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Professional Circle Talk: Retrofitting Ontario’s Concrete Heritage

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About the Event

The New York Landmarks Conservancy is very pleased to offer its Professional Circle members an exclusive talk with ERA Architects principals Graeme Stewart and Ya’el Santopinto on the ongoing work of the Tower Renewal Partnership.

Date and time
Thursday, February 2, 2023, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST

Online Event

In the decades following World War II, countries across the globe embarked on campaigns of residential construction, and for reasons of economy and time, many reached for an off-the-shelf, modernist solution: “Towers in the park” ringing an existing urban core. Few municipalities were as gripped by this building fever as the Greater Toronto Area, which eventually amassed the greatest number of concrete housing blocks outside of the former Eastern Bloc—nearly 2,000 altogether, with approximately one million inhabitants.

Once heralded as the solution to the housing problem, this building stock is approaching the end of its life span. The high-rises are not uniformly dilapidated, but most are energy hogs. Poor design decisions betrayed a neglect of the region’s extreme climate that, coupled with decades of deferred maintenance, left vital building systems vulnerable. Yet their apartments are enviable by today’s meager standards, and being home to so many—most recently minority and refugee groups—they cannot be easily replaced.

The Tower Renewal Partnership provides an ambitious and inclusive road map that reappraises the social value of this disregarded but immense segment of architectural heritage and prepares it for the future.

Tower Renewal Partnership is an initiative to transform postwar towers and their surrounding neighborhoods into more sustainable communities.

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