Jerry Seinfeld has a popular online series called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee whereby he invites other famous comedians to ride around town (mostly L.A.) in a fancy automobile très à propos for his guest. Then they stop and have coffee. While this region does have it’s fair share of fine comedians, we also have a great collection of architects with an appreciation for various buildings within our metropolis, so I came up with this mini series called Architects on Bikes Checking out Buildings. I will be asking various members of the profession to choose three edifices within the region that they admire, then I’ll plot a safe bike route to each one and go check them out.
My first guest is Susan Smith Architect, who designed our third floor studio addition. Not only is she a fine architect, she has also spent her entire career in Ottawa sans automobile(!), using her bike and public transportation since graduating from Carleton University School of Architecture many moons ago. She’s also a stellar older sister. We headed off early Saturday morning and checked out her picks.
First stop: 30 Sims Avenue in Hintonburg, where sits this new house. Sue noticed it while biking to her office nearby on Gladstone. She appreciates it’s elegant simplicity and detailing.
After admiring this little gem of a dwelling, we bicycled over to Dows Lake and along the Rideau Canal Western Pathway, then cut across the Golden Triangle to get to Sue’s second choice: The elliptical Public Service Alliance of Canada Building, completed in 1968 and designed by architect Paul Schoeler. In 2000 the Royal Architectural Institute chose it as one of the top 500 buildings built in Canada over the last millennium. The curved forms of the outer walls are so seemingly perfect that we double checked with a folded piece of paper to make sure the brown bricks were actually flat – and they are.
We then rode through Sandy Hill and crossed the Rideau River over the old train bridge before heading towards our final building, the Ottawa Train Station. Designed by John P Parkin & Associates in 1966, it too was chosen by the Royal Architectural Institute as one of the top 500 buildings built in Canada over the last millennium. Sue likes how the dominanting truss roof structure extends right through the building, allowing for a great open space inside, as well as an extended covering at the entrance and at the opposite end between the terminal and the trains.
So there you go – a fine first architect inspired bike adventure!