coming soon to Wilson Heights, steps to the subwayFriluftsliv is the great Scandinavian philosophy of embracing the outdoor life in everything we do. We’re not only inspired by this ideal for the Nørdic, we are driven by every part of it. Life here will resonate with physical health through a love for the outdoor parks, amenities and walkable shopping and dining.
Q&A with Scale Model Builder Michael BurkeNovember 4, 2019 READ MORE
What’s tall and slender, with a beautiful profile and a knack for catching the perfect light? These words could be describing the towering glamazons found on...
What’s tall and slender, with a beautiful profile and a knack for catching the perfect light? These words could be describing the towering glamazons found on catwalks from Paris to Milan, but they’re equally appropriate as a descriptor for the towering scale models that grace sales centres across the continent. And, for the last thirteen years, Michael Burke has been turning out some of the best.
In the late 90s Burke was an architecture student at Ryerson University, regularly pulling all-nighters to build models for class. After graduation he scored a job at a professional model shop and five years later, he launched Myles Burke Architectural Models, with business partner David Myles. Today, the firm produces around 50 models each year for some of the biggest names in development. We sat down with the partner, co-owner, and model maker to find out what exactly goes into building a mini-dream. Super indeed.
Scale models are a very particular niche – how did you end up in the industry?
MB: I was at Ryerson studying architecture and one day, outside of the library, they had a scale model, built by a professional model building company. Until then I had only really seen our student cardboard and wood versions and this model blew my mind – I couldn’t believe the level of detail and the accuracy! I couldn’t figure out how anyone could do that… what materials were they using? How did they get the materials to look so real?
I discovered that a girl in my class was working at a model shop and in fourth year, when she and the rest of my classmates went out and got “real jobs,” her position opened up. I interviewed and got the job.
I really had no idea what I was doing, but I was eager to learn and excited by every new challenge and responsibility. I thought I had the coolest/funnest/most interesting job in the world.
I had only been working there about six months and then this other kid got hired – his name was David Myles.
David and I hit it off right away. We were the same age, had similar interests, and we were really into our jobs.
After about 5 years we felt we were ready for a new challenge, so we started Myles Burke
Architectural Models in 2006 and never looked back.
What’s the largest scale model you’ve ever built?
MB: Some of the larger models we’ve produced at Myles Burke have been The World Towers (Lodha, Mumbai), a full 14’ tall; and Rivington (Toll Brothers, Connecticut), an 11′ x 16′ model with a total area of 176 square feet. The largest model I’ve ever worked on in my career was the Burj Khalifa. The tower was 21′ tall, the base was 32′ in diameter. I went to Dubai for the install. It took 14 days to set up.
Give us the scoop, were you super into Lego and building blocks as a kid?
MB: You guessed it, Lego was totally my thing. I’d build for hours, mostly making stuff up on my own rather than following any instructions in the kit. I also had a train set and I loved building dioramas for school projects.
Why is it important to have a scale model of a project?
MB: Scale models seem to have a unique appeal – they’re part art installation/exhibit, part technical construction. I think people gravitate to them because they’re beautiful, complex, and analogue. They tell the complete story of a project – with just one glance you’re able to understand the size, shape, spatial relationships, etc. of a design. Most people can’t understand a set of architectural drawings but they can understand a scale model in an instant. There’s also an element of authenticity, of truth – scale models, by nature, have to be accurate (their inherent “scale” is found directly in the name), so people experience an immediate sense of trust.
Are you worried that technology may render physical models obsolete?
MB: When it gets to the point when VR is indistinguishable from reality, perhaps physical models will become obsolete, but I’m not worried about it for two reasons: one, when it does happen, I’ll finally get some time off work; and two, I expect to be retired by then.
Seriously though, people always try and tell us that we should just 3D print our models. We’re more than happy to print a model for someone, if they’re looking for an expensive piece of junk, but in my opinion, they don’t hold a candle to what we do. Our work is the real deal.
How many hours did it take to build the Tretti scale model? And the model for Nordic?
MB: Tretti took nearly 588 hours. Nordic has been 695.88 to date.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever been asked to replicate?
MB: The strangest thing I’ve been asked to build was a model of a flat earth for a flat earth convention. I declined the job – I refuse to contribute to such a anti-intellectual conspiracy and outright denial of obvious and testable truths about the oblate spheroid shaped earth.
