Posts tagged ‘Infill’

Rediscovering Dickson Street

These days there are few if any stores available on Dickson Street, as more businesses flock to the Galt core.

Ben Schmalz and Emily Pederson are the latest entrepreneurs to establish themselves on Dickson, opening One Rebellion just last week. It’s an upscale clothing store catering to people over the age of 30.

“We’ve had so much traffic this week and people are so happy to see the store because there is nothing else quite like it down here,” said manager Pederson.

“We grew up in Galt, and I was looking to expand the business,” said Schmalz, who also operates a store in Dundas. “I took a look around and I was impressed with the revitalization that’s taking place in downtown. I loved the architecture and the ambiance. It was the perfect fit for us.”

Merryn Edgar, Patricia Cooley and Jennifer Gralec all opened their businesses the same day two years ago and became known as the “Dickson chicks”, following a television story on their enterprises.

Edgar runs Gallery M, an art shop that features works of many local artists.

“We’ve been doing really well since we opened and today I just sold two paintings, so it’s a big day for us,” she said.

In each area of the shop, Edgar has worked to bring together pieces of art that complement each other. In a similar way, she said each of the new businesses on Dickson Street does the same thing.

“There is a good mix of businesses down here. We do a lot of cross promoting and a lot of scratching each others’ backs when we can,” she said.

When Jennifer Gralec returned to work after having children, she decided that if she had to be away from her girls it would be to do something she loved. Baking is her passion and Tiny Cakes, her baking boutique, is a labour of love.

Since opening in December 2010, Tiny Cakes has become a regular stop for many people working on Dickson Street.

Gralec, like many of the other new businesses on Dickson Street, has used social media to get the word out on their businesses.

“I religiously post on Facebook, so people know what’s going on.”

Re New owner Patricia Cooley knew she had the right place when she walked into the office.

“This is a great space and with that big front window, it just called to me,” she said.

Re New is a medical laser and skin care aesthetics business, operating on the second floor of 65 Dickson St., across from city hall.

When Edit Kasza decided to move from St. Catharines and open her new business, she looked no further than Cambridge.

“I came for a visit and I absolutely love it here, especially Galt. I love all the architecture. It’s like a tiny, tiny version of Budapest.”

Kasza opened Edit Design Inc. in November and says the outdoor/indoor kitchen studio is slowly getting going.

“It’s taken time, but people are discovering I’m here,” she said. “You really have to see my studio to understand what I do.”

Eighty per cent of her business comes from outside of Cambridge, so her studio is becoming a destination for clients.

Baldeep Duggal can say the same thing of Phildon Pens.

“We’re one of a handful of pen shops in the country. We have local clients, but we are a destination for people who love pens and paper.”

Phildon Pens has been on Dickson Street for four years and Duggal sees a difference with the new businesses arriving.

“They are all small business owners who all  have good business plans. They all try to offer unique products and good services. When you have small businesses there is a certain sense of pride that you don’t see in big box stores.”

Decorators Kim Turner and Michelle Jones, who met at the Cambridge Centre for the Arts, opened The Relique Studio on Dickson Street. After teaming up to refinish a dining room suite, the pair went for coffee at Tiny Cakes and their concept of opening a shop evolved.

“As we were talking we were watching people come into the shop and realized these people could all be our customers. That’s when we started looking for a shop,” Jones said.

The shop opened eight months ago and there is no lack of business.

Bill Schwarz has been practicing law and painting in the Galt core since 1969.

“We used to have our law office on Dickson Street and things are really changing. I think the work that David (Gibson) is doing on Main Street has brought a lot of attention to the downtown.

“I think we’ve seen more change in the last 18 months than we’ve seen in the last 40 years. It’s really great to see.”

Source: The Cambridge Times

September 6, 2012 at 11:18 pm Leave a comment

HydroCity Lecture

November 5, 2009 – 6:30pm
Main Lecture Theatre, UW Architecture Building
Cambridge

The HydroCity Lecture, a Symposium on Hydrology and Urbanism, is presented in conjunction with a Symposium to be held at the University of Toronto on November 6, 2009.

