Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
WZMH Architects, The First Fifty Years – Celebration
July 13th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: WZMH Architects
This year has been an exciting year for WZMH Architects. The firm has secured a number of new projects and won awards for its latest work. However, 2011 is also special because it marks the fiftieth anniversary of WZMH and as such the firm has taken the opportunity to publish a book and launch a new website to mark the occasion.
Bay Adelaide Centre:
Durham Consolidated Courthouse:
On October 25, 2011, WZMH Architects hosted a party in the recently completed lobby at 130 Adelaide Street , Toronto, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the firm and launch the book WZMH Architects, the First Fifty Years. Designed by the firm, the modern and minimalist lobby is not only well suited for a corporate office lobby, but also a great venue for a party. The event was attended by over 300 guests that included many clients, former Principals of the firm, senior staff, consultants, and other industry partners. Key note addresses were provided by Blake Hutcheson, President and CEO of Oxford Properties Group, and Stephen Rhodes, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Ministry of the Attorney General.
The Book, WZMH Architects 50: the first fifty years is a celebration of past work and also a statement of a vision for the future. The book explores landmark projects in multiple sectors: iconic buildings such as the CN Tower and Scotia Plaza in Toronto; the Shanghai Securities Exchange, China; Cairo’s Nile Plaza Four Seasons Hotel; and, the Canadian Space Agency in Quebec. It also highlights the firm’s valued long term relationships with clients; new and award-winning work; and, the drive for evermore sustainable architecture.
Durham Consolidated Courthouse, the first government building to be designated LEED Gold in provincial Ontario, is one such project. Triumphing at the RAIC 2011 Awards of Excellence, the courthouse won the Green Building Award. Judges stated: “The Durham Consolidated Courthouse is an accomplished piece of public architecture, and accordingly was selected as the top project.”
WZMH’s masterplan for the Parkway Forest Re-urbanisation was also praised at the City of Toronto’s 2011 Urban Design Awards. The firm’s transformation of this 35 acre residential development, integrating new towers and updating the 40 year-old ‘garden city’ scheme was lauded by jury members: “This plan represents a private sector variation on the Tower Renewal strategy and provides a road map for the redevelopment of other such clusters near suburban subway stops.”
Revitalisation of existing structures (buildings…) is an important part of creating sustainable architecture and the Nova Scotia Power corporate office facility is a perfect example of truly innovative environmental design. WZMH recently converted a decommissioned 1940s power station and literally recycled it; turning a former coal-fired electricity generating station into a company headquarters designated LEED Platinum, the highest environmental accreditation possible.
Two common themes are evident with many of the firm’s projects; longevity of relationships and the ability to work well with clients. When WZMH formed in 1961, the original partners could not have dreamed a fifty year relationship would flourish with Isadore Sharp, founder of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and yet the firm works with him to this day.
Similarly, the firm began work in 1963 on the Richmond Adelaide Centre, a five building complex that occupies an entire city clock in downtown Toronto, owned by Oxford Properties Group. The firm recently renovated the public areas of 130 Adelaide Street West, turning them from dark corporate lobbies into a bright Modernist space truly indicative of the building’s Miesian origins. WZMH is currently completely renovating 111 Richmond Street West, also part of the Richmond Adelaide Centre; recladding the exterior and restoring the modernist character of the original exterior and lobby. WZMH and Oxford Properties Group have just unveiled the design of their latest collaboration, Waterpark Place, a new tower on Toronto’s waterfront.
WZMH is an architectural practice built on these lasting relationships but it is also a firm that revels in the new. Watch for the launch of the firm’s new website, and, for the completion of Nation Towers, a dramatic new landmark on the Corniche in Abu Dhabi. As WZMH moves forward, creating architecture for the next 50 years.
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