Category Archives: Architecture

Heritage Spotlight: Landed Banking and Loan Company Building

At the corner of Main and James sits a bite of The Big Apple. The Landed Banking and Loan Company Building, designed by Charles Mills, is a direct descendent of New York City’s Knickerbocker Trust and Safe Deposit Bank building.


Finished in 1908, The Landed Banking and Loan Company building is the oldest remaining bank building in Hamilton.  Although it’s inspired by another building, the old bank has it’s own unique features. Between the floors a wall panel makes the pilasters less prominent, but it’s presence is just as commanding. The exterior is composed of Indiana limestone and also consists of large-scale entablature, and a balustrade.


Located at Fifth Ave and 34th street in New York City, the Knickerbocker Trust and Safe Deposit Bank building was designed in the Beaux-Art tradition by the firm of McKim, Mead and White. Completed in 1903, the three-storey Classic Revival bank consisted of a Vermont marble exterior, colossal Doric columns, pilasters, and traditional Corinthian orders. The transition between the facades demonstrated responsiveness to context, while the entablature and balustrade added a masterful touch.

From left to right: The Knickerbocker Trust Company in 1904; the 1921 addition; and how it looks today

From left to right: The Knickerbocker Trust Company in 1904; the 1921 addition; and how it looks today

When first commissioned, the Knickerbocker Trust and Safe Deposit Bank building was meant to be 13 stories. However, the solution to super-impose an additional 9-storey element didn’t come to fruition until 1921 when ten stories were added. The building was redesigned in 1958 and is now unrecognizable.

In 1986 the Landed Banking and Loan Company Building was granted heritage status. There have been minor repairs to the building, including the removal of a night safe deposit box on the west elevation. With the Canadian flag flying high, the building is one of the city’s most treasured pieces of built heritage.

Hamilton 1, New York 0



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Architectural Spotlight: Lynden Library

Photo Courtesy: Hamilton Public Library

Photo Courtesy: Hamilton Public Library

Lynden Library
McCallum Sather Architects Inc
110 Lynden Road
Completed: January 2013

Nestled in the quaint hamlet of Lynden is the recently finished Hamilton Public Library, Lynden Branch. Set back from the road, the single-storey, 4,000 square foot library employs two distinct contexts of both rural and urban building design.


The exterior of the building consists primarily of a brown brick veneer, a look that integrates well with the library’s surroundings. Punched individual windows and large corner windows give a noticeable touch to the building’s exterior.


Above the covered entrance of the library are shaded and ventilated upper clerestory windows that provide the atrium with ample natural lighting.


Inside the library, exposed glulam beams compliment the upper clerestory windows, giving the space a warm, rustic feel.


The children’s corner has punched windows at varying levels with colourful tints that add liveliness to the area.


Next to the children’s corner is a casual seating area where parents can watch their children or read in comfort.

The large open floor of the library allows for more social interaction, as well as better visibility for staff and patrons.

The library also has a Teen Room equipped with computers, a smaller room for meetings, and a sufficient stock of books.

The library has a long list of sustainability features including an energy savings of over 35% than required by the Ontario Building Code. To reduce the light power output, occupancy sensors control the lighting. Many components of the building’s structure, including the brick veneer, contain recycled materials.


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Architectural Spotlight: Construction House


Construction House
John J. Harkness
York Boulevard
Built: May 1984

Built in 1984, the Construction House was a joint venture project aimed to create a space to house the local construction association offices.

The single-storey, 7 500 square foot office building was designed by architect John J. Harkness. The exterior of the building consists of an orange brick with a wavy enclave of windows along the southwestern side, creating an eye-catching wall that faces York Boulevard.


A three sided semi-circular copper-roofed canopy covers the entrance located on Ray Street. The parapet is also clad with now oxidized copper, adding another striking visual touch to the building’s exterior.

The building’s interior was originally used for offices, a plan room, industry library, and meeting rooms.

When opened, the Construction House was (and remains) home to the Hamilton Construction Association, the Mechanical Contractors Association of Hamilton, the Electrical Construction Association of Hamilton, and the Hamilton and District Sheet Metal Contractors Inc. These participating associations represented a total membership of over 500 companies.

The members created the Construction House out of confidence in the long-term growth of the Hamilton area and to bring together the major organizations of the industry.


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The Brant Street Pier finally opens


After a long wait, The Brant Street Pier finally opened in June during this year’s Sound of Music Festival on Fathers Day Weekend.

The Pier is the final phase of the Waterfront at Downtown Burlington project. Other phases of the project include the parking garage at 414 Locust Street, Discovery Landing, the Rotary Centennial Pond, and The Dofasco Waterjet Plaza.


Located at the Eastern End of Spencer Smith Park, the Brant Street Pier extends 137 metres over Lake Ontario. The S-shaped pier is connected to the park’s existing promenade by a coloured concrete walkway.


