Green Good Design Awards

Posted on June 27th, 2014 by Sia Herr

Posted under: Awards

NADAAA has always been dedicated to advancing construction and green development. We are proud that two our projects, University of Melbourne FABP and University of Toronto DFALD, are receiving Green Good Design Awards for 2014.


Comments Off on Green Good Design Awards


Posted on June 24th, 2014 by tberesford

Posted under: construction


Another dispatch from the ongoing Phase I renovation of Knox College at 1 Spadina Crescent for the University of Toronto Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design.   Structural masonry retrofit work is costly, and NADAAA has endeavoured to avoid it wherever possible in the project.  Nevertheless, there were several locations where the requirements of the program, security or new building services have necessitated masonry removal and the installation of steel lintels to transfer loads bearing down from above.  Depending on the lintel’s span/size of opening below, the shoring work required to stabilize loads above can be complex and time-consuming.

ABOVE RIGHT:  NADAAA rendering of the new library study room, complete with new masonry opening to suit a service counter and clear site-lines from the adjacent library workroom, as required by the client’s program.  (see rectangular opening adjacent to the existing arched doorway).



ABOVE: Needle shoring was required to stabilize the loads above for work to proceed: masonry demolition and installation of the permanent steel w-section lintel for this 3.5 meter wide opening. “Needling” gets its name from the (in this case aluminum) structural sections penetrating the masonry, and resting on shores at either side of the wall.



ABOVE: Inspection of the building’s original sawn timber joists by a wood specialist uncovered the need to reinforce the floor assembly to achieve code compliance in many locations. This was accomplished either by sistering steel c-channels to each individual joists (thereby maintaining maximum ceiling clearance), or through the installation of a new steel girder below mid-span of the joists, as shown above.  (photo courtesy Peter MacCallam / The Daniels Faculty)



ABOVE LEFT: The wood consultant also identified the need for reinforcement of two monumental timber trusses that support the attic and roof above the central block on the top level.  Entuitive, our structural engineer, provided steel plate strapping, bolted to either side of the cracked bottom timber cords in response to the wood consultant recommendations.   (sketches courtesy Entuitive Corporation).  ABOVE LEFT: An original building section drawing dated 1873 shows the referenced space and trusses, which flank the central masonry tower. (courtesy U. of Toronto archive.



ABOVE: The timber trusses, after installation of steel plate strapping. These will be painted a uniform color. The clear span allows this feature space to support various configurations of graduate studios and student exhibition/crit space over the course of the phased project.




Domestic Tectonic: Translations Across Scales

Posted on June 22nd, 2014 by Lisa LaCharité

Posted under: Installations + Exhibitions, Lectures, Press

Nader Tehrani and Katie Faulkner presented the 2017 RISD Shoemaker Lecture on April 24, 2017 after the opening of the RISD Shoemaker Exhibit by NADAAA, Domestic Tectonic: Translations Across Scales, at the RISD BEB Gallery. Below is a summary and guide to the exhibit.

Domestic Tectonic occurs at a moment in our trajectory when the dialogue between research and practice has intertwined, not only in confluence, but in moments of friction when our design ambitions have not aligned with the possibilities of patronage, construction norms, or the fluctuations of the economy. The Rock Creek House, as such, does not so much represent the culmination of a form of thinking, but strategic compromise, reconciliation, and opportunism. The seeds for current thinking can be found in history, and many of the early works of both Office dA and NADAAA were houses. Taken together, the houses reveal not only speculation on the domestic realm, but also ways in which a small project may become an ‘amuse bouche’ for a larger construction.

Thus, we link the design and craft usually reserved for the scale of a home to the architecture of the very institutions that train the designers. Below are a few examples of these links as themes that stand out in our work: The first theme deals with the basic proposition of architectural composition in the context of typology, organization and configuration: each of these houses have explored the tensions between received conventions on the one hand –whether from history or the construction industry– and the idea of transformation and invention on the other. A second theme has transported each project into a research about the relationship between material units, their methods of assembly and the way in which means and methods might become transformative –formally, spatially, and technologically– as the basis for the production of new forms of knowledge. Thirdly, each project establishes some relationship with its site, if only as a reminder that architecture does not only operate in a vacuum, but also in a deeply entrenched relationship with its context, and hence a social, political and collective environment.

Below is an outline of the work included in the exhibit to provide a tour of the exhibition. The exhibition was organized around five episodes; each episode title is a link that provides additional information and context:

1 The Rock Creek House



As the centerpiece of the exhibit, the Rock Creek House represents the challenges of working with the infrastructure of an existing building, and how its history and embodied energy serves to advance an idea about resilience and preservation. At the same time, the project tests the limits of such a logic, radically transforming the southern side of the building to open it up to the landscape, framing broader views, letting in the sun, and consequently transforming the otherwise load-bearing brick wall into a curtain wall. The sectional excavations of the project are maybe its most transformative, effectively mining space out of an existing basement and attic to double the size of the house. Significant portions of existing brick were removed on the southern façade to make way for larger window sizes, and then subsequently recycled to expand the façade of the attic space: a conceptual cut and fill.