What’s the average budget for a scale model?
MB: It ranges. The models that we work on aren’t usually less than $10K, average around $25K, and have gotten up to $180K.
What’s your favourite part of the process?
MB: I’ve been doing this for nearly 20 years and I still get excited in the final days of the project when everything comes together. It’s pretty sudden actually – all the parts, fresh out of the paint booth, get glued in place, the trees get installed, the furniture gets added. It’s amazingly satisfying to watch it all take shape.
Finish this sentence, “If I weren’t a scale model builder, I would probably be…”
MB: If I weren’t a scale model builder, I would probably be a starving musician. Thank goodness scale models paid off.
Visit the Collecdev Sales & Design Centre and see some of Burke’s work in living colour with the scale models of Tretti and Nordic, our latest communities.
Carmen Dragomir sees the big picture when it comes to building intimate spacesNovember 1, 2019 READ MORE
Carmen Dragomir sees the big picture when it comes to building intimate spaces. “Design has a certain way of shaping our lives, our sensibility, our behaviour, even our emotions,” says the designer, “Every day I have the opportunity to design spaces that touch other people’s lives.” At Nørdic she’s doing exactly that, creating fresh, smart, inspiring spaces that flow from the front door to your home, and everywhere in between.
Q: How did you interpret the Scandinavian aesthetic for a Toronto audience?
Toronto homebuyers are knowledgeable and savvy about the homebuying process. They understand and appreciate different design styles, thanks to the city’s eclectic multicultural mix. In interiors, Scandinavian design conjures the idea of effortlessness, minimalist colour palettes, organic textures, and restrained furniture placement, leaving room for people to move around within a space and take it in from different angles, at varying stages of daylight. At Nørdic, the sensation of lightness and wellbeing is as much a product of the space in between the elements – the room to move freely – as it is of the built forms themselves.
Q: What was your inspiration for the interiors at Nørdic?
I was inspired by the amazing hotel and residence interiors I saw during a recent trip to Copenhagen where they effortlessly combined objects, furniture, and art into incredibly inviting spaces. They were striking and had an eclectic style and a refined, yet comfortable vibe.
Q: The suite layouts at Nordic are wide and shallow – how does that affect how people experience the space?
Wide units have the advantage of bringing more natural light into the spaces, as well as creating open concept plans, giving residents the ability to personalize furniture configurations and flow based on their own needs and aesthetic preferences.
Q: How do you want people to feel in the spaces you’ve designed at Nørdic?
Everyone should feel at ease in their own home. We try to create spaces where people feel comfortable and serene, homes that you never want to leave. You know the expression, build a life you don’t need an escape from? At Nørdic we’ve provided the perfect backdrop for that soft, relaxed, minimal aesthetic that gives residents vacation vibes, even when they’re at home.
Meet the award-winning architect and discover his vision for NørdicNovember 1, 2019 READ MORE
While the word friluftsliv (pronounced free-loofts-liv) may not be a part of gh3*’s daily vocabulary, the Norwegian philosophy that emphasizes the importance of a connection between built form and the natural landscape seems to define their methodology to a T. Here we speak with the award-winning architects to discover their vision for Nørdic.
Q: How did you approach the design of Nørdic? What was your inspiration for the building?
Our inspiration for Nørdic came directly from the buildings you see on the historic streets of Scandinavian cities, façades that are robust and contribute to a feeling of permanence with proportionately-sized windows that let in an abundance of natural light. We were also inspired by the colour palettes found in northern European countries, and how the light colours can provide a bright counterpoint to short winter days. After all, Toronto gets its fair share of winter.
Q: How did the context of the surrounding neighbourhood influence the design?
Wilson Avenue is a wide avenue with a generous sidewalk. We wanted to maintain that sense of spaciousness and green as much as possible. We were also conscious of the fact that Nørdic is the first midrise building on the north side of the street, so we were mindful that the height and massing of the building fit within the context of the residential buildings across the street.
Q: What do you think Nørdic brings to the neighbourhood of Wilson Heights?
Nørdic will be a important turning point for the transformation of Wilson Avenue from an suburban North York street, to a thriving, vibrant, urban thoroughfare.