Five metres above the water, the pier’s platform is built on 14 caissons drilled into a bedrock foundation.


Located along the sides of the deck are LED lamps extending over the walkway and benches without backs, offering different views of the lake.


Further out (85 meters), the deck widens for a circular node. In the centre of the node is a raised platform that is nine metres in diameter and can be accessed via circular staircase.


Atop the platform is a 12-metre beacon with an oblong nautical-style structure complemented by rings clad with a perforated metal sheet.

The beacon is made of a tubular structural steel framing. The stiffness of structural steel framing will ensure the structure can withstand the high winds of Lake Ontario.


The platform not only supports the beacon, but also offers a different vantage point from the pier.

According to the City of Burlington, the construction of the pier was also attentive to the environment. The height of the pier allows the free flow of the water under the platform. Along the eastern edge of the promenade, the beach has been preserved and the project includes providing fish habitat compensation and enhancements for Sheldon Creek.

The total cost of the pier construction is an estimated $14.4 million.

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An alternative design and development plan for Gore Park buildings

Local developer and designer Mahesh Butani has prepared a compromise development proposal for the Blanchard Block at Gore Park that would not only save the historic Gore Park buildings, but also integrate new development.

Butani has expressed fear that tearing down the historic Gore Park buildings would be damaging to the city’s core. Although there is a possibility the Gore Park streetwall will be designated as heritage buildings, this new plan would achieve the integration of the existing buildings in a sensitive manner with large-scale development.


The proposal suggests a phased plan with three stages. The first stage is to develop an 80-room boutique hotel superimposed on top of the Gore Park row of heritage buildings in a receding form. The receding levels open up the sightline for 50% of the units in phases two and three, while also providing Gore Park with low shadow cover from the buildings.


The hotel would include a terrace restaurant, café and bar overlooking the park. There will be over 40 “Bed and Breakfast” rooms inside the pre-existing buildings and six retail storefronts.


Stage two incorporates an 18-floor mixed-use condominium with 108 units on the adjacent lot facing James Street South, which is currently vacant.


The final stage would be a 40-floor high-rise condominium with more than 400 units. The condo would be situated on another vacant lot facing Main Street. All three phases would be integrated with the boutique hotel and terrace café overlooking Gore Park.

According to Butani, building the development in phases would give a realistic flow to the financing and asset collateralization, giving lenders a greater assurance against the risk of default. It would also help control supply and demand, ensuring that more sales go to actual users, adding density to the core.

The total development value of this proposal totals 150-million dollars.

Note: these renderings are not finished. They will be released in a few weeks with materials, textures etc. However, due to the immediate possibility of demolition, Butani decided to release various views of the unfinished rendering.

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Architectural Spotlight: Engineering and Technology Building

image-19 McMaster University Engineer and Technology Building
Vermeulen Hind Architects (Perkins + Will)
Main St W and Emerson St
Built: 2009

The Engineering and Technology Building is situated at McMaster’s Main and Emerson corridor, adding a contemporary touch to McMaster’s streetscape presence. image-21 The five storey, 125,000 square foot building consists primarily of two materials: concrete and glass. The structural frame of the building is made of poured-in concrete, a durable and aesthetically pleasing material. Above street level, the building is composed of a glass curtain wall of varying bands of glass. The predominately glass façade is just one of the many features that landed the Engineering and Technology Building a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification for meeting environmental standards. image-25 Inside, the building was designed as a teaching tool. There are structural and mechanical elements in the building have been left exposed to help the students to study some of the building’s functions. image-16 There are two elliptical shaped classrooms inside the building. These rooms are both within a three-story funnel shaped tower located at the buildings west façade. Some of the building’s sustainability features include: rainwater harvesting; occupancy and automated photo sensor controlled lighting; high recycled content in primary materials; inclusion of local slag; and heat recovery for exhaust air. The Engineering and Technology Building, which cost an estimated $48 dollars, has won two awards of distinction. Hamilton’s Urban Design and Architecture Awards committee chose the Engineering and Technology Building as the recipient for the Award of Excellence for Architectural Design in 2009. The second award was the architectural merit category in the 2009 Ontario Concrete Awards.

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Architectural Spotlight: Salvation Army – Lawson Ministries Autism Centre


Salvation Army –  Lawson Ministries Autism Centre
533 Main St East
Trevor Garwood-Jones & Hanam Architects
Built: 2010

Built in 2010, the Salvation Army –  Lawson Ministries Autism Centre was the last building designed by the late architect Trevor Garwood-Jones.


The centre’s distinctive architecture manages to fit seamlessly within the streetscape. It achieves this through its compatible scale with a high-peaked roof, punched windows, and house-like feel.