Alan Berger is Associate Professor of Urban Design and Landscape Architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he teaches courses in the department of urban studies and planning. He founded and directs P-REX, The Project for Reclamation Excellence at MIT, a trans-disciplinary research effort focusing on the design and reuse of waste landscapes worldwide. By using low-angle aerial photography, maps, and other graphic evidence, Berger visually reveals evidence and trends of landscape waste throughout the world—from public health hazards such as abandoned mine pits, mountains of slag, and pools of cyanide, to vacant land, landfills, military installations, and places associated with high and low-density urbanization. How these sites are cleansed, valued and considered for adaptive reuse at local and regional scales is Berger’s main area of interest. His work emphasizes the link between our consumption of natural resources, and the waste and destruction of landscape, to help us better understand how to proceed with redesigning our wasteful places for future productive uses and more sustainable outcomes. He has coined the term “Systemic Design” to describe the productive integration of disvalued landscapes into our urbanized territories and regional ecologies. Berger currently serves as a consultant to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Brownfield and Superfund site revitalization in the American landscape.

Berger’s award winning books include Drosscape: Wasting Land in Urban America, and Reclaiming the American West (PAPress 2006, 2002 respectively) His other books include Designing the Reclaimed Landscape, published (Taylor & Francis 2008) and Nansha Coastal City: Landscape and Urbanism in the Pearl River Delta (Harvard Design School 2006).

Prior to coming to MIT he was Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard-GSD, 2002-2008. He has been Distinguished Visiting Professor of Landscape Urbanism at Oslo School of Architecture in Norway, and at Aarhus School of Architecture in Denmark. He was Distinguished Visiting Professor of Sustainability at University of Michigan’s Taubman School of Architecture, and Visiting Professor for Landscape Urbanism at Katholike University in Leuven-Belgium. He is a Prince Charitable Trusts Fellow of The American Academy in Rome.

October 7, 2009 at 6:32 pm Leave a comment

A Call to Design: Dunbar Collective

Dunbar Collective: Site Location

Dunbar Collective: Site Location

I want to ask you the readers if you have a design solution for this location?

I want to create a green technology showcase property for City of Cambridge and hopefully this can be a catalyst project for the rest of Hespeler Road. Maybe this project could be included in the Mayor’s new “green” agenda?!

This project will create some much needed infill and intensification development as well as showcase new technologies through building design, energy systems and sustainability.

Perhaps work towards a LEED certified building(s)?

Site Details

Size: Unknown (I do not have the proper tools at home to calculate it!)

Current Zoning: Commercial, I’m assuming “automotive related”

Potential Zoning: Live/Work units

Transit: iXpress and GRT transit stops already in place at Cambridge Centre Mall, located relatively close to the 401

Other Details:

  • More than likely a low-level brownfield site
  • Gas station used to be located on corner of Dunbar Road and Hespeler Road
  • Several automotive related services were located on properties south of Dunbar, but before the recently closed Galt Chrysler Car Dealership
  • “Junky” flea market located at corner of Can-Amera Parkway and Hespeler Road
  • YMCA is across the street
  • Dumfries Conservation Area located across the street, approximate size of 75 hectares
  • New residential towers built at Dunbar and Conestoga Boulevard
  • Regional Shopping Centre (Cambridge Centre Mall) located across the street

I’m going to work on drafting some concepts, but I would also love to see your work too!

October 7, 2009 at 6:16 pm 3 comments

De-Railing Light Transit?

An example of a LRT station.

An example of a LRT station.

A local group, Taxpayers for Sensible Transit (T4ST), launched a formal public education campaign last week running ads in local media, which declared their preference for improved bus service that comes at a much cheaper cost than the proposed $790 million Light Rail Transit (LRT).

The iXpress bus service is great already, but LRT would work much better in the case of Waterloo Region. Faster service, dedicated lanes, improved pedestrian connections, and new development construction are just a few of the benefits, oh my!

Current iXpress bus route through Waterloo Region

Current iXpress bus route through Waterloo Region

While Regional council gave formal approval of the LRT plan at the end of June that would bring electric trains to a new Kitchener-Waterloo rail corridor, it meant that Cambridge would be linked in a regional transit system by a fast bus service instead. Lucky Cambridgites… is that what we’re called? Ew!

The local grassroots movement is based in Waterloo and is was formed to express concern about the Region of Waterloo’s planned Light Rail Transit. The group’s other objective is to promote positive ideas for better transit planning in Waterloo Region.

