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R.C. Harris, Village by High Park win masonry awards

Masonry may sound a little old fashioned, a description of the way buildings were built before we learned how to use steel and glass to such tepid effect.

But every four years, we are reminded of the fact that masonry didn’t disappear with the advent of the International Style, it just went underground, or beneath the surface, anyway.

“The component in most buildings that is load-bearing is masonry,” says Sandra Skivsky, the spokeswoman-of-few-words for the Ontario Masonry Contractor’s Association.

Getting her to speak about the quadrennial Ontario Masonry Design Awards, which took place Nov. 15, was like playing an especially unsuccessful game of Atari Breakout, ponging away brick by brick to try and get at the value of masonry in Toronto’s booming building market.

For the uninitiated, masonry is any sort of building material put together with mortar. In the past, this was largely bricks. Today, it’s mostly cinder block, which tend to form the infrastruture behind veneers of brick, stone or other, more attractive material.

A quick look through this year’s winners, which cover projects since 2010, offers a glimpse into the range of masonry work being done in the GTA.

The Village by High Park, built for Options for Homes by Burka Architects, with masonry done by the Gottardo Group, won for best use of masonry in the residential high-rise category, Ireland Park for commemorative design, and the R.C. Harris water treatment plant for restoration.

“What we look at is the aesthetics, the volume if masonry that’s in a project, and the workmanship,” Skivsky said, and then was silent.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Sandra Skivsky
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