Why flip through the pages of design magazines or scroll through websites when you can experience the real thing? The annual Glebe House Tour Sept. 21 is a one-day event that allows the public to admire five beautiful and unique homes from the inside.

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More ‘good’ architecture can bring new energy to Ottawa

Hello city: Good architecture can bring new life to Ottawa, experts say Boxy high-rises. Huge parking lots and garages. These kinds of functional, concrete structures are everywhere, it seems: Think Tunney’s Pasture, or some of the behemoths in Ottawa’s downtown. But they aren’t on postcards. Young professionals don’t see them and think, “Wow, Ottawa looks …

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Wood Works Awards Press Release

360 Lofts Condo wins provincial design award! Project: 360 Lofts Condominium, Ottawa Architect: Farrow Dreessen Architect Inc. (successor firm to Dreessen Architect) Engineer: AAR Wood construction was an early choice for this 38 unit, 2072 m2 condominium apartment building due to the tight footprint of the property and limited site access. There was no room …

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Announcing new Merger

Farrow Architects Inc. is proud to announce a merger with Dreessen Architect Inc. The combination of the two firms enables expanded architectural services available to commercial, industrial, residential, institutional, and government related market sectors.

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COOL & Contemporary

COOL & Contemporary An architect gives his 50-year-old bungalow a durable new life with corrugated aluminum, concrete panels and skylights in his basement office.

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