Q: There are some really interesting protruding squares on the façade – what are they and how did they become a part of the building architecture
The Wilson façade is a bit of an architectural essay in frames, solids, and voids. The varying proportion, dimension, and size of these elements gives variety and scale to the façade, while providing shade and privacy.
Collecdev Bringing Scandinavian-Inspired Nørdic Condos to North YorkOctober 29, 2019 READ MORE
Following on the heels of the successful marketing of Tretti Condos near Wilson subway station in northwest Toronto, developer Collecdev has introduced another...
Following on the heels of the successful marketing of Tretti Condos near Wilson subway station in northwest Toronto, developer Collecdev has introduced another condominium development a short distance to the east on Wilson, continuing their Scandinavian theming for the area with a project known as Nordic Condos. The project features similar design cues as the nearby Tretti, with Collecdev once again employing gh3 to design the project.
Nordic’s design by Raymond Chow of gh3 has been evolving since proposed in its initial form at the end of 2016. The final 12-storey plan, now entering marketing, features a series of mid-rise volumes that form an articulated street wall, stepping back above the 8th and 11th floors to keep a consistent massing over Wilson Avenue.
Nordic will bring 429 condominium units to the area, in a range of layouts from studio up to three-bedroom plans, ranging in area from 372 ft² up to 925 ft² and priced from $414,990 to $973,000. Residents will have access to amenities with interiors by Carmen Dragomir of esQape Design, set to include a party room, a gym, and a lobby with concierge service. Other amenities on tap include three courtyards, an outdoor soft turf children’s play area, an outdoor lounge with barbecues, an outdoor exercise area with calisthenics, as well as pet wash stations.
Among the Scandinavian-inspired elements is an energy efficiency plan based on the Swedish philosophy of “friluftsliv,” a lifestyle based on a connection with the outdoors that informs much of Sweden’s environmental policy. In keeping with the spirit of friluftsliv, Nordic will include sustainable technologies like geothermal heating and cooling that uses roughly 40% less energy than typical condominium HVAC systems, producing 70% less greenhouse gas and saving over 5 million litres of water per year.
A sustainable lifestyle at NørdicSeptember 16, 2019 READ MORE
The Swedes have a philosophy known as “friluftsliv.” It’s a lifestyle based on a connection with the outdoors, and it informs much of the country’s...
The Swedes have a philosophy known as “friluftsliv.” It’s a lifestyle based on a connection with the outdoors, and it informs much of the country’s environmental policy, policy that has helped Sweden maintain a position as the world’s most sustainable country for more than half a decade. Swedish cities have taken giant steps to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and Swedish researchers are developing technology to obtain 100% of their energy from renewable and recycled sources. The country is proof that big ambitions can lead to big change, and we’ve set our sights equally high at Nørdic.
Environmental stewardship is one of three key pillars at Collecdev (for more on the other two, visit our site). As developers, we have an inherent responsibility to minimize any adverse impact our communities have on the natural environment. That’s why, at Nørdic, we’ve chosen forward-thinking sustainable technologies like an innovative geothermal heating and cooling system that uses about 40% less energy than a traditional HVAC system, and produces 70% less greenhouse gas, saving over 5 million litres of water every year (not to mention offering residents predictable monthly maintenance fees).
What else is in store? Take a look:
- Low-profile green roofs that help reduce the heat island effect and improve air quality
- Circadian rhythm lighting to reduce energy usage
- Smart thermostats with real-time suite energy dashboards
- High performance thermal envelope to minimize unwanted solar gain and heat loss
- 500+ bicycle parking spaces
- Electric car charging stations
- Energy Star® appliances and low VOC paints
The result is a smart investment for the planet and for residents says Nørdic’s geothermal system. “Residents can feel confident knowing they’ve invested in technology that aligns with what the buildings of the future will look like and what buyers will demand. They also have the added benefit of predictable monthly costs, confidence in a system with an infinite life span, a tangible increase in property value, and the comfort of knowing they’re leaving a reduced carbon footprint on the world.”
Take a closer look at Nørdic and discover a community where sustainability and good living go hand in hand. A healthy urban landscape, a beautiful new home, a better tomorrow.
Register for Nørdic today and discover a Scandinavian-inspired lifestyle in the heart of Wilson Heights.
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