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Behind the Living Wall: An Interview with Birgit Siber

Material Minds, presented by ArchDaily Materials, is our new series of short interviews with architects, designers, scientists, and others who use architectural materials in innovative ways. Enjoy!

Green, or living, walls have begun popping up and growing across commercial interiors everywhere over the last decade. To understand how a living wall functions, and how to design one, we went straight to a pioneer in the profession: Ms. Birgit Siber of Diamond Schmitt Architects in Toronto. The synthesis of natural systems and building systems had been in her mind since her days as a student, but the major break came in 2000, when her team constructed a massive living wall for The University of Guelph-Humbar. To understand how architects are closing the gap between interior and exterior via the living wall, read the full interview after the break.

© Steven Evans © Tom Arban © Tom Arban © Doublespace Photography

Thunder Bay Courthouse / Adamson Associates Architects

© Shai Gil © Shai Gil © Shai Gil © Shai Gil

Sorel Residence / NatureHumaine

© Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams

Glacier Skywalk / Sturgess Architecture

© Robert Lemermeyer © Robert Lemermeyer © Robert Lemermeyer © Robert Lemermeyer

Libeskind Selected to Design Canadian National Holocaust Monument

Daniel Libeskind’s “elongated Star of David” has been announced today, the architect's 67th birthday, as the winner of an international design competition for Canada’s National Holocaust Monument. Selected from a shortlist of six, the winning "Landscape of Loss, Memory and Survival" monument is expected to be constructed in the Canadian capital of Ottawa on the corner of Wellington and Booth Streets sometime next year. 

Great Gulf Active House / Superkül inc

  • Architects: Superkül inc
  • Location: Thorold, ON, Canada
  • Architects In Charge: Andre D’Elia, Meg Graham
  • Project Architect: Wendy Wisbrun
  • Area: 3290.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Torben Eskerod

© Torben Eskerod © Torben Eskerod © Torben Eskerod © Torben Eskerod

Stealth Cabin / Superkül inc

  • Architects: Superkül inc
  • Location: Bracebridge, ON, Canada
  • Architects In Charge: Andre D’Elia, Meg Graham
  • Project Architect: Anya Moryoussef
  • Area: 1500.0 ft2
  • Photographs: Shai Gil

© Shai Gil © Shai Gil © Shai Gil © Shai Gil

PoolHouse / +tongtong

© Colin Faulkner © Colin Faulkner © Colin Faulkner © Colin Faulkner

Mineral Springs / Superkül inc

© Shai Gil
© Shai Gil
  • Architects: Superkül inc
  • Location: Dundas, Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • Architects In Charge: Andre D’Elia, Meg Graham
  • Area: 1000.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Shai Gil

© Shai Gil © Shai Gil © Shai Gil © Shai Gil

Remembering Ron Thom's Subtle Mark on the Canadian Landscape

“You don’t need big and flashy starchitecture to make a statement; the most powerful architecture is often that which blends into the landscape and reveals itself slowly.” In this article on Monocle, written by Nelly Gocheva, the late Canadian architect Ron Thom is remembered for just this reason. To learn more about Thom's architectural approach and works, including his masterplan for Trent University, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, read the article here.

Chez Carl / Jean De Lessard

  • Interior Designers: Jean De Lessard
  • Location: 3000 Boulevard René Lévesque, Verdun, QC H3E 1T9, Canada
  • General Contractor: Castle Reno (Paul Cantwell)
  • Area: 1229.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Adrien Williams

© Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams © Adrien Williams

To Be Destroyed: A Call For Ideas

The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) is calling for submissions that respond to the thematic of an upcoming exhibition, entitled TBD, that will be on view September 5 to October 25, 2014 in Toronto, Canada.

Crisan House / EST Architecture

  • Architects: EST Architecture
  • Location: Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, QC, Canada
  • Architect In Charge: Felix Tue
  • Team: Felix Tue & Claudiu Olaru
  • Area: 435.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Claudiu Olaru

© Claudiu Olaru © Claudiu Olaru © Claudiu Olaru © Claudiu Olaru

Herzog & de Meuron to Design New Vancouver Art Gallery

The Vancouver Art Gallery has unanimously appointed Herzog & de Meuron to design their new, 300,000 square foot gallery in downtown Vancouver. 

Selected from a shortlist of five - including Diller Scofidio + Renfro, KPMB Architects, SANAA , and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects - Herzog & de Meuron was ultimately awarded the commission for their vision of the new Gallery and “proven ability to create innovative museum buildings that place prominence on artists and institutional mission.”

The new museum building, which will be the practice’s first Canadian project, will double the Gallery’s current space and accommodate for their expanding collections, indoor and outdoor exhibition space, and new educational programs. Conceptual designs are expected to be released in early 2015. 

Preview the portfolio that landed Herzog & de Meuron the commission, after the break...

FaulknerBrowns Propose Community Velodrome Scheme in Canada

British based FaulknerBrowns Architects have proposed plans for "one of only two velodromes in recent memory being planned" in the city of Edmonton, Canada. In a place where winters are cold and long, reaching -20 degrees celcius, the facility can be adapted for both indoor and outdoor use throughout the year. Clad in Canadian timber and polished stainless steel shingles wrapping around the building like a "twisted ribbon resembling the twisted sinuous cycle track," the scheme will be only the second major indoor cycle track facility in the country.

S&S Studio / Scott and Scott Architects

Courtesy of Scott and Scott Architects Courtesy of Scott and Scott Architects Courtesy of Scott and Scott Architects Courtesy of Scott and Scott Architects