I personally disagree with T4ST and would love to see LRT and BRT systems enacted in the Region. People are crying that there will be low ridership, but how will one know if one does not build? Oh I know how we can fix this idea! Perhaps Waterloo Region’s Growth Plan (warning: pdf format) would like to comment? Yes, I think that would be a fine idea!

The Growth Plan requires that by the year 2015, and each year after, a minimum of 40% of all new residential units must be built within the Built Boundary. The Regional Land Budget assumes a regional intensification rate of 45% by the year 2015, and each year after, thereby allowing for both slightly lower densities within the designated greenfield areas and a larger proportion of higher-density developments to be located closer to high frequency transit. The Regional Land Budget assumes a straight line increase in the annual rate of reurbanization that between the rate of intensification experienced in the region in 2006 (29%) and the proposed rate in 2015 (45%). As a result, the average annual re-urbanization rate from 2006 to 2029 would be 42%.

We are in hard economic times, yes? A recession to be exact, yes? The formation of an LRT system will help bring much needed jobs to the Region, furthering a spur in new transit oriented developments (TOD). The Region will be receiving major funding from upper levels of government, but local taxpayers will still be on the hook for millions of operating costs. I think we as taxpayers in the Region can deal with this seeing as how it can benefit all that use it. According to Ruth Haworth, “the provincial growth targets for uptown Waterloo for the next 25 years will be met in the next five to seven years. The problem in Waterloo, if there is one, is that there may be too much development in the works.” How can too much development be a bad thing? TODs are great places to create wonderful new development either through intensified housing or commercial projects.

Taking an excerpt from Section 2.1 of the Places to Grow Policy, one can understand why the Region of Waterloo wishes to construct an LRT; “communities will need to grow at transit-supportive densities, with transit-oriented street configurations. Compact urban form and intensification efforts go hand-in-hand with more transit: not only do they support each other, they are all necessary.” It’s not only what the Provincial government would like to see happen, but also what many residents of the Region would like as well.

Many areas would start to see fresh new ideas popping up, and help develop new partnerships within in the community. I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and hope people will embrace this planned proposal with arms wide open.

Can we not formulate something from other cities that have such systems already in place, such as Toronto and Portland, Oregon? Yes I know it will cost a lot to build, but would you rather build in 20 years when it’s too late, and cost an additional $700 million?!

I guess all I am is just a daydreamer.

Source: CambridgeTimes.ca

Source: T4ST.com

October 5, 2009 at 1:58 pm 1 comment

UW Architecture Students Vision a New Downtown Galt

A redesigned Old Galt Post Office/Fiddlers Green could showcase an open-air terrace and a cascading waterfall running into the Grand River.

A redesigned Old Galt Post Office/Fiddler's Green could showcase an open-air terrace and a cascading waterfall running into the Grand River.

A group of architecture students had to look no further than their school’s front door to find ideas for urban revitalization and design. The goal was to take a holistic approach that would revitalize a mid-sized city. Their laboratory became downtown Galt and to get the ball rolling the students sat down with members of Cambridge council in a brainstorming workshop.

One of the better concepts was to take the old Galt Post Office (formerly Fiddler’s Green) on Water Street South and breath new life into it. Students Elmutaz Elrabaa, Peter Graham and Christy Hempel decided that an addition at the rear of the building should be scrapped in favour of open-air terraces that step down to the river’s edge. Incorporated into those terraces is a cascading waterfall.

Another cheap fix is an experiment the students undertook themselves. They purchased a number of pink plastic Muskoka chairs and placed them on the concrete landing at the river’s edge beneath the Main Street bridge.

Re-developing the riverbank also pops up in two other student proposals. One would introduce a flood resistant boardwalk, planters and benches along the floodwalls, while another would reintroduce the former streetcar bridge across the river behind Barnacle Bill’s Restaurant to connect the proposed Drayton Theatre site with Water Street. A third idea would create a cantilevered walkway extending the Living Levee walkway from the former Galt Library building to the Main Street bridge.

The students have also suggested some changes on Main Street. The first would lighten and brighten the alley connecting the Dickson Street parking lot to Main Street by suspending Christmas trees from wires over the walkway. Further up at Ainslie Street, students have larger, but no less simple plans.