The mock-ups in this exhibit are a key part of the research undertaken by NADAAA in collaboration with C.W. Keller & Associates to advance some of the material thinking of the project. Much of that thinking was aimed at organizing the house on the north-south grain of its structural walls and –with the insertion of diverse plywood elements– reinforcing that grain with the orientation of plywood laminations. These laminations then translate into butcher block stairs, picket railing, blank panel interior facades on the east-west grain, and a medium through which to organize all mechanical and electronic elements.

3- Tectonic Domestic Grid**



The grid of projects on the north-west corner of the gallery places this project in the context of other residential projects through which some of the key ideas have been iterated.

4 The Animations 



The projection wall brings the various projects into dialogue with each other through added images, and more importantly through animations that advance both the conceptual and experiential aims of each project.

5 The preface to the May 2016 issue of The Plan 



The preface to the May 2016 issue of The Plan is included as an introduction to the exhibit. It outlines some of our architectural preoccupations over the past years and how they have impacted the relationship between practice and pedagogy.





** Residences from left to right, top to bottom: Tongxian Art Center, Weston House, Newton House, Phoenix Residence, New Hampshire Retreat, Mill Road Residence, Dortoir Familial, Casa La Roca, House in New England



Comments Off on Domestic Tectonic: Translations Across Scales

Construction Update in 5 Minutes

Posted on June 20th, 2014 by Sia Herr

Posted under: _Melbourne School of Design, construction

Check out the  time-lapse construction video of  University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning from January 2013 – April 2014.  Only a couple more months until we get to see the completed building.

Additional  videos from different cameras on-site are also available on the university’s website.



Comments Off on Construction Update in 5 Minutes

Reinstating the Convocation Hall

Posted on June 16th, 2014 by tberesford

Posted under: construction


Phase I renovation of Knox College at 1 Spadina Crescent is progressing for the University of Toronto Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design.  Currently, demolition, restoration and structural work is underway at the former original Convocation Hall, which forms the east wing of the neo-gothic structure.  The monumental triple-height volume of the hall had been subdivided into three floors during  19040’s era alterations to suit the needs of the former Connaught laboratories.  The current renovation calls for a double-height space to be carved out of the second level, with intent to at least partially reinstate the grandeur of the original hall.


ABOVE: Ongoing demolition and structural retrofit to the fomer Convocation Hall at Knox College / 1 Spadina Crescent.  The original timber trusses have been exposed at level 03 as seen beyond.  The Level 03 floor structure in the foreground has been removed in preparation for shoring to support a new composite mezzanine floor.  Steel moment frames have been installed where some of the original timber trusses were removed.  The moment frames serve to stabilize lateral forces on the building while also retaining the open floor clearance at the level 03 mezzanine.  The level 03 floor seen beyond in the image above will be removed after the mezzanine slab is poured.  In the foreground, walls added in the 1940s that supported storage vault rooms and a stair are being removed.



ABOVE LEFT: Original sectional drawing of the Knox college convocation hall (1873). ABOVE RIGHT: The convocation hall in its original condition.  The timber hips shown below the timber trusses were removed when the hall was subdivided into three floors.



ABOVE: this image was taken from level 02, below the floor structure that was demolished in preparation for the new level 03 mezzanine structure. This space was also flanked by a stair and a series of storage vaults, both of which have been removed.  The bottom cord of the original timber truss in this zone has truncated/sawn in this location, and a pair of c-channel moment frames have been sistered to either side of the upper cord.


Document1 Page 004

ABOVE: A structural detail indicating the retrofit c-channel moment frames, and the new composite mezzanine slab. (courtesy Entuitive Corporation)



ABOVE: A detail of the original timber truss top cord, with sistered c-channel moment frames installed at either side.


Document1 Page 003

ABOVE: Sketch indicating retrofits to repair damaged timber trusses at the east end of the former convocation hall. The original trusses will be featured in this location upon removal of the existing level 03 wood floor structure. This sketch documents steel tension rods that have been installed to relieve forces on the existing timber ties (which have sustained cracks/damage over the years).  (courtesy Entuitive Corporation)



ABOVE: Detail showing steel rod reinforcement installed to reinforce the bottom ord of the original timber trusses. The level 03 floor structure on either side will be removed to open a double-height space, reminiscent of the original convocation hall.  Original hip support to the bottom of truss had been removed at the time of previous renovation.


Comments Off on Reinstating the Convocation Hall

Bridges at Cornell

Posted on June 12th, 2014 by tberesford

Posted under: Things We Like

NADAAA recently completed a project at Cornell University involving the modification of seven bridges to prevent  accidental or purposeful falling.  Each bridge has a unique structure, travel patterns and responds to specific conditions imposed by the landscape and built environments at each end.  Common to all of the bridges is the strategic use of high tensile strength wire mesh, from Jakob Rope Systems, that provides the necessary safety measures while maintaining unobstructed views to the scenic landscape.  The success of the project was greatly due to the collaborative efforts of the client, design team, contractor and manufacturers.

From the before and after photos of the suspension bridge, you can see the improvements to user experience  and functionality.






Information on the wire mesh and project background is also currently featured on Jakob’s website.



Comments Off on Bridges at Cornell

2014 RADA Awards

Posted on June 6th, 2014 by Sia Herr

Posted under: Awards

New Hampshire Retreat receives an On the Boards citation for the 2014 Residential Architect Design Awards.


Comments Off on 2014 RADA Awards