The exterior of the building consists of a yellow compressed concrete cladding, as well as a subtle black cladding along the bottom and sides of the building. The bold yellow cladding creates a uniqueness that separates the centre from its neighbours.


A rooftop patio provides outdoor space to the small infill lot. The frameless glass panels provide an enclosure that more defines the surrounding space.


The entrance of the building has a suspended canopy with an accented wood underside. The porch-like entrance signifies the transition between public and private space.


Inside the building, many of the outer walls consist of a glass block paneling, allowing natural light while maintaining privacy.


The reception space has some notable features such as an elevator (the building is completely accessible), wood accenting, and a bright orange wall that adds visual weight to the hallway.


The peaked ceiling is highlighted with timber bolted trusses, providing the reception space with a rustic feel.


A feature room of the centre is the Snoezlen Room. This room offers therapeutic multisensory stimulation through the use of lighting, sounds, colors, scents, and other senses.

Other rooms in the centre include multi-purpose rooms, a literacy room, café, meeting room, offices, and a mini gym.






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Stelco Tower – 100 King St W, Hamilton

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May 10, 2013 · 7:32 pm

The Hamilton Conservation Authority’s Veldhuis Project is moving forward

In partnership with the City of Hamilton, The Hamilton Conservation Authority is redeveloping a brownfield site along the Desjardins Canal into public green space.

The site is located at the old Veldhuis Greenhouse property that runs along the Desjardins Canal on King Street East in Dundas, just north of Cootes Drive. The area was once home to a greenhouse made famous for it’s variety and quantity of cacti.


The Veldhuis Project will cost an estimated $3 million, with the funds going towards the redevelopment of the one-hectare property, as well as remediation of the canal.

The project is part of the Hamilton Conservation Authority’s plan to create the Dundas Eco-park, which will be a part of the Cootes to Escarpment Park System. The 1300-hectare urban park will provide the only continuous habitat connection from Lake Ontario to the Escarpment.

Designed by landscape architects G. O’Connor Consultants, the redeveloped brownfield site will consist of a meadow, both an asphalt and limestone pathway, boardwalk lookouts, a pavilion, restored woodlands, and public art.

The only remaining piece of the old greenhouse still intact is the two-storey red brick chimney.


Due to Chimney Swifts, a protected at-risk species actively nesting in the chimney, it has been resolved that the chimney will remain as a site element. An eight-by-eight meter shaded structure that will resemble a greenhouse – a tribute to Veldhuis – will be situated along the asphalt walkway and within view of the chimney.

Development concept courtesy of The Hamilton Conservation Authority

Concept courtesy of The Hamilton Conservation Authority

The green space will also feature a pedestrian boardwalk against the edge of the canal, complete with a fabric sail-style shade structure, interpretive signage, and ‘industrial’ bench seating. The boardwalk’s design is an attempt to bring the canal’s rich history back to the site for those who walk the pathways and canoe the canal.

Concept courtesy of The Hamilton Conservation Authority

Concept courtesy of The Hamilton Conservation Authority

Along with the remediation of the Desjardins Canal, floating islands for nesting waterfowl will be implemented, as well as restored riparian edges and an enhanced riparian outlet.

On King Street, the two-meter wide municipal sidewalk will be extended and a new crosswalk with painted markings will be added to connect the Veldhuis green space with Martino Park to the north.

One of the remaining challenges facing this redevelopment is the proposal to close King Street at Olympic Drive. The plan is to remove the existing road to create a turtle nesting area, extend the pathway, and add an additional boardwalk.

Work on the Veldhuis Project is set to begin later this summer.

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Architectural Spotlight: MARC

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MARC – McMaster University Automotive Resource Centre
Longwood Rd. and Frid St.
Perkins + Will Architects
In development

MARC is McMaster University’s new automotive research centre that is currently being built in the shell of an old industrial building at the north end of the Careport Centre.

The exterior of the building is getting a major facelift. Floor to ceiling windows now surround the new atrium on the eastern end of the building that was originally just loading docks. The old corrugated rusty grey steel has been replaced by darker gunmetal coloured steel, accented with grey panel cladding and celestial windows. The 14 loading docks have been narrowed to four, the ten docks replaced by a red brick wall with ground level windows.

The centre will occupy approximately 70 000 square feet of space, with 50 000 square feet on the first floor and the remaining square footage on the second floor. The space will be comprised of labs, offices, and common areas.

McMaster’s Automotive Resource Centre is the latest addition to the McMaster Innovation Park and will provide a place for the research and development of green automotive technologies. The university received an $11.5 million grant from FedDev Ontario, a federal agency launched in August 2009 to help respond to Ontario’s economic challenges. The project will cost approximately $26 million and 120-150 people from the private, public, and academic sectors will be employed at MARC.


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