At the former Shoppers Drug Mart building, students would tear away the steel cladding that has hidden the upper portion of the building for years to reveal its original art deco design. Meanwhile, Lederer said Scotia Bank would have its “tired ‘70s look” updated by adding a green wall to the corner pillar.

The vision could soon lead to an extended partnership between Cambridge and the University of Waterloo.

The university’s expertise is also being called to review a series of new city master plans for economic development, arts and culture, heritage, and parks and recreation created over the last year.

Many of the plans make similar recommendations and now the city, with help from the university, may look at ways to combine some of the proposals for implementation over the next fewyears.

Congratulations from one urban designer to future architecture professionals!

Source: CambridgeTimes.ca

October 5, 2009 at 9:53 am 3 comments

Kitchener Civic District Update

Previous Posts on this Topic:

Proposed Development at Dundas and English (In The Old East Village)

As we all know Medallion ( a Toronto based developer) had submitted an application for the southern part of the Dundas/Lyle/King/Hewitt block.  A developer from out of town had actually bought and assembled a few properties in one of the poorest neighborhoods in London; The Old East Village (or as some may called it EOA). They bought the properties probably because they were cheap and possibly because they saw potential in this neighborhood which was once a thriving shopping district. Now another OUT OF TOWN developer, also based in Toronto, Terrasan sees potential in the rebirth of this neighborhood. Originally they had purchased only the two properties directly to the west of English/Dundas Street corner from the city(these are brownfield sites). A couple months later they came back to the table and this time with a proposal almost 3 times as large encompassing several other properties (including the site of the Embassy).

Here’s what they are proposing to do as per the letter sent to the area residents :

726-748 Dundas Street – The purpose and effect of the proposed amendment is to permit the construction an 8-storey mixed use residential/commercial building withan increase in the permitted density of the siteto accommodate 150 residential units and a reduction in the minimum front yard depth. Possible amendment to the Zoning By-law Z.-1 FROM a Business District Commercial Special Provision (BDC(19)-D250-H46) Zone which permits a broad range commercial uses and residential uses TO a Business District Commercial Special Provision Bonus (BDC(_)-B-(_)) Zone to increase the permitted density of the siteand reduce the minimum front yard depth. In the alternative, Council may also consider an amendment to the Zoning By-law Z.-1 TO a Business District Commercial Special Provision (BDC(_)-D470-H46) Zone to increase the permitted density of the siteand reduce the minimum front yard depth.
File: Z-7544 Planner: Michael Tomazincic

I have attached 3 images; two elevations and 1 site plan. 

The building has 154 Condo units and has 9 floors in total – 3 storey podium, 5 storey tower Topped with a slanted roof with dormers.

–  ground floor retail

– 7 residential floors (2 podium 5 tower)

– 1 amenity(including greenroof)/mechanical floor

The materials include  Renaissance Stone on the podium portion, Brick on the tower portion and a Metal roof. The building also includes a tarace on the 4th floor (on top of the podium), a Green Roof on the top floor, Underground Parking, Hiden-in-building Garbage and bike storage, a wide pedestrian walkway between the west property line and the building bringing the pedestrian to the  interior courtyard which is the location of the residential entrance lobby. The ground floor retail will have individual entrances off of Dundas St as well as English St (includinga corner entrance), there will also be offices and service commercial on the rear portion of the ground floor accessed from an interal hallway.

Personally I believe that this development is great news for  the revitalization of the Old East Village neighborhood, the building design is not the best but it does incorporate several important Urban Design Principals such as Stepping back after the 3rd storey(creating a podium and continuing the existing street wall), Bringing the building to the lot line, Using a variety of materials and architectural features, Having individual entrances to ground floor retail right off the side walk, Has hidden parking (underground), Creating a mid-block connection to the municipal parking lot to the north of the property, Also the proposed building fits fairly well within the current urban fabric.

A couple things I would like to see changed is how the building addressesthe corner, judging from the southelevation it seems like the ground floor is on an angle, having a corner site they should use the  to their advantage, maybe mimic what was done on the building on the east side of the intersection. The other thing is that I found the podium to be extremely plane with little or no articulation it looks like a simple “box”.

What do you think about this development?

January 17, 2009 at 12:27 am 8 comments

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