When you look at an image of a cityscape, do you see merely buildings, billboards and traffic lights? Or do you see architecture and landscape co-existing in a harmonious flow, one complimenting the other to form continuous, functional aesthetics. PLANT Architect Inc. sees the latter. In fact, they design the latter in Canada’s largest urban canvas — Toronto. They are an award-winning practice that combines architecture, landscape and design with a vision toward timeless urban redevelopment and renewal across spatial scales and traditional disciplinary borders. PLANT was founded in 1995 by partners Lisa Rapoport, Chris Pommer, and Mary Tremain. The studio is based in Toronto and is comprised of architects and landscape architects. They specialize in institutional, commercial, and residential architecture and landscape architecture, interiors, public space design, urban infrastructure, feasibility studies, and master planning. Spotlight on Business spoke with partner Lisa Rapoport about PLANT’s beginnings, their unique interdisciplinary design approach, and PLANT’s commitment to public engagement. By John Allaire L ike many small, young architecture offices, we were taking on residential work at first,” Rapoport explains. “At the same time, we were taking on projects that were also focusing on the landscape. I had done work on my thesis about the interconnection between architecture and landscape… this rolled into a project called ‘Sweet Farm.’ It was a widely publicized project, and its success really launched our direction in the office.” PLANT’s website illustrates that Sweet Farm was more than just a pivotal project for them in defining their place in the world of architecture and landscape synergy. It opened their eyes to redefining spaces and their usage on a number of scales and levels. It’s worth taking a moment to explain what Sweet Farm is, and why it is significant in the world of architecture. Physically, it is an 85-acre private park in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. The project developed a series of architectural, sculptural, and land- scape ‘interventions’ along a network of natural paths through a varied natural land- scape. Interventions such as a forest dining area, a woodshed, tower, mink cage garden and belvedere enhance and point to natural and man made features and the sensuous aspects of the site — heightening the visitor’s experience of the existing landscape — as if one were seeing them for the first time. Interventions were built with material harvested from or found on the site. A contin- uously evolving project, Sweet Farm has began construction in 1994, and interven- tions were built over the following seven years.
Transposing that experience to the hustle and bustle of the big city, Toronto’s overall architectural style lends itself perfectly to a design studio that places emphasis
MARCH 2018 • SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE
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