The Mound of Vendôme at the Canadian Centre for Architecture

By Staff at Canadian Architect
Canadian Architect, June 22, 2014

On view at the CCA from June 19 to September 14,  2014 and curated by architectural historian David Gissen, The Mound of Vendôme revisits one key episode of French history when the Commune de Paris in 1871 voted to demolish the Vendôme Column, abolishing all allusions to the Napoleonic era. To protect the surrounding architecture during demolition, a radical landscape was erected on Place Vendôme. Informed by the methods of project and installation at the CCA traces the provocative history of the column and mound, while arguing for its historicization and reconstruction.

The mound is a seemingly simple yet provocative artifact: an ephemeral earthwork that became a central part of a radical attempt to transform urban iconography during the two-month rule of the Paris Commune in 1871. In his research and contemporary architectural proposal, David Gissen recalls this lost structure and offers new ways of thinking about memorial landscapes and monumental forms. As mirrors of the past, architectural monuments are reminders of collective memories and socio-political powers. Yet monuments are also subject to changes in values, representations and social tensions overtime. Read more…

When seven renowned architects design bus shelters, the results are fantastical

By Dave McGinn
The Globe and Mail, May 28, 2014

Few people may have ever heard of Krumbach before, or be able to tell you a single thing about the tiny village in western Austria. But this month it’s garnering international attention for a project that has given its 1,000 inhabitants unique bragging rights – they’ve got the best bus shelters in the world.

Last year, the Kulturverein Krumbach, a local cultural group, invited seven architects from around the world to design and help build bus shelters for the area. None of the architects would be paid, although they would get a one-week holiday in the village. All of them said yes. Keep in mind, this is a group of world-renowned architects such as Japan’s Sou Fujimoto, Chile’s Smiljan Radic and Pritzker Prize-winners Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu.

Few if any of their creations will be recognizable as bus shelters, but that’s the point. Replacing all the former shelters in the village with these structures and their sculptural adventurousness will help not only rethink what’s possible when it comes to public buildings, but also attract tourists. The bus shelters were unveiled earlier this month and are now in use.

The international media attention the ambitiously whimsical project has garnered has already boosted the area’s profile among prospective tourists. It’s proof that you can make something as mundane as a bus shelter architecturally inspiring, even poetic. Read more…

Architect adds simple but clever gadgets to a builder’s tool box

By Paul Attfield
The Globe and Mail, June 18 2014

Home improvement can often be a messy and frustrating task even for those with the knowledge, skills and tools to do the jobs.

It’s also where Vancouver resident and transplanted Englishman Andrew Dewberry, 54, found an innovative niche, capitalizing on the opportunity to enhance a tiny portion of the process with a few devices designed to make every budding Mike Holmes a little more comfortable.

“I’m an architect by profession so I was actually working down at Emily Carr [University of Art and Design in Vancouver] getting the new building built on Granville Island and watching workers,” says Mr. Dewberry, a native of Manchester, England. He noted with interest as they applied caulking to some aluminum shock frames, particularly when they smoothed it out with their fingers. The crudeness of that final step got his creative juices flowing.

“To me, in the late 20th century as it was then, it was just such an anachronism. So I came up with a tool to do that.”

Mr. Dewberry had 5,000 units of his Caulk-Rite tool made out of plastic, assembled them at home and started selling them locally in 1996 as a way to simply and easily apply the ideal amount of caulk.

A hastily scrambled appearance at the Western Hardware Show brought in another 20,000 sales, while a trip to a national hardware show in Toronto added Canada-wide distribution through retail giants such as Canadian Tire and Home Hardware.

Customers quickly started requesting a caulk removal tool, too, to go along with the original piece, and Mr. Dewberry came through with that – winning “best of show” at the following year’s national show – with the pair of tools that have now sold 35 million pieces globally. Read more…